13 reasons why rats make the best pets!

I haven’t heard of many people who own rats.

It is quite astonishing that rats aren’t as common pets despite their great qualities.

The common misconceptions about rats are what keep most people from opting for a pet rat.

This is why I decided to put together a list of the benefits of pet rats.

These little ones are definitely very underrated and deserve more love.

So:

If you need to convince yourself to buy a rat or justify to someone else why you opted for a rat, this list will help you!

1. Rats are smart

I think it is sad that the majority of the world fails to recognize how intelligent rats are.

Rats are quite smart.

Other than that:

Rats can pretty much do everything that an intelligent animal should be able to do.

Rats can learn their names and respond to them.

They can also be trained.

Moreover, they have a way to get things done their way.

Rats, in general, are also used in scientific studies worldwide.

They are proven to be great at mazes.

Rats also have a high emotional intelligence level, which is why they are so readily used in experiments.

2. Rats build a loving relationship with their owner

In my opinion, the most crucial factor to consider when getting a pet is its ability to build relationships.

Pet parents invest in their pets in every possible way.

They spend monetarily to take care of the animal.

But:

More importantly, they invest emotionally in the relationship with their animal to make sure the animal feels safe, loved, and comfortable.

How hurtful would it be not to get a mutual feeling in return?

One sided love hurts, no matter what relationship it is.

Rats won’t put you through this pain.

They will love you and understand you as well.

Rats are said to have the ability to read other’s emotions through their facial expressions.

I’m sure it will be very cheerful to be comforted by your tiny rat after you have a stressful day.

3. Rats love others of their kind

Rats have a lot of love to offer.

Instead of getting territorial, they greet other rats with a welcoming nature.

This can be an issue if there are a lot of wild rats around your area.

Your pet rat will want all of them to come inside and live like a family.

Not only is this unhygienic, but it also increases the risk of disease transmission.

However:

If you can keep the wild rats away from your pet rat, this welcoming nature brings no risk.

In fact, if you want to own more than one of these tiny little creatures, it will become very easy for you.

The rats will adjust within one living space.

They will share everything from food to toys.

4. Rats adjust with other humans and animals

Now:

You’ve learned that rats love their owners.

You’ve also learned that rats love other rats.

Well, here’s what is even better:

Rats also easily adjust to strangers and other pet animals. Don’t believe me? Here’s my article on, “are pet rats affectionate?

Their social nature will always have them in search of more company.

If you ever have friends over who are meeting a rat for the first time, it won’t be an issue.

There are a lot of pets who need to be trained before they meet new people.

Otherwise, they have to be kept in isolation when new people are coming over.

None of this is necessary in the case of rats.

The same is the case with animals.

If a guest pet is coming over for a little while, the rat will quickly become friends with it.

Similarly, if you owned pets before bringing home the rat or buy new pets after the rat, you won’t really have to arrange a formal introduction to maintain a friendly atmosphere.

5. Rats keep themselves clean

Would you want a pet that poops everywhere and stinks?

I’m sure not.

But:

Would you want a pet who keeps itself clean, can be potty trained and is also adorable?

Who wouldn’t?!

Rats definitely fit the latter category.

Just like cats, rats groom themselves.

Their rough tongue and tiny paws help them keep their fur clean.

They are also generally clean and hygienic.

Pet rats don’t like a messy cage, and so, they keep things organized.

They can be litter trained easily to make sure that you don’t find poop and urine all around the cage.

Here’s a fun fact:

If you own more than one rat, they will groom each other too!

So basically, the more rats you have, the cleaner they will be.

For all the people who keep asking, “are pet rats safe?” because they’re worried about their hygiene, rats are certainly clean animals.

6. It’s not expensive to own a rat

Nobody likes a love that puts a dent in your budget, even if it is the love for your pet.

Rats, luckily, are not expensive to own.

These intelligent fur balls are easy to care for.

Their diet consists of basic food items that can be bought at a very low price.

Moreover, their grooming requirements are also minimal, so the expense of that is also cut down.

