Rats are pure joy to own! For those of you who are considering adding a rat to your furry family and wondering how to best care for them, this is the page for you! Others of you who are rat veterans but looking to sharpen up your Best Practices of Rat Care, thanks for stopping by!
Best practices for your Rat Cage/Pen/Enclosure
There are so many options nowadays for a "cage" for your rat. There are options to either buy and already built enclosure as well as plans readily available for DIY projects. Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking the enclosure that works best for you and your pets:
The minimum suggested space for 2 rats is 30”x15”x18”. However, more space is always better!
A minimum of 2 water bottles is recommended. If you have multiple rats, you should have more water bottles.
The best rat home is a home that provides a rat with options for entertainment. Add tons of accessories for climbing, hiding, etc. Again, there are so many options for buying or DIY- Have fun with it!
Here are some recommendations for bedding/substrate/litter
- paper based bedding (shredded newspaper, for example)
- Fleece or other like material
- Aspen shavings or kiln-dried pine
- NEVER use cedar or pine shaving that haven't been kiln-dried as the oils/sap in them are too harsh for the rats coat and skin and can cause health issues
- Clay cat litter can also be dangerous so avoid this as well!
The majority of your rat’s diet should be a good quality rat block or pellet. This should be always readily available to your rats inside of their enclosure
Fresh veggies offered in small amounts every day
You may also give fresh fruits in very small amounts daily to every other day. Be careful what fruits your rat is given as some may cause tummy issues
Reward treats or treats for occasional spoiling. These are generally high in fat so these should only be given sparingly and in moderation.
One of the most important and one of my favorite rat care items is... Exercise or free time!
This means getting them out of their enclosure and spending time with them. This is when you will bond with them and learn about each of their personality and simply makes for a happier rat.
I believe in a minimum of 1 hour playtime outside of their enclosure every day! Of course, more is always better! Your rat will love to be involved with you as much as you let them.