Why Rats Make Great Pets!

If you can’t get a dog, get a rat. They're pocket-sized puppies.

I’ve had various pets throughout my life and the most similar to dogs has been my rats, only you don’t have to walk them and all that active stuff. They’re easy for children to look after too – with supervision of course. Last year I had to say goodbye to my three rats who all sadly died within the same year (they were all the same age to be fair) but I'll never forget just how special these animals are, so here are my reasons as to why they make great pets, I really hope it inspires you to get some! 

Image from freestocks

They’re Super Friendly
Rats have a bad stigma attached to them because of wild rats, but pet rats are completely different. Okay, I do start squealing 'aww' every time I'm watching 'I'm a Celebrity' and see a wild rat (at least they claim they're wild rats, either way I feel sorry for the things they do to them on there), but in reality I wouldn't ever want to touch one of those! If you spend enough time with pet rats then they’ll love you unconditionally, they’ll race up their cage to say hello to you every time they hear you coming. It honestly is just like a dog greeting you and just like dogs they don’t even do it for food, they actually want to see you! On the friendly note, they absolutely have to live in groups of at least two else they’ll get lonely, they’re sociable animals! They just want to play and be loved!

They Don’t Actually Bite Often. 
I say 'often' because I have heard of some grumpy rats, but mine didn’t really bite at all. My finger, nose (don’t ask) and toe did go in Echo’s mouth but it didn’t hurt, it was just a little scrape. Paper cuts hurt more than her teeth did. As for the other two, they never even tried to put their teeth around me, they were super gentle. My worst rat injury was actually when Badger was young and she climbed over my face and her claws scratched through my lip. As I said, they’re really gentle though. I wouldn’t even trust my dog to eat treats out of my hand – not because he’s aggressive just because he’s bouncy and excited - but I happily did with the little rats.

Badger

Nibbles

Echo

They’re Strong
As in they don’t need to go to the vets as often as hamsters do. When I was looking into getting a hamster I saw that they often hurt themselves easily but rats don’t really do that so much, they’re tough. I was really surprised by how tough they are. They hang from the bars and then fall right to the bottom of the cage before getting up like nothing happened.

They're Intelligent 
Rats can do pretty much everything a dog can do – other than bark, of course, but apparently they can laugh. They can learn their names, they can learn to fetch and do other tricks. Two of mine actually escaped out of their cage once whilst I was on holiday (they were being fed by someone who popped in). They managed to survive five days (at least) outside of their cage. The kitchen was a mess when we got home but they managed to somehow jump up onto the kitchen unit and find themselves food and water! They’d even made themselves a home in the cupboard below our stairs. I still have no idea how they jumped all the way up onto the kitchen counter when they're such small animals, I just wish I knew. Worth noting on that point that my rats were female and I can't speak for male rats. From what I've been told male rats are less wiggly but they're much bigger, they also often out-live female rats.



They’re Great With Children
If your child wants their first pet then you should definitely at least consider rats. They bite far less than hamsters. When my rats were all gone I looked into having a hamster and all I found were people commenting on the discussion threads saying ‘get a rat instead’. I didn’t have enough time of room for any more rats sadly, but it turns out hamsters need a cage not so much smaller anyway and that’s just for one hamster!


They're Funny!
When we’d already had Badger and Echo for six months and brought baby Nibbles home, Badger dragged the baby to their box where they slept and wouldn’t let her leave. She was just so protective over her, yet Nibbles was like a little toddler. She was so quick and naughty and kept trying to escape. Badger has always been a bit careless up until then. She’d climb the cage and hang upside down but having nibbles turned her into such a Mum! Badger was my favourite (Echo was my boyfriend’s) and I still miss her a year on, but we had some fantastic memories with all of them. Just the way she’d look up into your eyes and have a sniff won me over every time. Echo was the shoulder rat though, she liked being on shoulders...and in hoodie pockets. Alex would always take her with him to make dinner because she'd just climb around on him for ages.


