Caring for a Pet Rat

Did you know that rats can actually make very cute and fun pets? Domestic rats have been enjoying life as a pet for about a century now, and have some very loyal fans. In this article, your Santa Rosa veterinarian goes over some basics on caring for a pet rat.


Your pet can enjoy rat blocks for his main diet. To add variety and round out your furball’s menu, supplement the pellets with small bits of fruits and veggies. Carrots, broccoli, peas, apples, and bananas are a few things your little one may enjoy. Feel free to experiment with different foods to find out what your furry pet likes best. Always research a new food to be sure it is safe before giving it to your rat. Some foods to avoid are chocolate, caffeine, and junk food. Also, stay away from anything sticky, such as caramel or taffy.


Wire cages are great for rats, because they offer plenty of ventilation. These little guys love climbing, so multi-story cages usually go over very well with them! The cage should have a solid floor, so the substrate doesn’t fall out. Each rat will need about 2 square feet of room. Be sure that the bar spacing is less than a half inch, as rats are great escape artists. You’ll need to coat the cage with powder, so your pet’s urine doesn’t corrode it. As for substrate, cloth and paper are excellent choices. Avoid using sawdust or shavings, as these are dangerous for small animals.


The more time and effort you put into handling and playing with your rat, the friendlier and more sociable he will become! Rats can be very interactive, and many learn to enjoy sitting on their owners’ shoulders, or being cuddled in their human buddies’ laps. Take some time each day to play with the little guy. Your rat will also love playing with toys!

Rats are very sociable, and do best when they have some buddies of their own kind. Be sure to house only same-sex rats together, otherwise you could end up with more pets than you bargained for!

Do you have any questions about caring for a pet rat? Please contact us if we can be of assistance. We are happy to help!

Please click here to read more pet care articles from your local Santa Rosa vet.