Rats as pets?


#1

One of my kids has expressed interest in getting a small animal lately. Something nice, that won't be able to really make a mess in the house. (We're rather busy, so a dog is out of the question, and both my daughter and I are allergic to cats.)

Of course, after going to petstores and looking around... They took a liking to the rats! :eek:
And here I was hoping for a hamster... We have yet to decide on anything, I've told them MAYBE, but I'm not really sure if I want to allow this.

Any opinions or ideas? Compromise with mice?
(Well, could be worse, at least they liked the small furry animals, and not the reptiles.)

I just think rats have always seemed like an odd choice for a pet, like you're trying to make some sort of statement, I don't want my family to come across like that...


#2

Rodent lovers are like anyone else; they have a forum: paw-talk.net/forums/f70/best-pet-rodent-43248.html

Here’s an excerpt from a thread on the pros and cons of various rodents as pets:

well i have guinea pigs, rats, mice, and hamsters, so i will just name the pros and cons of each

rats make great pets, they are very interactive with their owners, play with them, lick them, run to them with or without their named being called, seem to like their owners
the cons with rats is that they will pee mark everywhere and on occasion, for me anyway, they will find a spot and chew it although, me again, they seem to seldom do mostly prefer balsa wood

mice are also great pets…they cant jump from place to place so you can raise them on a desk and you can easily place things out of reach for them (unlike rats…bc they are so crafty)…with a lot of attention they can walk to your hand and eat food from it…they can know a schedule and when called they can peek out of their home to ask for food…have personality and interact with each other at night so you can view their antics
the cons of mice is that they dont live long, are susceptible to tumors, and unneutered males have a hard time getting along and have powerful smells

hamsters make great pets they love to roam around , you can even let them free roam a floor (provided there are no holes it could escape to like the floor ventilation or no wires, as with all rodents, to chew)
different hamsters even syrians have diff personalities so your experience will depend on what personality you got, i have experienced all the realms of this, some pee everywhere others are so clean you just clean a bathroom designated area…some chew a lot, others chew only their food…so these are pros and cons…just be aware that just bc your hamster doesnt chew now doesnt mean it wont chew 6wks down the road…also they really do need a lot of space bc they naturally forage for food in the night and can travel up to 8 miles doing it, so its unhealthy to keep it pent up in a small cage all day with no mental stimulation…frequent nightly walks and free roam time is a must if you cant at least dedicate an hr each day (that is night dont bother them in the day bc they get nippy and stress easily; they are nocturnal creatures afterall), dont get one bc you are doing a disfavor to it

and lastly guinea pigs…so far they are ok
cons: they pee and poop were they stand (its VERY rare to hear of potty trained ones) and it smells a lot so you must clean very often to maintain a descent sanitary environment for them, they are shy by nature since they are hunted by many predators in the wild, if you grab them quickly or in a way that would freak them out they will nip (this is true for any animal though), it may take mnths and mnths for them to trust you (even a yr), they wont necessarily some to you, they may tolerate you petting them once you have them

pros: they squeal and make all kinds of noise, very verbal, beg for food, associate certain noises with food, with trust and lots of food will interact will you to a pt


#3

Thank you for the excerpt. Please don't think I'm trying to misplace a thread here on anything, I've been snooping around at rodent forums and such, but I really do like the Catholic Answers community, and wanted some conversation and advice from the regulars here I'm used to... Although perhaps I should have placed this in back fence. :)


#4

Everyone I've known who has had a pet rat has loved it. They're supposed to be very sociable with good personalities. I had mice when I was a kid so I don't see rats as being that out of the ordinary.


#5

I had a pet rat and he was GREAT. He had a lot of personality and enjoyed being handled. I would let him run around my apartment every night for an hour or so and he loved it. He was a little klepto, I once found a stash of my things behind the couch! Rats are very clean also. He has one special area in his cage where he did his business. He would make a nest in another area with timothy hay I gave him. One thing to remember is that if you get one rat, you honestly need to get two. They are social creatures and need that interaction. They are much more likely to play and be social with their owners if they have other rats with them. Also, remember that you need to get two rats of the same gender to avoid overpopulation. Getting only one rat was my biggest mistake and I still feel bad for not researching this topic- it wasn't fair to my pet. Also consider getting a nice, large cage for them. They need room to move and explore. The cages advertised as rat cages are far too small in my opinion.

P.S. female rat pee doesn't smell as strong as male pee!

I also had a pet mouse but I would NOT recommend getting a mouse as a pet.

Have you considered a bunny?


#6

Actual experience.

They escape.

They chew holes in clothing and urinate in roommates clothing.

And then you have to catch them ... and they DO NOT LIKE being recaptured.

