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Hello, Ratforum!

My name is Justice and on Wednesday evening, after years of research and wanting and waiting, I finally brought home my first pair of rats. They're two females, named Gin and Tonic... Any future girls shall be named Cucumber and Rosemary. ;)

I intended on adopting from a rescue, but I was wary as I'm fairly new to rats and am not prepared to care for rats that may have past trauma or behavioral issues. Unfortunately, there are no ratteries in my area (that I could find anyway). Thus, perusing the Craigslist pet section I found my girls. Their former owner was very sweet and took good care of them. The only negative I have to say about their former living situation is that they had a boring cage (no toys, no levels, just decent floor space) and their cage was sprayed with some kind of rodent odor neutralizer that was totally unnecessary.

They seem to be settling in very well. They're a little shy, but they're eager to greet me at their cage door when I approach. They're now climbing out of the cage and crawling on me whenever I open the door to spot clean, feed, etc. It's very reassuring. Tonic is getting used to being handled, I hold her for about ten minutes a few times a day... Any more than that and she becomes very wriggly and starts exploring a little too far. Gin shrieks when I pick her up and does not settle at all when being held. Their owner said she was the shyer of the two. Gin is also younger, probably 4-5 months. Hopefully she becomes as confident and adventurous as Tonic.

The only questions I have so far would be the following:

1) What, other than fleece, bedding do you all suggest? I'm currently using carefresh as a temporary fix (it's what their old owner used and I got a small bag), but I'd really like to use Yesterday's News or something pelleted. I like being able to scoop out soiled areas, which is why I'd prefer to avoid fabric. They seem fine with the carefresh but it is rather dusty for me.

2) Is Mazuri appropriate for adult/adolescent rats?

3) How many treats are too many/what's a good serving size? I feel like Tonic always wants to eat but I don't want a fat rat.

4) When Gin wakes up, she has porphyrin under the eyes... Is this normal? I don't notice it after she's been awake for a few hours.

5) Litter box training... Can it be done for rats who are used to going wherever? They only soil the pan of the cage, never the upper levels, but they don't go in any corners and the poop is scattered.

Whew, I know that was a lot to read but to anyone who's made it this far, thanks!
 

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Hello Justice, I'm new here as well. My name is Missy. Rats can definitely be litter trained. I put a small kitten litter box in my cage and usually start buy picking up poops and putting in the box. Mine usually take the hint.
 
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