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I am wanting to get one or two pet rats, and I have a few questions first, and I have to convince parents so I am arming myself with knowledge!

1: What kind of food should I get?

2: what bedding should I use? (Have a few unused yards of fleece)

3: My parents think rats are dirty and cause disease! (I know it isn't true just want to tell my parents that they are clean loving animals)

4: How big should their cage be? (Have a cage but not sure it bars are close enough together)
 

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1.) Food - HT/Native Earth or Oxbow Regal Rat lab blocks.
2.) Bedding - depends on the cage. I use fleece liners and either yesterday's news or aspen in the litterbox. No pine or Cedar!
3.) Rats are no dirtier than cats or dogs. If you keep their areas clean and make an attempt at litter training them, you barely notice that they are there in terms of smell.
4.) 2.5 cubic feet per rat is the recommended amount but you should buy the biggest cage you can afford. Half an inch bar spacing is best if you are planning on getting females or babies. Vertical space is also very important for rats as they like to climb.

Please do remember that rats are expensive pets. In terms of upkeep you only need about a lb of food per rat and a bag of litter in a month but vet expenses can easily come up to hundreds of dollars per visit and I can guarantee that your rats will need it at some point or another in their short lives. We spent over $600 in a month on 3 boys when they fell sick right after we got them home. This is not uncommon so do account for it in your budget. If your parents okay you getting a couple of rats, make sure they will be there and take on the financial burden for if/when the rats get sick.

Good luck!
 

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To help us give relevent answer its worth knowing what country you are in, advice varies a lot depending on whats available.

1: What kind of food should I get?
If you are in the UK i would recommend www.ratrations.com and getting one of there complete mixes and mixing it with harrisons bannana brunch (also form there). If your in the US i would probably go for oxbow as your new to rats, though i prefer home made mixes generaly

2: what bedding should I use? (Have a few unused yards of fleece)
Fleece can be pretty but doesnt give them anywhere to dig. I would use something like shredded card (uk) or aspen (US) on the floor and use the fleece to make them hammocks and beds

3: My parents think rats are dirty and cause disease! (I know it isn't true just want to tell my parents that they are clean loving animals)
They do spend a lot of time cleaning themselves, as much as a cat! But they are also animals with different standards of clenliness to people. For instance they scent mark stuff, friends and family (both humans and other rats) using small drops of urine. They can eat there own poos (to recover extra nutrients). They mark there food with urine to show other rats its safe to eat. They also use there tounge to clean themselves. This doesnt mean they are dirty, its exactly the same for the vast majority of animals and generally low risk of causing us problems as long as you wash your hands after handling your rats before eating.

Rats can carry diseases that humans can get from them, and vice versa. Most are not in the pet rat population and of those that are they are very low risk to humans. Again be sensible, wash your hands after handling them, dont let them into your mouth or lick your lips, dont share a plate of food with them and clean your hands after cleaning them out and you will be fine. Everything carries risk and rats are no worse than most other pet animals

4: How big should their cage be? (Have a cage but not sure it bars are close enough together)
Bar spacing should be around 1cm or less, you can get away with bigger if you have decent sized boys but i wouldnt go over 3/4". The cage should be a good size, there are cage calculators out there but the principle is each rat should have 2sq ft each. I wouldnt have a cage smaller than one for 4 rats, even for only 2, they need a certain amount of running room. Also if oyu get a massive cage you can fit more in than the calculation says as theres pleanty of space genearlly but it is a good guide. If you let us know where you are and what your budget is we can recommend the best cages

I'd second the idea of thinking hard about vet costs. I would set up a vet account. I have one of those and i put in about £15 per rat per month and that gives me a good back up for vet costs if i cant pay for it that month. If the fund gets over around £300 (about the maximum i would get charged at my vet for a single operation/treatment/rat) then i might buy them a treat or toy with it. If you check out what vet bills are likle in your area before you get rats you can aduust that for yourself
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks everyone! I am doing lot's of research right now, I want my future rats to have the best home possible!
 

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Hiya Pokemon11 :)

Another thing to keep in mind is with rats come vet bills. I would say 99% if not 100% of people on the forum have money put aside for emergency vet bills or a system in which they can get access to the funds. In the UK alone to have a consultation with the vet and be prescribed meds for a URI it costs £73. Male neutering is £54, female spaying is £67. If a problem does arise and they need the vets, you will be sure to need a substantial vet fund ready at the wait for them! Just a thought to keep in mind so if you do decide to get some rattie friends, you know to put the funding aside :)
 
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