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Tag Archives: how to keep pet rats

 

Rats typically own the place. You’ll find quick enough that pet rats have no qualm being in charge of your home if you let them free roam – just make sure you ratproof your place first.

 

And as they go about their daily duty to check up on their territory, they get to know your place inside and out. This includes – and I guess we all, including the ratties, agree on this – the best place to sleep: The bed!

 

When I see ratties running about on the bed, I want to be a rat!

Just imagine this giant duvet that when you jump about it just lets you sink in like a fluffy cloud.

 

However, there is a downside to it: Rats gnaw.

They can’t help themselves, they have ever growing teeth and need to grind them down regularly.

 

And if your sheet gets in the way it simply gets shredded:

That’s why when I’m #RatSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. ;)

That’s why when I’m #RattieSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. 😉

 

So make sure you put on some old sheets when you want your ratties to have access to your bed. You might also be lucky and your rats don’t shred.

 

Either way you’re going to be in for a treat: Ratties snuggling up to you under the duvet is just too adorable to miss!

 

 

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Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

 

I actually enjoy cleaning the rattie cage.

 

Maybe it’s because the ratoots are so very interested in everything that’s happening in or around their cage, this interaction alone makes me happy.

 

But it’s also the opportunity to escape everyday life and all its worries and enter the rattie world.

 

And because in their world ratties are boss, a lot of things are determined by them. For example, how the cage is structured:

Who sleeps where, who eats first, where is the toilet, what material is being used, which nest is being moved, who gets to choose their favourite spot and who has to stay out, is all being decided by the rats.

 

These are entertaining dynamics which change and evolve all the time, so it’s like watching a soap opera.

 

The creativity how to build and revamp your rattie cage is endless. There are even rat cages made from cupboards or doll houses, so you get a chance to play architect, too.

 

This is where the analogy to the zen garden comes in:

Even if my world is in chaos, in rattie world I can easily achieve order. It’s a confined space I can manage to overview and maintain.

Cleaning is an accomplishment and because rats are so interactive, I get feedback, or at least acknowledgement, right away. I can make changes and I can make improvements.

I can come up with new clever ideas for toys or things to gnaw on or other little entertaining gimmicks.

 

And then I get to see how much fun the ratties have with it.

 

And because rats have their own mind, their reaction is often different and unexpected, so there’s always an element of surprise.

 

As with this scenario, where my ratties were not impressed with my cleaning attempts and sent me a very clear message to stay out:

They dragged toys and stones from different levels of the cage into their box to build proper obstacles and then pulled the lid of the box shut.

I find this hilarious!

And it is these moments that make even a daunting task such as cleaning the pet cage a fun story to experience: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

 

We got lovely lilies, they’re beautiful to look at. Just losing a lot of pollen.

 

So I go over and start cleaning up the orange dust, and as I’m doing so, something creeps slowly back into my mind:
Lilies… Wasn’t there something about lilies?

 

Yes: Lilies are poisonous and can kill your pet!

 

It is often only communicated that lilies are poisonous to cats, but they are also lethal to rats, and can even harm toddlers!

 

I’m realising what I’m doing with a shock, because on my shoulder sits my pet rat Mielie!

 

And her reaction is pretty immediate: She almost passes out.

 

I support her head with a tissue pack, put her in a sunny spot to stay warm.

 

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she's battling with poison!

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she’s battling with poison!

 

Her breathing is very shallow. But she does pull through.

 

I am shocked that lilies are so easily put into our homes if they pose a deadly risk to our pets, and also a real danger to children.

 

Lilies should only be used where they traditionally belong: At a funeral. Now we know why! 😮

 

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Almost too late!
This growth developed so quickly I thought it was an abscess.
As everything in a rat’s life, things happen rapidly, so don’t wait too long: If you find a lump on your pet rat, consult your vet immediately.

 

It’s the fear every pet rat owner has to live with: Cancer.

Unfortunately rats are prone to cancer and while you can try to prevent it, when it strikes there is no cure.

