Rats! The Best House Pet?

or Why I Believe your Next Pet Should be a Rat

Although there are many different reactions to rats like,

“EW! You have RATS as…pets?!”

our favourite pet was our rats. My daughter named them Bellhop and Marybelle; one had brown fur with brown eyes and one had white fur with red eyes. They both had big, round ears.

I loved how Marybelle would sit on my shoulder as I sat typing at my computer and then would hide under my hair.

You may be thinking that we’re nuts. But the truth is rats truly are great house pets.

Here are a few facts behind the concerns, conflicting opinions, and differing reactions to rats as house pets.

Myth #1Rat Tails are Gross

The fact is that all pets have tails and rat tails actually feel smooth and are not at all yucky to touch. Rat tails are used for balance and for cooling.

Myth #2 Rats Carry Disease

Unless they have fleas they don’t carry diseases. Rats are no more likely to spread rabies than your neighbour’s dog. Wild rats may carry diseases but pet rats do not.

Myth #3Rats Attack People

Rats are actually docile and gentle animals. They are not aggressive or mean but rather loving. They enjoy human interaction.

Myth #4 Rats are Dirty

Rats will bathe for hours out of the day. They keep themselves cleaner than cats! They don’t even like to potty where they sleep.

Myth #5 Rats Attract Vermin

In truth, wild rats and domestic rats don’t get along. Pet rats stay within their own home cage and play among themselves.

My daughter loves rats for a number of reasons:

they have adorable whiskers,

they make sounds like laughter,

they’re super social, 

they’re smart little critters and 

they’re snuggly and love to sit on your shoulder.

You can adopt a pet rat (our favourite breed is the dumbo rat) at your local pet store or pet rat breeder. They live for an average of 2 to 3 years and eat simple foods like protein with some vegetables and fruits.

We recommend adopting two rats as they thrive on companionship with each other. Start with two female rats as they learn more quickly and have less odour.

I hope that I have put your fears to rest. I challenge you to visit your local pet store, ask to hold a rat on the palm of your hand, pet its fur, feel its tail and then place it on your shoulder.

You and your kids are guaranteed to fall in love!

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