Rats have a bad rap in the modern world. Mentioning that a rat makes a good pet to someone can lead to a cringing reaction. Typically, this is because people rely solely on stereotypes and “common knowledge” on rats that isn’t quite correct, with little knowledge of the intelligent, compassionate creatures rats actually are. While there are many reasons why a rat makes a great pet, this page will cover five important ones.

1. Rats are Very Clean Animals

For the most part, rats make people think of sewers, garbage, disease, and other foul things that lead them to believe this lovable little animal is quite filthy. In truth, rats are obsessive groomers and clean freaks that don’t even require baths. They tend to keep their belongings in neat little piles, and will actually groom their owners from time to time.

light brown rat

2. Rats are Extremely Intelligent

Another fact that can be surprising to a lot of people is how smart these little animals can be. They are capable of learning their name, and even using information they have learned in the past to make informed decisions. It is also an important note that rats are very social creatures, so if you decide a rat is the choice for you, getting two will ensure that your rats stay healthy (from a psychological point of view).

3. Rats are Very Loving Animals

Rats love their owners. They will quite often beg for, and demand, their owner’s attention. Most enjoy pats and belly scratches, just like dogs. They will often cuddle up with their owners, where they feel safe and secure. Some rats even love to have their belly tickled, and there are studies to suggest that the squeaks they make while being tickled are actually a form of rat laughter.

4. Rats Have the Ability to be Empathetic

There is a lot known about rats due to their use in science. One interesting thing about rats is their ability to show empathy, meaning that they can relate to other creatures emotionally. One experiment involved two rats, putting one in a cage while letting the other roam free. In an astonishing display of empathy, the free rat felt sorry for the rat trapped in the cage and figured out how to free it. This is a trait that is only seen in animals with high-order emotions and loads of intelligence.

two rats in grass

5. Rats Bond With Their Owners for Life

Another great thing about a pet rat is that if you take care of your pet and treat it right, it will form a bond with you that will last for its entire lifetime. Rats will recognize their owners, and become delighted with any moments they have to play with them and share their attention. This is just one of the reasons these little creatures are so lovable. 

Now, armed with these five reasons why rats make excellent pets, you should have plenty of reason to add a rat to your family. They are loyal like dogs, with the meticulous grooming habits of a cat, and could be a perfect pet if you are limited on space. Don’t fall prey to negative stereotypes about these animals. Rats make fantastic pets for just about anyone.