Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog and Pet Fun > Cat and Pet Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-18-2012, 05:50 PM
*blackrose's Avatar
*blackrose *blackrose is offline
"I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 6,119
Default Getting rats!

Well, kind of. My boyfriend will be keeping them at his place, as my mom is still dead set on not letting them come anywhere near her house.

A good friend of mine's little sister bought two rat pups last year...they were small and cute. Then they got bigger and understimulated due to their living environment and she lost interest and refused to take care of them.

These poor rats have been living in a 20 gallon tank. Nothing but aspen bedding and a water bottle. No interaction, no toys, no hideys, no exercise, no nothing. I've felt horrible for them ever since I realized they weren't getting out of the cage at all (and even offered to loan them my 20 gallon/tank topper cage to give them even that much more space), but I never had the opportunity to do anything about it. They've been trying to get rid of them for awhile now, but I couldn't take them. My boyfriend's gerbil died a few months back and when I saw my friend this weekend and they offered the rats to me again, I asked him if they could stay at his place until I moved out this summer and he agreed (after scolding me - but I'm used to that from my dad, so I'm immune! ).

They are two lovely little black hooded females. They said they bought them from Petsmart, but they're both girls so...*shrugs* They're about a year old now. Kind of spazzy (understandably), but friendly and good about being handled. They've been on a diet of lab blocks, too, so at least they've been getting good nutrition.

I just have two questions. How much longer will these girls be expected to live? I know when I had my mice, Ivy passed away before she turned one due to an illness, and Lilly passed away around two years, I think. I wasn't sure if I should be expecting senior ratties, or if they have a few years left. They seem to be healthy and in good shape (very lean).
Also, what cage is reccomended for them? I'm going to try and pick something up cheap off of craigslist as I don't have a whole lot of money to spend (and I JUST got rid of my spare cages ), but I am NOT keeping them in that 20 gallon tank any longer than I can help it.
What kind of toys and bedding and things do they like? Also, they do have a ball...do rats use balls? How about a wheel?

Pictures to come when I pick them up - sometime Tuesday, most likely.
__________________
Cynder, Daddy's girl Little Lab muttly and Abrams, Momma's boy Chesapeake Bay Retriever
~*~ DOB 1/28/2006 ~*~ DOB 4/11/13 ~*~

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-18-2012, 06:09 PM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: MA
Posts: 2,836
Default

Woot, congrats! I love rats...but mine didn't live very long . Both that I had only lived about a year, they passed within a few weeks of each other.

I had a big cage for them (a small animal A&E cage). If you are wanting a bigger cage, you could do a critter nation, or a martin's cage? It was hard for me to find something with small enough bar spacing and enough climbing space.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-18-2012, 07:52 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

Congrats!!

I'm not a rat expert, but I've had several so I guess I know some stuff.

As far as cage size, you want to get the biggest one you can afford, being mindful of the bar spacing. But with adult rats, bar spacing is not too important, most cages will probably be able to hold them; just be careful with ferret and rabbit cages. Rats like to climb, so taller is better than wider. You can get a cage with a relatively small floor area, but if it has two or three "stories" to climb up, you're doing great.

I always heard that rats don't really use exercise balls or wheels, so I didn't get one for my girls. What they really need, more than exercise, is a lot of mental stimulation. I tried to give my girls at least an hour out-of-cage time every night. They were free to run all around my room, and for the most part they were well behaved.... didn't chew on too much valuable stuff and such. You can do training with them and teach recalls and other cues if you want; I never had a lot of luck - apparently girls are much more independent than boys - but I had friends who did really well.

Use paper bedding, absolutely not cedar and preferably not aspen. Paper is less dusty; rats are prone to respiratory problems and they don't do well with dust. Also use a wire cage, and keep it in a well-ventalated area (not drafty), to cut down on the dust as well.

