Thinking about getting a pet rat?

So I've been wanting a pet rat for the longest time. I think they'd be a lot of fun and aren't too difficult to care for.. But I've been on the fence about it as well for a few reasons. Does the rat cage smell? of course it will if I don't clean it after a long period of time. But anyway,... show more So I've been wanting a pet rat for the longest time. I think they'd be a lot of fun and aren't too difficult to care for.. But I've been on the fence about it as well for a few reasons.

Does the rat cage smell? of course it will if I don't clean it after a long period of time. But anyway, I'm planning on keeping it in my room, so I don't want it to smell too bad. Also, I'll be at school for 7 hours a day, so will it be okay in the cage for that period of time?

I've been thinking about getting a female rat. I heard that they do better in pairs, but I don't think my parents will let be get TWO.... They'll think it's something like "oh well first you wanted one rat now you want two." What would happen if I only kept one rat in a cage?
And what are some good rat cages? No critter nation please, too expensive!

A little extra info would be helpful. Thank you!!
14 answers 14