Sadly, tumors are one of the most common health problems and causes of death in rats, especially in females.

 

Any unusual growth your pet rat might develop needs to be checked by a vet:

No matter what it is, an abscess, a swollen gland, or a tumour, it is best to have it treated by a professional.

 

The good news: If you act fast, your pet rat can be helped.

If you detect the growth early, it is still small enough to be surgically removed with little complications. Rats heal well, especially with the help of you, modern medicine and their rattie clan.

 

The bad news: If it’s cancer, it will come back.

Operating the tumour gives relief to your pet rat. Alas, it only extends their life span to a certain degree: The cancer will return, and there are only so many times your rattie can have surgery.

 

 

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Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child's play! :)

Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child’s play! 🙂

 

Rats are made for shoulder rides, they curl up snuggly around your neck and love being part of the action.

 

But, as with every ride, there’s a risk of falling off.

 

Tips how to safely carry your rat on your shoulder

 

Only indoors

Taking your pet rats outdoors can pose dangers such as exposure to illnesses, your pet getting lost, or your rat being attacked by another animal.

Start by carrying your pet rats on your shoulder indoors only.

 

Wear a scarf

For your pet rats every step you take is a leap into a new adventure. If they trust you they will enjoy it. But ratties are easily spooked and feel more comfortable if tugged away securely. A scarf they can nestle in gives them hiding space and something to hold onto.

 

Scratchy nails

You can cut your pet rat’s nails.

Or you can develop a very thick skin.

But there’s little other option, as no matter how high-neck your pullover is, the ratties will make it inside and their tiny little nails can leave scratches like paper cuts.

 

Needing to go

When your pet rat becomes restless and just won’t sit still, it could be because they really need to go for a wee.

Pet rats like to keep their environment clean and can be toilet trained. When your pet rat wants to go down from your shoulder, give them the chance to go to the toilet by placing them into their litter tray.

 

Keep your posture

You will quickly realise that bending over or twisting to the side is not going to work without your pet rat sliding off your shoulder.

Rats are very good in holding on, but the responsibility lies with you to make the ride enjoyable.

Your posture will improve accordingly: A straight back, broad shoulders, bending only in the knees, the chin up, a strong core are just some of the benefits that come with carrying rats on your shoulder. 🙂

 

Don’t get too comfortable

Your rats will love being part of your activities by sitting on your shoulder.

If it’s brushing your teeth or doing gardening work, it’s all great entertainment for your ratties.

At the same time they learn to trust you and your bond grows even stronger.

Be careful though when they get too relaxed: It happens to me quite often that one of the rats falls asleep and almost off my shoulder! 😮

 

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It’s important to cover the wire mesh floors in the rattie cage with a solid surface to keep your pet rat’s feet healthy.

So how about bringing some freshness into the cage and providing a change of scenery?

#RattieTip: Cabbage leaves make for a great surface in rattie cages, and it's ok if the rascals nibble on it. :)

#RattieTip: Cabbage leaves make for a great surface in rattie cages, and it’s ok if the rascals nibble on it. 🙂

Cabbage leaves are fun to use: They work well as a surface and can also be nibbled on.

Just make sure you replace them regularly, before they start smelling like, well, cabbage. 🙂

 

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If you have a wire mesh cage for your pet rats, make sure you cover the surfaces, so their tiny feet stay healthy.

If you have a wire mesh cage for your pet rats, make sure you cover the surfaces, so their tiny feet stay healthy.

 

Apparently the wire floors and ramps in pet rat cages can be quite bad for rattie feet.

It’s healthier for your ratties to cover the wire mesh and provide solid flooring.

Ideas for materials are endless, just make sure they are non-toxic and easy to clean or replace:

 

Handy materials for surfaces in your pet rat cage

– plastic sheets

– newspaper (printed with non-toxic ink)

– fleece

– old towels / t-shirts

– egg tray filler flats

– cardboard

– cereal boxes

 

Bonus Tip: Use office pegs to pin down the material to the cage floor, so the ratties can’t remove it.

 

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