Ottawa Pet Rat Rescue (OPRats) is a registered, non-profit organization working to raise awareness and share information about pet rats. We are involved in local rescue, fostering, and adopting. We advocate adoption over purchasing rats from pet stores or breeders, as the supply of rats far exceeds the demand, and the conditions at commercial breeders who supply pet stores with their rats are inhumane. (See rat advocacy to learn the truth about pocket pet breeders and why we do not support or condone these businesses.) Our mission is to encourage, educate and support rat-parents and potential rat-parents so that more rats can have happier, healthier lives.
Important Note: We have been contacted by many people who have purchased rats at the Pet World locations in Ottawa or Little Critters at Billings Bridge Mall. All of these pet stores keep their males and females together, and the baby females are often pregnant when purchased. This is unethical due to the strain and danger imposed on the pregnant baby rat and her offspring, plus unsuspecting customers end up with a litter of unwanted rats. In addition, we receive complaints that most of the rats have mites and/or lice. Please do not purchase rats from pet stores. This is why we advocate rescuing and adopting instead.
OPRats is an all volunteer organization and does not receive funding from any government agencies. OPRats relies solely on donations to support the animals in our care. All donations, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated.
Please read “before you adopt” if you are considering having rat companions. It will help you determine if pet rats are the right pet for you and your household.
Why Rats, you might ask?
Pet rats are gentle, friendly and very social creatures who bond closely with their guardians. They are curious and intelligent animals who learn their names and come when called. They can also be litter box trained! Rats are like “tiny dogs” in their behavior. They are excited to see you and they want to be with you. They will groom you, cuddle you and give you kisses. You can play games with your rats – fetch, chase, peek-a-boo, and hand wrestling are just a few of the more common games rats can play, without being trained to do them!
Rats need things to do as they become bored and depressed in an empty cage. They love to explore, so out-time every day is a must. In their cage, rats love hammocks to sleep and relax in, tubes, boxes, igloos, chewing toys, levels, ropes, wheels. They are always excited to find new fun toys in their home!
Rats come in many different varieties, including hairless, rex (wavy fur), or even dumbo rats whose ears are set on the side of their head, not to mention a myriad of colors and coat patterns!
There is so much more to learn about the joys of pet rats. Visit our rat care page for more information and for links to our favourite ratty websites.