They bite.

I was SHOCKED! Shocked, I tell you ... their teeth are like razors. Scalpels.

And they are as fast as lightning! Man, when they bite, ... ZAP and there is blood and its yours.

And then you have to pay for the dry cleaning bills and the replacement of the roommate's clothing.

Wait until you can afford a Saint Bernard.

Or a horse.

Miniature horses are nice.

Once had a male rodent and a female rodent simultaneously escape from two different cages and they met and we just happened to observe them ... ummm ... copulating ... which resulted in a large litter of babies shortly thereafter.

If you do get a bunny, keep it outside in a hutch. With wire screening underneath for the poo to drop down out of.

Had gerbils and hamsters, mice, rats, cats, bunnies, dogs, you name it.

Maybe get a chicken, 'cause you can eat it later on.

Had cute little chicks as pets ... they get uncute really quickly. And attack one another. Canibalization is real.

There is a thread around here about ferrets ... ate the fingers off of a baby. The baby lost seven fingers.

Human fingers do not grow back.

Then there was the snake that tried to eat a baby; snake was unsuccessful, but the baby did die. There is another thread here on the snake thing.

Snakes do eat spiders.

They just lay there with their mouths open and the spiders walk inside and the snake just swallows and gets fat.

My first pet was a grasshopper. Kept him in a mayonnaise jar. Fed him canteloupe.

They shed their skeletons. I still have "Hoppy's" skeleton that he shed.

Maybe a cow. But cows get heavy and when they turn their head, they can accidently knock you over and you could break a shoulder.

Or a pig. But pigs will actually eat people.

Best friend had a malamute; dog JUST LOVED to run. Could leap the tallest fence and folks would find him MILES away. Just loved to run. Friendliest poochie in the world. But he loved to run. Loved even more plunging into ANY body of water. Any mud hole or mud puddle. And run, run, run. And they love their owners and jump all over you.


#7

Had a gerbil escape and had trouble finding him. Finally we shut down the whole house and listened very carefully. He was inside a wall. Baited him out with peanut butter in a carefully made "cage". He was not happy.

Rodents need to chew ... their teeth grow fast and chewing wears the teeth down to a livable size. We provided toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes and they LOVED chewing them. Rats will chew the wires in your walls.

We had a lot of bunnies.

Not sure of the "dynamics" but one bunny attacked another bunny and tried to bite off the other one's "private parts".

An enraged bunny is dangerous.

And when I built one of the hutches, (they are brilliant mathematicians ... multiply really well) ... one of the tools slipped and I had to make an emergency room visit and got three stitches, but I missed cutting any tendons or nerves.

I'm thinking the best pet was Hoppy, my grasshopper.


#8

[quote="ArmastusBridget, post:3, topic:230691"]
Thank you for the excerpt. Please don't think I'm trying to misplace a thread here on anything, I've been snooping around at rodent forums and such, but I really do like the Catholic Answers community, and wanted some conversation and advice from the regulars here I'm used to... Although perhaps I should have placed this in back fence. :)

[/quote]

I'm a regular poster here and I've had 17 rats over the years. Originally it was because I'm allergic to cats, dogs and guinea pigs and didn't want a pet-free home. But rats wrap their little hands around your heart and don't let go.

They are smart, the cage only needs cleaning every 4 or 5 days, they don't smell (unlike mice which you can smell as soon as they pee) if maintained properly and they love to play with you and cuddle.

I'm ratless at the moment because the hardest part of having rats is finding someone to pet sit when you want to go away -- and now that we're empty nesters we go away more frequently and for longer.


#9
  1. How cold can it get outside for a bunny? And do stray cats like to attack bunnies? Or raccoons? Do they attract other critters?

  2. Yes. They are cute, but then they morph into this ugly, little, pre-chicken dinosaur with feathers. Ducks stay cute. Swans, start out funny looking and grey. They then become graceful. Swans fly…and I saw one flying…it’s a bit overwhelming because it looks so different when it flies…

  3. Not if you eat him first…:smiley:


#10

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:9, topic:230691"]
1. How cold can it get outside for a bunny? And do stray cats like to attack bunnies? Or raccoons? Do they attract other critters?

[/quote]

they live outside au natural.

But they need a little house for shelter. Like in real life.

Bunnies are EVERYBODY's favorite prey animal.


#11

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:10, topic:230691"]
they live outside au natural.

But they need a little house for shelter. Like in real life.

Bunnies are EVERYBODY's favorite prey animal.

[/quote]

So they scamper around the yard, and then use the house for shelter? OK, I guess no bunny for us...both my neighbors have dogs that hang out in their yards...but sometimes visit.


