Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

For anything to do with rat care that doesn't fit into any of the sections above!
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phylline
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Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by phylline » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:01 pm

Hey, I'm 15, 16 in August - when I was very young, my family kept two rats, I must have been around 6-7ish. From what I know, they were very well taken care of, the thing is, it was my grandparents who took care of them, and they are now passed away.
I completely adore rats. I spend ages researching on their specific physiology and neurology, I can watch a cage of rats for hours.
My parents recently divorced, and when we're moved house in a couple of months my mother agreed to let me keep rats so long as she doesn't have to take care of them (she said she's happy to put up the financial side of things as I can't, but so long as it's me who actually handles the rats, cleans the cage, etc etc). I'm absolutely over the moon, but I'm very nervous.

I've researched like heck and back about behaviour etc and I'm pretty sure I'm up to the responsibility (I do plenty of volunteer work, and when I'm set on something I stick to it), but I'm still incredibly scared I'll make a lousy owner. Is there any advice you can give or any resources you can point me towards please??

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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by stormsmuggler » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:27 pm

Read read and read some more of this forum and ask questions, whatever pops into your head someone will have either had the experience or have an opinion and give you an answer. Let us know where abouts you are as someone may invite you round to see their rats and set ups which will help in you making a final descision as to whether they are the right pets for you. You may get to see both sexes as they are very different and this will steer you better in making your choice when the time comes. Do not be hasty in falling for the first pretty face you see, if you can visit a few breeders you will find that rats have very different personalities. please don't be tempted to go down the pet shop route, there are loads of rescues looking for good forever homes and babies do crop up too.
:luck: good luck with your search Welcome to the forum and I'm sure when you get your ratties they wil bring you great joy .
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by Athena » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:42 pm

Try and get to a rat show too, to meet lots of rat a holics! You will get to see a lot of varieties there too!
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by popidler » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:22 pm

Welcome to the forum :)

It sounds like you're making a good start already - research and reading as much as you can is great. There's a wealth of information on the FR boards and don't be worried about asking questions here.

What I found helpful before I got my rats was to work out what I'd do with them in various scenarios - where was my nearest vet who was experienced with rats, who would look after them while I was away and so on. I didn't want to suddenly find myself with a sick rat and not know where to take her - it's stressful enough as it is without worrying whether the vet has enough experience with rats and would know about dosage, anaesthesia etc. I also had to think about where I'd be in 2-3 years time, and how likely it was that I could keep rats then. While I've had to move house since getting them, I've been lucky enough to find accommodation that's pet-friendly.

Getting to meet some rats before you decide would be a great idea too. Shows are good for this, but there are a number of breeders and rat owners in Yorkshire who might let you visit.
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by KateR » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:25 pm

Hello and welcome. I see you're in Yorkshire. Check out the Yorkshire Rat Club (website linky in my signature). We have regular shows and have a breeders list too (tho don't forget rescues are an option too). We had a show yesterday at the Northallerton county fair, the next one is in Cleveland in July but we're having a PR thingy at the Denholme gala at the start of july. You're welcome to come and meet our lot too if you're near Leeds.
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by Hanlou » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:11 pm

Quite frankly; people who worry about how good an owner they are / will be are usually excelllent owners loll! People that are complacent and unwilling to learn / accept advice are the 'problem sort' owner-wise! :D

Absolute 'musts' in terms of ratty care - a good sized cage, safe substrate, a good diet and good healthcare. Obviously; environment enrichment etc are also important as is somewhere safe to free range outside the cage. Really and truly with research all these needs can easily be met. You do however need to be prepared to invest money-wise in setting them up to start with and then be prepared to pay out what can sometimes be relatively large amounts of money for vet bills etc.

Rat care (like all pets) is something you never perfect in my opinion - I have been keeping rats with a few gaps for about 16 years but certainly the way I do things now is very different to what I did when I started out. My current rats' diet is totally different to the diet my previous group had. You never stop learning! :P

I'm in Derbyshire and just got my current babies from a breeder (on here) in Sheffield. Sourcing your pet rats is a very important decision - a reputable rescue or a good, ethical breeder are the best options.
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by Bazu » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:46 pm

It could also be worth having a look at the rescue/rehome boards on here - if the person rehoming them lives nearby, they might be able to help you out early on too, to get a feel for the rats' behaviour, how to handle them, things to watch out for etc. It's always nice to have a one-to-one safety net like that, but if all else fails this forum is inhabited more or less 24/7 so there's a second safety net here too :lol:

Other than that, just keep doing what you're doing - read like crazy, ask questions, offer your thoughts and see what people have to say on them. Remember, there's no such thing as a stupid question - only stupid mistakes :)
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by phylline » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:10 am

Thankyou so much for all the advice!!! :D I'm a lot less worried, although I'm still still slightly nervous about doing something wrong. I guess that never goes away though?

Thanks for all the advice about rat shows particularly, it was something I hadn't considered, but something I'll definitely go to now. :) KateR, I'm around half an hour away from Leeds and the Yorkshire Rat Club looks perfect. :)

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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by Jemma » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:48 am

If you can make it there's a NERS show over in Preston this saturday (short notice i know and a bit further away) which isn't normally too far for yorkshire folk. YRC shows are quite regular too and NERS have a closer show up in Stillington (county durham), we're actually quite spoilt for rat shows in the north of england
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by little_rat_lover » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:01 pm

The fact you're researching is fantastic to begin with!

Lots of us here aren't much older than you - I'm 19 and got my 1st rat at 14. And yes, I got a single one too! :oops: Got my first rescues at 16 :) Generally most places if you're under 16 will want parental permission, a lot under 18, which you obviously have, so as long as you have a plan in place financially and also practically (mostly for getting to vets) I'd imagine most rescues/breeders will be satisfied :)

As for the responsibility side - again, this comes down to research, which you're doing :D

I'm not sure the worry about doing things wrongly ever goes away, certainly hasn't for me yet :lol: There's so so so many options and nobody can definitively say which diet etc is correct, although I think reggie rat being not a good one is agreed by almost everyone :lol: And half of it is balancing it for the rats you have at the time as some rats are more prone to weight gain etc :roll: It's a bit trial and error for most people until they find what works. And then they tweak it more :lol: And whenever I have a ratty ill I wonder if it's something I've done wrong :roll:


Anyway I'm sure you'll be having ratties soon, once you meet them they're a little addictive :love:
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Re: Some advice about 'getting rats' please!! :)

Post by RCTlisa » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:10 am

Highly recommend the Yorkshire Rat Club - lots of very friendly people always on hand to help and chat. Rat show are certainly one of the best way of learning about rats
Websites: RCT Rats, RCT Stud
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