View Full Version : Whats a good Small pet?

Tora Oni
12-10-2009, 11:49 PM
I am considering another pet of course I won't be able to get another pet until spring but I kinda ruled out ferrets since they are a bit too much work and money even though they are cute, I probably be worried a little since they would need more space. I am thinking about getting two rats since they are social creatures and are said to be intelligent and I've done a little homework though I got mixed messages on how long they can live some say 3-5 and others say 2-3 years. So I'm thinking not a huge difference but still like to figure that one out. Diet is a bit easier to maintain. I'm kinda wondering how big a cage I should get for two because I'm thinking about getting one that is several levels on it and having a hammock and hopefully two exercise wheels, might only be one. Well I was wondering what rats are like personality wise and quirks and such.

12-11-2009, 01:46 PM
Ferrets are a huge responsibility and very expensive, comparable to a medium sized dog. Plus ferrets can live up to 15 years.

Rats are great pets, cheaper in the long run but expensive at the start. Unfortunately, pet store rats actually average 18 months of life. But I've had rats live longer than 3 years from pet stores.
Cages must be quite large, even for rats who spend hours outside of their cage. They should be a minimum of 16 (preferably 18) inches on any side. The reason for this is because a small pet should be able to stretch out completely straight, including their tail, on any side of the cage. If they constantly have to be bent or hunched over, they can develop back problems. I think a good minimum for two rats is 2'x3'x2', and this is hardly much more than a person living in a one-room apartment. I'd nix the exercise wheels as they take up too much room, are argued to be too dangerous, and the typical rat prefers to just use them for another roosting area. Outside of cage time is more important.
My most personable rat would follow me around and try to climb up my pants legs. My least personable rats I couldn't handle at first, but they came around enough to pick up if I had to. They're too individual to say for sure what yours would be like, but most are very friendly if handled well.

Tora Oni
12-11-2009, 03:01 PM
I see, I was planning on getting a rat from a rescue or re-home ad. I see, I was considering the flying saucer since it looks a bit safer, what about the exercise balls I use to have hamsters so I'm a little familiar. My hamsters we use to put them in an exercise ball. Though I looked on some sites I like Hsus.org for foods they can't have since that concerns me as much as what they can have. Do they require a lot of vet care? I mean if I get two I knowing how to pair them and how much spay or neutering would be. I wouldn't want a bunch of rat babies. I am probably going to wait until a graduate and get a job because it really depends on what kinda job I have if I get any pet, since there is a chance that I could be traveling and won't be able to be home enough to give them the care they need. It would just be stupid. Thanks IRescue, for your help.

12-11-2009, 05:43 PM
It would be awesome if you rescued/adopted. There are thousands of homeless rats that need homes. A wheel/saucer isn't necessary for rats like they are hamsters. Rats need plenty of outside time where as hamsters can skip a day or two if your busy. You should avoid the ball, rats typically don't like them and it would be a waste of money. They prefer more stimulating toys or just playing with/on you. Most rats are about 10x friendlier than hamsters and they seem to play with you more then on you. But every rat is different. It seems that rats will need to go to the vet at least once through out their life but it may be for something like an abscess. Save up money for emergency vet trips because having rats almost guarantees that you will need to see a vet eventually. You'll know if you have a male, trust me they have huge 'manbits'. The females will...well they won't have them. :P Neutering and spaying is possible though. Neutering lowers chances of fighting between males and it necessary for some males to be able to live with other rats. Spaying lowers the risks of mammary tumours.

In my experience rats make awesome pets. Their personality varies widely but they are just such amazing animals. Be careful they can be addicting though. I started with one, got another one so that the first one wasn't lonely and eventually ended up with 7. :P

Tora Oni
12-12-2009, 12:10 AM
Yeah I've seen some videos of the hairless ones on Youtube....one of them had some large ones. Though the closest rescue I found on petfinder.com is in Frankfort or Lexington I live in Louisville. So if I were to rescue on I deffiantly have to check the Animal service, since they say they get all sorts of animals, and maybe even the local humane society even though I've only seen them take cats and dogs. Though Maybe I might suggest we expand our horizon and do small and furry creatures since their is a huge volunteer pool and I think many of these people have other pets besides just cats and dogs.

