Are You Thinking About Getting A Pet Rat?

Rat On!

I never thought about getting a rat for a pet but since we have had several pet rats over the years I have found that there are definitely some things you should be thinking about getting a pet rat.

When we do think about rats we generally get an image of vermin rats , which are an entirely different matter altogether. In my hub, Oh Rats , you will find why the unexpected arrival of our first pet rat had me on edge. Unlike hamsters or gerbils, pet rats are not strictly nocturnal . This provides plenty of opportunity to interact with your pet rat and given that they are well worth interacting with it is of great benefit that they keep much the same hours as you do.

You will find that your pet rat is not at all indifferent to your company and will in fact rush to the side of their cage to greet you when you enter the room. They love to visit with you and are more than capable of demonstrating affection. They are extremely intelligent and easy to train and make an excellent first pet for a child . Rats are very sociable and like a cat or a dog they become very attached to their owners. This attachment is mutual because you will find that you will soon bond with your pet rat . They are not a pet to be ignored and left in to languish in a cage as they can become frustrated through a lack of mental stimulation. Rats can be litter trained like a cat and walk on a leash like a dog.

First Pet Rat

While I have had many animals in my life over the years, from gerbils to horses and all manner in between one of the last creatures on earth I ever envisioned adding to my long list of pets was a rat. When one did come into my life I had no part in the decision, my husband and young daughter simply arrived home one day with a little rat in a little box. As I had experienced some extremely unpleasant circumstances with rats I was not at all enthused about this new addition to our menagerie. Considering the word menagerie in French literally means management of a household, one little rat entered the picture and I certainly lost control of more than just my household. In fact my children took great delight sneaking up on me and thrusting the 'thing' in my face just to see me jump. This would generally result in my chanting the mantra, "I love my children, I love my children, I love my children" in an attempt not to let loose with a litany of unacceptable expletives or some other such uncontrollable reaction such as smacking them or the rat.

Then came the day when that all changed. My five year old daughter had a friend over to play one morning and they played happily for a couple of hours before the young boy went home for lunch. About an hour later he returned and as he and my daughter headed up the stairs to the play room I heard him ask her, "Did the rat's tail grow back yet?" I was up those stairs and to the rat's cage in three seconds flat. There was the poor little thing in a corner of her cage with the entire sheathing missing from her tail. All that remained was bloodied cartilage. "What happened?", I demanded of the two very guilty looking children. Out poured the tale of what happened to the rat's tail. My daughter, taking the rat out of the cage had put it on the floor to let it run around and it ran around behind a dresser. In her attempts to get it out from behind the dresser she had pulled on the rat's tail and it came off.

There was nothing for it but for me to touch the 'thing'. My older children were in school and I had an injured pet on my hands regardless of my aversion to it. It was clear that the rat needed the attentions of a veterinarian. I phoned the little boy's mother and sent the two children over to his house and with my little charge cuddled up in a towel on my lap I drove to the vet's. The result was that I took on the roll of rat's nurse administering antibiotics and applying cream to the sad and sore remnants of its tail. We bonded, I was hooked and my negative outlook on pet rats became a thing of the past.

The Rat Information

Unlike all those years ago, when my now graduated daughter contributed to my change of heart there is now a wealth of information available for pet rat owners and those who are considering joining the ranks of rat enthusiasts.

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Comments 11 comments

profile image

Baileybear 6 years ago

oh, what a terrible experience having the tail fall off. We had pet rats - highly intelligent and very clean (don't smell like mice) - had to watch out for chewed electrical wires though. We were given bad advise to introduce a baby rat to our old rat that had lost a life-long friend. Nearly got killed. They do have a short life span (a few years) as prone to tumours etc - which can be a plus and a minus

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia Author

We learned through the loss of one of our rats that the survive rat goes through a period of intense mourning. We did some research on it and found out that it is best if you do not clean the cage for about a week following the death of the friend. Then remove the bedding gradually leaving some bedding that still has the friend's scent. After a period of mourning, about a month, we were able to introduce another rat. That they go through this process speaks to their intelligence. We too have mourned the loss of our rat friends. Thank you for your comment. I agree that the short life span can be a pro or a con depending on a persons circumstance rats do not take the years of commitment that a dog, cat, bird or rabbit may take.

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

...that's too funny....and you finally bonded whether you wanted to or not! LOL!

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia Author

The animal lover in me won out over the terrified teen in my other hub on rats! Another case of love brings you closer to and hate takes you farther from - love won!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I probably would not get a pet rat because with malamutes they would definitely believe that I had brought them LUNCH - but I know a lot of kids especially find them a lot of fun. I'm not a huge fan of rodents but we have had our share over the years! Less work than dogs for sure!

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Was just curious about all of your rat hubs. I'm hooked!(Not that I want one,mind you!)

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia Author

Well our latest two rats moved out some months ago with our youngest daughter however, they are coming home this weekend while she goes on vacation so I get to Rat Sit. Also the Cockatiel and Budgie that I gave to my nephew are returning this evening to be Bird Sat. Next week one of our litter of Papillons is coming for 10 days of puppy sitting. My first grandchild is due at the end of October so until then...I am grandmother to critters. Maybe one of your grandchildren will turn out to be a rattie enthusiast and will enlist you as a rat sitter to satisfy your curiosity - rats are curious too!

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Baileybear 6 years ago

I'll have to write some of our rat tales - like the night we thought we were being burgled but our rats had escaped (fortunately before we got a cat). You might find my hub about an elderly alcoholic amusing - he was yelling at me about our rats. We don't have rats anymore - have a cat, dog and lizard at the moment and hubby wants a snake - which eat rats :(

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia Author

Baileybear I'd love to read about your rat tales. It is impossible to own rats without a rat tale or two. I'll check out your hub - I have come to love rats and I'm always up for being amused.

Eternal Evolution profile image

Eternal Evolution 6 years ago from kentucky

i have a rat named sickle, she is such a sweetie, she is very laid back and calm and enjoys sitting on my shoulder and exploring the bathroom lol.

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia Author

I'm looking after my daughter's two while she is on holiday. I didn't know that rats had a 'thing' for whole grain Cheerios but these two just love them. Rats are sweet, much to my surprise when first introduced to them as pets. Thanks for the visit.

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