Rats are often viewed with disgust and caution. Unfairly blamed for spreading the Plague that wiped out thousands of people throughout the Middle Ages, and widely regarded as vermin, these tiny animals have had a very bad press throughout history.
However, this is unfair. Although rats can be a problem if they are allowed to live wild in your home or your outbuildings, they do make great pets. Even better they seem to like the domestic life, so treated right; your rat pet can become a loyal and fun pet companion. Let’s check out some of the reasons why rats make good pets.
Rats are very clean. They spend a lot of time washing themselves and grooming and can be trained to use a litter box.
Rats are intelligent. They are highly sociable too and spend a lot of time playing and exploring. They will respond to kindness and can learn tricks which they often seem to enjoy. Many people consider them as pint size dogs in this respect.
Rats are very loyal. They will bond with their owners and can recognise and identify human voices. Because they are social animals they will regard you as their family group and will enjoy sitting on you and being petted.
Rats are very easy to feed. You can buy commercial rat food and they also enjoy kitchen staples s such as broccoli, peas, apples and bananas.
Rats are happy in the domestic environment. They will not spend their time trying to escape and once they are settled in their new home and are happy to be handled and petted.
Rats can laugh. When they are happy they chuckle and they sometimes enjoy being tickled which can reduce them to helpless giggling.
Lots of people keep rats as pets. If you are considering a rat as a pet you are in good company. Queen Victoria had pet rats which her rat catcher used to train and dress up. Many well-known people keep rats as pets. Actor Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films) became so attached to the rats used to play his pet in the film Scabbers, he decided to adopt them. Angelina Jolie, John Cleese and Paris Hilton all have had rat pets, although Angelina Jolie did have to rehome her rat pet after he ate her curtains.
Rats are very low maintenance. You don’t have to walk your rat or take it outside to do its business. You do need to prevent your rat from unsupervised gnawing but this is easy to do with proper care. A rat is less likely to damage the furniture than a cat for example.
Rats are very popular as pets. It is estimated that there are around 100,000 rats kept as pets in the UK alone and they are growing in popularity. They make a great alternative to guinea pigs or rabbits because they are so intelligent and endearing. And most people find that once they get over their initial distrust of this much maligned rodent, they will soon change their opinion.