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Rat Care for Beginners: Feeding and Housing

Updated on July 26, 2019
Brianna Knight profile image

Brianna is a brand new mommy and a rat mom of about a year. She lives in one of the most beautiful areas in the United States and loves it.

The baby when I first got him.
The baby when I first got him.

Adopting My Rat Baby

It was a cold day in November or December when my fiance got a message from his sister saying that she had caught a fat white rat running through her yard. She let us know that it came right to her and gave her an inquisitive sniff, which is when she trapped him under a basket. We decided to adopt him.

His fur was full of mites, so I took him to the closest animal clinic that was willing to care for him. They gave me medicine, and now he is 100% mite-free. It has been about half a year now, and he is even fatter and happier than he ever has been.

Feeding Your Rat

When we first got my little buddy, all we had to feed him was tortillas, chips, and other junk. Once I got the ability to get some food, I picked up some Chunky Gourmet Diet Food for Rats and Mice by Kaytee. He just goes absolutely nuts for it. Of course, it is not the only thing that he needs to eat. Treats and snacks are super important. I usually give him small pieces of fruit or yogurt chips designed specifically for small pets. I learned that he doesn't really like strawberries, but he absolutely loves mangoes.

Foods To Avoid

Apple Seeds
Raw Brussells Sprouts
Blue cheese
Green Bananas
Green Potato Skins and Eyes
Cuddle Bones (for Birds)
Raw Artichokes
Citrus Fruits
Raw Onions
Orange Juice
Raw Red Cabbage
Rat poison
Raw Sweet Potato
Raw bulk tofu
*Raw* dry beans or peanuts
Raw hide
Sweet feed (For horses)
This information was gathered from and was posted by user Squishy Laprat on January 13th, 2010.


Little ratties need a lot of space to run around in. So when picking out a cage, make sure you get a multi-level one. Make sure the ramps connecting the levels are solid and not slatted to avoid bumblefoot. The bedding needs to be paper, absorbent, and low dust. Preferable don't get scented bedding, seeing as the little things can get really bad allergies that may turn into a sinus infection if not taken care of.

Would you be willing to adopt a rat?

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Does a Rat Make a Good Pet?

Yes, yes they do. I understand why a lot of people are kind of skittish about adopting a rattie into their family, especially those with smaller children, but in this, throw caution to the wind. Rats are the nicest pets you can have. They just want to be loved.

Mine has never even gotten close to biting me out of anger or fear. As long as you don't smell like food, you shouldn't have to worry about it. Even then, the rat will just give you a little nibble to see what you are. I suggest you do buy them in pairs, because they can get lonely unless you get them out and play with them for long periods of time every day.

Pet Poll

What kind of pets do you have?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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    • profile image


      10 months ago

      i really want a pet rat what is a way to convince my parents

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      One of my younger rats is getting picked on by and older rat and her sister. There is a noticeable mark where the fur really exposes the skin its in an area where they usually groom each other. At the moment I have put the younger rat inn a separate cage near the main cage. Is this the right thing to do? Please help.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Brianna, please stop feeding your rat the Kaytee stuff! I heard that rats can't handle processed corn (which is in Kaytee Rat & Mouse food) and it blocks their intestines. Although some rats never show signs of intestinal blockage, some do. I suggest Oxbow Adult Rat Food, or another brand that doesn't have corn in its ingredients. Just helping!

      (BTW, if you have any questions, just ask!)



      *Not a real vet, just really knowledgeable about rats. :)

    • Brianna Knight profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from East Tennessee

      Sorry this is like 2 months late, but I hope you got a rat or will be getting one soon! I do suggest getting two, they have a much better life with more than one, since they are social animals.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I love I realy want to get a rat. my parents said

      after we move I can get one!

    • profile image

      Barb Ushuaia 

      4 years ago

      I've had a lot of pet rats, among other lovely creatures, each one of them with a diff personality and way to show love. They are pocket size dogs and the perfect company to keep around. Wish more ppl would consider having this ''pet rat'' experience, as there's nothing to regret after =)



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