Is it safe to have rats and a cat in the same house?
A question I get asked a lot is whether it is possible for those who already have a cat to adopt rats as pets. There are a number of factors to consider before making this decision. While there are some people who say their cat poses no threat to their rodent friends and happily post pictures of their cat and rat getting along, this is a very rare occurrence and should not be treated as the norm.
I should note at this stage that I live with my 2 pet rats, Pea and Mingles, my dog, Charlie, a Maltese x Shitzu, and my cat, Dylan, a Ragdoll x Persian. All of my animals are rescues and they are all wonderful in different ways. However, despite his Ragdoll bloodline, Dylan definitely has hunting instincts and would never let rats run out of the rat cage while he is in the room. It is important to remember that even if he chooses a gentle breed like a pure Ragdoll cat and has them from a kitten, he should never leave them outside with his pet rats.
It is possible to have pet rats if you have a cat, though you should weigh the pros and cons before adopting your new pets. Here are some things to consider:
1. Separation – You should be able to easily separate your cat from the rats when you want to let them out. This could mean using a spare room as a tattered room. This is what I do. The guest room is free of rat hazards such as wires, sharp objects, and small things that they could choke on. It is also completely sealed. There are no little holes in the wall for rats to escape through. I try to spend an hour a day there with my rats. We can play together and I can train with them safely, away from the claws and teeth of naughty cats. I also have lots of fun tubes, boxes, and even a rat pool for them to explore. Cats are usually fine with this time outside and as long as they have plenty of room to roam and their food, water and litter tray (and in our case a companion dog) they will be fine.
2.Security – You will need to be 100% sure that your rat cage is secure. Of course, he would have to do this anyway, because he wouldn’t want his rats to escape and put themselves in danger. When we first adopted our two rats Pea and Mingles, the former owners gave us their cage and it had a hole in it. It was a small hole and I blocked it off with plastic boxes and duct tape, but I had the shock of my life when I found Pea running across the floor with Dylan the cat about to jump out. Luckily I picked Pea up on time and the rats have since moved into a 100% secure (and huge!) cage, but please don’t let your pets get into this situation. Rats are notorious escape artists. You may think that the space is too small for them to get out, but they will surprise you. Make sure the rat cage is sturdy (can’t tip over) and that there are plenty of areas for the rats to hide from prying eyes.
3. Common sense – You know your cat better than anyone, but even if you have the gentlest cat in the world who seems to want to be friends with your rats, be very careful and never leave them together unattended. I can make my rats sit on my shoulder while Dylan sits next to me on the couch, but if he sits on top of the couch, I’m very careful. Rat tails are irresistible to most cats.
If you have a cat and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the safety of your rats, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t keep rodents as pets. However, make sure you have more than one rat. This is always better as the rats can keep each other company when they are in their cage. Even if you can spend a lot of time with your rat, when you are outside or sleeping, rats can snuggle, play together and groom each other. It will make all the difference in their lives.
Rats can seem fearless at times, but if you have more than one cat, maybe you should think about whether a rat is really a good pet for you and your family. Imagine how the rats will feel when all the cats investigate the cage and try to find ways to get in.
If you have decided to adopt some rats, make sure you take responsibility for their well-being. If you have a child who has begged you for rats, they may learn some responsibility, but in the end it is the adult who must ensure the welfare of the animals and make sure that cats are not a problem. It’s also essential to make sure your cats get as much attention as before, before new additions.
I hope this article has helped you determine if keeping rats and cats together might work for your family.