My Sons Rats Smell

For everything to do with rat housing, from cages, litter and bedding to accessories and toys for your rat. Not for advertising items for sale.
Mooky
Member
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:12 am

My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Mooky » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:24 am

Hello,

I was wondering if you could help?

I brought my son (8yrs) 2 rats a few months ago. But I'm finding they smell bad.

They (2 boys Zach & Joe) live in an indoor rabbit cage, its really big; room for 3 rats by the online calculator. They are cleaned out 2 times a week, to try an minamise the smell. We use woodpulp cat litter (Its what the pet store recommended).
the cage has ropes, hammocks and wooden shelves etc inside. which are all washed every time they are cleaned out.
I read quite a lot b4 buying them, and it said that boys will often sent mark, but i had read that that shouldn't really smell. I phoned my vet, to ask about Neutering them (to try and stop them sent marking), but they wont do it, said its to risky with small rodents.

Has anyone here had the same problem, and did you manage to overcome it? and tips or tricks? or is this something im just going to need to bear with?

any help would be really greatfully recived, they are great little charactors and i'd hate to have to kick them out of my living room into my sons bedroom, i think they would find that lonely.

User avatar
Ratty_Rhian
Member
Member
Posts: 2726
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:20 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Ratty_Rhian » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:29 am

Ok, The litter you have isn't really good for them. Most people use things like Finacard, Aubiose, megazorb, Carefresh as substrate (substrate = what goes on the floor of the cage).

You can help with smells by litter training them. You get a corner litter tray and put in paper cat litter e.g. yesterdys news and any stray poos you put in. These should be changed every or every other day depending on your rats.

It also helps to wipe pee off any plastic shelves daily as this can start to smell and change any fabrics such as hammocks twice a week.

It may be that you are cleaning them too much and are scent marking because of it. If you use the above tips then you should only need to clean them out once a week. I have 5 rats and mine only get a full clean once a week and I'm a super clean freak.
Anwen, Ceinwen , Delyth, Hazel, Ruby, Willow :smileyrat:
Astrid, Beth, David, Dora, George, Josephine, Jonathan, Maisy, Mel, Merlin, Patra :rainbow:

Member of the EC!

User avatar
snaisby
Member
Member
Posts: 2197
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:45 am
Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by snaisby » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:33 am

are they litter trained? if not, here's an article which may help :)

wood pulp cat litter is not a good substrate for rats - any wood based substrates may contain phenols which can damage their respiratory systems and livers. there are lots of substrates out there which are safer and may also help your smell problem; pulped cardboard litter (eg Carefresh, Megazorb), chopped cardboard (eg. Walmsley Premierbed, Finacard, EcoPetBed) and hemp beddings (eg Aubiose). all of these (except Carefresh) are actually horse beddings, some of them are now marketed at small animals too though.

i use Premierbed cardboard for my 3 boys, with Megazorb in the litter trays, and with emptying the litter trays daily and spot cleaning any stray wees/poos i find they dont smell bad at all. i also know a lot of people use Aubiose for keeping down smells as it has a 'lemony' scent to it.

hope that helps :)
Sarah :)
Mum to Russian Bloo Titus :smileyrat: Black Self Pike :smileyrat: Ginger Splodgy Pan :smileyrat: & Io the Ivory :smileyrat:
RIP my beautiful boys Dylan, Domino and Dexter
and my past girls: Noodle, Pax and Pinky

Mooky
Member
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:12 am

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Mooky » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:46 am

I brought a litter tray, and was trying to get them litter trained. Nowever my son wasn't keen on moving any stray poos, so they wheren't really getting the hang of it. Although i did see them using the litter tray.
I am allergic to rodents :( sad as i love all little furrys. Rats being bigger are especially bad for me, and Zach & Joe are such friendly little guys that when i put my hand in to tryed moving poo to litter train them myself, i would get touched/walked on and that would set off my allergys for a few hours. I tryed using gloves, but they liked to nibble the plastic and i got bit.

I have ordered Carefresh from eBay, hopefull it'll be here soon, and Ill have strong words with my son, and get him to start litter training again, and wiping down the shelves in the morning when he feeds and waters them. Maybe that will help. Should he use pain water, or a disinfectant solution? being wooden shelves, i have only used water up to now, as i didn't want them absorbing anything that might harm The Boy's.

User avatar
yoshimi
Member
Member
Posts: 2066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:59 am
Location: Leeds
Contact:

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by yoshimi » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:51 am

Is it a wooden rabbit hutch? I know you mentioned wood shelves, so it applies anyway. Wood wil absorb and hold urine and scent marking, so unlike plastic whcih you can wipe, and fabric which you can put in the washing machine, all that wood will just be holding the smell, letting it marinade. The best thing I can advise is getting rid of, or covering/painting any wood in the cage to stop it absorbing the yuck.

I agree with yoru vet in that neutering wouldn't be a good option for these boys in this instance, the scent marking probalbly isn't the problem as much as the urine.

