FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) Thank you to James Kittock, the moderator of the Rats List, for compiling these resources.
If you have a basic question about rat care (feeding, housing,
etc.), please use the following resources *before* you email me : There are several good FAQ lists available on the Web. If you
have a basic question, it is probably covered in one of these
FAQs. The following links should get you started:
"The best things in life are worth waiting for," I am gently reminded now and then by a dear friend. That's how I feel about rats. After having just about every pet you can legally stick under one roof, rats were definitely worth waiting for. I'm grateful that I was talked into getting one at first. I've now loved seven rats, and like most rat owners I've met, we believe rats are the most wonderful pet of all! This page is dedicated to pet rats for bringing unlimited joy and love to those of us who have lived with them.
Rats are wonderful companions and pets. If more people realized this, more rats would be saved from being snake food. They can learn their names. They're clean animals and very smart. They can learn how to use a litterbox. They're quiet and affectionate. And most of all, they enjoy humans. People who live in apartments or small homes can get much enjoyment from a rat as a pet. They're devoted and playful. They're like little puppies that never grow up, except they don't bark - they squeak. I hope to always have rats in my life.
You might have said "Hi" to me at the pet shop where I lived with my brothers and sisters for awhile. We were kinda cramped but we loved the attention you gave; I'm sure you noticed we're gluttons for love. A few of us lucky ones were adopted by nice folks with a comfy setup for us in their home. But most - 90% of us - end up as snake food. And we've been bred for gentleness and intelligence.
As we rats reincarnate from life to life, we're quickly evolving into living as comfortably with humans as dogs and cats do now. Humans are always surprised what wonderful pets and companions we are for them. Our merits are far too numerous to list here, but suffice to say that we're worth our weight in gold...or at least lab blocks. I can be your typically smart and gentle lab rat or a "Fancy" - a showstopper at those elaborate rat and mice shows. We seldom bite or nip like those moody (and not nearly as intelligent) guinea pigs and hamsters. Sure they're kinda cute, but we're far more sociable and fun. We're great hosts at a party, too. It's our unruly, wild cousins that have given us such a bad rap all these centuries.
If you happen to ever want to adopt one and ideally two of us pet rats -- here's a bit of advice to help us all get along comfortably together.
Give us some time to know you. We're usually very trusting right away, but some of us need extra time to realize how nice you really are. After all, we've spent generations of being hated and hunted by humans. We are very responsive and appreciative of your love and kindness and we'll even treat you like one of us. We're meticulous about our hygiene, and even cleaner and more content when we have another rat with us. We take care of each other's fleas and nits, which we rarely get anyway, so you don't have to worry about that. Our antics are loads of fun and we don't eat that much. Some of us use a litterbox, too.
We live to be about 2 1/2 years old with the right diet, clean quarters, oodles of attention, good genes, and feeling loved. A rare few might live to be 4! But that's like humans living to be 105.