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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this topic gets beaten to death. I am brand new to this forum, and had a fairly urgent question.

My girlfriend and i are the proud and enthusiastic owners of two male rats, whom we love deeply. We got them because we are animal lovers, and had just moved into our first apartment together, and because no backyard, wanted a small indoor friend, and we had both known people who had pet rats as children and loved them. We did all the research and got them from a local breeder.

Recently, however, there has been a malnourished stray cat coming by our house. He started begging for food, so obviously we obliged. Neither of has cat experience. So, long story short, this stray needs a home, and we can't face letting animal control decide its fate. We wish to domesticate this sweet little guy, although we fear that the rats won't be so thrilled.

Even if isolated from one another, are there ways to let the two species interact in a safe environment, and to cohabitate peacefully? i am worried because all animals involved are adult males.

more than anything, and assuming protection from one another, i don't want the cat to jump on the cage and scare the rats to death.

please help with any suggestions!
 

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I've heard of co-playtime working for rats and cats, but I would think that if the kitty was once wild, his hunting insticts are too strong to keep your ratties safe. I would say try to keep the cat out of the room the ratties are in as much as possible, and keep something weighted on the cage, to make sure that the cat can't tip it over. My cats have always just stared at my rats and never attacked, but they didn't have to start life as a stray, either.

Hope it works out for you, that kitty sure got lucky to stumble on you guys!
 

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Try keeping them apart for the most part, unless they are under supervision. :)
 

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definitely do not keep your ratties within spitting distance of a cat, especially a stray!!! cats carry some of the worst diseases going around, and one tiny little scratch or tooth-nibble from a cat onto your ratties, and you can kiss your rat goodbye.

i have read some horror stories lately of the damage cat scratches and bites can do to people, let alone small animals. i no longer have cats, but one i had about 10 years ago came home one day with what looked like a small scratch on the back of his neck. the next day it was the size of a golfball and very very tight, so i took him to the vet. my vet told me that my cat had been bitten by another cat, his neck was now infected and he needed an operation to remove the infection. my cat survived, had a lot of antibiotics to fight the infection, and he didnt wander off again... until he broke his leg in someones gate... but thats another story!!!
 

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One of my cat was a stray and we got her when she was about 4 and she's been with us for two years now. She's a hunter but is SO good with our rats. A few of them have gotten out but she has done nothing. Once I was cleaning their cage and they were unning around on the floor because they got out of the temp. cage and she was a few feet away and just watched them. :)
 

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I wouldn't let the cat anywhere near the rats while they are out of the cage, even under supervision. All it takes is one swipe with claws out to injure your rats, and that can happen in a second. But as long as you have somewhere to put the cat while rats are having free time, there shouldn't be any problems with taking the poor kitty in.

There are two cats in this house, and even though I highly doubt either of them would hurt my rats (although they would be very, very interested), I make sure they are not around when the rats are out. It's just not worth the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I certainly appreciate the input. Are there any suggested training techniques to keep the cat from being too aggressive? is it possible to ensure the cat becomes the omega to our rats' alpha? is there any way to introduce them in a neutral, protected environment, where the rats are out of harms way, yet able to be accustomed to the smell/sight?
 

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My older kitty, Annabell, was born a stray. Abandond by her mommy because of a horrible eye infection, at five weeks we took her in before she wandered into the road. The funny part it is, she's the cat that doesn't REALLY care about the rats I just got.

I don't think that's the case with every cat, and probably not yours. But I'm dealing with it by not letting my cats know about the ratties untill later, keeping my door closed at all times despite their constant sniffing.
 

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As the proud owner of 9 week old kitten and 8 rats, I must say the idea of leaving her in the room with the rats without supervision makes my hair stand on end. She shows way tomuch interest in them for me to be comfortable leaving her in the same space. It also doesn't help that all but one of my rats smell the cat and panic.

Luckily for me, I have the rats in a spare bedroom so I can close the door during the day when Charlie gets to freerange around the apartment. At night Charlie's in with me and the rat rom is left open.

I might change things once I invest in a few spray bottles, but my rats are just too precious for me to want to take that sort of risk.

I won't condone anyone who does let their rats and cats around eachother though. I had a wonderful siamese cat who was put down in January, who when faced with rats was the biggest chicken in the world and would hightail it outta there. It all depends on the animals involved.
 

