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Discussion Starter #1
I am not yet a rat owner. :) I have been doing research for the past few weeks (books, web, petstore pamphlets), including a meet & greet with a few little rats at a local petstore (not one of those "puppy mills" or anything like that, but a smaller, locally-owned, college-town store).

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I'm back living at home. My mother HATES animals. I do have my own "apartment" in the basement (rec room, bedroom, bathroom) where no one but me really spends any time. The biggest obstacle would be convincing my mother that my rat ownership would not invade her personal space or home in ANY way --- including smell.

I would like to keep the cage in the rec room, because this is where most of the family enters and exits the house, so there would be plenty to keep ratty entertained. This is also where I spend most of my time when I'm not sleeping. My bedroom is kind of a cave that everyone is scared to go. :p

Loooong post short: With a clean cage (picked out daily, completely cleaned/changed weekly), female rats (rather not deal with so much scent-marking), and maybe some of these order-reducing food adders or treats, what is the smell factor, honestly?

I can't STAND the smell of cat boxes (though I do love cats) --- but I'm not at all bothered by any type of horsey smell. Where would you say it lands between the two?

I will not be keeping more than a pair, at least for the time being.

Thanks in advance, and hopefully I'll have some new friends soon!!
 

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I have about 30 rats right now - any smell I have is because of that...besides, I really think it wouldnt smell like this if Id quit cleaning it so much LOL

Also, any amount of smell is no where near the amount of love you get in return! THAT is a flat out PROMISE :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
DFW_Rat_Luvr said:
Also, any amount of smell is no where near the amount of love you get in return! THAT is a flat out PROMISE :)
Oh *I* know that (and I know I'd get used to it anyway), but my mother doesn't care about what kind of love I'm getting from a smelly rodent. :p
 

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might be best to reconsider getting the rats so long as you are living with someone that will only see them as a smelly rodent... kind have to respect the wishes of the one putting a roof over your head. Also factor in, once you do leave Mom's house are you going to find a land lord that will accept the rats?

You are in a hard spot right now... ya gotta keep the peace while living in your parents home.

Consider your desire to have them as positive motivation to turn around your "circumstances" so that you can get back out on your own in a place of your own that will welcome the rats rather than putting the cart before the horse & then, worse case scenario, have to post a thread on here looking for a place to rehome your rats because you can't find a place that will allow you to move in with them or Mom flips out & tells you, "Get those smelly rodents out of my house!"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is not my "circumstances." My father has brain cancer, hence the move back home.

I'm slightly surprised at this forum's general tone of "GO AWAY." I rarely even see that on horse forums, where you're talking about a pet that costs hundreds of dollars a month (which most people don't realize) and takes endless hours of work. "Horsebroke" is a term and "ratbroke" ain't for a reason, eh? ;)

So, to answer your implications, I am not a (financially) poor child...I am a life-long animal lover looking to expand my knowledge. I did have to downgrade from 10+ animals (stray cats, dogs, horses, turtle, etc) on my farm to just one (outdoor by choice) cat with the move, so I'd like to have a more social pet around.
 

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We have 3 rats (male) and I think the beddings we buy have more natural scent than their urine. We keep a scent oil going in the same room, and it is sufficient. The particular company we have bought from is Yankee Candle, although I am sure you could find other companies, these oils last months.

Some people just don't take to any type of rodent. Some are truly phobic. I believe there are generational differences, too, where we once trapped and destroyed rats to protect property, livestock and disease. I try to anticipate that and hopefully my rats will not meet with them.
 

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If the cage is kept clean and they are litter box trained you often have no smell at all. But I don't think it's as bad as a cat box. Hennessy (my kitty) can be a definite stinker!

I wouldn't, however, suggest burning a candle or using anything with a heavy scent to cover up the smell. Rats have very sensitive respiratory systems and strong smells can cause them distress.