Also you can try changing the fabric in the cage daily and washing it in a biological washing powder to make sure all fo the bacteria is definitely gone.#

Also as for what to use to wipe things down, I recommend white vinigar diluted in water, completely pet safe but kills bugs & smells.
The Goodwin Girls: Freya, Hnoss, Saga, Sagatoo, Dita, Strike Bullet & Hel :girly: RIP Champs, most recent to the bridge
Sarah Carling on Twitter, Sarah Carling on Linkedin, Sarah Carling on Facebook

maddy
Member
Member
Posts: 928
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:23 pm
Location: edinburgh/reading

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by maddy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:53 am

i would change the shelvs to plastic ones
wodin ones will absorb the wee and hang on to the oder
new forum: feel free to join, , http://ratworld.forumotion.co.uk/

User avatar
Ratty_Rhian
Member
Member
Posts: 2726
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:20 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Ratty_Rhian » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:56 am

Maybe you could get your son some goves so he doesn't have to touch the poo. Even fabric ones would be ok if you washed them regularly. I agree the wood thing too, that could be the cause of the smelliness.
Anwen, Ceinwen , Delyth, Hazel, Ruby, Willow :smileyrat:
Astrid, Beth, David, Dora, George, Josephine, Jonathan, Maisy, Mel, Merlin, Patra :rainbow:

Member of the EC!

Mooky
Member
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:12 am

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Mooky » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:01 pm

No its a wire cage, with a plastic base.

I got wooden shelves thinking they could chew them to, not that they do, lol. Would varnishing them be safe? Or would swapping for plastic be the best option?

To change the hammocks daily i'd need to make some more, lol. no biggy though, and they do get smells. Good idea :)

Thanks for the white vinager tip, ill do that now, might help while i sort out whats best to do :D

User avatar
yoshimi
Member
Member
Posts: 2066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:59 am
Location: Leeds
Contact:

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by yoshimi » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:18 pm

You can use plastikote child safe spray paint to paint them, or cover them with sticky back plastic, or get plastic shelves, I have seen all done. As it's just the shelves you can also soak them over night in antibacterial washing up liquid, then soak for a while in hot hot water to rinse, I tend to find that gets the smells out of wood quite well.
The Goodwin Girls: Freya, Hnoss, Saga, Sagatoo, Dita, Strike Bullet & Hel :girly: RIP Champs, most recent to the bridge
Sarah Carling on Twitter, Sarah Carling on Linkedin, Sarah Carling on Facebook

User avatar
snaisby
Member
Member
Posts: 2197
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:45 am
Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by snaisby » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:19 pm

rats dont 'need' to chew, contrary to popular belief - they will keep their teeth down by grinding them together. its a good thing that you dont have chewers, or you might find them happily chomping their way through the plastic base :lol:

you can use plastikote or japlac child-safe paint to coat the wooden shelves, just make sure it says 'safe for use on childrens toys' on the back. i think one of those companies do a clear child-safe varnish, there are lots of other pretty colours you can use though :) once they are coated you can just wipe them clean. plastic shelves would be fine too. equinecaninefeline.com is probs the cheapest place to get good ratty accessories.

have you tried using long sleeved tops and cotton gloves when handling the ratties? its a shame you cant interact with them much, they are such lovely pets :) i take it your son isnt allergic though, so they do get handled & get out of cage time?
Last edited by snaisby on Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sarah :)
Mum to Russian Bloo Titus :smileyrat: Black Self Pike :smileyrat: Ginger Splodgy Pan :smileyrat: & Io the Ivory :smileyrat:
RIP my beautiful boys Dylan, Domino and Dexter
and my past girls: Noodle, Pax and Pinky

User avatar
yoshimi
Member
Member
Posts: 2066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:59 am
Location: Leeds
Contact:

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by yoshimi » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:22 pm

Just thought, you can hang old clothes up as hammocks, they love things like the legs of fjeans, old t.shirts (they tend to like to climb inside between the front and back :) ) etc. So anything your son grows out of or gets holes in can be repurposed. Also cheap tea towels with a hole poked in each corner make greay hammocks.
The Goodwin Girls: Freya, Hnoss, Saga, Sagatoo, Dita, Strike Bullet & Hel :girly: RIP Champs, most recent to the bridge
Sarah Carling on Twitter, Sarah Carling on Linkedin, Sarah Carling on Facebook

Mooky
Member
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:12 am

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Mooky » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:47 pm

You guys are all so great :D so many wonderful ideas :) thank you all!