My rats lived 2-3 years. I've heard they can live 5-6 years, but pet store rats of course have a lot more health problems than rats from breeders who breed for health. I think all of mine had tumors. *sniff* Now I'm remembering why I don't want rats anymore.

They ARE a lot of fun! They're VERY smart (too smart sometimes!) and very trainable. I've heard of them being trained to find landmines; their noses are almost as good as dogs' but they're light enough they won't set off the mine. Fun little critters, I hope you enjoy them!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-18-2012, 08:45 PM
Southpaw's Avatar
Southpaw Southpaw is offline
orange iguanas.
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,117
Default

My female rat passed away last month and she was just over 3 years old. She went through two tumor removal surgeries though so she didn't live a totally healthy life. But hey, from the time she had her first surgery, she lived an entire year past that... so IMO it was worth it!
So it's totally realistic for them to live another couple years but it likely won't be without issues.

Whatever cages you find, you can plug in the dimensions here and it'll tell you roughly how many rats it'd be appropriate for: http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml
To give you an idea, my cage was 30" x 18" x 24" and I thought it was the -perfect- size for two rats.

I used aspen for mine. Pine and cedar are the ones you want to avoid (any softwoods). Paper pellets are fine, like the Yesterdays News cat litter. For a while I was even using towels and fleece to line the cage, and I actually really liked doing it that way, but my girls were always chewing holes in the towels so I finally got sick of having to replace them lol. I wouldn't do the run-about balls, and wheels are hit and miss. I had a Wodent Wheel for mine, and one of them would run in it every single night, and the other one never set foot in it.

Bird toys make pretty good rat toys. Jingly cat balls. I gave mine stuffed Kongs, too... haha there's lots of stuff to give them.

They are super fun
__________________
And if all of it is for naught, well at least I took a shot

Juno 2009 :: Happy 2000 :: Lucy 2006 :: Cajun 2013
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-19-2012, 04:50 AM
SarahHound's Avatar
SarahHound SarahHound is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: North West Scotland
Posts: 3,120
Default

Rats are fun little critters I actually considered getting some, but unfortunately, their health puts me off.

Take some photos when you can!
__________________

My Photos
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-19-2012, 09:21 AM
*blackrose's Avatar
*blackrose *blackrose is offline
"I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 6,119
Default

I don't have a lot of money to spend on a cage, so I'm really hoping craigslist comes through and someone has an old one they are willing to sell. I want them out of the 20 gallon for sure, but I can't really afford to drop $80 on a new cage for them. I'm kicking myself that I just sold all of my spare cages! My boyfriend has a HUGE modified plastic bin that he kept his gerbils in and my initial thought was, "Oh, that'd be perfect!", but then I realized that rats chew...lol Drat.

I may just pick up a small(ish) wire cage and use it as a tank topper like I did with my previous cage. It'd still be small, but at least they'd have multiple stories and it would double their current cage size and I could do it for fairly cheap. Be better than nothing, that's for sure.

(But, on that note...Midwest now makes a Guinea Pig cage modeled after the C&C cages! Whoot! 8sq feet of space and side doors, and only $35! Brilliant! This makes me happy for when I get piggies again. ^^)
__________________
Cynder, Daddy's girl Little Lab muttly and Abrams, Momma's boy Chesapeake Bay Retriever
~*~ DOB 1/28/2006 ~*~ DOB 4/11/13 ~*~

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-19-2012, 06:19 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

There are cage toppers on the market, some of them are quite nice. I used to have one for my hamsters when I was little. I think Petco had one about a year ago - don't know if they still do - that fit a 10-gallon aquarium. It might be cheaper to get a $10 aquarium and a topper, than to get an $80 cage.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-19-2012, 06:29 PM
AdrianneIsabel's Avatar
AdrianneIsabel AdrianneIsabel is offline
Glutton for Crazy
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 8,893
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
There are cage toppers on the market, some of them are quite nice. I used to have one for my hamsters when I was little. I think Petco had one about a year ago - don't know if they still do - that fit a 10-gallon aquarium. It might be cheaper to get a $10 aquarium and a topper, than to get an $80 cage.
I loved my tank toppers for gerbils but I don't think they give rats enough space. I recommend the bigger the better for rats, they're busy, easily bored animals.