I'm sorry you feel this forum has been harsh towards you, most of us do try to be welcoming, while keeping the best interests of all involved at heart. If you feel there's an issue, please feel free to PM me about it. :)
 

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i have 2 boys and 2 more girls are staying in my room for a while and truthfully i cant actually smell anything! like NOTHING.but be carefull not to clean out the cage TOO much as this may actually cause them to pee and poo more so that it smells. oh a btw boys dont smell that much.

oh and i know how you feel about thinking that some of the people here can be a bit "mean" but its just because the bond between them and their rats are so strong, they want the absoulte best for all rats, thats why they may seem a bit harsh, but really the dont mean to be that way
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I understand the need to be protecting of animals you love -- and I have certainly been stern/harsh towards newer (or old!) horse owners that are not really acting in their horse's best interest -- but I would think it would be a GOOD thing that I was here PREVIOUS to bringing a rat into my home asking questions. I want to feel like I really know what rat ownership would entail so that I'm not surprised and end up a bad "mom." :)


I tend to be sensitive to strong fragrances as well so I mostly use lighter scented candles, if any. I'm also taking notes on other threads I've read-- one user said she spritzed the cage with vanilla extract after cleaning; I've seen a lot of great suggestions on bedding, feed, etc; I have hope that they don't have to be the smelly rodent I know my mother will think they are.


I am keeping my eye out for cages on CraigsList. My boyfriend is a pretty "crafty" guy (he made the COOLEST "Kitten Castle" for his cat) and I know he would love to help me make modifications to a bird or ferret cage to make my rat(s) the happiest around.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ALSO, would you say boys or girls are "smellier"?

I generally prefer female animals, so that was my original plan...but I can always take some advice. ;)
 

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Boys tend to have a musky smell, that girls lack. Also, boys tend to scent mark more. So I think boys are "smellier," but it's not too great a difference, depending on the rat. And they're definately better than a cat box. EVERYONE in the house knows when one of the cats have left a little present, and rats you have to kind of let build up to smell much.

I have two girls, and I use CareFresh Ultra. They poo in one corner which I clean out every day or two, and I replace the whole thing every three to five days, depending. And I find that they have almost no smell at all. Every once in a while my boyfriend will walk in and be like, "it smells like rat in here," but that's usually when it's been a couple days since the last change.

If it's a big room with lots of air circulation, and you spot clean often (just do'nt overdo it, we've had lots of stories of the super cleaners have smellier cages than the people who let it go a little more!), I doubt there will be much of a problem. But you might want to have a spot in mind for them in your "cave" just in case no one else likes them as much as you do!
 

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Ya i would suggest litter training them. That would help alot. If your going to get a rat get 2 :D. Because they are really active in the middle of the night and thats one of the times you cant play with them so a buddy would help them out alot.
 

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I'm going to guess that you're not a teen-in-mom's house, which I think is what some posters assumed.

Having been in the situation of having to move home due to aging parents with severe illnesses, don't worry about anyone. It's often a situation other's can't/don't understand. Yes, you're "back" under "their" roof, but as an adult, it's not exactly like living at home as a kid/teen. Just wanted to let you know, I understand how that is. :)

Now... I have 12 rats in one room (my "own"), and have had up to 40 rats in the rescue room... And no one has ever mentioned a smell.

As long as cages are kept clean (but not *too* clean!), I personally haven't ever had a problem. I have heard stories from others who think their cages smell, or where another member of the household does, but that seems to be very sensitive people, or people who's noses just don't jive with rats.

Seeing as you'd be in a basement, with no one coming down, I really don't think your mom would smell a thing. You'd probably want to experiment with bedding choices, as it's never a one-size-fits-all sort of deal.

I think it's awesome that you're researching beforehand. Don't let anyone push you away. :) My only suggestion is considering rats that need rescuing, from a local shelter or rat rescue first. :)
 

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I was one of the people that was having the "MY RATS SMELL!!!" issue... ;)

But I figured out what I was doing wrong - The bottom tray of their cage was solid plastic with no bedding on it what so ever. I figured that because they were litter trained, it wouldn't matter. Well, I was wrong.