You can buy commercial rat food which comes in the form of a ‘rat block.’

I like these well-balanced pellets that keep the rats filled for the most part.

For treats, you can pick something up from your kitchen.

Here are some healthy options that you can use to treat your rat:

  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Apples

7. Rats have a great personality

One selling point for me is that rats have a very charming personality.

This may sound ridiculous if you’ve never owned or met a pet rat.

Trust me; these little creatures have a beautiful nature.

It’s hard to explain with words, but once you interact with a rat, you feel this super chill yet inquisitive aura.

Now:

It won’t be wrong to say that rats are somewhat sophisticated.

But, at the same time, they are also fun-loving.

They own very clashing personality traits.

But, overall, all these qualities add up to create a perfectly balanced personality that will make you fall in love with it instantly.

8. Rats require low maintenance

I think you already have gotten an idea of how easy it is to look after a rat.

These pocket animals are also recommended for children, which goes to explain how low maintenance rats are.

You don’t have to give them baths or a lot of attention.

However:

You will have to clean their cage once every week.

But I think that is a very minimal requirement if you compare it with the needs of other pets.

Speaking of which, I spent hours researching this list of my top picks for rat cages. Check it out if you need to buy one.

9. It’s easy to train rats

Since rats are so smart, they can quickly get the hang of things.

Whatever you want to teach your rat, you can.

Here’s what you have to do:

Continually repeat the instructions, offer treats, and be appreciative.

The rat will learn anything and everything you want in no time!

From litter training to fun tricks, rats can do it all.

Just make sure the animal is in a good mood when you train it.

Also:

Keep plenty of treats within reach.

Otherwise, they can get a bit tough to tame.

10. Rats have minimal health issues

Rats hardly ever get sick.

You would only have to take a rat to a vet once a year, that too for a regular checkup.

This adds to their ‘easy to care’ nature.

It also cuts down on the expense of owning a pet.

But, here’s the thing:

Their strong health shouldn’t be taken for granted.

You must still strive to offer the best environment and diet to undermine any small risk that may arise.

11. It’s easy to buy a rat

One of the best things about rats is how easy it is to get them.

No waitlists required, no pre-booking needed, no training necessary.

These are one of the most significant benefits of pet rats.

Whenever you make up your mind, just head out to the nearest pet store and get your rat.

You can even get an idea by visiting a store before you make a final decision.

This freedom isn’t so easily available in the case of a lot of the more common pet options.

But:

This feasibility is just another reason why rats make the best pets.

12. No worry of vaccinations

Rats do not require any vaccination shots, and I know that this will be a huge relief for most of you.

Vaccinating your pet is a huge responsibility and not a cheap one for that matter.

Rats rid of this problem too.

They are healthy for the most part.

There are a few minor health issues here and there.

But:

They can be easily avoided if the rat is taken care of.

Even if these issues arise, they are easy to treat.

Other than that, there is a very little chance of a severe illness of a rat.

There is nothing as serious that would require a precautionary vaccination.

13. Rats love to cuddle

A fuzzy pet cuddling in your palms, isn’t that the most relaxing scenario ever?

No doubt, there are a lot of pet options available out there that are small in size, adorable, fuzzy, and everything nice.

But:

The sad part is, most of these small animals hate to cuddle.

On the contrary, rats love being lap pets.

They will climb onto your shoulders, cuddle up in your lap, and do all sorts of cute things.

Rats also love being rubbed and tickled.

Basically:

With a rat, you can love it in your heart, but you can also show your affection physically. I go into detail on pet rat affection in this article.

Do rats transmit diseases?

One thing that keeps people from owning pet rats is the common misconception that rats spread diseases.

Now:

Rats indeed carry diseases.

But, these are wild rats.

Pet rats are hygienic and free of all infections.

Of course, there is a risk that pet rats may also catch onto certain diseases and spread them further.

To prevent that, you need to be very careful.

The most important precaution is to minimize your rat’s contact with the wildlife.

Anywhere that the rat may be able to come in contact with a wild animal or its waste is a no go area.

Other than that, you need to avoid rat bites.

