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Socializing time?

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Anya96

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Nov 3, 2020
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Hello all, and thank-you for allowing me to learn on this forum. I’m still researching and currently not a rat owner.

Initially I thought rats would be the ideal pet for my lifestyle, but am worried now that I may not have enough time to socialize them properly. I read a few threads down (My rats won’t play with me) that they should really have much more social interaction than 1 hour every day. I can do some additional things throughout the day as suggested, like having them out (quickly) in the mornings before work or after dinner, in order to include them in my routines. Realistically though, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to regularly dedicate more than 1-1.5 hours / day to interacting with my rats.

Maybe it’s not ideal to adopt rats yet, and I’m okay with that. If you have any insight I’d appreciate it.
 

Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
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388
Location
British Columbia
Hello all, and thank-you for allowing me to learn on this forum. I’m still researching and currently not a rat owner.

Initially I thought rats would be the ideal pet for my lifestyle, but am worried now that I may not have enough time to socialize them properly. I read a few threads down (My rats won’t play with me) that they should really have much more social interaction than 1 hour every day. I can do some additional things throughout the day as suggested, like having them out (quickly) in the mornings before work or after dinner, in order to include them in my routines. Realistically though, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to regularly dedicate more than 1-1.5 hours / day to interacting with my rats.

Maybe it’s not ideal to adopt rats yet, and I’m okay with that. If you have any insight I’d appreciate it.
IIRC, I posted a lot on that particular thread you mentioned. I got rats as pets late in life, in my 50's. I've had all kinds of different pets: dogs, cats, birds, fish (salt water and fresh water), frogs, rabbits, 2 wild eastern cottontail rabbits I raised from newborns, snakes, lizards, and I even worked in an exotic pet store in my 20's where I was exposed to every pet a person could buy under the sun. We even had pot belly pigs that were the rage in the early 90's and a pair of breeding Toucans. I've seen and held them all but I must tell you this: rats are a superior pet.

They are small and can travel with you. They are extremely intelligent. They are hyper-clean and are relatively easy to care for. Vet bills are much less than cats and dogs, although they can get expensive late in life with removal of tumours etc or if you have a rat that has mycoplasmosis but they are not nearly as expensive as a cat or dog.

They are superior because of how readily they socialize with their humans and because of the incredible intelligence and adaptability.

With that in mind, I've come to a firm conclusion that rats need to be with their human and living their life with a human, which means DOING things with their human and interacting with their human every day.

Now, Lilspaz said it best when she said that rats adapt to their owners lifestyle, because they do. That's the one thing rats do so well, ADAPT. This is why they're such a successful species and also why the rat/human bond is so strong. But that bond can only be strong if the human does things with their rats.

I just think, in my personal opinion, that an hour is not enough for them. They need to be WITH their human. Yes, you can still have rats if you only intend to spend an hour a day with them, but I personally don't think that's enough time. And I also think it's highly responsible for you to acknowledge that. I think you'd be a great rat parent, because you're willing to admit this. That kind of honesty makes a good pet owner.

The reason I think the way I do is due to having rats and observing them as a disabled person who has all day to do this. That fact also might make me a bit biased too.

I hope others chime in on this thread because yes, many other people will think an hour a day is just fine and technically, it is ok.

I wish you the best in your decision because ultimately, it is up to you. You would be a good rat parent.
 
Joined
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Ontario
I dont have the experience that some people on here have but I figured I would share my opinion any way.

A rat who spends all day with their human or who is free roamed around a house will likely be happier than one that is only out for an hour a day. And the more time you spend with your rats the closer they will bond to you. A relationship with a rat is like a relationship with any other pet or person the more time you put into it the more you will get out of it.

That being said there is a scale. A rat who is kept alone in a small cage and rarely handled will suffer. But a rat who has a large cage with plenty of enrichment, a buddy and an hour a day outside of their cage will live a happy life. There are few perfect rat homes but a lot of good ones.

In this world there are a lot of rats looking for good homes. Recues that are full and still getting requests to take more rats. Rats that are going for free on kijiji because kids got bored. Rats at kill shelters who are almost out of time. They all deserve a good home and you could give some one. If only people who could spend several hours a day with their rats adopted rats then even more rats would end up in bad homes where they do suffer.

Some rats benifit from more outside cage time than others. The higher the rats energy the more likely they are to get bored in their cage. If you are worried adult male rats tend to be the most chill and low energy in my experience. You could also get a larger cage than recommended and try to make it as enriching as possible. Try to spend as much time as you can with them.

But honestly I think you would make a very good rat parent. You obviously care and have done plenty of research.
 

Camelidae4

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2020
Messages
14
Location
United States
I am less experienced with rats compared to some, but I am in college and tend to be busy during the day at work/school but home late in the evening and don't go to bed until late at night. Thus, rats were the perfect pet for me because they sleep while I am gone and are active when I am at home studying. I agree that rats need more than an hour a day outside the cage, but honestly you can make their lives worthwhile inside their cage and be okay with giving them the minimum amount of free roaming time. Make sure to give them tons of enrichment and frequently rotate that enrichment so they don't get bored such as new ways to provide food, dirt boxes, pea fishing, new toys/chews, etc. Just rotate things in/out or change up their location in the cage while you clean. Plus, just doing 5-10 minutes of training in addition to that minimum of an hour can be mentally stimulating. It's similar to a dog, giving a dog intense and stimulating playtime for 20 minutes can equal an hour walk. How you use that time is just as important.
 
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Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
Messages
388
Location
British Columbia
I agree with everyone who has spoken on this thread. Specifically, the enrichment that can be provided in a large cage and trick training for 20 minutes absolutely can equal an hour of socialization. Also, if you go to school for an hour, you can take your rat. If you work, maybe you can take your rat on some days and have a little mini home for them at work so they can be with you. With just a little ingenuity you can make a rats life very happy in lieu of the hour a day minimum.

If you are doing chores around the house, take your rats on your shoulder. Let them live life with you.

Even tho I am disabled, I still have lots of hum drum chores I have to do each day. I put a rat or two on my shoulder (whichever rat expresses interest), and take out the garbage. If I'm spot sweeping, I put a rat on my shoulder. When I bring groceries home, they get to explore and sniff the bags and they love it. I involve them in all the little things I can and this makes them happy.

I share food with them from my plate. Yesterday I made tacos and Big Schpog smelled the minced meat and went nuts for a taste. She climbed onto my foot and was nosing for that meat. So I took some on a fork and let her eat some. I gave her a little bit of shredded cheese and then she went off to do her late afternoon nap.

Another possibility is to have completely free roam rats. I have free roam rats because I live in a very small place and have rat proofed it. They are out and free, even when I have to go out for some reason. They have their fave sleeping spots and when they wake up they come to me for snuggles and play. THey can run and climb and explore whenever they want to their hearts content.

Humans are very creative and it's that creativity that can really make a good home for rats
 

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