Seriously thinking about getting a couple of pet rats. They would be for my children (not for me at all ) and I..I mean my kids...would name them muffin & crumpet. I have done a bit of research and found a good sized cage in p@h with a hammock, different levels & a litter tray. I'm taking dcs to a very respected pet shop tomorrow where they breed many of their own animals, just to have a look before making any commitment. I just need a couple of bits of advice. We have a cat. She is oldish & lazy but occasionally can be a bit of mouser. The rats would be kept in their cage in the kitchen, which the cat has free run of, & would be supervised when out of their cage but are rats & cats together a no-no? Also, I've heard male rats are more cuddly & affectionate than girls but that they are smellier as they wee everywhere to mark their territory. Don't mind cleaning the cage as often as it needs but hope they will have plenty of free roaming time & am worried about carpets getting stinky! Also, doesn't rat urine carry disease? Or is that not a risk with pet rats. Would appreciate any help from the ratty lovers out there!
I used to have pet rats. My sister got one when I was 10 and then I got my own at 12.
In answer to your questions:
1. I wouldn't let them anywhere near each other. Cats are conditioned from years and years of rat/mouse catching to not like rats and to want to kill and eat them. I think if the rats are up high and in the cage, that the cat shouldn't be a problem for them. But when they are out and about, I think the cat should be let out or in another room for their safety. You can't train a cat not to attack a rat, because it's their basic instinct.
2. I find that is true about the male rats as the first rat was a girl and was a lot more aggressive (was taken out a lot less though) but didn't smell quite as bad. My boys (Hedwig and Spike) were very affectionate though and even let me bath them. You have to get used of them being out from day one, so they become used to humans. As far as cleaning is concerned yes, they do wee anywhere really. Whether it's on you shoulder or on the carpet. Is there any rooms in your house that have laminate/hardwood? It might be easier to clean up. Or perhaps have something down that could soak up the urine. If you aren't able to do so. First disinfect any worktops or surfaces that the rat has been on and any carpets should be shampooed or steam cleaned to remove the rat urine.
3. Pet rats can carry diseases, but it's very rare if they have been bread and near impossible if they have never been in the wild.
I would get more than one too, because they can become very lonely and depressed without company. Mind you they are aggressive to other males and try and reproduce with females if they are male. So I think getting siblings was good when we got Spike and Hedwig.
Thanks for the advice. Definitely going ahead with this & plan to get a couple of boys from a local breeder. Still plan to keep cage in the kitchen but will put it on a stand away from any other surfaces so old Claws the cat can't get near! Will probably let them have their exercise in there too as we have a tile floor I can properly clean.