Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
I’ve been thinking of doing some rat related posts on my blog for a while, but in the end I decided against making a special feature for this and instead include them in my Lola’s ramblings posts now and then if I feel like it. As you probably know we currently have two pet rats: Snickers and Smarties. We had two more Pita and Skittles, but they passed away. Before we got rats I never really considered them as pets, the my boyfriend borught the idea up and after doing some research I knew I wanted pet rats, after havign pet rats for more than two years now I can say I love having rats as pets and I thought it would be fun to explain why.
Why rats make great pets
- Cute and loving. They are cute and adorable and I can’t say no to them or stay angry at them for long, do I even need to explain this one? I love watching them explore their cage or sleep. Or taking pictures with them to share here on my blog. I just love our rats to much and you get a lot of love back from them.
- Smart. They are smart pets and you can even learn them tricks, just like dogs. We didn’t put much time in this with our rats as it requires quite some time to learn them things, but in their behavior you notice how smart they are. Every tuesday I clean their cage and it’s like they know this and realize when it’s time for their cage to get cleaned, if I clean their cage on another for some reason they seem to know this or find it a reason to make even more of a mess out of their. They also recognize our voices and if you call them they often come running towards you. I take them out of the cage every evenign to sit with me when I read and they know this and some days when I am a bit later they are already waiting for me at the door of their cage.
- Love to cuddle. Especially once rats get older, nearing the two years old, they become more calmer and they love to cuddle. Their favourite spot is in my hood of my sweaters or against my sides. They also like sitting or sleeping on my lap. When I read with them close, they often cuddle up against my legs.
- Active and playfull. Especially younger rats are very active and playfull, they seem to have an endless supply of energy and they love running around and exploring new spaces. You have to make sure to change things around in their cage now and then so they don’t get bored.
- Small. They are small pets which means you can easily carry them around or even do the laundry or other household tasks while they sit with you. Just make sure they don’t fall out of your clothes.
- Easy to Care for. Beside cleaning the cage they are easy to care for. They need fresh food and water now and then and we get them out of the cage daily.
- Loyal. They are very loyal pets and they bond with their humans. Like I mentioned before they recognize your voices and are always there for you. They trust their humans unconditionally and it’s powerfull to see how they can walk over your arm, knowing you won’t let them fall and trusting in that completely.
- Clean. Rats are very clean creatures and clena themselves often, they really take time to clean themselves. We also put them in the bath once a week, but that isn’t strictly necessary.
- You can Potty Train them. If you have a rat toilet you can learn them to pee and poop in there. Our rats always poop in their toilets, although peeing isn’t 100% trainable and they will do that on other places as well. We use different bedding in the toilets so they know the difference with normal bedding. This makes it easier to clean their cage and it means that if you get them out of the cage the chances are lower they will pee or poop on you.
- Less expensive than bigger animals. While a trip to the vet can still be expensive, it’s less expensive than with larger pets like ctas or dogs. It is recommmended you keep in mind the costs can still get expensive and if you need multiple vet visits you still end up with a high bill.
Things to keep in mind when buying a pet rat
- They don’t live long. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective. If you aren’t sure rats are for you, they live short enough to give them a try. It’s also a sad thing as if you grow to love your pets it’s hard to lose them so soon. I really bond with our rats and it’s just so sad they don’t live longer, it can be hard to know that if you buy 4 rats now you probably lose them all in the next 3 years. And this is one of the hardest things of having rats, if you have a cat it will live a long time, but rats only have very short lives, which makes the time spent with them even more precious. Even though losing them is hard, the time sent with them makes it worth it.
- They get sick sometimes. I think it’s important to know this beforehand nad are aware of the symptoms. Female rats usually get at least one tumor in their life. All of our four rats, except for Skittles who passed away when she was still pretty young, has had at least one tummor. At this point Snickers has had two tumors, Smarties has had one and Pita had 3 of them. So yeah the chance that female rats get tumor is high, but they are usually easy to remove if you notice them early and got to the vet with them. We check our rats for bumps often, so that we notice it as soon possible when they do have a tumor, you really learn to recognize them after a few rats had a tumor. Other frequent sickness involve their respiratory system or ear infections.
- Buy them from a rattery, not from a pet store. There are many horror stories on the internet about people getting pets from pet stores, who turned out to be pregnant or they got the wrong gender rat. Also rat is pet stores usually sit in tiny cages and aren’t cared for well, they are bred for the amount, not for their characters or health. Although I am sure there are some pet stores who do things right, as far as I know it’s better to get a rat from a rattery if possible.
- Do your research. Make sure you know what type of bedding to buy as they have very sensitive noses and can’t stand all types of bedding. Know what to feed them and which foods they can’t eat. Know what kind of cage to get them, we have a ferret cage as those are bigger, but if you don’t have a lot of rats a smaller cage works too. And make sure the bar spacing isn’t too big as rittens can get through them, we bought a nice rat cage, but it turned out the rittens could just walk throguh the bars with ease. Know the signs of a sick rat, rats are prey animals and try to hide it when they are sick, so know what to look out for. Make sure you have a vet who has knowledge about rodents in general and rats in particular. Know what to buy for their cage. In general just make sure you are prepared. They are easy to care for, but it is good to know what to expect at the beginning.
- Get more than one rat. Rats are pack animals and don’t do well alone, even if you get them out of their cage a lot it is no substitute for another rat. They cuddle together, fight and play. It is necessary to get at least 2 rats, although I would advice taking 3 or 4, but that’s my personal preference. It just feels so empty to only have two rats and the cage feels empty.