Rat questions

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by Taqroy, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    Soooo...I didn't want to hijack bogarts thread in the Fire Hydrant but I do really want some more information on rats as pets. And I thought this might be the more logical place to ask for it - lol.

    So here's the deal. Matt and I are thinking about getting some type of small pet. We're mainly considering rats and ferrets. I've been doing some research on rats and they seem to fit our criteria pretty well and I think they'd be a good fit for us. I'm not entirely sold on ferrets because I know that they need lots and lots of interaction. I know rats are that way too but I was under the impression that they don't need as much (is that true?). Really I'm just hoping you guys can give me some guidance and maybe a heads up on what to look for and be aware of before we actually go out and buy anything.

    We're mainly looking at tailless rats - the tails creep me out and I may get over that but I may not. We'll most likely go through a breeder or a rescue so if anyone has tips on that or knows of someone good in the Colorado Springs area that would be awesome.

    ETA: We're not ruling out ferrets completely - they do seem really fun and like great pets so if someone wants to sway me that direction I'm not opposed. Lol.
     
  2. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    So I think Chaz needs more ferrets :lol-sign:

    Yes, they can be needy little fellas, but if you were to get 2, they do not need nearly as much interaction with their people. Personally - I have done both. I started off with a singleton, then went to singleton with playmates on the weekend, then adopted 2 more.

    Now, when I just had the 1, I would let him run around for 4+ hours a day. Then when AllieMackie got 2, and my singleton had playmates on the weekend, he would be allowed out about 3 hours a day, and then on the weekends they would get about 30 mins play time out of cage. Other than that, they entertained each other in the cage. Now that I have 3 in my house, they get let out about 1 1/2 - 2 hours a day and then I try to get walks in every day for about 30 minutes. Honestly, I go overload with out of cage time. If you were to get 2, you could play with them for 30 minutes a day, and as long as the cage has room for them to play, they would be happy entertaining each other in the cage.

    Honestly, ferrets are awesome. They each have their own personality and that time that you spend with them outside of their cage, will fly by. At the end of the 30 minutes or however long you meant to keep them out, you will not be done with them and have them out for much longer.

    I find ferrets to be the best of both cats and dogs. Takes the awesome personalities of dogs, the awesome personalities of cats, and you get a ferret. They are very dog like in the fact that they are dependent upon you and they love to be out just with you and wanting to please you, but are very cat like in their play style.

    As much as I will try to never be without a dog in my life, I know for sure that I will NEVER be living without a ferret now. They are just awesome, and really cheer me up when I am feeling down :)
     
  3. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    Rats are WAY easier. Ferrets are som'where between a cat and a dog for care IMO. They are also expensive upkeep. My two ferrets cost me more monthy than my two cats.


    I have bred rats for a decade now, and am good friends with a large scale breeder. Her understanding is that "tailless" is a fatal gene and is linked to very bad spinal problems...ocasionally mother rats will injure babies and you can get a "docked" tail this way...but genetically tailless does not exist.


    They are very social and do best with a friend :)
     
  4. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    See I thought that was true. The money isn't so much of a problem (knock on wood), I'm mainly worried that they would get bored or not get enough out of cage time but given what JessLough said I don't think that would be a problem.

    Yeah that was my understanding too. I did some more research after posting this. Can you suggest a way for me to get over my aversion to tails? Lol. And yeah whatever we get we're getting two. Everyone needs a friend! Lol.

    ETA: Would a rescue or shelter let us adopt a ferret? We have two dogs and neither of them have been around small fluffies other than squirrels (which they chase - eek). I would think that would be a problem (we would manage that though, i have a plan involving crate and rotates). I'd rather not buy from a pet store but I also can't find any breeders.....
     
