5 Reasons to Adopt Rats

People tend to get squeamish when they are first introduced to the idea of a pet rat. They may picture some gigantic monstrosity roaming the sewers of New York and politely say, “No thank you.” This stigma surrounding rats comes mainly from popular media; they are portrayed as packs of ferocious trash-dwellers that attack and eat unsuspecting people. In reality, I have never had greater companions than my rats. They are affectionate, playful, and each has a unique personality. If you still aren’t sure about rats, here are five reasons they make the best pets.

1. They are always happy to see you

Rats have been the only small caged animal that I’ve owned that has had a visible response when I come into the room. When I come home and talk my rats, there is movement immediately within the cage. While some are lazier than others, I will often have anywhere from 3 to 10 rats propped up on the side of the cage sniffing intently at my familiar scent. They love when I’m around and even when I am standing near the cage they will begin to grind their teeth with contentment. On days when I don’t think anything can cheer me up, they can really help my mood. Hearing your rats chirping away just because you came in is enough to melt away any stressful day.

2. They can be excellent companions

While this isn’t true for all rats, many enjoy being picked up and held. They may let you stroke their fur and my rat loves to lick my hand when I pick her up. The more often you pick up your rats, the more they will get used to being held and can become great companions around the house and outdoors. It can be comforting to be able to carry your pet around and rats are very transportable. I have gone on walks with my rats in my sweatshirt pocket and they will hang their head out and enjoy the fresh air. I also will put my rats on my shoulder and let them perch while I do simple chores or relax. When I am stuck home by myself it’s nice to have my rats to hang out with.

3. They are excellent starter pets

Rats may not be the first thing people think of when adopting a new pet, but they should be. While rats do tend to have health issues, they are not difficult to take care of. One of my biggest concerns when getting my rats was cleaning the cage; when I had a hamster the cage would start to smell quickly and I didn’t want that to happen with the rats. I’ve found that even having to clean a cage with 12 rats inside isn’t so bad. Rats are very clean animals and when the cage is at its dirtiest, my rats look and smell completely clean. Because rat’s day to day care is so light, a child or younger pet owner would easily be able to handle most responsibilities for rats. Then, if the rats have any medical problems they can be taught how to give the rats their medicine; a simple and rewarding task that can teach responsibility. If your child is begging you for a hamster, get them a rat instead. They will thank you for it.

4. No two rats are alike

One of the greatest things about rats is how unique they are. No two rats will act exactly the same, whether it is around you or each other. The reason I have so many rats is because I love introducing new members to my little family. It’s amazing to see these animals interact with each other; they will go from fighting for dominance to snuggling up in a hammock together. They learn to love each other and it makes you love them even more. Each rat’s personality makes them act differently toward you as well. I have rats in my cage that I never pick up, and I have rats that I pick up almost every day. I know their personalities and I know that they care about me and each other. Despite their short life spans they are some of the most memorable animals because they have so much love to give out.

5. They are just plain fun

There is no better way to put it; rats are fun. I can’t count the number of times my rats have done something strange and adorable that has left me cracking up. I’ll

watch one of my rats spend twenty minutes taking bedding from one hut and moving it to another; then I will watch another rat take that same bedding back out and put it back where it was. Sometimes I walk up to the cage and see 5 rats piled on top of each other and among the pudgy bodies, one lone foot will pop out; if I talk to them I can watch the lone foot wriggle free and figure out who it belongs to. When I take them out to play I get to watch them run around and investigate the toys I put out for them. The bottom line is, if you want a playful animal that also fits in a cage, you should get rats.

If you thought rats were strange or gross before, hopefully this list has shown you all of the great things about them. They teach responsibility, are fascinating to watch, and interact with. They make great company and are all-around fun to own. I believe rats are one of the best pets to own and if you get the chance, I would highly recommend adopting one.

Would you ever consider adopting a rat? Leave a comment and let us know!

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