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Did you know that rats can be litter trained? Training is very simple, but can make cage cleaning much easier and cuts down on smells. Here’s our simple guide on how to litter train rats.
To litter train, you obviously need a litter tray. There are lots of trays designed for small animals on the market, like this one from The Range, but you can use any container that your rat can fit in. Plastic storage boxes or baskets make great litter trays.
Choose a litter that is rat safe, and different to whatever you use as your main substrate. Remember that rats chew just about everything, so you need a litter that doesn’t clump. Stay away from anything dusty or that will turn into dust when chewed. At Rattie Ratbags, we use Back To Nature, as it’s absorbent and keeps smells to a minimum.
Placing the litter tray
You’ll probably notice that your rats have a favoured corner for doing their business in. Put the litter tray in this corner, and you’ll find it easier to encourage your rats to use it.
It’s a good idea to place a second litter tray higher up in the cage, near the main sleeping place. You’ll find it easier to get the rats to use it if they don’t have to move very far when they first wake up.
When the trays are in place, move any stray poos into the litter tray. Do this whenever you notice a poo not in the tray. To start with, you’ll be doing this a lot, but your rats will get the idea quite quickly and begin using the tray.
If you see a rat using the tray, you reinforce and reward the behaviour by giving them a small treat.
Many owners find that adding a ‘pee stone’ helps a lot with litter training rats. All you need is a smooth, flat stone to place in the tray. Rats love to pee on flat surfaces, so will be encouraged to go here. Aquarium stones are great, or just choose a pebble from outside (after a thorough clean, of course).
And that’s it! Litter training really is very simple, and easy to achieve.