Rodents can be wonderful pets – they are friendly, docile, and intelligent. Hamsters or guinea pigs are a sample of this. However, rats as a companion animal can also be an unforgettable pet and a great friend.
Rats as a companion animal
Although we associate rats with dirt and disease, they are actually very intelligent animals, with a great sense of survival and adaptability. Also, they can be very docile and friendly if they grow up among humans.
However, not in any case are rats worth as a companion animal: these domestic animals are limited to a few species, and already bred among humans. In other words, the rats that can live in our houses have not been collected from the street or the field.
Anyone who has lived with rats as pets knows that they are affectionate and fun little rodents. They have an unfair reputation that they do not deserve.
Caring for house rats
Rats as pets are not demanding: a companion, a cage adapted to their basic needs, a balanced diet and a little mental stimulation are enough ingredients to make them happy and help them live healthy.
Despite being small animals, they have a lot of energy, so they need a large cage. The best option is a cage that also has several floors, so that they can go up and down. In addition, this way they have more surface to walk while taking up little space in our houses.
His cage should have many hiding places and places to sleep. Their instincts tell them to sleep in small, dark places ; even if he decides to sleep on the couch or on your legs later, give him the opportunity to have a hiding place.
Also, choose a good substrate for rodents. Your rat will use its cage to relieve itself and the best way to guarantee hygiene is to choose a quality substrate: one that is easy to clean and does not make dust, as it could cause respiratory problems.
Rats live best in company. They are animals that usually live in groups, so it is advisable that you have more than one at home. She won’t feel lonely and she will have a playmate, so she will discharge more energy without needing your attention. They are all advantages!
They are intelligent animals that need to solve problems or learn new tricks to be happy. Inside his cage he will need interactive toys, or a puzzle to solve. If you don’t have toys, you can always teach them tricks and command sequences. It is important not to get bored!
Safety at home is also essential: you can allow the rats to get out of their cage and explore the house, but do not neglect their safety. Be careful with electrical cables, because they could gnaw on them; likewise, make sure there are no holes or gaps behind furniture that they could hide and get trapped through.
Domestic rat health
House rats are generally healthy animals, but frequent veterinary visits are necessary to ensure their health and well-being. Rats as pets live between three and five years, although there have been cases of longer-lived rats. Currently, rats do not have mandatory vaccinations.
Most of the health problems that appear in these small rodents are related to their teeth: their teeth never stop growing, and if they do not wear them properly, pain, poor digestion or even the inability to eat appear.
Feeding rats as a pet
Rats as pets are omnivorous: that is, they can consume any food and we must give them a complete and varied diet. In addition, they should always have fresh water at their disposal.
The easiest way to ensure that our rat has an adequate diet is to provide it with its own feed for its species, although we must avoid those that are based on seeds. But this is not all: we must offer them fresh food that they always have at their fingertips.
As for fruits and vegetables, we can offer them a daily mix of different vegetables and fresh products , such as spinach, tomato, carrot or zucchini, and let them choose which are their favorites. We must also put cereals such as rice, bread or pasta, in addition to legumes. To provide them with animal protein, we can give them lactose-free egg, chicken or fresh cheese.
All the foods that we present to you, with the exception of those of animal origin, must be raw and natural: avoid salt, oil, spices, sugar or any additive. The fresher the better for your health.
If you are looking for a fun, sociable, affectionate and intelligent pet, rats as a companion animal can be a great option. Make sure to challenge him mentally, give him a balanced diet, and enjoy his friendship for years to come.