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My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:30 pm
by Dilori
Hello I'm new here, and I have recently brought 2 young male rats which I adore. The only thing is I got them from a pet store and I keep reading on the internet that getting rats from pet stores means they won't live as long and will be more prone to getting ill. This has concerned me. Both my rats seem healthy and they have recently had a health check which was where I was told that they are 2 very happy and healthy rats. But is it wrong of me to get them from the pet store? They seem rather tamed, and this pet store is small and reliable for taking care of their animals before they're homed.

Thank you for your time.

Re: My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:06 pm
by cyber ratty
The ethical implications of getting rats from a shop are separate from the potential health and temperament issues.

Personally, I don't wish to support a trade in animals which treats them as products. My view of what constitutes ethical breeding and homing would never match with the concept of breeding rats to supply a demand, which even the nicest pet shop will do, because they are a business. Most shops get their rats from rodent farms or backyard breeders who do not provide the rats with anything near a decent quality of life, and breed the does constantly. See this thread for pictures and more information ... bacf74a561

There are enough rats in rescue for me to feel any other rats deliberately bred should be part of a programme to improve them in some way, making their lives as pets better. Unless the shop in question keeps track of all the rats they've sold, and shows their rats to get feedback on them physically, so that they know what issues the rats have and can selectively breed to solve them, then they can't be improving the rats. Also, most shops do not fully vet a home, or ever refuse a sale, nor do most know enough about good quality rat care to be able to advise new owners, let alone support them throughout their rats' lives.

On the issue of health however, because most pet shop rats will have been bred with looks as priority, and no information on the health of relatives, then how the rats turn out will be quite random - some people will be lucky to get rats who are healthy and live a long life, but just as many are likely to get rats who are constantly ill and die young. You've no clues about how yours will fare in the future, whereas a breeder with a stable line will have more consistent results, and be able to predict fairly well how their rats will turn out.

Incidentally, rats do best in groups of 3 or more, and it's worth keeping a rolling group to prevent any rat being left on their own after their companions have died, so I'd recommend adding in a couple of babies every year, and if you can, then add a same age rat to your pair asap.

Re: My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:21 pm
by Dilori
The pet store I got my rats from actually have a vets as well, so they kind of keep track of how you're getting on with your pets. They gave me free booklets on how to take care of rats properly.
We brought all the cage and accessories before buying the rats, but when we returned to buy the rats we were required to bring the receipt of the cage and accessories before purchasing the rats so that the store can be assured that we're committing properly.

Re: My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:08 pm
by cyber ratty
PAH have vets in store sometimes - if it was PAH they get all their rats from rodent farms, and give very poor quality advice in most cases. I bet if you asked what the grandparents died of and when they won't be able to tell you, nor which uncles and aunts are still alive, etc. ;)

You'll find good advice on this site - but if you'd like to check, then tell us what cage you have and what you are feeding, and we can let you know if the advice you've received is good or bad.

Re: My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:47 am
by Dilori
I got the cage from PAH (where we got the rats from), and the cage is a white coated metal (I think it's some sort of metal) cage with a plastic bottom.
We feed our boys special rat muesli stuff which they love, and rat nuggets which they don't seem to eat, and monkey nuts which they love as a treat to forage for. We also give them seedless grapes and other natural fruits - only a little bit at a time.
We also have lots of wooden chew toys dotted around the cage, and I brought them a couple of chew bars for rats which I got from B&Ms. They have a couple of wooden tunnels, in which they like to sleep in, but I'm not quite sure if they're weeing in them and how I should clean them as I don't like to even use the pet-safe disinfectant spray because they chew on the wood. They did have a little house to sleep in but I had to take it out because they somehow kept knocking it over and I was worried one of them might get hurt.

But the thought of everything at the PAH store possibly being a lie is very disturbing and I feel like I am failing my boys. They seem happy and very trusting and loving to me.

Re: My rats are from the pet store..

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:16 pm
by [cub]
That's a fairly popular and perfectly suitable type of cage (unless your rats turn out to be plastic chewers... :P ), but cage size is also very important. Most PAH cages tend to be on the small side, though thankfully I think they've stopped marketing abjectly unsuitable rat cages these days. (PAH hamsters and gerbils aren't so lucky. :roll: )

If the nuggets are PAH own brand, then it's just as well that your rats won't eat them as a number of respected breeders found that the incidence of mammary tumours increased significantly when they included PAH nuggets in their food mixes, and then decreased just as significantly as soon as they took the nuggets out. It's not a proper scientific study (nobody would ever fund one :P ) but the rat fancy generally won't touch them with a bargepole these days for that reason. Apparently they're actually made by Burgess, so people avoid Burgess rat nuggets as well.

There's plenty of better information on this website, and Isamu Rats is another site I like to point people to for basic care information:

Not every single thing that PAH tells you is going to be a lie, but their objective isn't to provide good information or to help animals, it's to make a profit. They are a business after all.