About Pet Rats and Cats–You Need to Know

Pet Care


August 30, 2020

For pet owners living in apartments, pet rats and cats are perfect since they are quiet and do not require lots of room to play. Cats are generally low-maintenance, both physically and financially. You can choose whatever cat breed you prefer, from Maine Coon, Bengals, Moggies, Persians, Ragdolls, Siamese, you name it.

Depending on the breed, one walk per day, or every other day, is adequate for your pet cat as long as they have access to food, water, and a litter box. Although cats can get along, it’s best to start with one first. These feline creatures take personal space to new heights.

Pet rats do much better when in pairs as compared to cats. However, be sure to purchase rats of the same gender if you aren’t ready to start a large rat family. They are also nocturnal beings, so if you are a light sleeper, beware of where you decide to keep them in your house.

Female rats are generally smaller in size and more playful compared to their male counterparts. This fact shouldn’t surprise you since the same is the case in other animal kingdoms, including humans. As with cats, rats are also low-maintenance pets.

Choosing a Pet Rat and Cat

There are many factors to consider before bringing home a pet. Put in mind the cat’s age, gender, their coat length and thickness (or the lack of one), their expected lifespan, among other things. Your cat’s breed will automatically determine some of their behavioral patterns and physical characteristics as well.

Unlike most pets, rats are classified in types rather than breeds. These types range in coat colors, coat type and pattern, eye color, ear size, and body type.

Although coat color is the most distinguishable feature on rats, it does not determine any other traits they may have. In essence, most pet rats originate from a type of rat called Norway rat, which happens to be a good swimmer.

What You Need to Know About Pet Cats

Most cat litters comprise between one and nine kittens. Therefore, as a new owner, you should be extra cautious of your feline’s reproduction. Cross-breeding also occurs in cats. You should find out what breeds of cats are in your neighborhood that could potentially be mates for your cat from the onset. Should you wish to neuter your kitty, get in touch with your vet for advice.

What You Need to Know About Pet Rats

Contrary to the common superstition about rats, they are super clean creatures. They often groom themselves as they do not like being dirty. Their habitat is also usually very tidy.

Rats have a gestation period of 21 days, and though their lifespan is short (12 to 24 months), they can breed all year round in optimum conditions. A litter from a typical female rat is between 7 and 14, making their reproduction rate relatively high.

Caring for Kittens

Kitten owners need to ensure they keep their feline friends warm using a heating pad or a wrapped hot water bottle. Your veterinarian will specify the ideal temperatures for your pet. A newborn kitten averagely weighs 100g. You can expect their body weight to double or triple depending on the breed during the first weeks. Be careful when handling your kitten. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary injury. 

Caring for Baby Rats

Baby rats are also called pups or kittens. New mothers and their pups should always be separated from adult male rats to ensure their safety. After birth, the young ones should be cleaned continuously and fed by their mother until they are four weeks old. After that, the male pups must be separated from their mother as they could potentially impregnate her.

By the time kittens are six weeks old, they have established typical rat behavior and are ready to join a new human family.

Cat Training and Behavior

Before training a pet cat, it is vital to understand their behavior patterns fully. Using irresistible, tasty treats is an excellent way to get started. It is crucial to mention that you should avoid punishing your furry friend. Doing so will prompt them to run away instead of learning from their mistake. Instead, use a clicker and keep the training sessions short and simple.   

Rat Training and Behavior

Rats establish a social hierarchy. Typically, one male dominates over all the other rats. In some tiny cages, territorial rats may become unnecessarily aggressive and kill the weaker rats. With some much-required patience and positive reinforcement, you can litter train your pet rat, and also get them to perform tricks. Studies show that rats enjoy training sessions, and it improves their quality of life.

However, it would be best to entice your rat with the “perfect” treat to get them interested in learning new tricks.

Playtime With Your Pet Cat

Having unique playtime toys that you use with your kitty goes a long way in getting them excited for playtime. Toys with varying motions, speeds, and sounds are sure to keep your furry friend hooked.

A mixture of both outdoor and indoor experiences will help stimulate your cat and keep monotony at bay. Having creative hiding spots that you can hide treats and have your cat find them is a rewarding way for good behavior during playtime.

Playtime With Your Pet Rat

Rats often keep themselves busy by playfully wrestling or cleaning each other. However, they also require to be taken out of their cage every 1 to 2 hours daily. Therefore, rat-proofing your home is very important as it ensures your rat’s safety outside the cage. Having special toys for your pet rats is also highly recommended, more so if you can play with them throughout the day.

Cat Nutrition

Just like with human beings and other animals, water is essential for your cat’s survival. Although diets vary among different breeds and age groups, cats generally require a balanced meal consisting of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In particular, Taurine is an amino acid that is essential for your pet cat’s good health.

Feel free to adjust your feline friend’s feeding habits to your lifestyle. After all, they are part of your family. However, observe a feeding routine that maintains your cat at optimum weight.

Rat Nutrition

The recommended diet for pet rats should be rich in rat lab blocks, organic grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. A balanced diet helps increase their lifespan and ensures overall good health as well. As with all animals, fresh water is a fundamental part of their diet. Your vet can help you determine your rat’s food portions by observing their size, age, and health status.

Cat Health

A typically healthy feline can live up to 11 years. However, if you’re lucky, your cat can live long enough to celebrate their 15th birthday. Some of the common diseases to watch out for include cancer, feline leukemia virus, diabetes, rabies, heartworm disease, etc.

During these unprecedented times of the pandemic, we have come to learn that cats can be infected with the virus as well. However, studies show that transmission is possible from humans to pets, and not the other way around. It has also not been confirmed whether cats can transmit the disease to fellow cats. Nonetheless, the good news is that for the infected cats, most symptoms are mild.

Rat Health

The average lifespan of rats is 18 to 36 months. When it comes to ailments, rats are very susceptible to getting cancer during their lifetime. As is the case for most animals, rats can acquire Covid-19 from human beings, not vice versa, and remain hosts.

Research has also shown that there are numerous diseases that rats can transmit to human beings. That said, the most effective way to prevent this transmission is by vaccinating your pet rats.

Can Pet Rats Get on Well With Cats?

If you’re wondering, “Can pet rats get on well with cats?” The answer is yes! Rats love company, whether it’s from other rats or different species altogether. It is entirely safe to keep cats and rats as pets in your home as long as you introduce them to each other from an early age, and they prove to be comfortable spending time together.

Nonetheless, ensure that you cat-proof your rat’s cage from the onset. Otherwise, the introductory process will take longer than expected. If this does not sit well with either of your pets, consider keeping them in separate rooms.

Proper Cat Send-off

Every creature’s life has to come to an end in due time. However, letting go of your beloved pet is never easy. Some people hold proper religious ceremonies for their pets; others bury their pets around their homes. For some, they prefer taking their pets to the vet and have them dispose of the body. That said, how you choose to say goodbye is up to you.

Proper Rat Send-off

For pet rats in groups, giving more attention to the remaining rats may help you and your pets get over the loss of a pet. Furthermore, replacing your pet rat with another might do you good. This is especially true if you’ve lost more than one rat in the recent past. Be mindful of the remaining rats’ feeding habits as they grieve.


Choosing a pet rat or cat is a very intimate and personal thing to do. By going to a shelter or pet store to pick up your pet, you will identify the perfect pet for you. The immediate connection you make with them will help you make up your mind. That said, always confirm your pet’s health before taking them home, and you’re good to go!