How Long Can You Leave Your Rats By Themselves? (With Tips)

If you have a busy job or plan to leave for a few days, you might be wondering how long you can leave your rats by themselves.

On average, pet rats can be left by themselves for 3 days. As long as pet rats have food and water, they will survive without any major setbacks.

With that said, pet rats should have their water and food changed daily for healthy living.

Tips For Leaving A Pet Rat Alone Happy

Pet rats live in groups, so even if you leave for a few days, they will have each other’s company.

If you’re worried about them feeling lonely, believe me, they won’t.

That’s why it’s so important to own more than one pet rat. They do need company and need companions from the same species. So as long as they have that, they’ll be happy.

Of course, if your pet rats are very used to interacting with you and leaving their cage often, they will indeed notice the difference.

Since they won’t have an outside playground, nor playtime with you, be sure to keep their cage filled with entertaining items.

Bridges, a hammock or two, food puzzles, and chewing toys so they keep their brains active while you’re gone.

Another thing that you can do, that might feel silly, but usually helps with pets in general: grab a piece of clothing that you recently used. Leave it inside their cage, maybe in one of their hiding spots.

This way, you’ll leave your scent behind and that might feel comforting for them. I’ve always done this with most pets I owned, including our pet rats.

Most of the time, the place where we left that piece of clothing is where they slept and spent a lot of their time!

Since they’ll be left by themselves, consider leaving an extra snack in their cage.

This way, they’ll have something different that will keep them occupied.

Nuts and seeds are usually a good idea since they won’t go bad easily.

They’re also hard foods, so they’ll be very healthy for your pet rat’s teeth.

Walnuts and almonds are usually good snacks for them.

Generally, it’s good to avoid fatty seeds like sunflower seeds. Occasionally it does no harm, but they’re too fat for your pet rat to eat regularly.

Overall it’s a good idea to leave new and different things in their cage. This way they’ll get curious about those new items and keep themselves entertained with them!

Fill The Cage With Their Favorite Toys

You can leave novel things in their cage to pick at their curiosity. However, your pet rats will also be happy by having their favorite toys to play with.

Even though they might get sick quickly of the same toy, most pet rats will have a favorite. So be sure you know what those are and keep them inside their cage while you’re out.

pet rat looking at the camera
That adorable face needs some toys!

Once you learn what kind of toys your pet rats enjoy the most, consider buying different versions of them. Perhaps in different colors and even materials.

This way, you can replace them from time to time, so they don’t get bored of the same toy as easily.

You can leave one or two of those toys while you’re gone and when you get back, you can replace them with others, that are similar!

Remember to choose toys that are colorful, so they stand out in their cage. Pet rats love to play with colorful items since they’ll be easier to see and find.

And of course, you might also consider getting some new pet rat toys, I recommend these over here!

Maybe even owning a few toys that you take out only when you’re planning on leaving for a few days. This way, they’ll always feel like a novelty for your pet rats.

Fill The Food And Water Bowls Nicely

As a general rule, you should replace their water and food every day. For example, we give the recommended dose of food to our ratties, every day, at the same time.

This way, they’ll have a healthy routine. Pet rats like to have an organized routine.

However, if you’re out of your home for a few days, that is not possible. So, for that reason, be sure to fill their food and water bowls.

In the case of water even, I like to recommend getting them a water bottle (I recommend this one from Amazon), you can even get them in different designs!

Usually, these water bottles can be filled with lots of water, and you can just attach them to the cage. This way, there are fewer chances of your pet rats overturning their water bowl.

Personally, this goes if you’re at home or not. They’re very comfortable, easy to replace the water and you’ll be sure your pet rat always has water to drink from.

As for the food, measure their usual daily dose and multiply it by the number of days you’re going to be out.

Just to be sure, I like to just leave them a bit more than the usual dose, just to be sure they’ll have enough.

You can either leave the food in a bigger container or, better yet, leave the food in separate bowls, in different places in their cage!

Consider Two Bowls Of Water

If you leave water in a bowl, consider leaving more than one. This way you’re sure they’ll have enough water.

Not only that, but if they somehow manage to overturn one of the bowls, they’ll have another to drink from.

Again, leave the water bowls in different places in their cage. This way, it gets more difficult for them to just overturn two bowls in one sit.

Another thing I like to recommend is getting ceramic bowls, that go more on the heavier side.

This way it’s harder for your pet rats to move the bowl around and will avoid many accidents.

Something like this Kaytee Bowl, on Amazon, could work for example. However, my favorites are always the stainless-steel bowls that you can buy for cats or dogs.

