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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard for years from friends that rats are often a whole lot like tiny dogs in terms of personality. My 8 yo daughter has been begging me for a while to get her a small pet of "her own", and when I showed her some youtube videos about pet rats, she became obsessed. It's a contagious obsession, apparently, because now I'm obsessed, too. :) We went to Petco today (no breeders or rescues in my city), but their pet rat area was empty. Petsmart has some, tho, and we'll get either 2 or 3 tomorrow!

I'm going to get this starter kit cage thingie, too:
http://www.petsmart.com/small-pet/c...6-5201419/cat-36-catid-600011?_t=pfm=category

Most of the negative reviews involve some rats chewing out the corners at the bottom, but I'm thinking I could use half bricks to discourage corner chewing. Does that sound like a bad idea to you guys? If that flat-out doesn't work, I'll just remove the plastic bottom and use something stronger as a base.

A couple more questions:

-What are your very favorite rat toys?
- Is there an average time range for pet store rats to become less skittish and trust trained?

Thanks!
 

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favorite toys of mine is the simpliest of things! they enjoy it most when i give them, what i call a rolling treat.
take an Empty Toilet Paper roll (stripped of toilet paper), cover one end, fill with food, close the other end and give to your rat. My rats love tearing into it and getting their treats!

Dont use a wheel. Alot of rat owners use Wheels for them to run in but it actually breaks their back's and injures them!

There is no average time for a new rat to get use to you. Infact its easier getting Baby rats compared to an adult, they trust a whole lot faster than adults. but if you work with them daily and play with them they should trust you shortly.
 

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Welcome to the forum :)

Rats make amazing pets. I don't think rats are really like small dogs. I think that they are similar in that they are very hands on & interactive and smart. I think they are alot smarter then dogs. lol They are up there with cats/dogs in terms of interaction and intelligence. Not a pet that just sits in acage all day.

I will be honest,I strongly urge you not to get a plastic bottomed cage. Yes some rats are 100% fine it in. But there is quite often rats that chew through it and escape. Then you have loose rats to catch and a cage that is now worthless.
It is also alittle bit on the smaller side, it is ok for 2 rats but bigger is always better plus rats are addictive.
For alittle bit more money you can get an amazing cage that will stand up and last a long time.

This one is a favorite among rat owners and is only $136 with free shipping
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001NJ0DAE/ref=twister_B001NJ0DBI?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Favorite toys are kitty balls, TP rolls

I agree about no average time frame, it is going to depend on the rat and their history. Getting from a pet store u have no idea if they have been handled or have had good experiences.
When you choose your rats don't go on just looks. Make sure to pick healthy looking ones. You also want confident rats. Ones that do not shy away or hide. Ones that come to your hands are great. Hold them and see how they act.

If u do wanna try a rescue or breeder, post where u live and someone may be able to help. I always suggest searching on facebook for rat + your city or a large city near you. They almost always have groups. And you can then find the local rescues/breeders or people rehoming their rats.
 

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Take it from a newbie. Don't get uptight about the cage. Use it for awhile and then, if possible, expand. I love my two little ladies. They greet me every time I walk into the room. They are cage rats because of my cats, but they are getting a FULL life from me. I do poop patrol twice a day and treat time twice a day. I found they LOVE kale but hate carrots. Good Luck and Happy ratting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Didn't get my rats today, (there are only 3 available in the whole city right now...all the stores are getting shipments of new rats in tomorrow, and we figured we' be better off getting the most friendly, least traumatized rats possible since we're completely new to this) but we got the cage and set it up!

Cage tour here!
http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?288417-Cage-tour!

Moonkissed, I very well might be getting that exact CN very soon, if my son decides he wants a couple of rats, too. I like the cage we have okay, but the tiny doors do make putting fleece in kind of a PITA. And our radar for the base getting chewed on so they can escape will be set to "totally paranoid". (And we already have a giant plastic chopping block we can use if there are signs of chewing on the base.) We're also installing a little piece of wood along the bottom of the door in that room (the kids' room) so it's less than a half inch from the floor, for sure, so IF one gets a sudden hankerin' to chew out a chunk in the middle of the night and go 4 AM exploring, they'll be in that small room somewhere when we wake up. A LOT of people have that cage for years, tho, with no problems. So, we'll see. And if we end up with 4 rats because my 12 yo son wants two of "his own", too, I'll want that CN cage just because...that would be a LOT of pee and a lot of fleece changing, and I'm kind lazy, and my son is kinda lazy, too (lol), but I could make him do his share of cage cleaning without too much drama with a CN cage. And then I could just use *this* cage as the cage they go in when we're cleaning the cage, as a quarantine cage if ever needed, etc.
 