  5. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    lol...just fall in love with the rat...once your in love, you can overlook the "flaws" LOL 6-8 week old babies are easy to love ;)


    Males will be bigger (generally) and will have anywhere from slightly to alot more odor than girls... they tend to have gentler personalities tho. :)


    I had alot of trouble keeping the ferts entertained. They could not be left unsupervised without changing the entire room to suit them. With the rats, as a kid we'd build elaborate "rat forts" out of boxes and whatnot on a table for them that they enjoyed. :)
     
  6. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I would say if you're not 100% sold on the ferrets by now, I wouldn't get one just yet. Honestly. I'd start with a pair of rats. That's what I did after I moved out of my parents house. And once I had them for awhile and realized I did have the time (and $$) for ferts I did tons more research and got the supplies and stuff :D

    Rats are easier to feed, cheaper to vet, and not to mention they're almost like tiny dogs lol :eek: My Korben (rip) came to his name, could stand up on cue, and looved to shoulder ride. The ferts? Come when they feel like it - similar to a cat in that aspect :p Good food is harder to find, raw is best, and their vet care can be expensive. Its recomended they get 4hrs out of their cage - and the cage - the bigger the better!! Great sense of humor, and I think they're easier to little train, personally. My biggest problem with my rats is chewing fabric-like-items.

    But the tail - you really do get used to it. Actually, i thought it was sort of gross at first, but now, if I can get the girls to shoulder ride :)rolleyes:) I've caught myself petting the tail, almost like I'm twirling my hair :rofl1: Its kindof soft and actually kind of cute. They can be very attentitive and affectionate. I actually got Korben to fetch a mini-tennis ball, that was awesome!! :p

    Rats definitly don't deserve their bad rep!!!!
     
  7. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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    my advice on getting over the tail...
    PLAY with some!

    A Colorado Rat Breeder-Hidden Haven Rattery - H2R - Home
    ive heard great things about these guys...
    and many ratty breeders, if you tell them your looking into rats but still not sure are more than happy to let you meet some of theres :)
    honestly simply interacting with some is the best way to fall madly in love with the little fuzzys lol

    and honestly
    [​IMG]
    how is that face not absolutly adorable...


    now dont get me wrong, i LOVE ferrets but there a totally different beast
    they live much longer, and tend to have much larger vet bills..
    ive also personally never met a ferret that loves to snuggle like a big "fat" male rat does lol.

    my boys used to let themselves out of their cage in the middle of the night and id wake up in the morning with 2 rats curled up on my pillow as close to my head as possible...loki would then wake me up by licking the tip of my nose in a morning lol.
     
  8. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    Ok at this point we're leaning heavily towards rats. Hopefully someday we'll do ferrets but I think rats would work better for us right now. I emailed the people from that link Foxy - their website looks awesome!! I'm hopeful that we can meet some of her rats sometime this week. I'm super excited! What do you guys think of this cage? Link 'Cept for the wire wheel....and it might be a little big. Lol. So far I like it the best of the ones I've looked at though.
     
  9. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    LOVE the pic foxy. Cuuute!



    That's the exact same cage I have for my girls. They *love* the wheel lol, it's very squeaky though.
    I like the cage, but I've found it hard to clean. The doors are small and you have to stretch to reach corners. Also, the levels have dips in them that holds dirt, leftover food/grime/whatever. I love critter nations and ferret nations, but they can be pricey. It's worth it (to me). I got that cage on sale, and the rats like it and that's what matters (for now lol)
     
  10. Punkygirl0101

    Punkygirl0101 New Member

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    I have both, and love both and after getting my first pair of ferrets over a month ago I am im love! They are just the funniest creatures, and a lot more interactive than rats are. I love my rats, but they have certaim health problems I would rather not deal with again once my boys are gone. URIs are very common, especially with rats with unknown backgrounds, and can be brought on by stress. My rats have cost me thousands of dollars on vet bills ( but I did do small time rescue a couple years ago and had over 30 at one time). I will definitely have ferrets! Plus with male rats, I have continued to struggle with litterbox training them making their cage always dirty!
     
  11. Crowsfeet

    Crowsfeet facetious.

