Eff yeah, rats!
So I've had a male dumbo rat[sid] for a couple months now..And I know i've should've gotten him a play mate but he was alone in the cage..had no other rats so I just got the sweet lil boy. He was 6mnths..Probably a year now. I tried another dumbo male[craig] with him who was a year and a half..didnt work out because the other tried attacking him. Sid did no harm or had any interest in attacking him back. My question is..should i just leave it be now or should i try giving him a play mate? I do give him loads of attention and is always out..just wondering.

I don’t have personal experience with this type of thing.  No amount of human interaction can really replace interaction between rats.  It is worth attempting to introduce new rats.  

Some things to consider:

  • Rats are super social creatures; in nature they live communally. 
  • It is possible for a rat to develop neurotic tendencies if kept without a companion.  
  • Single rat owners should be sure to spend at least 4 hours a day with their pet; although no amount of interaction can replace the company of another rat.
  • Besides relying on one another for company, rats also rely on each other for grooming and cuddling during sleep.


These guides should help ease you through the process.

http://ratguide.com/care/behavior/introducing_rats.php

http://www.ratfanclub.org/newrat.html

http://www.ratpalace.com/rat-articles/rat-introductions.php

I had a rat, but try as I might I couldn't seem to litter train him. How do you litter train a rat?

For litter training get a litter different from the one your currently using to keep in the litter box.  Put the poops he doesn’t make in the litter box in his litter box every day so he starts to get the idea and give him treats and praise when you see him doing it in the box.  It may take a few weeks but he should get it.

 Some boys are difficult to train.  Often, male rats can only be trained to use the litter box to make their droppings.  They will continue to urinate throughout their cage to mark it.  Wish it was the other way around…

Here is an online resource.

what kinds of things do you feed rats? do you have to buy them special foods from pet shops or can you give them fruits and different kinds of food we eat?
Anonymous

I love your blog! Rats must be one of my favorite pets on the planet. I was wondering if you knew anything about having both a rat and a cat in the same household? I know it must be possible. We have had Wilbur (our rat) for nearly a year now. But we were also looking for a cat in the near future as well. I guess my question is do you have any suggestions on how we would go about it? If you have any experience with it (or anyone you may know)? I just would like to avoid any major problems! Thank you so much!

I don’t have a pet cat, but I know plenty of people have rats, cats and dogs that all get get along.  

Here is some recent feedback from readers on a similar question.

*EDIT: Reader feedback

 alexinwondurland said: My ex-roommate had a cat who actively tried to go after my boy. I’d always be careful with rats around larger animals. Try letting them free range in the bathroom, where you can watch them and they can’t really get away.

 clenched said: I have three cats and they never do anything other than stare at my two rats. They’ve never tried to attack even when the rat is right up in the cat’s face. My cats are all declawed so I don’t have to worry about scratches if a swat is thrown.

I'm getting two male rats nearer to December, and I have heard there is the occaisonal scuffle between male rats in order to gain a heirarchy. I was wondering, do you have any advice as to how I should go about making the introduction as easy as possible (bearing in mind I will have only one large cage)? Or would you recommend getting two females instead? Thank you in advance.
Anonymous

I’ve never had this problem with my girls, but it can be a common problem and there are lots of tutorials on the web about it.  

Here are a few sites that you should find helpful- good luck and keep us updated!

http://ratguide.com/care/behavior/introducing_rats.php

http://www.ratfanclub.org/newrat.html

http://www.ratpalace.com/rat-articles/rat-introductions.php

 

Both male and female rats can be fixed.  Males tend to be quite a bit more aggressive than females, but many owners choose to have their rats neutered to help resolve aggression issues.

  • Boys: Active as youngsters, tend to mellow out as they age, have a little more odor than females, tend to mark more than females, prone to aggression if not neutered.
  • Girls: Active as youngsters, tend to remain active and playful as they age, prone to benign mammary and pituitary tumors later in life if not spayed early.
I thought you'd enjoy this webcomic, published by the cool folks at the Mainely Rat Rescue, a nonprofit rescue covering New England.

http://ratutorials.bruiseye.com/

LOVE MMR!  That’s where our girlie’s from :)