View Full Version : Rats VS Guinea Pigs

05-10-08, 12:52 pm
So I joined this site a few days ago in the hopes to get a better idea on building a guinea pig cage and to get advice from you lovely people :) everyone here is so nice and helpful, no one is giving the cold shoulder to the newbie. I feel like baking you all cookies.. but emailing real cookies is hard.

Anyways, after humming and hawing over this I decided to ask. What is less maintenance? I'm not trying to sound like a lazy bugger, But I have limited space right now(enough for a 2X3 cage, MABYE a 2X4 if I rearrange my entire bedroom and loose the tv out of my room).

I've had several kinds of critters over the years, 4 pigs, 6 mice, 4 hamsters, 2 lizards, 3 cats, the list goes on. I've never had rats though, and I've always wanted them. When I worked at a pet store a few years back I would always take one of the rats and let him stay on my shoulder while I swept the floors or priced food cans, it helped them get use to being handled by people so they were all cuddly for their new owners.

My bf and I were going to get 2 rats, which has now turned into 2 piggies. However I don't think he knows how much work those little guys are, and how demanding they can be!

Also, I'm currently living with my mother who has two cats. So I dont know how much floor time the pigs could get(However they could get yard time without the cats bugging them). When rats could just chill out on my shoulder or make a nest in my hair lol. I just reliesed how childish that sounds.

So pros and cons? I guess rats can have smaller space, but atleast I could build UP instead of out. They are smaller so they could potentially cost less. But thats why Im asking all of you... If it wasnt for these cats Id just build a giant cage in the living room and tell my mother to deal with it lol.

If Im completely wrong in thinking that rats are less costly/maintence then piggies let me know. I'd rather be aware of the situation then go into it ignorantly!

05-11-08, 10:10 am
My son is a rattie addict. From what he tells me, they require less space and it doesn't sound like they are gormands, like piggies. They don't live quite as long as piggies can and, being more intelligent than piggs (except for mine, of course:) ), they need more human interaction. I used to pet sit a friend's rats and totally enjoyed the experience. I caution, don't use cedar shavings if you go with rats (or piggs for that matter). My friend lost a rat to cedar shavings. Either gives a rewarding relationship. No, it didn't sound childish. I used to love to let Brighteyes, my friend's rat, snuggle up in my hair at the nape of my neck. She would give me little kisses and it would send chills down my back. It was GREAT!

05-11-08, 01:19 pm
I have both ratties and piggers. They both need a lot of maintenance. With pigs though their cages need to be large on a main level sense, meaning longer rather than higher. Ratties can be housed in narrower multi story leveled cages. Meaning you can build up rather than out. Rats need about 2 cubic ft. of space each.

Rattie Mom
05-12-08, 12:18 pm
We have both rats and piggies here. I've had rats for longer, as our 4 piggies have only been with us for a few months now.

The one thing I will caution you on, rats can be every bit expensive and probably more than pigs. Since my piggies are still new and received clean bills of health at the vet, I can only speculate they might not be as "delicate" as rats can be. But rats are definitely NOT cheap pets. I have spent thousands of dollars at our rattie vet, over the years.

I do think you can probably make more room for ratties, as you can build up. We have a 3'x20"x5' cage that is sized for 12 rats (we have 7 in it) that fits in an area smaller than the table we have our 2x5 piggie cage (with a ramp down to a 3x3 area below the table).

I find the piggies to be much more messy than the rats and require more frequent cleaning. Our rats are easier to litter box train. Although the variety of food is more with rats (they eat a lot of what we do), we definitely go through more food with the pigs. We are at the store buying veggies a couple times a week. And of course they go through a lot of hay too. ;)

Although I adore my piggies and can't believe I waited so long to finally get them (I'm in my 40's), they just aren't as cuddly or people friendly as the rats. My piggies are rescues, so we really work with them. I love the sounds my piggies make too. :) But if I am unable to take them out and hold them everyday, they seem totally ok with that. In a way, they are lower maintenance on the human interaction scale than the rats.

