How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Rats are social creatures and the general advice is for them to always have a friend to play with. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you only have one rat, you will need to pay special care and attention to it making sure it has lots of entertainment both inside and outside of its cage.


Part 1 Part 1 of 3:Using Toys to Keep Your Rat Entertained Download Article

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Build mazes within the cage for your rat to explore. Using toilet roll tubes, cardboard or PVC tubing you can build small mazes to fit inside the cage. This will cause a shift in scenery for your rat and it will love to explore the inside of a new maze, especially if there’s food scattered throughout it.

  • Change the maze every few weeks so that it won’t get too bored with the same paths.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Provide plenty of toys to keep it amused throughout the day. A rat’s incisors will constantly grow throughout their lives so they need to be worn down on a daily basis.

  • Dog chew snacks or parrot chew toys work well for rats too. This can be a good source of entertainment, especially if there are several of them that the rat can choose from.
  • Small plastic balls with a bell inside can be great toys for them to chase around a maze.


How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Install an exercise wheel in the back of the cage. Although not all rats will respond to an exercise wheel, it’s worth installing some sort of equipment that will motivate a rat to move around when you’re not at home.

  • An exercise wheel is the tried and true method, but if your rat doesn’t use it very much you can also build small circuits in the cage for it to run around.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Provide grazing food and a water drip. Rats love to eat and drink so make sure to supply them with plenty of it (in moderation, you also don’t want to overfeed them). Rats can make good grazers, so scatter small pieces of vegetables throughout its cage for it to find throughout the day when you may not be around.


Part 2 Part 2 of 3:Creating a Fun and Stable Routine Download Article

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Clean out your rat’s cage frequently. Cleaning out the cage is a basic requirement in caring for the rat, but it can also have the side benefit of shaking up its routine. Cleaning out a rat’s cage is playtime for the rat, so don’t be cautious about upsetting the status quo.

  • Letting your rat walk about freely as you clean will help shake up the routine further. It will investigate what you’re doing, keeping it entertained for the duration of the cleaning process.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Let your rat out of its cage every week for a change of scenery. Imagine if you were stuck in the same room for extended periods of time. You’d be craving a change of scenery. Letting your rat freely wander a different room for an hour will keep it entertained as it investigates and explores new surroundings.

  • In whatever room you choose to let your rat loose, make sure there are no holes in the floorboards, any open wires that it could chew on or any other pets or animals it would be unfamiliar with.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Keep the rat on a regular schedule so that it knows when playtime’s coming. Rats are like toddlers in that they thrive off a predictable schedule. As such, try to keep playtime at the same time of the day so that it knows it won’t be alone for much longer.

  • Although establishing a schedule is generally a good thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with shaking it up from time to time to keep your rat entertained.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Purchase a larger cage to give it more things to do. Generally, the larger the cage, the happier a rat will be when you’re not around. More room in a cage provides more opportunities to explore, to investigate and to play with new toys as well as choosing different places to sleep and watch outside of the cage.

  • Buying a vertically tall cage is a good idea. Rats love to climb and will scale the inside of a steel cage with ease.


Part 3 Part 3 of 3:Spending Time with Your Rat Download Article

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Spend at least one hour a day with your rat. Rats crave social interaction, but it doesn’t just have to be from other rats. Play with them and even talk with them if you’re comfortable doing so. It’s your presence that a rat will enjoy best so what you do matters less than just paying attention to them.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Train your rat to be comfortable being held. Hold your hands out and allow the rat to walk onto your palms. Then, hold it gently, with one hand under its front arms and another hand supporting its rear. After a while, it will become familiar with being picked up.

  • Rats are intelligent and can be taught all manner of tricks and behaviors, but some may not come naturally.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Teach your rat its name. Using treats, stand several feet away from your rat and say its name while holding out a treat. It will come towards you and take the treat. Repeat this process providing a small treat each time.

  • After many repetitions, try calling for your rat by name. If it responds, give it a treat.
  • Once it has learned its name in the training area, say its name in other areas of the home so that it associates its name with the words you’re saying, not the location you’re saying it in.

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Help your rat learn to kiss. Dab a small amount of peanut butter on the side of your hand and move it close to your rat saying ‘Kiss’. The rat will eat the peanut butter, but after a repeating the process several times your rat will dab its nose onto your hand whenever you say ‘Kiss.’

How to Keep a Pet Rat Happy by Itself

Teach your rat how to sit on your shoulder. Once you have taught your rat simple tricks like responding to its name, being lifted, and kissing, you should try teaching it how to sit on your shoulder so that it can keep you company around the house.

  • This trick is all about confidence and trust, so make sure to reward your rat with plenty of treats as you work.
  • Sit on the floor and place a small amount of treats on your shoulder, let your rat climb up you and onto your shoulder. Encourage it to stay there by petting it.
  • After your rat is comfortable sitting on your shoulder when sitting, slowly rise to your feet, reassuring it the entire away until you are standing with the rat on your shoulder. Do this several times without walking anywhere.
  • Once you feel your rat is confident riding on your shoulder while stationary, slowly walk somewhere when standing up. By now, you should have built up enough trust in the rat that it will be able to ride along on your shoulder.



  • Rats are not meant to be on their own. If you can, try and get a friend for your solitary rat as soon as you can. In extreme cases of loneliness, rats can self-mutilate out of boredom. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0


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