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Can rats eat oatmeal?

Yes, rats can eat oatmeal in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Oatmeal contains carbohydrates, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial for rats. However, it should only be fed occasionally and in small amounts due to its high calorie and fat content.

Is oatmeal healthy for rats?

Oatmeal does have some nutritional benefits for rats:

  • It is a good source of soluble fiber, which can help regulate digestion.
  • It contains manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
  • It provides some protein.
  • It contains antioxidants like avenanthramides which may offer health benefits.

However, oatmeal should not make up a large part of a rat’s diet for a few reasons:

  • It is relatively high in fat for a rat diet. The fats are mostly healthy unsaturated fats, but too much can lead to obesity.
  • It is high in calories, so rats may eat less of their nutritionally balanced rat food if filling up on oatmeal.
  • Too much carbohydrate-rich food like oatmeal could lead to diabetes if fed in excess.

In small amounts, though, the fiber, vitamins and minerals in oatmeal can be part of a balanced rat diet.

Can rats eat instant oatmeal or rolled oats?

Both instant oatmeal and rolled oats are okay options in moderation. However, plain rolled oats are often the healthier choice.

Instant oatmeal contains:

  • More sugar and salt.
  • More calories due to added flavorings.
  • May have artificial colors and preservatives.

Rolled oats contain:

  • No added sugar.
  • No salt.
  • No artificial ingredients.
  • Fewer calories.

So for optimal nutrition, choose plain or lightly flavored rolled oats instead of instant, pre-packaged oatmeal.

How much oatmeal can rats eat?

Oatmeal should be fed in limited amounts of no more than 1-2 tablespoons per rat, 1-2 times per week at most. Any more may lead to obesity or nutritional imbalances.

Here are some guidelines for how much to feed:

  • Baby rats: No more than 1 teaspoon of cooked oatmeal spread over 3-4 feedings per week.
  • Adult rats: No more than 1-2 tablespoons of cooked oatmeal 1-2 times per week.
  • Avoid feeding oatmeal every day.

Other carbs like pasta, rice or bread can be rotated in for variety in place of oatmeal. But again, all high-carb foods should be limited due to their high calorie content.

Can rats eat oatmeal with milk?

It’s fine to mix a small amount of milk into oatmeal to be fed to rats occasionally. Whole milk provides some extra protein and nutrients. But too much dairy can lead to diarrhea, so no more than 1-2 teaspoons of milk per serving of oatmeal.

Do rats like the taste of oatmeal?

Most rats enjoy oatmeal in moderation as a treat. The soft, mushy texture appeals to their taste buds and makes it easy to eat. Be sure to serve it freshly cooked and slightly warm, not too hot. Let it cool off for a few minutes before feeding.

To encourage hesitant rats to try oatmeal, mix in a bit of:

  • Baby food
  • Applesauce
  • Banana
  • Yogurt
  • Honey
  • Syrup

But only use 1-2 teaspoons of mix-ins so as not to greatly increase the sugar and calorie content.

Can oatmeal cause digestive upset in rats?

Oatmeal is fairly easy to digest for most rats. However, some may experience:

  • Bloating if they eat too much at once.
  • Diarrhea from too much dairy mixed in.
  • Constipation if not enough water is consumed.

Make sure rats always have access to plenty of fresh water. And introduce oatmeal slowly in small amounts to watch for any signs of digestive distress.

How to cook oatmeal for rats

  1. Bring 1 part rolled oats and 2 parts water or broth to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once thick and creamy, remove from heat.
  4. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before feeding to rats.
  5. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Do not add any sugar, salt or milk to the oats while cooking. Instead, mix in a small amount just before serving.

Can you feed oatmeal to wild rats or mice?

It’s not recommended to intentionally feed wild rats or mice. This can encourage infestations. But if they do get into stored oatmeal, they will eat it and may come back looking for more.

Make sure wild rats can’t access any oatmeal by:

  • Storing all dry and cooked oatmeal in sealed, chew-proof containers.
  • Disposing of any leftovers instead of leaving them out.
  • Cleaning up any spilled oatmeal right away.

Removing food sources like oatmeal can help reduce the number of wild rats around your home.


Oatmeal can be a healthy occasional treat for domesticated rats in moderation. The fiber, vitamins and minerals provide some benefits when not fed too excessively. Stick to 1-2 tablespoons per rat 1-2 times per week maximum for the best nutritional balance. Plain rolled oats are healthier than instant flavored oatmeal. And be sure not to leave oatmeal out where wild rats and mice can get into it. With proper feeding amounts and storage, oatmeal can be a safe part of your rat’s overall diet.