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    If you think you might be into ratties, check out Goosemoose Pet Portal - Home

    It's the Chaz of rats :p

    I just adopted two more boys today.

    And, very much like dogs, there are strong ethics and standards in the rat world. A lot of reputable breeders and rescues morally disagree with tail-less rats, as rats need their tails to regulate their body heat and use them as an extra appendage for balance. Someone breeding tail-less or hairless rats is basically breeding handicapped animals.

    If you adopt ratties and get them a powder-coated cage(like a Martin's[martinscages.com] or a Critter/Ferret Nation), and clean with something like a vinegar/hydro-oxide combo, and be sure to spot-clean, you seriously may not smell them at all. I have four boys, one of them being neutered, and they really don't bother any of my roomates, or my nose for that matter, unless I leave the cage uncleaned for longer than a week. It's also highly recommend to get the little guys speutered, as in the long run, it can seriously(at a higher rate than dogs, but lower than rabbits, I might say) assist with tumors and behavioral issues. But yeah, if you know what to do, they're incredibly rewarding little animals, and I really love their company!

    At that, definitely check out some rescues/breeders in your area. Ratster.com is pretty great, though, my favorite breeder resides in MI -> Bao Varakhii Rattery, Grand Rapids Michigan rattery, established 1995
    Ratties like I've never seen! Seriously, have a look just to say you did.

    Also, if you get the opportunity, these breeders are also really wonderful:

    TEK rats, though unfortunately I think they're no longer breeder. While the breeder did have manx in the lines, I'm not sure if it was intentional.. even so, their rats are astounding! They also have a mentored rattery I'm going to list, too.
    Tekka Maki Rodentry

    Odyssey Design, mentored by TEK. Gorgeous ratties.
    Odyssey Design Rattery

    Pretty much, any rattery attached to NIRO(The Northern Illinois Rat Organization) is usually pretty astounding.

    Aaand, while I'm at it :p
    Rat Fanciers of the Lakes, RFL, Fancy Rat Show Club in Michigan, Knowledge, Fellowship, Ethics - Quick Guide to pet Ratties.
    the Rat Report -The Case Against Single Rats
    Breeder Red Flags
    And just a generally great source of info, from in my opinion, the best breeder on the west coast -
    Links

    Ya know.. in case you're bored... or you reeeally like to study. :D
     
  12. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    To hijack slightly. We have always just gone with petstore rats (bad I know, many stores who would never sell cats and dogs will sell rats and hampsters) Mr Ratikin (our current rat) has lived longer than most. Its heartbraking when they live only a year. This is why Mr Ratikin is a single rat, his brother died 8 months ago. He's not looking great. His attitude is bright, but he is starting to look old.

    My question is, is any rat breeder going to sell a pair of rats to a person who has a house full of JRTs? We have never had a problem with the Jacks and the Rats. The dogs know that screaming at the rat cage is a no no. lol its the 'safe' zone. (ok well Kat is still kind of learning this, she screams if Ratikin has a 'whee' moment in his cage and we are upstairs)
     
  13. vanillasugar

    vanillasugar just call me Nilly

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    I vote for rats :)

    As of Saturday we have two "store rats" where I work (they are not for sale, they are store pets), and MAN are they sweet! I've always wanted a pair of rats, but Matt refuses vehemently. This way I get to snuggle and have fun with them, without having them at home where Matt has to deal with them.
     
  14. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    Is his name from the Great Mouse Detective? Cause that would be awesome. :D

    See I'm curious if they'll sell to us to. Admittedly we don't have JRT's but the mutts are overly interested in squirrels and rabbits. I plan to work on them on it (a lot) and if we can't get them to the point where they're ok with it we can keep them separated.

    Nilly - My Matt was against them too...lol. I won him over with lots of research! I'm still kind of surprised it worked.

    ETA: Thanks for all the info Crowsfeet!! I can't get to it from this computer but I will check it out when I get home tonight.
     