Rats require a minimum of "out of cage" time each day. It's fun to have them with you and to ride on your shoulder, but you also need to have a designated play area for them to roam, run, interact with you etc. Our play area is the headboard of our bed (we have one of the cabinet style head boards with dressers on either side, so it's an area about 7 feet long, by 14" wide) with access to an old built in cupboard we took the doors off of. We have the two large shelves lined with fleece and have igloos, hammocks, litter boxes, food and water. They run back and forth and also hang out on the bed with us while we watch tv in the evenings.

I will admit, rats are my absolute favorite pet. They know their names, come when called, adore me, love attention, are THE smartest pet (and I have a cat, dog and 2 bunnies too), and I can't imagine my life without them.

The biggest downfall of having rats as pets, is their short life span. Rats are definitely the heartbreak pet.

05-13-08, 10:51 am
Yea, the rats intelligence is one thing Im more leaning towards, Im a sucker for an animal I can teach tricks to and have it know who I am. I know Piggies can learn it as well, but it seems they mostly acknowledge me as "the food person" as apposed to "MOMMY!" Ok... one of my pigs was the exception to the rule. However I've been going to the local shelters to check out who they have that needs a home. Right now I do have about 5'+ to build upwards, and only about 4' to move outwards, unless I move my TV out of my bedroom lol.

Thankyou both! I also have heard that rats pee can smell really bad? Or is that just a rumor by the people who never change their bedding?

Rattie Mom
05-13-08, 01:46 pm
I think that's just a rumor made by folks that don't clean their rat's cage as often as they should. Of course, rats eat a lot of people type food, including meat....so their poo is going to smell worse than a piggies, for sure. However, rats are very easy to litter train, and you can just dump the boxes frequently. There is NOTHING that smells worse than cat pee though. :eek:

07-11-08, 02:06 pm
Sorry its been awhile and I didnt reply :) I still havn't gotten rats or piggies yet. But the boyfriend and I still have plans. He wanted to buy but I told him not only is it cheaper to adopt(25$ for pig at store, 15$ to adopt) its also just a better idea all around (I have two rescue kitties) We went to the shelter by his house and they said to go to the one by my house. They have many many rats and piggies who need homes and are over run by them. So I do plan on making a visit to find our new babies, we are moving in to our new place in a month or so, and after we settle in we will find 2 piggies or 2 rats.

And Cat pee smells HORRIBLE.

07-11-08, 11:23 pm
If you've had pigs in the past, try the ratties. Get ready for a really fun time though if you get rats.

08-11-08, 02:19 pm
I am an owner...errrmmm...slave of both! Piggies and rats are great in their own ways,but I am definatly a RAT person!!!

However the cons are rats live less then piggies in general and also female rats are prone to tumors,while RI's are common in all rats.I currently have 3 boys (I love the males).They are awesome and so sweet.

Rats are VERY smart and need AT LEAST 1 hour a day out of their cage.Males are also much more laid back then females.I love females too,but tend to like the boys abit more.They are more cuddly and more content to sit with you while you watch TV or go online,then the girlies who wanna run and play and explore.But then again,there are always exceptions...I have had hyper males and laid back females.But for the most part - if you want a lap rat,get males...if you want really playful,adventerous rats,get females.

Vet bills CAN be costly...depending.Surgeries can be anywhere from $100-$230 or more.

Do not use pine or cedar or any other sawdust/softwoods.Oh and rats LOVE hammocks.I find it gets pretty expensive if you keep buying hammocks when they wear out - so I make homemade ones out of old colthes,especially when my 4 yr old daughter grows out of hers!

I love my piggy too...but he is more into food and see's me more of his food supplier then friend,while my rats LOVE me and are constantly wanting my attention and are very affectionate towards me.

Good luck!

12-12-08, 10:33 pm
Rats are exceptional pets. I had always been against having a rat as a pet and couldn't see why anyone else would ever have one either. Then I decided to buy one for my son, I did some researching and found out they loved having a companion... So I went out a few days later and got another one. I rescued both from being snake food... They were little angels.

