Rats have a bad reputation, but they could be the perfect pet for you. Despite the negative connotations that come with being a rat, they have redeeming qualities.
1. They are incredibly smart
Even despite their bad reputation, they each have their own personality and form strong bonds to their owners. Fancy rats are much different than wild rats you see in the city. Fancy rats and wild rats are just about as similar as domesticated dogs are to wolves. Each rat has their own unique personality, much more than your average hamster or gerbil. They even get excited to see you!
“After years of hamsters, mice, rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, frogs, etc., I brought home a "fancy rat" for my 12 year old son. Immediately, our family fell head over heals for this precious, dark grey, loving creature! She is the most affectionate, playful, SMART, and darling little critter we have ever had. We will have pet rats forever after the privilege of having Sweetie join our family. She has NEVER even attempted to bite any of us. She loves us to hand feed her treats and nap on our shoulders. I would highly recommend a pet rat to anyone thinking about it. You won't be sorry. They are wonderful companions.” - Heather King, Red Bluff, CA
2. They love to sleep (just like you)
What's better than a pet that understands your love for naps?
3. Rats can learn tricks
They can learn the same tricks a dog can, and often times much faster. I’ve taught many of my rats tricks, and they learn them within a few days (with a lot of treats). Some sources even rank rats as smarter than dogs and cats!
4. Rats are actually very clean animals.
They have a strict grooming regime and even use litter boxes to keep their cage extra clean. This allows you to make their cage super cute. I love to decorate my rats' cage. In the picture below, I have a green theme going on in my Double Critter Nation. The rats love to explore hammocks and tubes, and even play with toys.
5. Rats can be walked
They can be taught to be walked on a leash, which practically makes them a tiny dog.
6. There are many different types and colors.
Rats come in a multitude of colors and styles (hence the name "fancy rats"). Dumbo rats (such as the picture of my rat Mable on the left) have giant funny ears on the sides of their head, instead of on the top. This makes them look like an elephant, which is why they are named after the Disney movie: Dumbo.
7. They're painfully cute (obviously)
Don't let the tails fool you, rats are incredibly adorable.
8. You gain a loyal best friend.
Your rats will always be there for you, even when your friends or significant other aren't. They may seem like just rodents, but you soon realize that they are so much more than that. Don't let their reputation fool you, they are amazingly loving, and incredible pets.
"I just got my first rat about 2 months ago. I, too, have had many pets throughout my life, but I must admit I am bowled over by my girl, Lucky. She is without a doubt the kindest, smartest and most affectionate animal friend I have ever had. I just got her a playmate, Balzy. Balzy is not quite the genius Lucky is, but makes up for it easily with her funny antics and her licks on my face. I love my girls, and am so happy I have them!" - Janie-Lynne Osborne-Polacek, Bradenton, FL; March 2006
Before you freak out next time you see a rat, think of their potential. Although I don’t advise you to pick up a rat off the street, I encourage you to consider pet rats as your next furry family member, you may be surprised by how much you fall in love with them.