My mom does not want a rat because they smell

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My mom does not want a rat because they smell

Post by Loubear » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:34 pm

So i really need some help here. We never had a rat before so i was so happy my mom was finally considering adopting one. Well now she did research on rats and because off the fact that they "smell" she doesn't want one. I really want a pet rat with all my heart so this is quite devestating to me. We had a hamster tho. This is why my question is, do they smell more than hamsters? My mom didn't have any problems with the odor the hamster had. I also can buy only one rat because off my mom. I know it's better to keep 2 rats because off their social needs but is it possible? I love rats and really want one but if having only one is so bad for them i won't do it.
Thanks for helping!

English is not my native language so sorry if i made spelling mistakes

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Re: My mom does not want a rat because they smell

Post by [cub] » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:39 am

I'm not going to tell you (or your mother) what to do, but here are a few things to consider:

- It is now recommended to keep rats in groups of 3 at a minimum, because it allows them to have more harmonious and varied relationships. Of course, having 2 rats is still much better than having just 1, but only having 2 rats means that each rat is completely dependent on the other rat for social interaction. If the rats have very different personalities, that can lead to tension, fighting, or even just general unhappiness. Imagine being locked in a house for the rest of your life with only 1 other person for company, and you don't even get to choose who that other person is. Rats seem to do better in small groups rather than just pairs, so that they can form multiple social relationships and choose who they interact with.

- Having a group of 3 rats also means that when one of them dies — and rats can sicken and die very suddenly — the remaining 2 rats still have each other for company. When rats are kept in pairs, and one dies, the other rat can become extremely depressed. Some rats left on their own this way reportedly stop eating. Of course, not all rats react this badly, but it's impossible to know how badly a rat is going to react to loneliness until it's already happening. At that point, finding new friends for the lone rat becomes an emergency, and that is not a nice situation for anyone to be in. Starting with 3 rats means that you have more time to find suitable new friends to add to the group when one of them inevitably dies.

- Relatedly, you don't keep a rat, and you don't even keep a trio of rats. You end up keeping an ongoing group of rats, adding new rats to the group as old ones die, so that nobody is ever left alone.

- I've never had a hamster so I can't comment on whether or not rats smell more, but remember that rats are both bigger and usually live in larger groups than hamsters. More and bigger animals means more poo. :P You can keep the smell down however: good cage layout, good choice of cage substrate, good diet, and cleaning the right amount helps a lot. (Obviously, too little cleaning means they smell, but too much cleaning means they panic about everything smelling weird and scent mark more to compensate.)

- Rats can cost a lot in vet bills. They are very prone to respiratory illness, tumours, and kidney and heart disease, just to name a few things. They are also quite good at choosing inconvenient times to suddenly become ill, which means you have to take them to an emergency vet, which costs even more. In the UK, a tumour removal can easily be over £100. The most common tumours occur in female rats, and can be significantly prevented by spaying (removing their uterus and ovaries), but that's usually a £100 operation as well. Male rats are less prone to tumours but still get them, and are more prone to hormonal aggression, which requires neutering, which is usually at least £50. Ongoing treatment for chronic respiratory illness, or kidney or heart disease, can easily get to over £200 over the course of a rat's life. For a trio of rats in the UK, I would personally recommend having £500 set aside, or at least available on a credit card, in case of expensive emergencies: they don't happen every day, but they happen often enough that I would not recommend having rats without that kind of financial safety net. You mentioned being dependent on your mother's approval in terms of smell and number of rats; if you're not financially independent, your mother also needs to know about and be prepared for the potential costs.
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Re: My mom does not want a rat because they smell

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:13 pm

I agree with everything [cub] has said, and I'm afraid if your mum still won't allow you to keep a group of rats after reading that, then it's best to wait until you're older and have your own place.

If your mum is open to learning more about what rats need, then I would suggest finding a local ratkeeper who would let you and your mum visit theirs so she can see (and smell) what it's actually like. If you have a good ethical breeder nearby then by visiting them you'll also be able to get an idea of what their rats are like, and hopefully be able to join a waiting list for their kittens. But avoid pet shops and irresponsible breeders if you can.

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Re: My mom does not want a rat because they smell

Post by frodo quin » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:48 pm

I agree with cub and cyber ratty.

Rats (yes always plural ;) ) are in many ways very different than hamsters, the smell is one of them. Rats poop a lot more, there are more of them and they drink a lot more and therefor also pee a lot more. It is mostly the pee that makes the cage smell quickly.

Rat’s are amazing, but they are high maintenance (and expensive!) pets. If I were you I would learn more about them and if your mom isn’t keen on you having them, you will be well informed and have saved enough money by the time you move out and are then well prepared to take in some ratties. :)

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Re: My mom does not want a rat because they smell

Post by Feolthanos » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:39 pm

Rats do smell. They have there own rat smell, as well as the smell of pee and poop. It doesn't bother me too much, but my bf feels that it's super strong. The rats are in 'my' room, so he doesn't have to deal with it much and therefore there's no conflict. It's best avoided when you have to share your space with others.

My Mum wouldn't let me have rats when I lived at home. It took me seven years unfortunately to be in a position in my own place where I could get them (mortgage deposit and beavement). They are hard work, and expensive for such little creatures, but so far have been worth the wait. It was difficult, but I'm glad I waited. I could have cared for them then, but I'm in a much better position to do so now, which by default makes them more enjoyable.

Your Mum seemed keen before she found out about the smell, so maybe she could be convinced. She needs to go in with all the facts though as rats definitely need at least one friend, are much more demanding of your time and I imagine more expensive than keeping a hamster too. My advice, look more on these boards (I practically lived on here 7 years ago), absorb all the knowledge and see, but don't push the subject if rats ain't for your Mum's liking too. Your time with them will come if it's meant to be later :)

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