People of all ages enjoy the company of a pet rat. But there is some amount of responsibility involved with owning any rat. You need to be able to spend time with your rat everyday. Rats require at least an hour of time a day, even if it’s just riding around on your shoulder while you clean the house.
Rats also require their cages to be cleaned weekly, and food and water changed daily or every other day. Rats should not be kept outside, as this is not a safe place, nor a happy place for your rat to be. He or she should be kept inside, and they usually like to be where they can see what is going on.
Make sure that the rat is not near any animals that may harm or scare it. I have a Golden Retriever who watches the rat cage and often lets out little woofs. This dog (Gracie) should not be allowed near the rat when it is out of the cage.
I cannot stress this enough. Rats are very kind to children, but understand that kids can be rough. Kids should ALWAYS be supervised when holding rats. They can easily be injured or lost, and teach your children how to hold a rat and how not to. After a child reaches about age 10 and can understand that rats are delicate creatures, I think it’s okay for them to hold the rat without supervision. Please keep in mind that all children are different and some may not be mature enough even by ten. Generally, just use your best judgement. If you swear that your 8-year-old can handle the responsibility, use your judgement. But also keep in mind how traumatizing it is for the child to accidentally hurt the rat.
Landlords and homes
Rats also love to play on the floor, exploring, but they are horrid chewers and can easily ruin things in a matter of moments. Make sure at least one room is “rat-proofed” with wires, toxins, etc. out of harm’s way. Last, rats are very kind animals, and they love attention and you. Most landlords will tolerate them because they are so small. Ask your landlord if rats are okay. If the landlord says no, you can always hide your rat…Speaking from experience. My rat lives in my walk-in closet!