  15. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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    the cage you posted is nice, ive found the shelves on the super pets tend to be a little hard to clean simply because they have a lip all around that "gathers" yicky. size wise its pretty good :)
    for that kind of price though id probably be tempted to go with Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs. the R-695. (martins are great cages) add some cheap lino to the shelves (i dont like wire shelves) and its a perfect cage with lots of room for toys (belive me, theres no such thing as too big lol)

    you can sometimes have good luck with petstore ratties...and canada may be better than here in the us, but i do like knowing my ratties "pedigree" to get the longest life possible out of them lol. (dekka ive never had a problem with breeders refusing to sell to terrier people :) )

    wodent wheels brand are awesome, (never had a squeeky wheel lol) and id suggest saving your money, buying fleece and making your own hammocks out of quares of fleece, people are suprised when they find holes in their hammocks and the rats bedded down in the "fluff" theyve collected by chewing through them lol.
    you dont have to spend a fortune on toys...i like to scour the bird section too, a good manzanita branch or thick peice of grapevine often makes a favorite climbing/chewing spot.
    a plastic plant pot bolted to the side of the cage right way up makes a fun bed. hammocks are a must... mine loved pouches so i typically made my hammocks so they could climb inside them.
    none dyed cotton rope strung about is fun to climb on and chew up ect.
    the cardboard tube out of the center of a toilet roll makes great fun to chew up...

    one of mines favorite times of the week was "hide and go treat" day, id take craisins and other small dried fruits and hide some around the cage, some in thier plant pot, roof of their little hidey house, on a little skewer form the top of the cage so they had to work at it...but their favoirte was when i took those cardboard tubes put treats and plain paper inside and they had a blast pulling the paper out and ripping the tube apart to get to the treats.

    pvc pipe also makes fun play tunnels and hidey spots.

    youll LOVE the ratties, i realy hope you can go see the ones at havens and make some good friends there, belive me, after you spend time with some great ratties youll be addicted :p
     
  16. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    Oooooh. I like that cage Foxy! Ok so next question! Lol. What do I need to start? I know the basics, cage, food bowl, water bowl (or jug thing) and obviously food but what else? What kind of litter, what kind of litter pan, what kind of bedding should I use, and so on and so forth. I don't want to get carried away but I do want to have everything I'll need beforehand. I actually have a ton of leftover fleece that I can use for hammocks and bedding and I'd love some ideas on stuff that we can make ourselves! We're both pretty handy so any suggestions that way would be awesome.
     
  17. Pam111

    Pam111 New Member

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    I used carefresh bedding. I also used litter boxes with the bedding and the rest of the cage just had fleece down on the floor. they used the boxes pretty well. I made hammocks and stuff out of fleece. i used a lot of empty cereal boxes and other boxes for them to hide in and play in...and wicker baskets...cat and baby toys
     
  18. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

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    agree with pam, carefresh is definatly my fave.
    aspen is also doable but ive found it very dusty
    pine and cedar tend to cause respitory issues so avoid those.

    depending on how you want to do it, ive used both methods, method 1 being the main floors of the cage have a whipe clean or a remove and wash material (ie line it with lino, or fleece clipped to the walls) and have the tossable bedding only in potty areas...
    if doing this method remmeber they can be potty trained to some extent so id put a small litterbox on each level of the cage (as they wont nessicarily "hold" it for that long lol)
    i love using a lightly textured linolium over fleece when using this method because it can literally just be whiped down, going with a fleece or material means making multiples to fit the floor of the cage and rotate/washing. both methods are failry popular.

    the other way of simply filling the bottom of the cage with a litter like carefresh, is also widley used, and works well too, like with the litterboxes it woudl mean spot cleaning their favorite potty spots and then a deep clean once a week by removing all the bedding
    ive had no problems using either...and when doing the full bedding method i still like to line the bottom tray of the cage with linolium incase i change my mind (and rat pee can be very corrosive on metal over time...)

