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Are Rats Good Pets?

Updated on April 22, 2018
NicholeRLovi profile image

Hello! I am a wife and mother and a huge animal enthusiast. We have hedgehogs, rats, bearded dragons, guinea pigs, and tons more.


Eww, You Have A Rat

As a pet rat owner you learn very quickly that most people immediately are grossed out that you have rats for pets. People usually start telling you that they carry the plague or they are certain you will get some other disease from your rat. People also have some weird Phobia about a rats tail. The purpose of this article is to go over some things you may not know about keeping rats as pets. We will go over why you would want a rat, if they are good pets, if they will give you the plague, and if they are the right pet for you. I will also cover some care that they require if you are considering them as a pet.


Can Rats Give You A Disease

I want to clear this up. EVERY pet we own in America today can give humans diseases. Your dog sitting next to you can transfer diseases or a virus, and even worms to you. Zoonotic diseases are in every species. So yes there is a chance that( very slim change) your rat or any other pet can cause you to become ill. The plague was not caused by rats it was caused by fleas. Rats and other animal that carried fleas was how the plague was spread. The fleas would jump off the animal and bite a human and transferring the plague. As far as other disease here is a article talking about zoonotic diseases written by a vet. Here is also a list of all the zoonotic diseases that all pets can give you, just remember these are all very rare.

Do Rats Make Good Pets

Now that we have covered the zoonotic diseases, lets get into the meat of this post. Do rats make good pets? The short answer is yes absolutely! Here is why.

  • They are very social animals. Rats love attention from you, they get happy to see you, and they even lick you.
  • Rats don't just run off, they will come when called and seek you out.
  • Rats are very clean animals. They spend a lot of their time cleaning themselves and their cage mates.
  • They are easily litter trained.
  • Rats are extremely smart and intelligent. You can even teach them to do amazing tricks!
  • They will bond with your entire family.

I have only listed a few reasons why rats make wonderful pets. So if you are wanting a pet that will love you like a dog with out the commitment of a dog a rat is for you. Rats love to just hang out and watch T.V. with you, they are always up for a good game of wrestling. Plus, they are smart, funny and affectionate.

Facts and Myths | Pet Rats

What Kind of Care Do Rats Require

There are some considerations that you need think about before getting a pet rat. Of course as with any pet its not all fun and games, you have to care for them as well. You would need to consider these things before getting a pet rat.

  1. do you have the time needed for a rat? Are you willing to commit 2 hours a day for free range and play time?
  2. Are you able to take them to the vet if needed? They get respiratory infections very easily.
  3. Are you willing to clean their cage every 3-5 days? Or, do a deep clean of the cage at least once a week?
  4. Do you suffer from allergies? If you are not sure about having allergies to rats go to a breeders house and expose your self to them first if you are not sure.
  5. The most expensive part of owning a rat is the cage. They require a lot of space compared to other small pocket pets. I highly recommend a critter nation. This is by far the best rat cage on the market. It is easy tp clean, big enough for 3-4 male rats. Plus, it looks so nice in your house.
  6. They need lots of fresh fruits and veggies, water, and rat block. Here is a fairly detailed list of what fruits and veggies a rat can have. I also recommend Oxbow rat block.
  7. You should also consider the expense of getting fleece bedding and being able to provide them with enough toys.
  8. Are you willing to have at least 2 rats? Rats cannot live alone, so you have to at least be willing to get 2 or more rats.
  9. Lastly, can you at least commit 3-4 years to caring for your rat. Although it is sad their life expectancy is very short compared to other pets.

I wanted to go over these things although rats are amazing pets they do require a certain amount of care and responsibility. They are perfect if you don't have the time and commitment for a dog or cat, but still want a very affectionate pet. But I would say if you don't have at least a couple hours a day or the money to afford a pet I wouldn't get one. I am only mentioning these key points, because I used to work with a rescue and these reasons were usually the reasons people surrender their pets.

If you think you can meet all their needs then I say GO FOR IT! You will not regret your decision to open your heart to a duo of very special, loving ratties. If you have any stories about your rats, please let me know down below.

This is an appropriate cage for rats.
This is an appropriate cage for rats.

© 2011 Nichole Thomas


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    • NicholeRLovi profile imageAUTHOR

      Nichole Thomas 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      I originally never wanted rats but my kids begged, so I started looking them up online, and reading everything I could about them. I ended up letting them get three and loved them since:) They have been amazing pets for the kids!! But I have never heard of a rat wrangler lol I would love to hear more about that job:)

    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I was a rat wrangler for a friend of mine who was in grad school. Rats are really neat and loveable creatures - I liked them more than the job :D Welcome to HubPages!


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