Is It Safe To Have Cats And A Pet Rat Together In The Same House?

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 18, 2009 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

My niece is moving in next month. She really wants to get a pet rat. Problem is I already have 2 cats. I just have a really bad feeling about this. Nothing may happen but still even the best pet owners can make mistakes,and I am afraid if I accidently left the rat cage open or if my niece wanted to play with the rat that the cats would try to kill it. I don’t want this to happen my niece has had enough tragedy and trauma in her life. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can gently approach her about this, and voice my very real concerns?

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  • pegglegi says:

    I think you have a good point. It would be sad if the cats were able to get to the rat. Maybe you could suggest an alternative?

  • paintedr says:

    I’ve owned rats & cats together for nearly 10 yrs. As long as you (and your niece) are responsible about making sure the cage door is securely closed, and that the cats don’t get too close, when the rat is held outside of the cage, it’ll be fine.
    Not all cats are ”born” hunters. I’ve had cats that would try to sit on the rats, others that ran away from them, but all have learned to adjust to the rat(s) being in the household, and that they are not to be hunted.
    Consider putting the rats in a room that can be closed off from the cats. Her bedroom, perhaps. That way, the cats only see them, when you allow them to. When the rat(s) are out of their cage, the bedroom door will be shut, to keep the cats away.
    By the way, if she does end up getting a rat, keep in mind, they’re social animals, they should be kept in pairs (no matter how often they’re handled).

  • Lynn says:

    My daughter has four inside cats, and has had two pet rats
    since she started taking in her first cat. So they have been
    all brought up with rats in the house. And they remain in their
    cages. The only time they are out, is when either she or her
    husband has them. They have another cage for a temp.
    holding place while their big cage is being cleaned. I don’t know for sure, but I think she has introduced her cats to the rats but only while they are still being held. She won’t let them run around in the house. Myself, I wouldn’t allow the rats, just in case. I’d opt for a Gerbil instead. They are easier I believe to tame. And you can buy such cute little houses for them with ramps and wheels, etc. And maybe the cats wouldn’t be as interested in them as a rat might otherwise be.
    My daughter is on vacation or I’d ask her advice on this. Maybe you could ask me privately a week from now? She loves her pets and won’t put any of them in jeopardy. She also has three outside dogs and one inside Pug.
    Believe me, you won’t leave the rat cage door open. As
    I believe they’ed be under the nearest piece of furniture or into
    the first small hole they can find, never to be found again. They seem to always be able to chew their way out. We recently had an outside rat or two whip in thru our patio door to get to dog food. And they ran behind the fridge and stove on two separate occasions. We never caught them in our traps. So they apparently found a way out again.

  • raynesto says:

    i’ve had all the pets you can think of, from mice, to cats, to snakes, to mice AND cat AND snake (and fish) all at once.
    now, a cat is going to INITIALLY see a rodent as prey, something to hunt and eat.
    BUT they can coexist, you just have to be very vigilant.
    you can let your niece have her rat, they really do make good pets, they are friendly, and outgoing, and, believe it or not, intelligent.
    BUT they have to have a very secure, cat proof cage.
    currently i have, two cats, a guinea pig, a tortoise, a snake and two fish tanks. so i have a diverse amount of pets. and varoius animals.
    ANYHOW, get a very secure cage for the rat. remember, both rats and cats are carnivores. (rats are more or less, if you can chew it you can eat it) make sure there are ground rules, maybe, you are always present when rat is out of cage, then you can make sure rat cage secure.
    having a rat and a cat is doable, i’ve done it, you just have to make sure that your niece is willing to follow rules you set down to make sure that rat (and cat) are safe and secure from each other

  • CrazyCat says:

    cats can acept rats into there family….
    but its best to keep the seprate or watch them VERY carefully when they are together….

  • Catkin says:

    You can have cats & rats, it just takes some precautions. Most good rat cages are too heavy for a cat to knock over & it’s not difficult to ensure that the cage door can’t be opened accidentally. Also, rats can be surprisingly good about holding their own against cats– just today our little hairless rat tried to bite our kitten’s tail & my hand got mildly nipped when I quickly got between the 2 of them (obviously we always supervise our small animals *very* closely when they’re out of the cage).
    You don’t mention how old your niece is, but if she’s mature enough to be a responsible pet guardian it shouldn’t be a problem. One caution– sometimes cats & rats appear to get along very well, but I wouldn’t take a chance & turn my back for an instant if the little ones are out of their cage.
    I’d worry more about mice, since they’re smaller & our cats seem particularly attracted to their movements, but so far we haven’t had any tragedies with our companion mice either.
    Rats do make wonderful companions, but your niece might consider adopting 2 boys or 2 girls, as they enjoy hanging out with each other & they’re a blast to watch playing together.

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