Rat Care

Cage cleaning

Cages should be washed with an anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid at least once a week.  Vinegar can also be added to the water because vinegar acts as an anti-bacterial agent.  In South Africa, you can get ICU dishwashing liquid which also claims to be anti’viral.  It might sound obvious but make sure that you rinse all of the items thoroughly with clean water.

Water bottle

Keeps the water cleaner than a dish (especially in sawdust where the sawdust can land in the drinking water). Hard plastic wide-mouth bottles with a ball-bearing are best.   Water should be replaced every two days and the bottle should be washed once a week with a baby bottle brush.

Food dish

Should be non-tippable and should always contain an assortment of seeds and/or puppy pellats in addition to the diet mentioned below.   Make sure to check that the seeds that you see remaining in the dish are not just the husks of the seeds as this could mean that the rattie has no food to eat.


Generic hamster mix is neither adequate nor suitable for rats!The basic diet should be rat blocks (preferred) which should be available at your local pet shop.   Try to avoid too much corn and protein in your rat’s diet as this can cause allergic skin reactions.  Supplement your rat’s diet with fresh foods like fruits, cooked sweet potato and beans, broccoli, tomato, live-culture yogurt, Purity RICE or MIXED GRAIN cereal for baby (mixed as you would for your baby), and as a treat you can give your pet rat MUNCHEEZ which should also be available at your local pet shop.  Peel or wash or fruits and vegetables very carefully before feeding it to your rat. Rats love seed and chewy things so the ideal rattie diet would consist of a mixture containing ¼ puppy pellats (that have  no more than 18 % protein) and ¾ of a mixture containing rolled oats, sugarless and unsalted  puffed wheat cereal, sugarless and unsalted  puffed rice cereal, dried fruits, dry pasta elbows, sunflower seed, sugarless and unsalted Muesli cereal.  See Paula’s rattie diet under the LIBRARY link for a detailed local diet.