They Bring Happiness
Every single time I had a bad day or was struggling with uni (and that was a lot), they’d be there running up to the top of the cage to say hi and never once did it not make me feel better. They were happy to have cuddles and they were pretty much my coping mechanism. Whether it's mental illness or unhappiness, even if you just need a distraction, I recommend them. They bring so much joy!


They Get to Know You
After a while they learn who you are. Badger got out of her cage one time during the last few months we had her and she just ran under the sofa and straight to our feet. You'd expect them to try and escape, but she came running straight to us!


I hope I've convinced you that rats are lovable, incredible and happy pets who don't deserve to be spoken about in a negative manner. If you've had rats before please let me know your rat stories, I'd love to hear them! 
Image from freestocks

If you have any rat questions, let me know and I'll try and answer the best I can.

22 comments

  1. I'm so happy I read this! I have never considered adopting a pet rat since I've always had my heart set on adopting a puppy, but you definitely have me thinking about it!

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  2. I've had guinea pigs and hamsters, which are adorable and sweet animals. I'm sure that rats are also a great kind of pet to have.

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  3. I loved having rats as pets too! ๐Ÿ˜ So happy to read this, sure hope it does convince more people that rats aren't just 'sewer dwellers'

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    1. I knew you liked rats but I didn't realise you'd had some. They're so wonderful, I'm so glad you enjoyed having them too!

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  4. This is so true - my sister used to keep a couple of pet rats though unfortunately they have both passed now but they were super sociable!

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  5. We used to have lots of rats in our garden because they were attracted to our chicken food. They are certainly incredibly intelligent. I don't think I could have them as pets mind you but they certainly sound like they can make a good pet

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    1. Pet ones are definitely a lot different to the wild ones. I wouldn't want to touch a wild one, haha - even though they still look cute to me

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  6. We used to have lots of rats in our garden because they were attracted to our chicken food. They are certainly incredibly intelligent. I don't think I could have them as pets mind you but they certainly sound like they can make a good pet

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  7. I TOTALLY AGREE! I love love love rats! :) I grew up having them as pets and they're so intelligent and loving :) It makes me sad that so many people are scared of them, or think they have diseases :(

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    1. I'm so glad to hear from someone who loves them as much as I do!

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  8. they are so cute! <3 <3 I love animals so much, and for me, the smaller are the most adorable ones :D
    But I never had rats because my mum is not very fond of them... Still love them <3

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  9. Rats scare me, but this post is so cute and your pets look so sweet. One of my friends has pet rats and she swears they are the best.

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  10. I couldn’t agree with you more. My brother got rats after I made the suggestion and they’re great pets. So lovely and social. I would always let them out and spend time with them when I went over. I just wish they lived longer.

    Mel

    http://littlemissmelanie.com

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  11. I've always had gerbils myself over hamsters, they are much more friendlier! I've heard such great things about rats as pets, it's not what you really expect when you first hear of them. Someone I know used to have them and used to tell us all the stories of the mischief they got up too haha, but they were always so friendly! X

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

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  12. This was so sweet to read. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about pet rats! I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to have one myself haha. Maybe one day! X

    https://allaboutamy.uk

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  13. Aww it's awful when you lose pets. I've had many members of the rodent family over the course of my life (many, many childhood hamsters). I currently have a guinea pig who is my dog's best friend. So many people say great things about pet rats but the tails have always been too much for me, I wish I could get over it! x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  14. Great post! Why not rats indeed? I don't see any difference in acceptability than getting a Gerbil! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. My mum has always had rats, I think they can make quite sweet pets actually.

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  16. Now I want a rat! I didn't know they were so loyal, that is sweet.

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    1. They are incredibly loyal, it's a shame people don't speak about it enough. They really do fill your heart with love and happiness!

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  17. My best friend had rats as pets and they were amazing. They have such a bad reputation

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  18. My kids had hamsters and guinea pigs as small pets when they were younger and that was it for us. I know what you shared can be cute pets too...

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