Wondering how to prepare your home for your pet rat? Whether you've recently adopted a rat from your local animal shelter, or you're bringing a baby rat into your home, being prepared is essential. Just like any other pet, rats have unique needs. Creating the ideal environment is extremely important. If you are not fully prepared, it can make the experience difficult for you and your rat pal. The last thing you want to do is have a cage that is too small, the wrong type of food, and not enough proper supplies. To make the process easier, this guide gives you a full breakdown of all you need to know about preparing your home for your new pet rat.
Before you rush out and start shopping, it is first a good idea to think very carefully about whether a rat is the right pet for you and your family. Thanks to movies and books featuring these smart, curious, lovable rodents, many people want to have rats as pets. Not everyone understands the needs that rats have, however. Getting any pet without knowing how to care for it or knowing whether it's a good fit increases the chance of pets being sent to shelters. Or worse, pets are not given the care they need, causing them to become sick, depressed, and bored. If you want to get a rat, we highly recommend reading up about these pets to know as much about them as possible. Our rat articles are a great start to learning more.
If you're sure that a rat is the right choice, it's time to get your home ready for his arrival. Here's what you'll need to prepare your home for your new rat.
Rats make such loveable pets. They’re smart, curious, and build strong emotional bonds with their hoomans. It does, though, take lots of preparation to make sure your new animal has the perfect home. So what are the most important rat supplies to buy before bringing baby home? And what are some good tips and tricks for taking care of your little one?
Before we talk about finding the perfect rat supplies you’ll need to welcome your pet home, let’s talk about the very first step - finding the perfect rat. Just like other animals, each rat has their own unique personality and finding one that fits your family’s needs will help make sure both you and your new rat are comfortable.
Finding the Perfect Rat
First, consider where you’ll get your rat. Many local animal shelters have pet rats waiting for their forever home, so we recommend starting there. If you don’t bond with any rats at the shelter, consider buying your rat from a reputable breeder.
Rats from pet stores can have all kinds of health issues and might not be as well taken care of. But a great breeder will make sure you get a happy, healthy rat. Some breeders will even provide a bill of health to put your mind at ease.
Once you find a place to get your rat, make sure you spend lots of time picking out the best one for your family’s needs. Get a feel for their personalities. Some rats love being held, some are shy, some are curious, and some do best as a pair and some do best being single. You’ll (hopefully) quickly be able to tell which rat (or rats) you bond with and which rat bonds with you. Love at first squeak, right?
Now that you have your little guy or girl chosen, it’s time to find the perfect rat supplies: how to prepare their territory, what to feed, and what to expect when they arrive.
Preparing Your Rat’s Cage
The bigger the better. It’s super important for each rat to have at least two cubic feet of space. Many rats are social creatures and want a little buddy to hang out with, so expect to fall in love with more than one rat. In that case, you’ll need even more space. Overcrowding can lead to medical conditions and cause upper respiratory infections. And that’s the last thing we want.
It’s important to consider, too, what kind of cage you get. Many people think that all wire cages are the best option, but they’re actually dangerous ( ) for rats because they can get their little paws stuck in the wire and these metal floors can cause infections like bumblefoot. To avoid this, invest in a rat cage that has wire sides for those little chompers, but a sturdy floor made out of wood and cushioned with soft paper bedding.
Food for Your Rat
Many people think that because rats are often found in sewers and dumpsters, they can eat anything. But in fact, pet rats require special diets and lots of care and attention. If you’re planning on getting a rat, it’s important to understand the many rat supplies you’ll need to keep your new one happy and healthy.
Diet should consist of a high-quality pelleted food made especially for rats. These pellets have just the right amount of nutrients that rats need, including barley, oats, dried apples, dried black currants, wheat feed, and other grains. Rats do well with a low-protein diet with lots of fiber.
You can also give treats here and there (but don’t make treats more than 10% of their diet). Here are some of our favorite treats to offer:
- Whole wheat breads
- Healthy cereals (with no sugar)
- Plain brown rice
If you really want to become your rat’s BFF, try giving them healthy chews and treats made with only healthy ingredients.
Other Rat Supplies You’ll Need
Bringing your new rat home is an exciting and fun time, but you may be wondering about all the rat supplies you’ll need. Luckily, rats are relatively easy pets and just want love and attention from their favorite hooman.
But to get you both started on the right foot (or paw), add these rat supplies to your list:
- Rat carrier
- Food bowls
- Water bottle (Check out our top picks here)
- Wire cage with solid bottom
- Pelleted food
- Hay or paper bedding to nest in
- Toys and chews
- A solid plastic wheel (not wire)
- A little house
- Salt licks
- A rat first aid kit
Socializing Your New Rat
Rats are super friendly when they’re comfortable with their owner, but new rats might be a little shy. Luckily, there are some easy things to do when starting to socialize.
First, make sure you hold your rat multiple times a day. Your new rat needs to get used to your unique smell and hands. If you have baby rats, make sure you let them sleep enough, though.
Also, try not to provide many hiding areas in your rat’s new cage for the first few weeks. While little houses, cubbies, and places to relax should be on your rat supplies list, you should help your rat get used to being out in the open when they’re new to your family.
Rats are an adorable little addition to any household and these rat supplies and care tips will help you and your rat live together in harmony. We hope there are many more squeaks, cuddles, and fun times ahead for you and your new addition.
Interested in learning more about rats? Check out these blogs! ⬇️⬇️⬇️
Mycoplasma in Rats. What it is and what to do about it.
Please Avoid These Rat Care Mistakes