    food, id personally suggest a good quality lab block or subees mix
    ratsrule.com - suebee's rat diet
    and then supliment with lots of fresh foods, rats are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything, mine LOVED berries of any kind and go gaga over yoghurt and chicken flavored baby food...each ratty is different.
    avoid the seed mixes sold in petstores for rats, like many grocery store dog foods there mostly filler. use a bowl that clips to the cage or a heavy duty ceramic bowl to avoid spillage...
    and dont be suprised to find food stashed in random places on cleaning day, ive never met a rat who doesnt hoard lol.
    a good waterbottle is also important, ive had many issues with leaky ones, ive had the best luck with lixit brand bottles.

    treats, ratties are increibly smart and can be trained to do tricks...anything can be a treat of course (again they will eat pretty much anything lol) but yoghurt drops, cherios, and unsalted pretzels have always been great "training" treats for me because ther dry and easy to handle for short training sessions.

    people always look at me funny when i say they can be trained, but im soooo serious. mine knew their names, stay, come, sit, up, my first female had a veriety of tricks that we put together in a squence called fireman...
    we set up a dolls house and my brothers toy fire engine and ambulance (which had doors in the back that opend) and a little doll on the top floor...
    i trained her bit by bit and it took a few months but b the time wed put it together you shouted "fire" and shed run up the ladder of the fire truck to the top floor, pick up the doll in her mouth, carry it back down the lader put it in the ambulance close the doors and push the ambulance away...

    then shed come running to me and sit pretty for her cherio!

    if you have the time to put into it they can be trained just like a dog...though female rats tend to be better learners at the more advanced tricks because they tend to be more acitve...
    males will usually learn the basics and then spend most of their time snuggling in your pocket or grooming your hair lol.

    toys are generally fairly simple, cat toys (mine loved the balls with bells or rattles inside) tubes, boxes...
    they play alot of chase and wrestling games and mine would run in and out and wait foreachother pouncing as they came out of tunnels and boxes.

    and one thing i do suggest for any ratty enthusiast is a dig box.
    sterile potting mix, a tupper tote (deeper is better), fill it about 1/2 way, i liked to sprinkle a hand full of edible seeds and beans, keep it moist untill it germinates and let them have at.
    they dig, eat the sprouts, generally get covered in dirt and absolutly love it.
    i always put our dig box in the bathtub because even only 1/2 full they still got some pretty good kick on the dirt.

    wed have once weekly sessions they LOVED it.

    as a side note there also quite the puzzle solvers, make sure the door to the cage clips securly, i love matrins cages as in my experience the doors seem to be escape proof...
    mine figured out how to open doors VERY quickly and the martins cage was the only one i didnt have escapees! lol
     
  19. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I know some people have had good experiences with "store rats" but I wanted to share the exact opposite experience with my rats and people I know. My friend (who I house/pet sat for) has had rats for years, and all of her pet store rats have gotten huge masses (cancer) and they all had to be removed, and eventually put down because of it. Her rats from breeders were all VERY healthy (she says NO to pet store rats, ever again! and I agree!!) A big number of them had malocclusion - and this is my experience as well. I have to take Bella in to the vet everyother week to get her teeth trimmed. She HATES the whole experience, and fights it so bad she has to be anesthetized for them to be trimmed (which is why I have to take her in VS doing it myself). They grow crooked and into her own gums, cheeks, etc. Hers comes on pretty fast and messes with her eating... it has NOT been fun.
    Health Guide: Malocclusion

    :p just had to share ;)

    but I totally agree with Foxy!!
    They seem to looove small puzzler toys. I honestly get the ones made for birds. It keeps them busy, and out of trouble! :rofl1:
     
  20. Pam111

    Pam111 New Member

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    My pet store female came to me pregnant. I had 2 neutered males from the humane society and then the female had 9 babies. I kept them all--just separated the sexes and had large cages. They really were fun pets. The mama rat was the loviest little thing.
     

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