Volunteer FAQ

Q: What volunteer positions are available at Rattie Ratz?
A: There’s a list of open volunteer positions on the main Volunteer page.

Q: How do I become a Rattie Ratz volunteer?
A: Please get started by filling out our Volunteer Application.

Q: Would I need to provide a cage and supplies if I want to foster rats?
A: No. Rattie Ratz would provide the following items:

  • A large cage to keep in your home for housing your fosters
  • A smaller cage for transporting them
  • “lab block” food appropriate to the age of the rats
  • A water bottle and food dish
  • Bedding material for lining the cage
  • Soft cloth items such as hammocks and pieces of fleece
  • Medications if needed
  • A “Rat Primer” and “Rat Health Care” full of useful information on the care and keeping of rats

Q: What do I do when I run short of supplies?
A: Let your Rattie Ratz contact know and arrange to pick up supplies at the next adoption event. Sometimes if someone is transporting supplies or rats to your area you can arrange for your supplies to be sent as well…. advanced notice is ideal. In this case, you would then arrange to pick up the supplies from the person who did the transport.

Q: How many would I foster at a time?
A: From two to a whole litter, depending on your desire, space, and time. Typically it would be two or three.

Q: Are all of the rats friendly and ready for adoption?
A: Rattie Ratz rates the rates on a socialization scale of -5 to +5. +5 rats are very friendly to humans and are well adjusted and socialized. 0 rats are neutral towards humans, and are not afraid or aggressive but are not friendly. -5 rats are terrified and/or aggressive towards humans. Rats on the +5 end of the scale are easy and fun to care for, but would be adopted sooner so may require more time interacting with potential adopters and if you tended to always have “easy” rat fosters you would end up adjusting to new rats more often. Taking on the challenge of a less “easy” rat can be rewarding and more of your time would be spent interacting with and helping the rat become less fearful and teaching them the joys of interaction with humans. The rat would be actively advertised for adoption once he or she was more socialized. Obviously, if you tended to always have less “easy” rats you would get new fosters less often.

Q: Can I choose which rats I wish to foster?
A: To some extent, depending on the needs of the organization and how many there are from which to choose. You determine whether or not you are willing to care for rats needing medication, and you can request rats that are less challenging or more challenging in terms of socialization needed or negative behaviors (such as aggression) to be worked upon.

Q: Will I know anything about the background of the rats I foster?
A: This varies, as our rats come from different sources. Sometimes we have a lot of information about them and sometimes we have none.

Q: What is involved besides caring for my fosters?
A:

  • After learning the personalities of the rats you foster, you would write up a description of each one, including background of the rat if known. You would take photos of them or have another volunteer take photos of them to be posted in the Available Rats section of the web site.
  • When a potential adopter applies to adopt your fosters, the adoption application will first be reviewed by someone at Rattie Ratz. If it looks like a good match, they will forward the application to you. You would review the application in detail, contact the person if any clarification is needed based on their responses to questions on the application, answer any questions they have. Training is provided on how to review an adoption application.
  • You would either arrange for the potential adopter to finalize the adoption at an adoption event or meet with them in your home, their home or at a pet store such at Pet Food Express.
  • If you complete the adoption yourself, you would make sure that the adoption contract was complete, that you gave the person the appropriate receipts and handouts, and collected the adoption fee. You would then turn in the adoption fees to Rattie Ratz. Training is provided on this process as well, and there are written instructions online.
  • You would be the contact for the adopters if they had questions in the future, which can be very fulfilling and can give you an opportunity to find out how your former fosters are doing.
  • You would attend monthly adoption events if and when they are held in your area.
  • Communication with your Rattie Ratz contact is very important. Besides asking questions of your contact, you would email weekly updates on your fosters.

Q: What do I do if my fosters need medical attention?
A: Rattie Ratz has relationships with certain vets and can authorize you to take an animal for treatment. If the animal has a common ailment treatable with antibiotics, Rattie Ratz can provide antibiotics and show you how to administer them.

Q: What if I have questions while I am fostering?
A: You will have a Rattie Ratz contact, and there is a Rattie Ratz Yahoo group. You can pose a question to the group and people will reply with advice or information. People also share relevant news stories, ask for transport assistance, and even simply introduce themselves or welcome new members.

Q: What kind of time commitment is required?
A:

  • A minimum of 30 minutes a day to interact with and care for your fosters.
  • Approximately an hour a week cleaning the cage and bowls
  • A few minutes each day to provide your fosters with fresh vegetables or fruit
  • Several hours once a month attending adoption events (or at least dropping off your fosters and returning to pick them up or pick up new fosters if yours were adopted
  • Varying amounts of time communicating with potential adopters and other volunteers.

Q: Can I foster rats with the intention of adopting?
A: Yes and No. Foster homes are welcome to adopt their foster rats. Since setting up a foster home is an investment of resources. Rattie Ratz asks for a minimum six month commitment from our foster homes. As a foster home, the rats you foster will be selected primarily based on the need of the rescue, not necessarily based on your personal preferences.

Q: Can I foster to complete my community service volunteer hours?
A: No. Fostering is currently not a position available for community service volunteers. However, if you have extensive animal rescue volunteer experience your application will be considered.