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Today my friend and I found a rat at his dorm. It had obviously been someone's pet, since it wasn't afraid of us and allowed us to pick it up without much fuss. We asked around for quite a while, trying to figure out who the rat belonged to, with no success. We weren't sure what to do with it, and his roommate's girlfriend was horrified by it, so I took it home with me. He seems pretty healthy, I looked him over as suggested by some sites for choosing a rat and he's breathing normally, no discharges anywhere, his fur and skin looks normal. I would like to keep him, so I've been doing some reading on rat care. One thing I can't find are any estimations on the cost of keeping a rat. I know vet bills will be expensive, but how much should I be expecting to spend weekly/monthly? I was talking to a friend who used to have rats, and in the cage he just used old towels and not any kind of litter or wood shavings. Is that okay to do? Also, since I expect I'll probably end up with a second rat in the near future to keep him company, is it much different to care for two rats as it is for one? Would it be okay for a little while to keep him in a smaller cage than recommended if he doesn't have to spend much time in it? If anyone could help me with those questions, I'd really appreciate it!
 

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I think first of all you'll want to take him to the vet for an overall health exam- he could have a problem, or problems, that aren't quite so obvious. That would be especially important to do before you even think about getting a second rat (regardless of whether or not you plan on putting them together). Secondly, monthly costs should be around the following: food/treats/produce- $15 to $20; bottled water (if you have poor tap water like we do)- $4; chew sticks/toys (my rats go through them really fast)- $6. Then of course you'll want to buy them toys and other such items to keep them entertained when they're not out and about. Regarding the use of towels for bedding- my rats aren't litter trained and have a tendency to shred towels and place them in one corner of the cage. Then they urinate on the parts of the cage that aren't covered so the urine doesn't get soaked up. Personally, for me, it's a little too messy. I use apsen or carefresh but I prefer aspen because it has a pleasant scent. Just make sure you don't use cedar or pine (these are too dusty/oily and can cause respiratory infections). If you plan on getting another rat, like I said above, you'll want to make sure you take the little guy you just found to the vet first. Then, when everything checks out and you find another rat, you'll want to isolate the second rat (in a separate cage) for awhile to make sure he's healthy also. It also wouldn't hurt to take him to the vet to make sure he's ok. After all that, and if you choose to put them together, you'll have to introduce them/socialize them first. If they get along and can live together then it won't be much different than caring for one rat (with the exception of vet visits- which will double). As for caging, one rat needs a minimum of two square feet of living space. I don't recommend anything below this. Of course, this space will double if you choose to add another rat (meaning you'll need a minimum of 4 square feet for two rats).
 

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Im quite new to rats so im sure someone else will fill in the blanks.
What a nice story by the way sounds like destiny. Make sure you get a same sex cage mate. The rat "calculator helps" you work out how bit a space you need for them. Some rats are "free range" but the room needs to be "rat proofed". Wood shavings can be bad for there respiratory health, paper and paper pellets are good, some people use towles or fleece. From all ive seen the care of two rats is the same as one and the cage size isnt much different. rats do very well with company and can get depressed on their own. Health care bills could range from de-fleaing them to surgery to remove a lump-check out insurance if possible. I got my rats recently-id recomend them as pets :) they can be litter tray trained, trained to come to there name, sit on your sholder. Please look at the myspace below the links on there, i hope will help and id love to hear what u think.
 

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First let me say congrats! and second to start with your questions, On a monthly basis i spend any where from 50 - 70 dollars on my seven rats food, toys, and treats. I use towels im my ratties cages. It isn't much different to keep two rats but be VERY careful in picking him out a friend. Males are territorial and fights can break out and introductions can be tricky you would want to know about how old he is and if he is an adult male you are going to want to get him a baby. You are going to get alot of people here that tell you a great big no on the cage issue but in all honesty if you are willing to take on this rat and treat it like your very own baby there should be no problem in the in between period where you get him what he needs (in all fairness it's better than him living in a hall way LoL) Hope you enjoy your new pet, Oh and did you and your friend think to put up flyers? if he was someone's pet and just happened to get out they may be really upset about it and may be trying to find him. If you have any other questions on the matter i am sure you will find this forum very useful and pretty friendly! Welcome to the wonderful world of owning a rattie!
 
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