12-15-2009, 05:22 PM
You can try looking on online ads such as kijiji. I always see rats needing homes on there, although it does depend on the area. Good luck! :)

12-15-2009, 05:48 PM
i had a pet rat about 15 years ago , i had 2 level bar cage that was big enough for a guinee pig it wasnt that expensive to buy , i accidently put his cage to close to my curtains one night and he made a lovely bed out of them , ive learnt that getting a pet rat tame is very important as if they try and run its extremely hard to catch them .
i only had 1 so im not sure on how 2 should be kept , i do know that females are very territorial and fighting can occur .

12-15-2009, 06:49 PM
my friend owns rats and she has had them for about 5 yrs now (well the oldest one is) i myself have two two toned mice (black and white) they are not a lot of work they basically eat anything and they are good wen u have small children that drop food that the dogs or cats wont eat. they usually all they need is like a house (mine prefer a reptile rock) but a paper roll or a cut up box something, a water dish, and depending on how many u have a wheel. i had ferrets and they were not that hard to take care of the prefer food ur suppose to feed them is kitten chow and that is alot cheaper then the ferret food and if u train them all u have to have is a litter box and depending on how many u have depends on their cage size....if ur looking for ferrets or want to find anything else out about them reply to this message or send me one

12-16-2009, 10:59 AM
Rats are THE BEST pets to get. I have two little girls and they are more friendly than one of my kitties. Every day, I take them out of their cage and they cuddle w/ me, give me kisses, sit on my shoulder.....But, when you get a rat, like any animal, you have to get them used to you. (I bribed mine w/ cream cheese and yogurt. LOL) It took me only a week to befriend these adorable creatures. You should defenitely get rats.

They are very easy to take care of too. Clean cage, give treats and attention, food and water.......VERY SIMPLE

My rats have never liked the rodent balls though.

12-19-2009, 09:49 AM
i had a pet rat about 15 years ago , i had 2 level i do know that females are very territorial and fighting can occur .

Sorry I LOL'd at this. If you had seen my girls then you would too. Females typically aren't the territorial ones anyways. Males can be more territorial and usually only if they a hormonal imbalance which can be fixed with a neuter.

It's not the greatest quality but her is a picture of six of my girls hanging out. Yes they aren't in their cage but when ever they were in their cage and I was nearby it was a mad dash to see who could get into my pocket/sleeve or onto my shoulder first, no time for cuddly pictures. :P This picture was taken just after my first rat, Jazz passed away from old age. <3

Tora Oni
12-23-2009, 02:06 AM
I'm not really looking for a ferret, I mean maybe someday in the future. Right now I think it may be wise to wait until I move out due to the house space issues. We have a dog too right now and even though I doubt if Chi will be much trouble, my parents won't like me getting another pet. So I will consider getting rats in the future but right now probably just want to stick to volunteering at shelters. Though every one has been very helpful, I have new concept of a rat.

12-23-2009, 02:26 AM
Fresh Water Sting Rays bring the cool.

12-23-2009, 06:48 AM
I rescued a one eyed rat named Winky that I rescued from Petco. They were gonna sell him as snake food!!!!:eek: Not as long as I'm alive. He lived for a year and a half and was diagnosed with testicular cancer (common in marats). He was wonderful. Very loving. My cats didn't bother him. As a matter of fact, they were afraid of him!!! He went to the bridge about 5 months ago and I miss him alot. I'd get another one (a female this time) if I didn't have Bad A$$ Buddy here, I'd definitely get another one. He is so mischevious and unpredictable.

Tora Oni
12-24-2009, 12:48 AM
I might e-mail the local rat rescues, and ask them about their rat adoptions and such. Though I think that probably will conclude that because I will have to think about this more seriously in 6 months from now... So One more question.

I also read Rats are Nocturnal which working 2nd shift and sometimes overtime is causing me to be somewhat nocturnal from time to time... but over all do they cause a lot of noise at night would you suggest a room away from the sleeping quarters?

12-24-2009, 04:04 AM
i have mice and the only noise that they make is their running wheel.....it squeeks real bad but they make non-squeak ones....for the most part it isnt to bad...we live in a 15X20 cabin (meaning one big room) and u can hear them squeak to eachother but for the most part they dont make a noise.....my friend who owns rats have them in their kids rooms and they seem to be very good....sometimes pets will adapt to their humans/owners schedule.....