You can train your pet rat to stop biting.

By doing so, you’ll be eliminating a lot of risks.

Majority of the diseases that are transmitted from rats to humans are through a bite.

In fact:

The most common is rat bite fever.

Other causes of disease transmission can be:

  • Contact with an infected rat’s urine or feces
  • Contact with contaminated soil or water

Not only should you avoid exposure to any of the above, but you should also keep your pet rat away.

What not to feed rats

It’s more common for people to research what their pet likes instead of researching what their pet should be kept away from.

The same is the case with rats.

Although there is a long list of reasons why you must get a pet rat, one of the cons is that they are rather sensitive to the ‘wrong’ foods.

What this means is that there are certain foods that seem to be harmless.

In fact:

These foods are much loved by other animals.

However, they are poisonous to rats.

The rat will eat anything you put in front of it.

Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that whatever you’re serving is safe for the animal.

Some foods that your rat must be kept away from include:

  • Raw sweet potatoes
  • Dried corn
  • Alcohol
  • Beans
  • Insects
  • Citrus Peels
  • Caffeine

The following should only be fed in a very small amount:

  • Avocado
  • Sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Mango
  • Chocolate

Other than these, there are certain plants that are poisonous and should not be fed to the rat at all. These include tomato, mistletoe, primrose, azalea, and many more.

Eggs, meat, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage can be fed if it is cooked.

However, they are indigestible for rats in their raw form.

Signs of a sick rat

As previously mentioned, rats are very healthy animals.

They don’t usually fall sick which is most rat owners become negligent of their health.

Remember that although they have a strong immune system, it doesn’t mean they are invincible.

Rats can get affected by infections and germs.

Here are a few rat diseases that you need to keep an eye out for along with their symptoms:

DiseaseSymptom
Respiratory infectionsSneezing, breathlessness, weight loss
ParasitesIntense scratching, redness
StressNervousness, rough coat

Other than these common diseases in a pet rat, there a few more risks too.

Generally:

A rat that is lethargic, behaving abnormally or displaying changes in its eating patterns is definitely going through some health problem.

Make sure to schedule a vet visit as soon as possible whenever you notice any unusual sign in your rat.

Other than that, even when your rat is healthy, do go for a regular vet checkup at least once a year to be on the safe side.

Related Questions

Are pet rats safe?

Yes, pet rats are completely safe to own.

However, you must look into the breeding details of the rat to make sure that it doesn’t come from a place where there was a higher chance of getting infected.

You can also make your experience of owning a rat safer by keeping the environment clean and providing a hygienic living space.

Keep your pet rat away from wild animals, especially rats, to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

How do you know if your pet rat likes you?

In the majority of the cases, it is understood that a rat loves you if you’re providing it with care too.

But, one way that ensures this is that the rat allows you to touch it.

If your rat bows in front of you, it is because it wants you to tickle it.

Rats love being rubbed around their ears and on their neck.

If your pet allows you to touch and caress these spots, it is a clear sign that the rat likes and trusts you.

What kills rats instantly?

Rats can immediately die is they come in contact with ammonia.

The pungent smell alone can suffocate the animal.

Human hair can also kill rats.

They may accidentally swallow the hair and choke on it.

Do pet rats miss their owners?

Yes, rats will definitely miss their owners if they don’t see them for a long time.

Rats have a tendency to build a very strong bond with their owner.

They get familiar with the voice, scent, and touch of their owner.

So, when they are detached from these familiar feelings, they will start to miss you.

References:

https://www.science20.com/stars_planets_life/calculating_animal_intelligence

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201504/the-emotional-lives-rats-rats-read-pain-in-others-faces

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/owning-a-pet-rat

https://www.petmd.com/exotic/conditions/respiratory/c_ex_rt_lung_airway_disorders

https://animals.mom.me/signs-rat-sick-7901.html

https://www.ratcentral.com/signs-illness-rats/

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/zoonotic/facts-resources/diseases-by-animal/pocket-pets.aspx

https://pethelpful.com/rodents/what-not-to-feed-your-rat

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