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I also have cat, who is around 5 years old, and although she shows interest like some of the others said, I'd think she would not really try to hurt them. I would never let them free roam around each other, if nothing else she would want to "play." I catch her occasional sitting by the cage when I'm not looking, fortunately it is too heavy for her to knock over. Also, just in case she tries to swipe at them threw the bars, we keep nail caps on her, called soft paws. Really amazing things, that make her look like she just had a manicure, ^ ^.
 

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I never let my cat into the same room as my rat when she's out of her cage, unless the rat is riding up high on my shoulders. The cat leaves her alone for the most part, and when he does stick his nose by the cage she bites him.

However, where I would be concerned is even if the rat(s) and cat(s) seem to be okay together all it takes is that one bite or that one time pouncing and breaking the rat's spine for it to be over. The risk isn't worth it.
 

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When my cats nor indoor were outside they brought home their fair share of squirrels, large river rats and small possums. I will never purposely chance it.

I try to always kerep the doors shut, but occassionally the cats watch through the cage bars, curious exploring they would never overlook something to pounce on its in their nature.

Minnie my cat, plays well with my sisters ferret, but I wouldnt leave her one second close to the rat, closest she gets is when the largest is on my lap and she's on the floor
 

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simbakitten said:
my the cate are pure beard and i can ASSURE you they are not ferrel or vicious strays withh deseases they are verry much lap cats, but one of them ia a bengal (a cat one generatin down from an african savanah cah and can grow up to 2 1/2 to 3 ft) i wasnt thinking of letting them play or roam free togeather i was just tinging of balancing the time spent with them all
Unfortunately every cat has the ability for a strong prey drive, no matter the breed. It's in their nature, and no amount of domesticating will guarantee a cat without that drive. Cats and rats can work well in the same home, but precautions are needed to keep all animals safe.

I've known people who have issues with purebred cats going after rodents, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, people with cats that were once strays who could care less about their strange little roommates.
 

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My boyfriends family cat, Gordon, has been known to take out full grown squirrels. He leaves daily offerings of mice, moles and voles. Strangely enough he leaves the numerous baby bunnies and chicks alone. Its like he knows what belongs to his *mommy* and knows he will not be a happy Gordon-kitty if he hurts them.

But that was just a tangent, and In no way am I advocating the mixing of cats and rats, there are no domestic rats in their house so I have no idea how he would react to them.

If you do bring the stay into your house I would be very careful about fleas. Most (if not all) strays have them, and I've heard at the store that this is a very bad year for them.
 

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since this cat was a stray, it's in his instict to catch rats and mice, so its best to not let them near each other, good job saving wittle kitty!
 

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i think what everyone has said here is that it really all depends on the cat's personality. some cats could not care less about the rats and other will think you very strange for locking up their lunch but it does not greatly matter on the cat's history. HOWEVER, be CAUTIOUS. you will not know which cat you have until the rat is loose in the cat's vicinity.

if you decide to bring the cat in the house, before you do take him to a vet to be checked out or at the very least get treated for fleas and worms. then invest in a water bottle and under supervised situations let the cat in the same room as the rat's cage (with the rats safely inside). when the cat gets too close to the cage, say no, and spray his butt with the water. this will at the very least teach him to stay away from the cage.

keep the cat in another room when the rats are out for free-range.


as for what i have to say on the issue:
rats are pretty hardy creatures and will not scare to death if they are in a area where they feel safe (like their cage with a hidey hole). most rats in my experience when inside their cage will charge the cage bars at the cat to tell the cat to back off of their turf if they are going to do anything emotional at all. i have never come across anything online or through my experience where a PET rat was scared to death in their cage.
 

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Make sure the cat is healthy, rid of fleas or mites, and get to know the cat... My cat kills small animals (she's an outdoor cat who sometimes feels the need to act on her killer instincts)... she has brought home squirrels, birds, rabbits mice, moles, etc. She HATED any other cat we had, wouldn't have it. She absolutely loves the rats though, they don't play together but she will come up to them and sniff and lick them (sometimes I think she's just aquiring a taste :D ). She has an unfulfilled mother complex or something (loves tubby rubs and kneads everything) so she kinda treats them like kittens. The rats on the other hand are still getting used to her, Lucy tolerates her for a bit but she gets tense, Mindy wants nothing to do with her.
 
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