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I love rats. I used to be terrified of them, but I've never liked not liking something, so when my mom (who loves all things animal shaped) suggested we rescue a fat white rat with a missing back toe, I was like yeah ... sure? After a few weeks of forcing myself to let Ratty's tail slide through my hand every time I set him down, I was soon over my fear. I loved having a rat, but that was well over a decade ago now, and the hubby and I are looking into getting a pair of rats to help make the house feel a little more noisy.

We have a few things we're not sure about: mainly that, despite having A LOT of time in the house working from home, we will have to travel a lot with the rats as we have a parent who's terminally ill, and so we try and visit at least once (normally twice) every month just for a night or two. The drive is about 2 hours. We aren't sure how this would work with the rats, the main problem being I don't want to get bedding and rat food all over the husband's parents' hard wood floors. All advice very much appreciated. Been reading up on my rat facts, but I really need someone with past experience to help me out.

Thanks, New Girl x
 

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Your rats will be fine being left alone at home for a few days so long as you provide food and water. A night or two alone is nothing to rats.
 

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You’ve got a couple of options with this.

The first is to take the rats with you, rats travel well and if you get them a big cat carrier you can set it up as a nice travelling space for them. They can be adapted to add water bottle hanging points and hammocks. In fact for just overnight they are useually fine to stay in that (assuming you only get 2-4). Just make sure you get a good solid one without too large mesh at the front. Im in the UK and love my catit cabrio for this (with adaptions of some plastic duck taped over the lower set of air holes to stop them kicking stuff out. The advantage of a cat carrier is aside from the front the sides are normally covered so they don’t kick so much out

For a over 24 hours they will need a little more space, so a small flat pack cage is ideal. If oyur worried about them kicking stuff out bring along a fleece blanket and put it on the floor under the cage. Then its simply a case of rolling it up and emptying the mess into the bin. To be honest though with a hardwood floor its probably going to be easy to clean up, just sweep anything they kick out, I worry more about carpets as its hard to get out of the grain. A handy offcut of lino is also great for this.

The other option is to leave them, if you’re going for more than 48 hours I would get someone to pop in and check on them every day, for more than a few days they need to be handled. When they are old, infirm or very young I wouldn’t want to leave more than 24 hours at a time. If you do leave them then make sure they have multiple full water bottles and a bowl (good back up even if the water will get manky) and invest in a couple parrot foraging treats as this will help slow the speed they eat the food with as well as keep them busy and entertained. It’s also worth exploring fellow rat owners in your area or petsitting / dog walking type services who may be able to help you with longer trips (I have regular holiday guests here – especially the more needful ones such as litters pre weaning, babies and those on meds / post surgery, where a simple check isn’t sufficient).

You may find that your rats enjoy travelling with you more though. I regular take mine to visit rat friendly people such as my family. Mine also get along to a lot of rat shows which sometimes means overnight stops at friends’ houses. They love the extra attention and new things.
 

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Actually many rats travel very well. Our love to ride in the car... we had one that used to nap on the dashboard and another that likes to ride on the shelf behind the rear seat, one nested under the front seats on long trips and we recently found a petrified doughnut there. We've had a couple of rats that liked to climb up into the dashboard and settle in there...

As to going places, once they become familiar with a second or even third home they are fine. Just don't let them settle in too much or you might not be able to get them back when you leave. Our rats pretty much travel like dogs and although they have a travel cage they aren't in it too often, but a travel cage is a good idea, as is a water bottle.

I just thought to mention that cars get hot and they have dangerous microclimates so be careful their travel cage isn't in the sun and that the cars heat and A/C are working properly.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the advice. I feel far more confident about the situation and I'm sure I will keep checking back to make sure I've not missed something when I get the rats :) Very thorough and reassuring that you all agree this will be a fine (temporary) lifestyle for them! Thanks again, got all the answers to something that has been stressing me out for a few weeks now within 24 hours of asking! Should have done this weeks ago, guys :p
 

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If you go away for a few hours there's no issue at all. If you go away for a couple of days, that's also not a big deal to leave rats alone, just as DustyRat said above. I often go away for 1 night, and leave rats alone. They are perfectly fine in their big cage with lots of room to walk around. All you have to do is hang at least 2 bottles of water (in case one malfunctions) and leave plenty of dry food. I also installed a webcam in the room to have a full view of the cage, and I can watch it in an app on my phone. Regardless of food and water, I always make arrangements for emergency meaning I give a key to a friend who knows my rats, and can come in if need be. It is good to have someone trusted for this purpose. A month ago my situation got even better since we got a roommate and he takes care of rats sometimes (at least changes fleece and gives food).
 

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Rats can be left at home for a while no problem... I have left my girls at home for a weekend, I gave them a double ration of food, cleaned the cage, and made sure both water bottles were full and they came back just fine. My rats have only traveled a few times but they have seemed pretty neutral about it so I wouldn't worry. Best of luck if you do get a pair!
 

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I am sorry to hear that one of your parents is sick. :( I have left my rats alone for the weekend all the time. I have a great friend who keeps the rats if I go away for a week or more.
 

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Could you possibly get two cages and leave one at the parents house? And then get a travel thing for them. I know our rats don't like being without us. Even for a couple of hours.
 
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