One big question we all ask ourselves as rat owners at one point or another is can rats eat cheese?
The question is a good one and the answer is both yes and no.
While it is a myth that rats are lactose intolerant, this doesn’t mean that all cheeses are okay for rats to eat.
What Cheese Is Alright For Rats?
While most cheeses are fine with rats there are certain ones we should avoid, even as occassional treats.
It also pays to bear in mind that while rats are not generally lactose intolerant, individual rats can be. So it’s worth watching out for signs that they are not doing well with cheese, such as diarrhea or loose stools.
The best cheeses for rats are hard cheeses or semi-hard cheeses that undergo a washing process to remove excess whey which makes them lower in lactose and fat such as Colby Cheeses.
Cheeses Rats Can Have:
- Red Leicester
These cheeses are fine to give your rats if they are produced from cow or goats milk, so long as they are of the plain variety without any additions such as common additions of nuts, chilis and certain greens.
Cheeses To Avoid:
Certain cheeses are not suitable for rats due to ingredients and the processes they undergo during being made or maturing.
Some cheeses such as Mozerella, Feta and Brie are also not suitable for rats due to being too soft and chewy despite containing no bad ingredients or undergoing no bad processes during being made.
Soft cheeses are simply too chewy for rats who don’t have molars to break down food before swallowing, this means they can easily choke on foods that are too ‘gloopy’ for them. Since they have no natural gag-reflex, choking is a much more serious life-threatening event in rats.
Cheeses Rats Cant Have:
- Blue Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Queso Blanco
This isn’t an exhaustive list of cheeses rats can’t have, but be careful to avoid any cheeses that fit into the category of what we’ve described above. Always research the type of cheese you are thinking of giving your rats before you do and use common sense to decide whether it’s safe or not.
In conclusion, yes rats can eat cheese as an occasional treat, you just have to be careful with which cheeses you give them!
If you found this article useful and enjoyable then let us know in the comments or share it with other rat owners to spread the word!References: – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6743048 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cheeses