View Full Version : Can't stand this smelly rat!

08-13-13, 01:32 am
My room mate has a male rat, and he seriously stinks up my whole apartment. She keeps the cage clean but he still smells so foul. I bought natures miracle cage odor eliminator but it hardly touched it. I know it is the rat and not the guinea pigs one because it is a very distinct smell, and two because when he is not in the living room the smell is gone. I'm at my wits end as far as what I can do about this, he grosses me out because he smells awful!

Any suggestions as far as what I can do to eliminate this awful smell? I have an air purifier already and use room fresheners but I cannot stand being in my living room without a candle or incense burning.


08-13-13, 01:54 am
Where are your guinea pigs located? If they're in another room, you should see if your roommate will keep their pet elsewhere. If not, maybe make a deal where you move tours if they moved theirs.

Rats are small animals like guinea pigs and (I haven't owned one) from what I hear they are also effected by scents. It's probably doing him more harm, especially if it's a medical ailment causing the odor.. I wouldn't burn or spray anything near the animals.

Has this rat seen a vet at all?

08-13-13, 01:54 am
Sounds like the little guy is really into scent marking. :) While neutering often won't remove much of the musky smell itself, it will lower his testosterone levels & cause him to scent mark less, which in turn may minimize the smell & will prevent testicular cancer. But it's completely up to his owner to decide if that's a risk worth taking with a healthy pet.

08-13-13, 03:07 am
I try not to put the candles too near his cage, its a large living room. The guinea pigs are also in the living room. She's put him in her room a couple times but does not want to keep him in there. The rat has not seen a vet since she first got him from petco this past winter and he was sick. I don't think the vet was very competent but he seems to be doing alright now. I recommended my vet to her after so if the need arises that's where he'll go now but he wouldn't go if he's not ill I'm sure.
Is there anyway to stop that behavior besides neutering? She would definitely not go for that.
I think I may tomorrow pick up done baking soda to put in a dish by his cage to hopefully absorb some odor.

08-13-13, 03:17 am
Avoid scented candles, they often contain toxins in the scent, wax or color, same with air fresheners. Bad for both humans & animals & the smoke from incense can affect their tiny lungs & is surely bothersome to their strong sense of smell.

If she won't even take him to a vet or move him into her room, there is little that can be done really. Why won't she keep him in her room?

08-13-13, 03:35 am
What type of "sick" was he? And was it ever determined if that illness was really solved?

Also, it might help if we could see his environment. Can you upload a couple cage pictures?

08-13-13, 03:40 am
I've never owned a rat but a coworker did and said the males have an awful smell. Might just be their natural scent.

08-13-13, 05:50 am
I used to own rats -- and only ever males. I never had a scent issue. If he is stinking up the entire apartment, its possible that he is sick and/or the cage is not really truly getting clean. What kind of cage does your roommate use? Is it powder coated or galvanized?

08-13-13, 10:34 am
I owned many female rats before and they had quite a smell too, not near as bad as the one male I had. I don't think I will ever have mice or male rats again, they are just too smelly. The females had a smell too but it was containable with good cage cleaning but the male just stunk. No other way to put it.

08-13-13, 03:52 pm
@Coughingcolours (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/members/27599-Coughingcolours) I was not at the vet with him, it was apparently Mycoplasmosis (I think thats what its called?) He is in a 2-3 level super pet cage- I'll try to find a picture online of it or snap one tonight when im home. It is plastic bottoms and coated wire bars.

I know burning things are not good for him, or I, or anyone but I can't help it. Its the only thing right now that makes it bearable, but it is also why I'm asking about any other methods to eliminate the odor and not have to do this. It makes me not only uncomfortable with the smell myself but embarrassed when I have company.

Now i know petstores are not known for their great advice, this was recommended to me by a worker at petco http://www.petco.com/product/114541/Marshall-Ferret-And-Small-Animal-Odor-Remover-Spray.aspx
Anyone know of its safety/effectiveness? I did not buy it but I may. I really hope this is not a pointless endeavor and it can be remedied.

