Looking after your Rat


Rats can be kept in a suitable size wire cage with a solid plastic base. They love to explore and exercise so a multi-layered cage is ideal. Keep indoors away from draughts, direct sunlight and other pets. They have very sensitive hearing so place them away from loud noises such as TV’s, stereos or washing machines. Cages must be cleaned on a regular basis, especially in the summer.

Rats are very social animals and will not be happy on their own. Keeping them in pairs or single-sex groups is best.


Choose a suitable rat feed and check the recommended daily allowance on the pack. Feed your rat in the morning and evening when it is most active making sure the first feed has been finished before topping it up. Check where your rat hoards food and clear out any old, stale food daily and make sure there is always plenty of clean, fresh water available. Never feed your rat with human food as it can be high in salt, sugar and fat.


Approach calmly and gently when it is awake and stroke gently. Let your rat approach your hand, if it does not climb on gently grasp it around the shoulders to lift it. Never pick a rat up by its tail.

Toys & treats

Provide space for daily exercise and encourage activity with tubes, ropes and hammocks. Hide treats around the cage to encourage foraging and provide gnaw blocks to keep teeth trimmed.


The most common problems for rats are skin mites, respiratory problems or overgrown teeth or nails.

If you have any cause for concern for the health of your pet, seek veterinary advice.

You will need…

  • Suitable housing/cage
  • Soft bedding for small animals
  • Dust free wood shavings
  • Water bottle and bottle brush
  • Metal or ceramic food bowl
  • Suitable pet food
  • Gnaw block
  • Toys and treats
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Pet safe disinfectant
  • Pet care book


Owning and caring for a pet is a very rewarding experience. Your pet will offer you friendship, interest and enjoyment, but keeping pets brings with it responsibilities. These responsibilities differ from one species to the next. Please ask a member of the pet department for help in choosing the right pet for you.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the contents of this web page are correct, Squire’s cannot be held responsible for results of action taken without the advice of a professional veterinarian.