Catch Some Rat Love
(in lieu of Ratcatcher's Day)
written by Patty of Catcalls
I think most would agree that street and barn rats can be a bit intimidating and not the kind of animal you'd want to invite into your home! But domestic rats make great pets! They are not aggressive, diseased, or dirty animals, but rather clean, fun loving, sensitive, very social, and affectionate. They love attention and should be handled daily.
Rats can learn simple tricks, such as stay and sit, and will often learn their name. They can also be litter box trained. Rats will often develop a special bond with their owner and will want to play and snuggle as much as possible.
Like all pets, rats require time, interaction, and upkeep. Since they are quite social, to avoid boredom, having a buddy is a good idea. Having two rats is no more work than having only one. They will keep each other occupied and happy when you cannot.
They are good with children as long as they are treated kindly. Smaller children need to be advised to wash tasty smelling fingers before reaching into the cage! Yummy smells must be yummy treats to a rat!
Since a rat can get pregnant at the young age of 5 weeks old, you don't want to purchase a pregnant rat and end up with more rats then you planned for! When choosing your rat, pick one that does not appear skittish or does not squeal when picked up.
Males tend to be calmer than females and usually enjoy being held for longer amounts of time, especially as they get older. Males may start to mark their territory as it matures so getting your male neutered may help with this.
Females tend to be more active than males. Toys and accessories can be provided for your rat such as tubes, hammocks, fruit tree branches, paper towel and toilet paper roles, plant pots and anything else that does not have a sharp edge to it can be provided for your rat's enjoyment.
Remember that they love to chew so be careful what you give them!
So if you're looking to add a pet, can't have a dog or cat, or just want something a little more entertaining.... try a rat!
Make sure to do all your homework before hand regarding housing, feeding, etc and be SURE to check your local rescue first!