This was my cage for my two girls. IMO they should have had a bigger, more interactive cage but I let them out often to sustain them.



Here is one of my tank toppers. I had another, black and smaller, which I got at petco. I liked them both for their own reasons.


Here are both of my tank toppers..
__________________
Sloan von Krigbaum IPO1 CGC BH CD NA NJ PD MJ-N RATI RATN 3/7/10 -
Shamoo NJ-N RATI RATN 3/1/98 -
Phelan du Loups du Soleil CGC RATI 6/15/13 -
Chili Brigades Brover 5/23/14 -

Arnold CGC TDI FD 6/29/04 - 07/05/13
Backup CGC HIC CD SRD SJ-N RATI 12/29/09 - 07/05/13

You were amazing, we did amazing things.


Harmony Canine, relationship based training.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-19-2012, 06:34 PM
ravennr's Avatar
ravennr ravennr is offline
ಥ⌣ಥ
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Oakville, ON
Posts: 2,314
Default

My rat was one of my favourite pets. He was about three when he finally passed, I was depressed for weeks, honestly. I haven't read through so I'm just typing out what I did.

His bedding was carefresh bedding. He seems to like that best as a nesting material/litter. He was also fond of pushing it out of the cage, though. He'd wait until nobody was looking and he'd start shoving really hard.

Wodent Wheels are good for rats, so their feet and tails stay safe, and they make a big size for them and they're pretty quiet as well. I never put Ronin in a ball. They are fine to move around if no threats are out there. Ronin would walk around on the bad or just perch on my shoulder, but unlike most rats, he'd never eat anything I gave him outside of his cage. He wouldn't eat unless he was in his cage. He was strange like that.

Don't feed them through the bars, it will encourage nipping and snatching. I had to re-train Ronin when I went away for a week or two and everyone had been shoving food in through the bars and yanking it out to tease him. He never bit though, not once. He would very very lightly mouth my hands, but only me. He was such a sweetie.

One of the best toys to make is taking a toilet paper roll and pinching the ends so it makes a sort of pocket. You can stuff treats inside, and then pinch the ends shut and use a NON-TOXIC glue to seal it lightly, the rats will love ripping and shredding it open to get to the goodies inside. Raw. hard pasta was one of Ronin's favourite special snacks. He seemed to like it because it was so loud.

Make sure the cage has a solid walking surface, not wire, so you don't have to worry about bumblefoot.

This is the cage I bought for my rat: http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=4470998

He was a single rat so that was enough for him, but using a rat cage calculator, it told me that it wasn't big enough for two.
Here's the calculator if you're curious as to how big it should be: http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml
__________________

My Polyvore
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-20-2012, 01:33 PM
*blackrose's Avatar
*blackrose *blackrose is offline
"I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 6,119
Default

Due to my lack of funds, I basically have two cage options. Which would be better? I know neither one is ideal, but it will still be better than the 20 gallon they're in.

I can get this cage and modify it to include a shelf. A lady is willing to sell it to me for $20. She said her female can't get out of it, although the bar spacing is worrisome to me. It is 28"x16"x15".

Or I can get a 20 gallon tank topper, most likely home made like I did for my STO:

So it would be a 24"x12"x33" cage, with two stories and I could potentially add a shelf to the wire top.

I can afford something better this summer, but currently I'm just looking for cheap and easy that will improve their quality of life more so than what it is now - and I have about $40 to do so.

And I'm picking up the ratties either tomorrow evening or Thursday.
__________________
Cynder, Daddy's girl Little Lab muttly and Abrams, Momma's boy Chesapeake Bay Retriever
~*~ DOB 1/28/2006 ~*~ DOB 4/11/13 ~*~

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:46 AM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site