01-05-2010, 01:26 AM
I used to have two rats. They were so sweet. :) They actually played super well with my dalmatian. They were so cute together. They would climb on her and she would paw at them. GENTLY of course. :) They are super fun. Just don't fall asleep when you're playing with them. I did once... actually, nothing happened, I just found them chillin' out under my bed. haha I have a multi level cage for them. I would make sure they have high sides or put something around the cage because my rats loved to dig and would always kick out their bedding. Lol!

01-11-2010, 12:25 AM
Rats are AMAZING pets. They are adorable, playful, entertaining and bond very strongly with their owners. I have 5 rats, all girls and I absolutely adore them. They are all so full of personality and are all so funny and loving.

One thing to consider though is that vet bills for rats are mad EXPENSIVE, even more so then cats and dogs, and rats are prone to health issues, so chances are you will have some vet visits. The best thing you can do to prevent a lot of health issues in ratties and also to pro-long their lives is to make sure they are in a proper sized cage, with at least one buddy. You can google rat cage calculator for some help. Keep them on quality bedding, like care fresh (NEVER EVER on pine & cedar as it is extremely toxic to small pets and esp rats), and feed them a quality food. Depending where you live, if you can buy harlan it is very worth it, but Hagens Hamster extrusion is also great for rats (no other hamster food is however) and I have seen hagens rat extrusion food before too but it can be tricky to find. Hagens is also well priced usually and rats seem to prefer the taste over other foods. Seed mixes are never a good staple food for rats, lab blocks are the best and great for their teeth.

Also, consider how much time you have to give them attention and out of cage time, as they really need it. They are really intelligent creatures and need a lot of mental stimulation. That said, make sure to have a lot of toys, hammocks, etc for them to play with in their cage.

Male and female rats tend to be pretty different in temperment as well. Males are generally bigger and lazier, and more likely to sit on your lap and let you snuggle them. They also tend to smell more though, esp if they aren't neutered. Females smell a lot less, are generally smaller and much more active and playful. I have 5 girls and although they love attention and kisses, they don't like to sit still for long. Girls are so entertaining to watch though lol.

There is so much to owning rats that I didn't know when I got my first rats, so do lots of research. jorats.com is a great forum for rat owners.

Hamsters, gerbils etc are great pets too, but I find they don't bond nearly as much with their owners, as rats, ferrets, chins, etc. I've never had a chinchilla but I have met a lot and have friends with chins. They are such sweet animals, and are really great odour-wise, they are not smelly pets at all. Neither are rats, but they can get smelly if their cage isn't kept up on.

I definitely recommend rats, if you have the time, energy and finances for them. They are very sweet and smart creatures. 2 of my rats even come to their names. But as I said, they are kind of fragile pets in the sense that they are prone to health issues so their diet and habitat is a crutial part of keeping them healthy.

They can also be pretty hard pets to have, in that they don't live long. If your rat makes it to be 3 years old you are very lucky. You get so bonded with them, and lose them so fast. It can be heart breaking but always remember not to let the heart break overpower the great 1-3 years you had with them. I lost one of my rats in September, from heart failure, at nearly two years old (not even a month away from turning 2). It was more difficult then I ever even imagined, and I swore I would never get anymore pet rats after these girls but I realized that I needed to cherish the time I had with her and continue to help other ratties. There are so many in need. If you do end up deciding on rats, if you'd like, if you let me know where you are from I can find you a rescue in your area to adopt from. :) Or buy from a reputable breeder if you are looking for a specific type, but make sure the breeder is reputable. Pet store rats, generally don't live long bc they are so inbred and not kept properly. I haven't seen even one pet store yet, that has had their rats properly housed and cared for. *sigh*

Good luck, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me, I have spent the past few years researching rat care and they are very rewarding pets to have. :)

01-11-2010, 12:27 AM
PS: One thing also, esp. if you get babies, make sure you hold them as often as possible, so they are properly socialized and you will end up with some very snuggly, lovey rats. :) And always keep them in at least pairs, as rats do not do well alone and need a buddy to snuggle with and be 'rats' with. There is nothing like sticking your hand into a pile of snuggling sleepy rats lol. So cute.

Tora Oni
02-28-2010, 03:06 PM
Thanks a bunch, that was very insightful advice, Lilybean. I have only seen one rescue close by and it is 1.5 hours away. So drive wise its tad on long haul, though I think the people with the rescue really seem to know about the animals they rescue.

Pawsitive Thinking
03-01-2010, 10:55 AM
Rats sound fabulous but my all time favourite small animal would have to be the guinea pig. Great characters, friendly and easy to tame (well mine were anyway ;))