So, the lesson to be learned here is that if it stinks, you're doing something wrong. :)
 

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dimlights said:
It is not my "circumstances." My father has brain cancer, hence the move back home.

I'm slightly surprised at this forum's general tone of "GO AWAY." I rarely even see that on horse forums, where you're talking about a pet that costs hundreds of dollars a month (which most people don't realize) and takes endless hours of work. "Horsebroke" is a term and "ratbroke" ain't for a reason, eh? ;)

So, to answer your implications, I am not a (financially) poor child...I am a life-long animal lover looking to expand my knowledge. I did have to downgrade from 10+ animals (stray cats, dogs, horses, turtle, etc) on my farm to just one (outdoor by choice) cat with the move, so I'd like to have a more social pet around.
If you are referring to my words of "your in a hard spot right now" you misunderstood the context of what I was speaking of... it is that you are in a hard spot, living in your parents home & having to live by their rules/standards/restrictions. I never implied financial hardship & circumstances is a very vague term that usually implies something not right. As you have further explained, something isn't right, there is an illness. I do hope all goes well with your Father & I admire the fact that you went back home to help during your families time of need.

Maybe telling your Mom like you explained here, that you have a strong love for many animals & you did get rid of many pets with your move to come back. Tell her you really need to have a social pet to help you through some of this stress right now. Maybe she will understand & see past her dislike.

I wouldn't expect her to welcome them to a shared space of the home but she may see fit to allow them to live down in your cave with you.

Best wishes to you & your family
 

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I have three rats right now and two cages. One because one is still recovering from an illness, and can't do the multi level yet. The smell is not bad. We use rabbit pellets in the cages- basically because its less expensive and we found that the rats like it more then the other stuff- and its less smelly. If you keep up with cleaning the cage and wiping the food off everynight is not as bad.
 

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Forensic said:
I wouldn't, however, suggest burning a candle or using anything with a heavy scent to cover up the smell. Rats have very sensitive respiratory systems and strong smells can cause them distress.
I agree. Also, consider that many commercial candles have wicks that have lead in them, so when you burn the candle, lead is released into the air. That's no good for anyone, especially little ones. Many artificial scents (in candles, air fresheners, plug in's, etc) are also known carcinogens and the distributors are not required by law to disclose these ingredients. Not to mention that most candles are made from paraffin which comes from oil, so if you burn them it is essentially like running a diesel engine in your house. If you are going to get some candles, look for soy based or beeswax with essential oil scents.
Healthfood stores will carry essential oil diffusers that are lovely and safe with TONS of scents for a discerning nose to choose from. Lavender is very relaxing and might even be a helpful scent for your whole family to enjoy. Just don't get harsh scents like eucalyptus, citronella or tea tree. (They will keep bugs away, but they effect the brain fluids in a strange way that is too complicated for this post.)

Okay...stepping off the soapbox now. Sorry if that was way more info then you ever wanted. It's just that when I think about our rattie's little bodies I can't help but think that they will be so much healthier if we don't inundate them with all the chemicals of our world.
 

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When I had just two female rats, they really did not smell at all. The smelliest thing was the Carefresh I used as bedding, when it got wet. I'm not sure how many rats you're thinking about, but I would say 2 or 3 females would be the least smelly option. Boys are quite smelly, at least the ones I've had. Litter training will help tons with the smell, and many rats will pick that up pretty quickly. Plus with the spot-cleaning and cage cleaning, there really shouldn't be a smell issue for your mom to complain about ;)

I live with my grandma, and she does not like my rats at all. Every day she makes comments and jokes that are horrible (especially the ones where she mentions rat poison..) but since I'm living in her house I just have to put up with it. So your mom might find other things to complain about with regards to the rats, or make comments and stuff (not that I know your mom at all, of course), but even my grandma has come around a bit now that she sees they're not dirty, disgusting, disease-ridden vermin.
 
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