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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
My name is Kaytlin and I'm a pre-vet college student. I've always loved exotics and small mammals. I've owned hamsters, guinea pigs, and ferrets in the past. I currently live in dorms but next year I'm moving into my first adult apartment and I plan on getting rats. I've always wanted them and over the years I've done a lot of research, and I still have plenty of time to get things together. I would be moving in August so I have about 8 months to plan. Being a college student I don't have a lot of money to spend on pets, so I was wondering if there were any suggestions on how to keep rats on a budget? Does anyone have a price estimate if I wanted to keep two rats?

I'm probably going to get the Martin's r-695 as a cage, since its a good size but also easier to collapse if I need to go home for break and I don't have anyone to watch them for me. Other than that, I don't have much else planned out. I want to use fleece since I have used it before with guinea pigs and I really loved how easy and clean it was.
 

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Aside from the cage, which you could build yourself or buy used, rats are pretty much dirt cheap to keep... our rats mainly eat leftovers so it doesn't even cost us anything for food, even though I have about 10 lbs of rat blocks laying around for over a year now which they don't eat...

As to toys and such, our rats tend to prefer just to chew up papers, wires and furniture when they are young, but they can be trained to know better...

The only real expense with keeping rats that's hard to avoid is vet costs. To be honest, I've found healthy rats just about never get sick, and when they do there isn't much a vet can do for them, but sometimes you can get a sickly one that can run you big bucks. I think we spent about $150.00 on vet visits when Fuzzy Rat got tumors, mostly for the vet to tell us there wasn't anything he could do.... all of our other rats have never seen a vet, they never got sick except for tumors and they died at home without costing us a cent in vet visits... So, perhaps it comes down to luck of the pick. Our last two rats come from an exotic snake breeder, who claims the strain of rats he created doesn't get sick... I actually kind of laughed to myself when he said that... but two years and three rats later... he wasn't kidding... they don't get sick or even get tumors so far... So there is something to be said about getting rats with good genes to start with.

I think the biggest consideration in keeping rats as pets is that they really aren't cage animals, they are more like household pets like cats or dogs and they need to be out and about to explore and do stuff on their own and with you to keep their agile minds engaged. Free range time and family time is critical in rat care, way more so than with small animals...
 

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Read everything on this site! There are some great videos on YouTube, as well. Everyone on here will help you with anything you ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you! One of the reasons why I've always wanted rats is because of the fact that they aren't cage animals. Obviously mine will live in a cage when I'm not there, but I love the fact that they are so sociable. I loved having hamsters and guinea pigs, but they just weren't as affectionate as I would have liked.

Cost wise, I know that they aren't too pricy, its basically the cage and the starting out costs that will be larger. I'm really torn on what cage I want to get. I'm not the most handy person so building one is pretty much out of the question. I have always always always loved the look of the critter nation. Its so simple and easy to clean and interact with them. It would be my top choice if it weren't for the portability problems. I have to be able to take the rats home for break, and I would rather only have one cage if possible. So it has be be easily maneuverable. If I can't lift it and put it in the back seat of my car, then its going to be hard.
 

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Rats are definitely way more interactive and hands on then hamsters and guinea pigs. Some people do let their rats free range their homes but a word of caution, rats can also be quite destructive as well. I now have a spare bedroom that I use as a rat room just for them. But in the past they have chewed cords, destroyed the cord to my wii, chewed the buttons off a remote, ate the cover to my fitbit, chewed blankets, pillowcases, and purses. Also carpet.

One thing you could do with taking your rats home is have two cages. One at your place and then a smaller easily to transport travel cage.
Martins are good cages. If you make them correctly with the metal clips you will not be able to collapse it down. Some people use zipties instead but that would still be alot of work involved to take it apart ever. It may fit in the backseat of a car on its side though.
Petco Rat Manor is on the more managable size as well and is good for 2 rats.
Critternations are like the best but yeah it is large and very heavy. You are not going to be traveling back and forth with it lol

Most importantly i'd suggest going with 1/2 inch bar spacing. Some larger/adult rats are ok with 1 inch but babies & some females will slip through.
Plastic bottoms can also be a bit hazardous. Some rats will chew right through and escape! It happens quite often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Its such a tough decision and I go back and forth all the time. I am obsessed with getting an SCN. Its just so much nicer looking and easier to deal with. I'm thinking maybe getting an SCN and then either a martins or rat manor for my parents house. I only go home once every month or two, and never for very long. The only extended period of time is christmas break and summer, and for summer I would be moving all my stuff home anyways.
 

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I have a SCN but carrying it and moving it is about impossible. Also attempting to build the cage alone is also very hard to do. It is an amazing cage though.
 
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