These are very difficult to overturn, due to their design. They usually also have a rubber base, so the bowl won’t move around.

Even if you do have the water bottle, it’s a good idea to just leave two of them. This way, you really don’t need to worry if your pet rats will be out of water.

They’ll have more than enough and can even drink it from different places, at the same time!

Consider Getting A Rat Sitter

Even if you’re out for just a few days, but want to ease your mind, consider finding a pet rat sitter.

Ask one of your friends or family member to check on your pet rats once a day.

Give them a list of things you’d like them to do.

For example:

  • Changing their water, so your pet rats have fresh water every day.
  • Cleaning up their litter box a bit, if it’s too dirty.
  • Check in on them and keep them company for 15 minutes

Maybe they don’t even need to do any cage maintenance if you left enough food and water.

Your rat sitter can just go check on them and maybe spend some time around them. So they keep on having some human company and interaction.

If you’re out for just a day or two, your pet rats will be fine, as long as they have everything they need.

So getting a pet rat sitter will mostly serve for you to not worry as much about them.

However, if you’re planning on going away for longer than 3-days it is good that you have someone to care for them while you’re out.

Even if the person doesn’t know a whole lot about pet rats, you can just leave them some instructions they can follow.

This way you know your pet rats have everything they need.

And of course, you can always ask for a photo or two, so you’ll miss them less while you’re out!

Can I Leave My Rats Alone For A Day?

Most people work away from their homes. So leaving their pet rats alone for long hours in a day is completely normal.

Not only that, but as long as your pet rats have each other’s company, they’ll be perfectly fine and happy while you’re away.

Even, if for some reason, you leave in a day and come back the other, they will be fine as long as they have enough water and food.

Just leave them a few toys, if there’s usually none inside their cage.

Some people prefer to just give them toys at a specific time of the day.

So if that’s the case, just change the routine a bit and leave 2 or 3 toys in their cage for some extra entertainment.

But other than that, your pet rats will be fine for a day. They’re not truly alone, they have each other, so there’s no need to worry.

Even if for some reason you’re worried they won’t have enough water or food, just leave some extra, to appease your mind. Leave the two water bottles even.

If you decide to go the water bottle route, you can always have more than one in their cage, since it won’t take that much space.

That way, your pet rats have different places to drink from and don’t need to fight for it if they all decide to go at the same time!

Can I Leave My Rats Alone For A Week?

Again, it’s the same situation. As long as you plan ahead, your pet rats will be fine.

Be sure to leave extra bowls of food and water so they don’t run out of it. Plenty of toys and puzzles are also necessary so they don’t get bored.

The main problem with leaving your pet rats for longer than 3 days is that they do enjoy the interaction and leave their cage to explore other sceneries.

Otherwise, they might end up getting stressed.

They’re very active animals and like different experiences throughout their day. If they are used to a specific routine, they will notice the difference and will miss it.

The most important is being sure they have enough water, food, and toys!

So, if you are planning on being away for a week, I do recommend getting a rat sitter (a friend or family member) that can go check on them.

This way you’re sure nothing is missing and that they get to have a bit of interaction with someone.

If the rat sitter is used to your pet rats, or just pet rats in general, they’ll even be able to play with them for a bit.

On the other hand, if that person isn’t that used to pet rats, just having someone come up to their cage and change their food and water is already a nice change of pace for them.

The most important is being sure they have enough water, food, and toys!

How Much Attention Do Rats Need?

Pet rats are very active and will get bored easily. Even if they do have cage companions, they need attention from other sources.

This means they need attention from you as well. It is very important to take some time during the day to play with them.

It’s around this time that you should also let them leave the cage, so they can have a change of scenery and more space to play.

I always like to recommend creating a playground near their cage, maybe even using a pet playpen. This way you’re sure your pet rats can’t escape the space you defined for them.

During this time, it’s a good opportunity to introduce them to some obstacle courses like mazes or even teach them new tricks. Here’s a fun video on how to teach your pet rat how to weave:

You can start with very easy tricks and as they learn them, you can then go for something more complex.

Pet rats are very intelligent and curious, so it’s good to keep their mind active with games like these. This way you’ll ensure that they’ll never get bored and keep living happy!

Even if you’re someone very busy, it’s good for both you and them to have some time together daily. Even if it’s just 15 minutes.

However, it’s important to keep their cage filled with interesting toys and puzzles, so they can keep themselves occupied and active.

This is one of the major reasons to get your pet rat environment filled with interesting things for your pet rat, as you can read about here!

how long can you leave your rats by themselves, pinterest cover

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