#12

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:11, topic:230691"]
So they scamper around the yard, and then use the house for shelter? OK, I guess no bunny for us...both my neighbors have dogs that hang out in their yards...but sometimes visit.

[/quote]

No, you don't let them loose, you keep them in a hutch that has wire floor and a 'house' for shelter. Leaving them loose just gets them killed. Found that out the hard way as a 10 year old with a buck, doe & 11 kits -- all killed by dogs. We lived on a farm and the bunnies were housed in the barn but were not penned. They were allowed to roam and all met a sorry fate.


#13

[quote="Phemie, post:12, topic:230691"]
No, you don't let them loose, you keep them in a hutch that has wire floor and a 'house' for shelter. Leaving them loose just gets them killed. Found that out the hard way as a 10 year old with a buck, doe & 11 kits -- all killed by dogs. We lived on a farm and the bunnies were housed in the barn but were not penned. They were allowed to roam and all met a sorry fate.

[/quote]

Thank you for clarifying. I remember visiting a family with a bunny (quite huge) who was sitting on the back porch alone, while everyone was inside. I guess that is a no-no. :o


#14

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:7, topic:230691"]
Had a gerbil escape and had trouble finding him. Finally we shut down the whole house and listened very carefully. He was inside a wall. Baited him out with peanut butter in a carefully made "cage". He was not happy.

Rodents need to chew ... their teeth grow fast and chewing wears the teeth down to a livable size. We provided toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes and they LOVED chewing them. Rats will chew the wires in your walls.

We had a lot of bunnies.

Not sure of the "dynamics" but one bunny attacked another bunny and tried to bite off the other one's "private parts".

An enraged bunny is dangerous.

And when I built one of the hutches, (they are brilliant mathematicians ... multiply really well) ... one of the tools slipped and I had to make an emergency room visit and got three stitches, but I missed cutting any tendons or nerves.

I'm thinking the best pet was Hoppy, my grasshopper.

[/quote]

Both of your posts have me

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

Also, hamsters, when they get out of their cages, will head for underneath the fridge and pull out all the insulation to make a nest.

Mice just stink, and have no personalities.

Birds are obnoxious and throw seeds out of their cages all over the floor. They can hurt you with their beaks.


#15

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:13, topic:230691"]
Thank you for clarifying. I remember visiting a family with a bunny (quite huge) who was sitting on the back porch alone, while everyone was inside. I guess that is a no-no. :o

[/quote]

A bunny can be a house pet too. They can be litter trained. But, like all rodents, bunnies chew so electrical cords have to be kept out of reach.

My friend had a bunny as a house pet. He had a large cage for the night but had the run of the house all day. I was there for a week and never saw any rabbit droppings anywhere but the litter box.


#16

[quote="Phemie, post:15, topic:230691"]
A bunny can be a house pet too. They can be litter trained. But, like all rodents, bunnies chew so electrical cords have to be kept out of reach.

My friend had a bunny as a house pet. He had a large cage for the night but had the run of the house all day. I was there for a week and never saw any rabbit droppings anywhere but the litter box.

[/quote]

I actually was going to suggest a bunny. I have known two people who had such a bunny. One had an modified xl dog crate for when they weren't home and for night. (It had a enclosed litter box to the side, a ramp up to a nest, and a "front area" for it to pad around in. But when they were home the bunny was JUST like a cat. It cuddled with them and begged for treats. It was the CUTEST thing. The training does require patience, and a good talk with a trainer/vet but it's so worth it.

If I didn't have the biggest coward for a dog, I'd probably have a bunny.


#17

My best friend had a rat as a pet. She (and her sisters) loved it! A couple months ago, Her older sister won some mice. Try those too.;)


#18

Just a quick thing you might want to consider. The two most common animals to cause allergies and asthma among children are....1. Cats 2. Caged Rodents. Keep that in mind since you expressed that you have allergies to Cats, it is entirely possible that you might have them to caged rodents as well.


#19

I recommend Chinchillas! We had them for a few years when my kids were little. They are very friendly, don't stink much at all, and have incredible personalities.

Like everybody said, Rodents like to chew... ALL of them. We've had mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and by far the chinchillas were the cleanest.

Steph


#20

[quote="Alix1912, post:18, topic:230691"]
Just a quick thing you might want to consider. The two most common animals to cause allergies and asthma among children are....1. Cats 2. Caged Rodents. Keep that in mind since you expressed that you have allergies to Cats, it is entirely possible that you might have them to caged rodents as well.

[/quote]

This is a wise statement. I know researchers working with rodents who developed allergies to rat fur before they finished a PhD--not that there isn't a bit of justice in that. (They did try to be good to them before "dispatch for data day", but still.)


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