Pet Rats/...


QUESTION: My older rat... He's is about 1.5 years old... Is acting extremely odd ... Earlier he was drooling ... Alot... This odd yellowish white drool ... So I freaked a little and called a vet... They couldn't tell me much at all... He was on my bed earlier when he was drooling and I was watching to see if he did anything else funny, he would get on my pillows, one in particular, and would rub his chin on the pillow ... I told the vet this and they said it could be alot of things... Something simple like a tooth ache or old age or something serious... They don't actually treat rats at this clinic or I would already be there...  The only rat vet within 50+ miles of here is closed and has no answer ... Now he's in his cage... I heated up some broccoli and kitty food  and because the rats like the ferret food and the ferrets dont like the ferret food i give the rats a little of it every now and again in water so it would soften and I chopped the broccoli up really well and he nibbled at it and the kitty and ferret foods a little and has drank a little sip if water ... But when he was done eating he and his cage mates all tend to clean themselves at the same time pretty much and he didn't clean himself at all... He just lays down like he doesn't feel very good... ??? And if you can't tell me what is most likely wrong ... Can you tell several things I can make soft for food for him... him so he has a variety :) I always like giving him a good variety ... O his cage mates are acting normal and he hasn't gotten into anything because he's been in his cage all day until earlier his cage isn't dirty I cleaned yesterday just as I do every week and I did the same thing... I pulled the catch pan cleaned it up well using a water vinegar mix, pulled the bottom panel up cleaned it, put new bedding down... ... ... i don't know any more info you might need ...

ANSWER: Jeannie-

Thank you for your question. I do apologize for the delay. I hope all is okay with your rat!!!

My first thought is that it sounds as if your rat had a choking episode. My heart rat, Aniston, once choked on her food (she is a bit of a pig, cramming as much as possible into her mouth, the silly little dear). She too was drooling and rubbing her chin and the sides of her face on things. Rats are not able to vomit, so I think it was her way of trying to bring the food back up where she could spit it out (which she did shortly after). Afterwards she was very quiet, not scampering all over as she normally would when I would take her out of the cage.

Thanks about as far as my expertise in this specific issue go,but I hope it helped. I do hope your little guy is all right!!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Did she move around her cage less afterwards too?... Also how long did it take before she would run around out of her cage as normal... Or did she ever... And good news so far ... My ratty parrot, white ratt, extremely original name lol :):):) , he's doing pretty well now I still have a really sharp eye on him though because he's still acting a slight bit funny... He has 3 cage mates, the male I bought with him and one that I bought later on and one of his sons haha... They normally clean each other and they run around the cage fussing about being teamed up on to be washed ... And he hasn't been participating ... He rolls over and lets them clean him ,squeaking here and there... Then he goes and lays down or goes and cleans his face ... Or eats some lettuce... I've heard iceberg lettuce isn't nutritional for them at all... But he likes it and I know he's getting liquids for sure that way, he also didn't want to drink for a few minute the other night... and he eats on other soft greens too, though I haven't found a single fruit or un green veggie that he likes... Do you know of any they tend too like also any soft foods that aren't too expensive for them??? And sorry for such long messages ... I intended for this to be a short message... But... We can all see how that worked out haha :) ... Sorry...

She was pretty quiet and slept a bunch afterwards. After about 2 hours she was back to normal. I think it wore her out, and probably had her panicked too so she just needed some time to relax.

A soft food that is good to use is baby food. Meat flavored ones work well to entice them to eat, the fruits and veggies are good ways to ensure they are getting them in the diet.  

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Shawna Laufer


Nutrition has always been an interest of mine as well as creating stimulating environments for rats. I conduct product reviews on my blog so I can take questions regarding products marketed or intended for rats. Other questions regarding basic husbandry, feeding, grooming, and other pet rat care will be accepted. I have very little breeding experience so I would not be able to answer much in the ways of breeding or genetics questions. I can help with some basic health care questions but am not a vet and always suggest contacting your vet for serious inquires.


I have over 13 years of experience with pet rats, having worked in several pet stores, as a veterinary tech assistant, and with my own pet rats. I run a highly regarded blog on the subject of pet rat ownership ( with a corresponding YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have been and always will be open to questions and comments.

A photograph of my lady rat's cage is being published in Worth Publishers' college textbook "How Children Develop, 4e" by Robert Siegler, Judy DeLoache and Nancy Eisenberg on the subject of how complex, stimulating environments and how they relate to the brains of rats.

I have some college experience, but not in the field of animals. I completed the majority of an at-home Veterinary Technician course which I was unable to complete due to financial reason. The majority of my knowledge on rats have come from personal experience, conducting my own research with the help of published medical studies and journal, the internet and through other knowledgeable 'rat people'.

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