The rat as a pet
Rodents are nowadays regarded as excellent companion animals, and more and more, we find people who have chosen to share their home with these friendly creatures, with the hamster, guinea pig, squirrel, gerbil or be adopted as pets.
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What is perhaps not so habitual is to welcome a rat as a pet, as we wrongly associate this animal with dirt and diseases, however, it can also be considered as a domestic rodent, since the rat can easily adapt to live in a human home.
In this article of YourCatCareguide we will talk about the rat as a pet , trying to clarify any doubts that may arise in this regard.
The nature of domestic rats
The rats are above all very sociable animals , whenever they are kept in a group or in a couple, which indicates that having a single rat as a pet is not recommended, since solitude can even cause a stress and depression in this rodent.
As companion animals, rats are exceptional against all odds, since they are very caring, playful rodents and they also possess a great intelligence , which even allows them to learn simple tricks.
It is important that rats are domesticated from a young age, which will facilitate their adaptation to the domestic environment. Once the rat has passed the adaptation period (in which he will be shy and suspicious), he will develop a strong attachment to his owner, in fact, the rat needs the presence and daily affection of his owner to enjoy a full state of well-being.
Before you adopt a rat …
Although the rat needs little care, it is important to understand that we are responsible for covering all your needs to ensure a state of physical, psychic and social well-being, so we must understand that we can not adopt just one rat, minimum should be two.
It is best to have two same-sex rats, which are preferably females, since males may be more aggressive among them (not if they are sterilized).
It is also possible to host a female and a male rat, however, they should separate at 6 or 8 weeks of age, when they reach puberty and therefore can reproduce.
The origin of our rat is also important and for this it is preferable to contact a breeder who specializes in rats. We can also go to the rodent refuges . But before we opt for a rat or another, we should avoid adopting any rat that has the following signs:
- Reddish ocular secretions
- Reddish nasal secretions
- Open wounds
- Breathing with difficulty
- Aqueous faeces
As with any other type of pet, it is important to pay attention to that rat that is predisposed to interact with us, since it is perhaps the best place to adapt to our home.
What does a rat need in our house?
If we are going to welcome a rat as a pet it is essential to have the following tools to provide you with an appropriate environment:
- The cage should be large, each rat should have a space of approximately 0.23 square meters.
- The cage should have a container for the food, drinking fountain and a small house or nest that the rat can use as a hiding place.
- The bed of the cage should be of wood chips, avoiding the pine, cedar or poplar shavings , since in contact with the urine of the rat can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.
- We must offer our rat 12 milliliters of compound feed daily to rodents and supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- The rats like cheese, however, is not recommended as it can end up causing them a state of obesity.
- The rats should be entertained to channel their curiosity thus, so in the cage we must have different toys suitable for rats.
The interaction between the owner and the rat
The rat needs your presence and interaction on a daily basis, remember that it is an animal capable of developing a great attachment to its owner.
You should take care of your rats every day and give them attention, for approximately 10 minutes and several times a day, if it is not possible to spend this time, it may not be a good idea to host this type of rodent in your home.
It is also important that rats can perform daily exercise outside the cage , so be willing to give them a larger space in your home, not just inside your cage.
Caring for the rat as a pet
A rat can live up to 5 years , as it is a sturdy animal, although it has a major risk of developing cancer.
To keep your rat in good condition, in addition to taking into account all the information previously exposed, you should clean it at least every 3 days, as well as perform a thorough disinfection and cleaning of the cage approximately once a week.
To disinfect the cage of your rat can not use bleach as it becomes highly irritating, so we recommend that you consult your veterinary center what disinfectant you can use for this pet.
Although the rat does not get sick, it is important to recognize which are the signs that indicate to us that something is not well :
- High or lumps in the skin
- Skin red, irritated and inflamed
- Continued craving for scratching
In the presence of one or more of these signs it is important that you consult the veterinarian as soon as possible.