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So the three rats that I had gotten from Petco, Sissy, Emmy, and Olive all died within a month of eachother. Sissy lived to be 6 months, Olive was about 7 weeks old, and Emmy was 6 weeks old. None of them lived together because we were trying to introduce Emmy to Sissy. Emmy died, we got Olive because Sissy needed a friend. Sissy died, and then shortly after Olive died. We decided to get rats from Petsmart insteaad.

When we got to the Petsmart the rats were in a cage that was 4 times bigger than the one the rats were in at Petco. All the rats seemed much happier and we decided that buying from Petsmart was a good move. We got Claire and Sprite, who lived to be 8 months and 1 year, 5 months respectively. When Claire died, we got Clover. Clover is the sweetest rat I've ever owned. She is currently 1 year 2 months old.

When we needed to get friends for Clover after Sprite died, we discovered that Petsmart "no longer carries rats." We couldn't find any rat breeders in the immediate area and nobody wanted to drive to the nearest breeder in South Dakota. (We live in Minnesota.) We got Katniss and Rue from Petco, because the
Petsmart rats we were hoping for were unavailable and Clover was just so lonely. All I can hope is that Petco upped their rat quality.

On another note, the Petsmart workers seemed to actually be knowledgeable about rats, while the Petco worker we interacted with while getting Katniss and Rue seemed very ignorant, wore gloves because "they'll bite you if you aren't careful", and seemed incredulous that we were getting 3 rats.

Just needed to rant about how Petco and Petsmart differ and how I'm really annoyed that Petsmart doesn't sell rats anymore.
 

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It all really depends on the store you go to. My petsmart isn't that great but the one that is a little further is fantastic. Also my petsmart still sells rats so maybe you just got unlucky.
 

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Each store is unique as it depends on the staff.

But petco openly sells their rats as feeders while petsmart sells them as pets....

Anytime you buy from a petstore it is going to be random chance on what you get. You may get a healthy good temperament rat, you may get a sick scared aggressive rat. There is no way to know. They are mill bred for profit.
But we do speak with our money, if you feel a store is not doing well I wouldnt buy from them.

If you absolutely must buy from a petstore, maybe look for smaller shops instead of big name ones, they often sell rats as well. What part of Minnesota are you in? I can ask in my breeder groups for you if you would like. I dont know any off the top of my head.

Your rat ages are sadly very short :( Do you know what they died from?
 

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I'd check "rat breeder" groups on FB... even look for "feeder breeder" groups in your state or even reptile groups in your state and ask if they know of anyone breeding feeders in your state... Although they are breeding for feeders, many also breed for well tempered rats and don't breed those that are sickly or prone to respiratory illness, etc. You may be able to find someone that way.

I agree about it depending on the store... There's a local store here that breeds their own feeders and I wouldn't buy from them because of the condition of the animals in the shop (dirty cages, dirty food / water, etc.) whereas our petco has a pet dept. manager that likes the rats and encourages them not to sell the ones that would be better pets as feeders, etc. Our petsmart keeps their rats in tiny cages.. Probably as big or smaller than 10gl tanks. It just depends on the store.

IMO, if you can find a local breeder, even a feeder breeder, you will probably get healthier animals than from either chain.
 

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The Petco in Topeka has some very knowledgeable sales people. I think it's the area and the training. There is a woman here who was a Vet Tech for many years and she knows a lot. The only bad thing is that my nephew got a lizard there and it died after the guarantee time. She was really upset with us. I think she gets too attached to the animals. I also like Petco because with their card you earn coupons. At one point, because of lizards and rats, I had $25 in coupons and got some supplies for about $2 after coupons (who knew crickets cost so much). It's always a crap shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Each store is unique as it depends on the staff.

But petco openly sells their rats as feeders while petsmart sells them as pets....

Anytime you buy from a petstore it is going to be random chance on what you get. You may get a healthy good temperament rat, you may get a sick scared aggressive rat. There is no way to know. They are mill bred for profit.
But we do speak with our money, if you feel a store is not doing well I wouldnt buy from them.

If you absolutely must buy from a petstore, maybe look for smaller shops instead of big name ones, they often sell rats as well. What part of Minnesota are you in? I can ask in my breeder groups for you if you would like. I dont know any off the top of my head.

Your rat ages are sadly very short :( Do you know what they died from?
Everyone except Sissy has been confirmed to have died of respiratory issues.
 

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It all depends on the store, am sure. But I agree with you, Petsmart is better than Petco in my area. Petco only carries PEWs, not that there is anything wrong with PEWs but being able to tell the difference between your rats is always nice. Petco also sells rats as feeders and Petsmart doesn't. I am not sure, but I seem to remember someone telling me that if a Petsmart employee hears the rats you're buying are going to be snake food they can deny you from buying them. Don't quote me on that, I am not sure if that is 100% true or not.

Petsmart's cages for the rats do seem to be bigger. Also rats actually leave from there. I go to both Petco and Petsmart a lot for cat rescue and I always sneak a peak at the ratties. I have watched those poor PEWs grow up in the store and now they are so huge and their cage is so small. Petsmart rats seem to never get the chance to grow up in the store. This could be because Petsmart has colored rats while Petco has only PEWs, but I have gotten rats from both places and I have noticed that Petsmart employees are just nicer and know more than Petco employees.

I got two rats from Petco that I named Saki and Kitty. Saki lived to be around a year old then died from upper respiratory. We took her to the vet and gave her meds and everything. But Kitty is still with us and it two years old and seven months.

I am going to tend to be a little bias because our Petco treats my cat rescue like [email protected] while Petsmart is pretty good to us. It really depends on the location. Some Petcos are better than others.
 

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It's weird because the Petco here touts the rats as pets not feeders. They are never in the cage long enough to grow out of it, although it is still small. Unfortunately, I don't think either store cares if the rats are pets or feeders, they just want to sell them. The Petsmarts here has the same glass cages as Petco. I think it is a regional thing and a management thing.
 

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I've found that the Petco stores in my state (I've been to several different ones) are better than the Petsmart ones. All of the Petco stores that I've been to sell their rats as pets, and I was extensively questioned by an employee when I was getting my first three boys about whether or not they were going to end up as snake food. It might just be lucky for me, but all the stores I've gone to (and I've been to several since I've moved a lot), the employees I've talked to when getting food or toys for my ratties have all either owned rats in the past, or currently had pet rats, so they were super knowledgeable about them. I've never had that experience at Petsmart though; but that might just be because of my location, to be honest.
 
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