View Full Version : Cost of Rat Ownership?

04-18-12, 09:11 am
Last week, when my roommate and I were at the animal shelter, we saw a pair of rats up for adoption, with their cage, for $5. (It was a small cage and I would have to upgrade, but it would do as a temporary measure until I found something better.) It was very tempting to take them, but my main concern was the cost of owning them.

How much do you rat owners spend on your rats per month, what bedding do you use for them, and how likely are they to get sick and need to go to the vet? I'll have the chance to pick them up this weekend if I want them, but I want to make sure that I'm not jumping into something I can't handle.

06-21-12, 12:55 am
Hello, i'm the proud owner of five rattie girls. First of all i applaud that you want to adopt. I adopted four of my five :) Second check out here JoinRats - Socialize Pet Rats, Build Trust, Introductions, Rat Health, and More (http://www.joinrats.com/)
Its a very nice rattie website that will help you lots with any questions. They also have a very friendly and helpful yahoo group.

From my personal experience, back when i only had two rats i can say that their decently expensive but it depends were you live. My vet ended up charging me 250$ the first time my rat was sick. I've since found a cheaper one though. I don't know were you live but here Rat Vets--NY, RI, PA, CT - The New York City Rat Meetup Group (New York, NY) - Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/New-York-Rat-Group/messages/boards/thread/4402023) are some good rat vets. Rats are very likely to get respiratory illness at some point in their life, especially if you don't take care. Some bedding is poisonous to them. Some bedding is too dusty and stimulates respiratory illness. Cleaning should happen at least once a week. Litter training will help cut down on bedding cost but it won't eliminate it. Be careful on what cage you get (or make) wire flooring if too large can be very dangerous for a rat. Its best to cover them up with something. Or at least give them little rest areas were they can get off the wire floor. I highly suggest the food they have here Mainely Rat Rescue, Food Store (http://www.mainelyratrescue.org/store2/) and all proceeds go to helping ratties :) Or try subees rat mix. You make it yourself but it makes a lot and its really healthy. Commercial food is usually really junkie and unhealthy. Also these are some really good, cheep(ish) cages Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs. (http://www.martinscages.com/products/cages/rat/) i suggest either the highrise or rat tower. Do lots of research :3 and feel free to ask me anything i didn't cover

edit - Oh and i generally use carefresh bedding. I buy it in bulk from petco. It lasts me a long time and you can usually find it on sale. Get a petco pals rewards card. They notify you every time they have a sale. How much you spend a month depends on how big the cage is. I have a HUGE cage so i'm not sure but if you buy the biggest package on petco of carefresh natural bedding i'd say it'd last you a few months if you cleaned the cage every week XD like maybe 3? not sure though

06-29-12, 05:16 am
Be cautious with Suebee's mix- its very fattening and will lead to overweight rats. I used to feed all my rats the Suebee mix and all my rats were overweight which can lead to additional health issues, hence those expensive vet bills. Also avoid Carefresh if you plan on getting any type of hairless or patchwork coat variety of rat as it is extremely dusty. I quit using it as not only my rats, but I was developing sneezing fits whenever it was time to change the cage. Not only that but its not as odor absorbant as it claims. Feel free to check out my blog (The Rat Whisperer (http://ratwhisperer.blogspot.com)) for additonal info on rats from diet, cages, bedding, cleaning tips, toys, etc.

09-06-12, 02:29 pm
I would not say that rats are that expensive, if you have guinea pigs you can use many things from them for the rats.

Fleece is one of the most cheapest bedding options, and one of the most recommended. This forum has some great pionters on makeing liners too. Some people find Carefresh a little too dusty, but it should be fine, but it is SUPER expensive. Yesturdays news (or any other paper-pellet cat litter) works great too, but again this can get pricey. Vedgetable-based newspaer is also a cheap (and free) bedding option.
Wood shavings, corn cob, non-vegetable based newspaper,sawdust, and any other dusty beddings are unsafe for them.
I highly recommend litter training your rats, but don't expect them to always use the potty for peeing though. I'll post some how-to websites at the end.

NEVER use any seed-mix's for rats, it's SUPER UNHEALTHY for them. If you want to use commercial food use eithar the Oxbow brand-labblocks or Harlan Teklan lab blocks, I THINK Mazuri is also a decent block too. Make sure to have a grain mix (recipes found online) when useing labblocks or dog food. Make sure to feed veggies and friut daily as well. a lower-proitein (senior or over-weight) based dog food is an okay alternative to labblocks.

Rats LOVE toys. Hammocks, tubes, balls, stuffies, hides, levels, bird pirches, ladders, boxes, dig box, maze, cuddle cups, tents, bird toys, ramps, cargo nets, buddies, hidden food, LARGE wheels, chew sticks, branches, leaf pile, etc. are great toys. Make sure that they have a lot of them, as they are super smart and get bored easily.

The rats cage should be tall and have a good sized footprint. it should be no less than 14" wide for girls or 16"wide for boys. It should allow for adiquite climbing space for climbing and hanging toys. it should be no less than 24" high. it should be around 20" long. This is for two rats.

I would say that the first time expense ( not including cage, but including toys, food, hides, rats, etc) around 50-100$+. After that the cost will be around 20-30$, depending on what you use for them. The cage can be anywhere from 50-400$.

Websites (but not all):
Homemade Things for Pet Rats (http://www.squidoo.com/homemade-rat-cages-and-toys)
Pet Rat Toys: Homemade Toys for Pet Rats and Other Pocket Pets (http://www.squidoo.com/pet-rat-toys-how-to-make-homemade-toys-for-pet-rats)
Fancy Rats | Home (http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/home/)
Ratz R Us, Rat Health And Care Guides (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/)
The Dapper Rat (http://www.dapper.com.au/)
Rat Forum (http://www.ratforum.com/)

hope this helps.