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I haven't had any problems with my girls trying to chew through the cage, and I check every three days when i change the bedding. I think it's because i let them out a lot to run around my room. they like my couch better. I also give them a lot of nice acid-free unbleached paper that i take from my art studio at school lol. they like to tear that up into little pieces which i think distracts them from chewing. so far i think it's their favorite "toy" i've tried, they like it more than hangy ones, and had absolutely no interest in the toilet paper tube i gave them haha. I also got them a little chewable shelter thing (sorta like this) that they immediatly turned over and turned into a rocking horse like thing. Rats are so clever they can turn anything into a toy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven't had any problems with my girls trying to chew through the cage, and I check every three days when i change the bedding. I think it's because i let them out a lot to run around my room. they like my couch better. I also give them a lot of nice acid-free unbleached paper that i take from my art studio at school lol. they like to tear that up into little pieces which i think distracts them from chewing. so far i think it's their favorite "toy" i've tried, they like it more than hangy ones, and had absolutely no interest in the toilet paper tube i gave them haha. I also got them a little chewable shelter thing (sorta like this) that they immediatly turned over and turned into a rocking horse like thing. Rats are so clever they can turn anything into a toy :)
Do you have a similar cage (plastic at the bottom?)?

Thanks for the feedback! Our rats will be "free" to run the kids room, too, a lot (and we homeschool, so we're almost always here, AND my daughter has the strongest "parenting furry people" instinct I've ever seen...she spends 2 hours day frolicking with our dogs [inside, mostly!] in the yard, makes sure their food and water is always full, etc, of her own volition) and I've already rat-proofed the electrical stuff in there, just in case they jump down off of a loft bed (I have 2 kids sharing a room, and they both have loft beds, and the rats will spend a lot of time hanging our with my daughter in her loft area, and her "under the loft" area is easily transformable to a rat playpen.)

How do you deal with them peeing on the couch? Specifically, how can I make it sanitary for my kids to hang out with rats on their loft beds? So far I've gotten a few spare blankets for my daughter to lay out when she plays with the rats every day on her bed, and I'm thinking we'll wash them weekly or two/3 times a week, depending on smell. And she can fold them up and put them on the shelf in between.
 

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the cage is plastic at the bottom!
They actually are really clean animals and have never peed or pooped outside of the cage! and they are still little babies (i am so proud) i got some puppy pads just in case, but didn't need them. I think Louise might have peed on my shoulder the other day, but i've heard that is a sign of a rat trying to mark you as it's own? (other people weigh in on this?)
They are the best pets, your daughter is going to be so happy.
As for trust training, I got my little girls from a woman who had a surprise litter, and it took about a week and a half for them to warm to me. Lisa is still a little wary, but Louise happily came to hang out with me after that!
I think the biggest thing was just sitting on the couch and letting them run around all over me/ burrow into me/ get to know me on their own terms.

also i know you didn't ask about this, but treat wise, i give my girls a yogurt covered pretzel on occasion (about 2 times a week,) and they go INSANE. and they are yummy so i can eat them with them haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are the "yogurt pretzels" actually "white chocolate pretzels"? lol. I make delicious "yogurt pretzels" every Christmas, and they're actually just pretzels dipped/tossed in microwaved white chocolate. LOL. I'm NOT "rat-shaming" btw! Chocolate is supposedly not awful for rats. I'm actually looking forward to sharing home-made Christmas pretzels with the rats. :)
 

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no they are real yogurt! i get them from my ~fancy~ campus grocery store so they are the ~healthy~ ones that have "yogurt powder" whatever that is, milk, and also, yes, sugar, but the way i see it, I eat desert like once or twice a week so my rats should be able to also, ya know? they are also gluten free haha. I've heard you can make your own with actual yogurt though and i am looking into it! mostly because when i wanted to give them to the rats i looked into what they are made with and found out that they usually have NO YOGURT. what a lie.
 

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just looked into it. Yogurt powder is actually just dried, powdered yogurt.
also if you want a healthy snack, carrots!!! and a lil bit of apple.
 

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favorite rat toys: literally any and all cardboard and paper. xD I give them empty boxes to nest in (every igloo or house buy for them they chew it up anyway..lol) old tshirts, crumpled up paper (they just rip it up). easy cheap toys!

average time for them to become less skittish: I have never really had problems with rats being skittish until very recently I adopted two brothers...one of them is very friendly but the other one dreads being held. it takes a lot of patience to handle him, but he is improving. ive had him for about a month now, and ive seen a little improvement. he's a work in progress!!I would say it varies though
 
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