Hundreds of rats find homes at PetSmart adopt-a-thon
Remember the large number of rats we took into our care in late December when nearly 600 were removed from an apartment in North Bay and transferred to Ontario SPCA animal centres and humane societies across the province?
To help us find loving homes for our little friends, PetSmart hosted a rat adopt-a-thon, sponsored by PetSmart Charities®, at a number of stores across the province from Jan. 21 to Feb. 12. Thanks to their support, over 350 rats found new homes!
Do rats make good pets?
Rats are friendly animals and, when properly socialized, can be very affectionate! They have lots of energy and are animals who love to keep themselves clean. Because rats are very social, we recommend adopting two or more so they can keep each other company. Did we mention they are also exceptionally smart? They can be taught to come when they’re called and can even learn tricks!
How do you care for a pet rat?
Whether you’ve had a pet rat before, or you’re a first-time owner – here are some tips you need to know. The ASPCA has a very helpful guide for tips on food, cage size, exercise and more here. Today, we’re going to share some of those tips!
In every pet supply store and feed store you should be able to find high-quality “rat blocks.” Look for a brand with soymeal as the main ingredient.
Your rat should have access to water 24/7. The best way to do this is with a water-bottle drinking tube attached to the side of their cage.
You can also offer bite-sized bits of fresh fruit and vegetables daily. The ASPCA recommends peas, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas and recommends avoiding chocolate, corn, candy, caffeinated beverages, cheese and sticky foods such as peanut butter.
Remember the movie Ratatouille? Well it’s true that rats love people food. You can give occasional bits of table food like cooked pasta or pizza crust. Make sure to limit these treats so you don’t have a fat rat!
Cage & Environment
Rats are very social, and the ASPCA advises to keep them in pairs at a minimum. To read their recommendations for gender and ages that are most compatible, see the full brochure.
The ASPCA recommends a solid-bottom, powder-coated wire cage for your rat. The absolute minimum size for a pair of rats is 2’ X 2’ X 2’, but they suggest getting the largest cage you can afford and can accommodate in your home. The best location for the cage is inside, away from drafts, direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
The cage should be lined with bedding, but do not use cedar or pine chips as they contain oils dangerous to rats. Many rats like to make nests, so provide them with shredded paper towels or napkins to do this. Your rats will also appreciate a cave for sleeping and resting, which could be a small flower pot or box.
Behaviour and handling
Rats are friendly animals, but they still need time to get used to you and being handled. The ASPCA suggests starting this process by feeding small treats by hand. Once they’re comfortable with that, you can pick them up with one hand supporting the bottom and the other on the back.
When your rat is hand-tamed you can start giving them time outside the cage to play. The ASPCA says out-of-cage playtime is mandatory and will keep your smart, active friends mentally stimulated and physically fit. They do need to be continually supervised, however, because rats will chew anything they come across!
Find information on exercise and toys, daily care and signs of illness on the full blog here.
Visit your local animal centre to meet their small animals waiting for adoption! You could find a forever friend: http://meetyourmatch.ontariospca.ca
We have supported the OSPCA since 1951
We have supported OSPCA since our arrival in Canada in 1951. Keep up the greatest T.L.C. for animals.