Wow, these animals are unbelievable. I have one now that learned her name in a matter of minutes and came when called. They are super intelligent... They know who I am talking to and what I am talking about. A rat is like no other pet because they become your trusting, loyal friend to the end. There's nothing like walking in the door and having a bunch of ratties jump up on the side of their cage to say, "Hi mommy!... We're so happy to see you!"... They pass over treats to be loved on and picked up. Unlike humans, their intelligence doesn't tend to give them attitudes.

They do have short life spans but just think of all the little personalities you will have the opportunity to meet! :cheerful: They can have health problems and that can lead to expensive vet bills... However, I've only had two that were sick out of all the ones I've ever had.

Guinea Pigs- Are wonderful, delightful little animals. And when I say, "A rat is like no other pet because they become your trusting, loyal friend to the end"... I honestly have to say guinea pigs follow quickly behind. Mine were a tremendous part of the family... People would love to visit with my piggies when they came over. They loved being held. And, would sit with me for hours if allowed (minus potty breaks... lol). They are not as intelligent as rats but, it doesn't matter because they are so sweet and loving on their own. Mine understood everything I said to them and would even do something if I asked them to. Mine would also interact with me with piggie talk since they thought I was their mommy (I got them when they were babies and still with their mother... And was with them most of the time since). I never had to chase them because they would come over and stand against the side of their cage when they wanted me to pick them up. One would start purring the moment he saw me walk into the room... :love:

To sum this up... I can't say anything negative about either. I've had wonderful relationships with both. Rats are less expensive care-wise because they don't eat as much and take up less space. Both are loving pets and since both of mine always wanted attention I can't say ratties are more affectionate than piggies. A piggie can be somewhat content to sit in its cage while you are in the room if its cage is close to you. Rats will watch your every move to see if you dare step close to their cage. A piggie once in your lap won't want to budge... Whereas, ratties will want to explore.

12-12-08, 11:12 pm
I can say that I like mellow pets more. I love to have them in my lap and not have to be moving because they want to explore. Also, if I am too busy they'll be ok as long as their cage is clean and their food is served. My perfect match are GPs. My hubby prefer energetic pets better. We both chose to get the GPs, but he is not to much into them since they are not his type of pet. I guess there is a perfect pet for everybody! Good Luck finding your new babies...

12-13-08, 04:24 pm
Even though the rats were probably less maintenence, I prefer guinea pigs. I used to have two female rats. At the time I was only about 10 and we got them from a petstore. The cage absoloutly stank after about 2 days after cleaning them.:yuck: Now this is apparently very rare but every time we went to get them out of the cage, they would run and hide. This is pretty common for guinea pigs, although they are very friendly once they are out. The rats would sometimes bite. I have had about 50 guinea pigs altogether and I have never been bitten. Guinea pigs also cost more to look after. But I personally think they are more worth it!

01-23-09, 12:36 pm
Has anyone tried using fleece with their rattie?

01-24-09, 02:58 am
Has anyone tried using fleece with their rattie?

I haven't but lots of people on here do. There are pictures of their Martin's and FN cages in two of the threads.

Goosemoose Pet Portal - Goosemoose Pet Portal - Index (http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat)

Wheek Weak
02-13-09, 03:49 pm
Having had ratties and cavies both, I think the rats were the least demanding, and least expensive of both.

They most certainly did not smell, and they were the most affectionate.

Having said that...I would not trade our piggies for anything in the world!

Whatever you decide, you do want to make sure you cat-proof the piggies or rats and be extremely vigilante about their safety.

02-16-09, 12:41 pm
Has anyone tried using fleece with their rattie?Yes, I use fleece all the time with the rattie gang. They love to burrow under it.