No my son's not allergic, none of the childern are, its just me :( i was ok as a kid had loads of hamsters etc. when i left home i used to breed Russian dwaves (hamsters), i had 2 rats then (Trixi & Peter) Trixi used to spend lots of time on my shoulder while i did house work etc and i was ok, but one day i was cleaning them out and peter was about to climb out of the box i was keeping them safe in and my hands where wet, so i hooked his foot off the box by running my face up it, and where i touched him went red an swollen, been the same ever since. Dont stop me letting the kids have them though :D
My younger 2 have hamsters, i can hold them, as long as they stay on rough skin on my hands, it's if they go on the inside of my arm, or my chest (if i have a low cut top), they do it to. I'll still handle them all sometimes, or when i have to, and i enjoy stroking The Boys through the bars of their cage, and feeding them treats. I tried wearing a sweat shirt, cos it was nice and thick, but they are so curios that the try to get inside it, up the sleaves, down the neck, lol. Lovely and sweet but not great when im left swollen and itching, with a runny nose and itchy eyes for hours afterward :)

My son loves getting them out, we made a HUGE playpen out of corragated PVC roofing. And hes often sat in there with them climbing all over him. But they dont came out everyday :( Once we get home from school, and done homework, dinner & bath there often isn't time to set up the playpen. We are also looking after my brothers dog atm to, an she'll happily eat The Boys given a chance, or it would be easyer, as my son could just sit on the floor with the door open. I got a rat ball, but they dont like it.
But they get lots of attention, are very friendly and curious, they are very happy to be handled and picked up. but then I dont need to tell you all how great rats are as pets :D

User avatar
Love-rat
Member
Member
Posts: 1927
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:00 pm
Location: Newcastle term-time

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by Love-rat » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:14 pm

Buy an air purifier, I find it good for keeping smells down. I use stuff called tap a drop in it, which you can buy from the rat warehouse. You can also put a few drops on a tissue in the room and that works relatively well. I wouldn't use any other air freshener though, as rats have sensitive respiratory systems. I use aubiose, it is the substrate hemcore that has the lemony smell, not aubiose. Aubiose is good for keeping smells down though, personally I would avoid hemcore as it is scented. It might be more economical for you to use something like ecopetbed or aubiose rather than carefresh, it's will save you a lot of money. If you type the name in google you will find local suppliers and places to buy it online like G J W Titmus - the bales are huge and last ages so don't be put off by the initial outlay.

Japlac and Enamel Plastikote are "child safe" and therefore safe for rats. Covering your shelves with this or perhaps buying some fablon should help. Ferplast corner shelves are better as they don't absorb wee, but your son will have to be prepared to wipe them down every day as rats seem to love weeing on plastic. Neutering is unlikely to stop the smell, some people think that females are more smelly than boys! I would change vets if I were you, neutering isn't necessary for your boys, but it should be something that a competent rat vet can do easily. Your boys may be ill in the future and you will need a vet who knows about medication for rats and treatments. Here's a link to recommended vets, If you type in the search box your nearest town or area you will save yourself from having to trawl through:
http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/v ... hp?t=36273
Alternatively you could post on the forum asking about vets in your area, I really would change vets though.

Ohh and have you tried taking piriton? It might be worth a try to try and reduce your reaction to the rats, it must be hard to live with.
RIP Fuzz and Fuzzier: HKM Chomsky, my licky chomsk (re rbp smeeze) :dumbo: HKM Scabbers, my lovebug scabs (agouti rex) :smileyrat: Magic oh oh oh it's magic.. (black berky) :baby: and Pablo my bubi (minky berky) :baby:

vulpes
Member
Member
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 6:36 pm
Location: Barnsley South Yokshire

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by vulpes » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:54 pm

you could get a 'poop scoop' from pets at home, they cost 99p I think, obviously meant for cat litter trays but the pets at home ones have quite small holes so they are ideal (obviously one with big holes the poo will just drop out)

I also heartily recommend Aubiose for smells, I used to used it, the only reason I switched was because the cage I have now has a very shallow tray and it went everywhere but I think it would stay in an indoor rabbit style cage because they are quite deep usually

also not sure if anyone has mentioned this but if you clean a cage too often it can cause the rats to over scent the place, I swap the hammocks out every couple of days (depending how how much they have been used) but I try and leave one 'used' hammock in my cage when I do my big weekly clean out so there is something with their smell on to discourage that kind of thing
Captained by James, Tiberius and Kirk

User avatar
MistressSadako
Member
Member
Posts: 8123
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:03 pm
Location: Preston, Lancs

Re: My Sons Rats Smell

Post by MistressSadako » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:43 pm

I would probably go for changing to plastic shelves...from experience fablon doesn't work (wee always get underneath and stinks) and I find that even 2-3 coats of plastikote will fade off with frequent wiping. You can get plastic shelves from Equine Canine Feline and if you enter FANCY RATS in the discount code box at the check out you get 10% off 8)

Just wanted to add that the vet isn't entirely correct in saying that neutering is roo risky in such a small animal - neutering is carried out more than you might think, but generally only for agression or other health problems. I don't know how much it would help with scent marking anyway, I have a neutered boy and he always scent marks me and things like the remote control/mobile phone :lol:

ETA if you find that the carefresh doesn't keep the smells down you could try Finacard - I'm not a fan of carefresh and find it's quite rubbish with smells. I have 15 rats and finacard keeps their smell to a minimum 8)
Stacey and the residents of Muse Rattery
Missing all my past ratties :hearts:
North of England Rat Society - next show Saturday 25thJune, Preston

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests