Rats make wonderful pets, but they make lousy houseguests. Rats love to chew, and they will chew on anything they can get their teeth on, including the insulation on your electrical wires and the inside of your kitchen cabinets. If you notice signs of a rat infestation you need to take immediate steps to chase those unwanted visitors away. If you feel uneasy about killing your would-be roommates, there are a number of non-lethal ways to convince them to leave.
Purchase a set of ultrasonic pest repellent units and plug them into electrical outlets around your home. These units emit a sound that does not bother dogs, cats or people, but drives rats, mice and other rodents crazy. The only downside to this approach is that you cannot use it in homes with hamsters, gerbils or other pocket pets.
Purchase a live catch trap to get rid of your rat friends. These traps are available at many stores that sell hunting gear and farm equipment. Some stores even rent the traps, but if you live in a rural area it may be best to buy one, since chances are unwanted visitors will make a return at some point.
Set the trap according to the instructions, place the bait inside and leave the trap in an area where you have noticed rodent droppings and other signs of rats.
Check the traps each morning and take any rats you capture well away from populated areas. Try to find state game lands or other wooded areas to release the rats. Make sure there are no houses around or your rats will quickly become someone else's problem.
Wear a pair of heavy gloves when releasing the trap. Rats have sharp teeth and they can become aggressive when frightened. Open the trap and allow the unwanted rodents to scamper away.