08-13-13, 03:56 pm
I know rat people don't generally have a positive view of Marshall products, but I have no idea of its safety or effectiveness.

08-13-13, 04:04 pm
I use to have just one male rat...he NEVER smelled.
Then after he was de-sexed we adopted two girls from the NZ Rat Rescue...the girls stink...even mum says if we ever adopt any more rats it's de-sexed males all the way...the girls just smell to much for me.

08-13-13, 04:19 pm
That's another thing throwing me- some people swear their rats never smell, some say its only males, some say only females, and some say they all smell. It makes me want to think there is a way of fixing this but I know for sure she won't go for a neuter.
I used to think I really wanted rats and considered them before I got he guinea pigs but I can say for sure now that no, I will never want a rat of my own. But I'm stuck living with this one at the moment.
Other things to consider, he's sneezy and has always been- the vet said he always will be with the myco but behaviorally he acts fine. His feces also are fine so he's not sick in that respect. He eats oxbow rat food not a poor brand. He gets yogurt sometimes and veggies such as lettuce he does not eat much in the way of meat or table scraps.

08-13-13, 04:20 pm
I've always had female rats and I never noticed any odor from them. I have always used Carefresh bedding in their cages. I'm wondering if the smell the OP is noticing is because the cage isn't being cleaned thoroughly or perhaps not frequently enough. I'm probably overdoing it, but I always clean my rat cage three times weekly. The Carefresh will definitely get an odor from the urine if it isn't changed enough. In the nice weather I always put my girls in their play area and then take the cage outside to clean it and then I leave it in the sun for a few hours. That really helps to refresh it.

Since I've never had a male rat I can't say, but I always heard that they have a more musky odor than the girls do.

08-13-13, 04:25 pm
The cage's bedding gets changed several times a week, I'll estimate 2-4, and it gets wiped down. She usually uses Kaytee Clean and Cozy but has used carefresh before too as thats what I use for the guinea pigs.

08-13-13, 05:31 pm
I wish I could offer you better advice. It definitely isn't from the cage then. I'm sure it isn't easy having such an odor in an apartment. You said he had myco when she got him. The belief is that all rats carry that virus and it will often come out during times of stress. However that would not cause an odor such as this. My guess is that this particular rat is just more odoriferous than some other may be.

It would be nice if she would keep him confined to her room. Please don't hate all rats because of this.lol They really do make wonderful pets.

08-13-13, 11:09 pm
I bought a arm and hammer fridge pack to set next to his cage, hopefully that helps absorb some odors. If not familiar with it it is totally unscented and outside the cage so should not hurt him in any way

08-13-13, 11:56 pm
I really hope that does something for the smell. I knowthey work like a charm in my fridge!

08-14-13, 12:00 am
Thanks I sure hope so too!

08-17-13, 11:04 am
I'm not sure if this is still a problem for you, but I currently have 7 rats in my room (2 males, 5 females) and they very rarely smell. And I just use plain old fleece with a litter box for the girls (the boys are getting a bit too old to get in and out of one well now).

What kind of diet does your roommate feed him? Diet makes a HUGE difference. My old males were eating a poorer quality food and they would stink to high heaven in just a few days. I feed Oxbow now, as well as offerings of fresh food daily (pretty much anything healthy that I eat and have some leftovers of, meat, vegetables, grains, etc.). The Oxbow made a really big difference in their poop. It used to be softer, larger and much more smelly. This would probably be the spot I would look first, diet can really change just how potent the smell is.

How is the cage cleaned? I wipe the cage tray for my males every day with a baby wipe (just a plain sensitive-skin style baby, no scents). The fleece is changed out when it gets a bit gross looking (they pee everywhere!) which is usually a few days (4-5 days in some cases). I spray the tray with vinegar and if it has been a while I also use a bit of hydrogen peroxide, as well as wiping the bars off with a baby wipe sprayed with vinegar.

08-17-13, 12:47 pm
Have you told your roommate? She could move him somewhere else, or maybe she knows of a de-odorizer. Maybe tell her (and help her) to give him a bath and switch his bedding.