02-17-09, 02:27 am
My family has had both. My daughter had the rats, up to four at a time. She loved her rats. She had a huge rat condo. I have the GP's. Found the care for both about the same. The only drawback was the rat's lifespan. It is way to short. They sure can pack alot of love and fun in that tim

02-17-09, 03:00 am
Did anyone else have rats who bit? Or was it just me? lol
They were petstore rats which might explain it (not my choice, I was 10, I didn't know any better then anyway!)... I remember when we went to choose our ratties they had these horrible glass doors, letting in little ventilation. When the assitant closed the door, he didn't just close it, he slammed it (idiot!) and I saw the ratties jump out of their skin. I have a really bad memory but only remember things that shocked me during my childhood, and that is one of them! I would like to have rats again in the future, fingers crossed next time they will be friendlier, and of course they will be rescues!! :tearsofjo

02-17-09, 11:23 am
In my experience, rats can be really fun and affectionate creatures. I had one as a class pet in 4th grade that would crawl up your arms, hang out on your shoulders, then retire to the inside of your shirt sleeve for a quick nap. It never bit, despite being handled by 30+ kids. That poor rat put up with a lot, thinking back, but it just had the best personality and was sooo loving. I've been DYING for a couple of rats ever since, and as soon as I have a rat-safe cage, I will finally adopt two boys. As long as someone is willing to put in the necessary resources, I always encourage getting rats.

02-19-09, 04:52 pm
Wow, I didn't know that you could use fleece with rats! I've been using carefresh all this time. Deuce, my current rat, will have to get switched to fleece sometime soon. I know he'll love it now that I heard they can burrow under it. I was just worried about him not being able to dig/burrow like he can with the carefresh, but now I know that he will be able to still! Yay.
Also, fleece is probably much better for their sensitive respiratory tracts. They can develop URI's so easily, because they all carry them, but it takes some sort of external or internal stressor to "activate" it. The carefresh is dusty, so hopefully when I switch him to fleece, it will help. lol
Thanks Ly and Caviekisses!

02-19-09, 05:06 pm
I've had problems with using fleece, maybe I'm doing something wrong?

But when I used fleece with Riley, he pushed all of it on one side of the cage then peed where there wasn't fleece, and it stunk sooo bad!! Is there any way I can keep him from doing that?

02-19-09, 06:02 pm
I've had 9 rats over the last 10 years (1 is still with me) and they are brilliant pets if you don't have much floor space for a cage. A lot of the time I think they're like very, very small dogs. They thrive on attention and are happy to learn good manners and tricks. Within a day they would associate me with food and fun and come running. I never had a really cuddly one though, mine all liked being stroked for a couple of minutes then they were off to the next adventure. The only problem I can think of with rats is they live precisely long enough to break your heart.

Which led me to go back to my childhood love of guinea pigs. I'm in my 30's now, have a stable home and I wanted pets with more longevity. I would say my guinea pigs are more work than rats in terms of cleaning, and they cost more because of the amount of veggies and hay they go through but they pay their rent in really good cuddles. I've started calling them my little therapists cos I can't look at them without smiling. And they've had me in tears of laughter at their antics and popcorning. They're not as quick on the uptake, but my boys are slowly learning that me whistling means I have goodies. They are also far easier to find sitters for if you have to go away. I've had volunteers already for my piggies, from people who certainly wouldn't volunteer to take my rats.

Whichever you get I really don't think you can lose.

03-21-09, 04:05 pm
Before i got bella i was considering getting a rat or two, my boyfriends brother has 4 and their lovely but i heard that they have no bladder control and could not be potty trained. I noticed when i would take the rats out and play with them they would poo and sometimes pee everywhere and the last thing i wanted was to have a rat on my shoulder and feel a warm liquid running down my back :P but that could be because they were not potty trained. I would have to say though that i do love the rats, bella is wonderfully but she was an adoptive and even after having her for 4-5 months she's quite skidish and dosent seem to enjoy her time out of the cage, the rats on the other hand LOVE coming out adn kissing you and cuddeling and everythign else. Hopefully with more love and time she'll turn around but i think the next pet will be either a younge piggy or a rat

03-21-09, 04:18 pm
i heard that they have no bladder control and could not be potty trained. I noticed when i would take the rats out and play with them they would poo and sometimes pee everywhere and the last thing i wanted was to have a rat on my shoulder and feel a warm liquid running down my back

Were the rats male? If they were, they were probably just marking things (I have been marked countless times by my male rat :yuck:). And they can be potty trained, wish mine were. I also believe it's harder to potty train a guinea pig than it is a rat.

03-21-09, 07:15 pm
no all 4 are female