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5 Reasons to Get a Pet Rat

Here are the five pluses of keeping rats, an often overlooked pet.

  1. Rats are affectionate.

    Unlike most small animals, such as hamsters and gerbils, rats know how to love and even how to recognize their caretakers. Some rat owners, such as my myself, claim that the affection some rats can give can rival that of a dog.

  2. Rats don't take up a lot of space.

    Rats only require about two square feet of space, a bit more if you decide to buy them a larger cage.

  3. Rats can be affordable.

    Rats don't break the bank when it comes to money. Food and bedding costs run low if you find the right store, and money can be saved if you potty train your rat (yes, it can be done!) and feed your rat a homemade diet (see Suebee's diet on the RMCA website). Toys can be made at home too - a pant leg from slacks or a chicken bone make good toys for rats.

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  5. Rats make excellent first pets for children.

    Hamsters aren't always the best choice when it comes to first pets for children, choose rats instead! These easygoing creatures don't mind if they get awoken while taking a nap and are "a lot" less aggressive than most other small animals. However, please supervise young children when they handle rats or any other animal.

  6. Rats are low maintenance.

    Rats need their water and food bowls cleaned and filled daily (include fresh food). Rats only need about 30 minutes of attention from you a day (compare that with a cat, dog, or ferret). And of course, your rat could use a yearly check up from the vet and a clean, disinfected cage every week.

By Misha

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

Rats are precious! They're so much fun. A couple of years ago I had to have my pet, Ratzo Rizzo, put down to save her from suffering through heart failure. I miss her still. One of my friends had a rat who saved her life because her pet woke her up by licking her face when the house caught fire! God made no useless creatures!

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December 21, 20160 found this helpful

I had 2 male albino rats years ago when my boys were growing up.

I think they were more mine than the boys' since I mostly took care of them. They were affectionate and delightful! We all loved them dearly. A couple of times, a friend of the boys would pick them up by their tails, you know that hurt! They would squirm, but they never ever bit! They were always sooo sweet. One at a time they both got cancer and died. We were heartbroken. The only drawback about having rats as pets are their short life span.

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

I'm reading this with such disgust.. my mouth is hanging. Are you all insane? Do you not worry about diseases? There is nothing loving about a rat-- please put some thought and time into a lonely or sick human being instead. You can be assured that God will be more pleased with you.

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February 13, 20051 found this helpful

I have two pet rats (naked rats) named Cross and Stitch. They both have their own distinct personalities. They love to play with me and give kisses. They are almost odourless (unless you are lazy and don't clean their cage) and they don't bark. They are one of the most intelligent rodents you can find. They are inexpensive to purchase, inexpensive to keep, and, in return, give you lots of love. A cage is not necessary as long as you rat-proof your home. All in all, if you are an apartment dweller like me, they are great pets, and friends, to have and you don't have to take them for a walk!!!

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March 15, 20050 found this helpful

As for diseases and bad bites, those are really just myths. Rats are virtually disease-free (at least diseases that humans can catch), and rats are really quite trusting and affectionate, biting on extremely rare occasions. Most of the bad reputation that rats have is due to what our society makes of wild rats - an entirely different thing from a pet rat, mind you. The difference between wild and tame rats is really like the difference between a dog and a wolf.

Also, remeber - its not like we're saving the rats and excluding the humans, we're having them as pets.

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March 22, 20050 found this helpful

Well, I'll try this again...overlook if it sends twice! I love my rat! I've had 2 over the years and never been bitten by either one, although I get lots of lil rat kisses when I hold him :-) They make wonderful pets, and much better for kids than a hamster or gerbil. Never had one wander away from me when out, so I don't worry about them running away and hiding! And they are very eager to get out and play so no chasing them around the cage to catch them!!!

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May 12, 20050 found this helpful


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May 13, 20050 found this helpful

Interesting feedback from many people. I used to have as many as 10 rats and absolutely love them!! I handled them since they were babies and never once was bitten. They were all very gentle, loving, and were extremely intelligent creatures. I'd got hamsters and guinea pigs before but none came close to the joy of keeping rats. I bathed them one by one with a normal hair shampoo once a week, and they loved to swim! I did not keep them in a cage, but rather an open top "playpen" and while once or twice, some may "escape", they always returned to their home by themselves. Each had a name and one of them was a "gifted" rat who knew its name when called - could also begged to be carried. One lived in my flower pot outside my apartment and would "greet" visitors. All these memories were 20 years old. I'm looking to start getting a rat as a pet again and is looking around the internet to get some information when I found this site and thought I'll share some of my experiences. Rats make excellent pets - better than other rodents.

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May 24, 20050 found this helpful

Ratties are the best....... I love mine.... I can't wait too get her a cagemate :)

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July 29, 20050 found this helpful

Pia--before you slander rats, you should probably try and get to know a pet rat yourself. Diseases? A well-cared for PET--pet being the key word--rat shouldn't have diseases at all. I'm a staunch atheist, and I don't have anything against people with such religious beliefs. However, when people bring up God and how you should do things to please Him, in a completely non-religious setting, it makes me mad. And, although I have wandered a bit from rats, rats are very friendly, even cuddly creatures. So, Pia, if you're so against rats, please stay out of the rat discussion topics.

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April 3, 20060 found this helpful

I am interested in having a Rat for a pet. I live in

Denver,CO and am a single person.

Any ideas where would the best place to go to purchase a pet rat?

Thank you for any help

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April 18, 20060 found this helpful

pia ....how do you know what God would or would not be pleased with :o/

Viva la Rat

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August 23, 20060 found this helpful

Rats make brilliant pets! they are the most friendliest of rodents my pet rat maisy is happy chewing up toilet roll and eating bourbons if you want a pet get a rat!!!!!

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December 1, 20070 found this helpful

My rats all use their litter tray, and I have no concerns on catching anything, well no more than catching something from a cat, dog rabbit etc etc. Responsible owners will wash their hands after touching their pets or cleaning cages. In fact I am more worried about them catching a cold from me! xx RATS RULE.

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June 7, 20110 found this helpful

Pia my aunt thought like you until her oldest dd rescued a rat from a schoolmate & brought him home. He was sweet & lovable. He won the entire household over. They had him for many years sadly he's since passed from old age. They are wonderful smart pets.

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June 7, 20110 found this helpful

Big pharma, cosmetic companies test on rats, dogs, cats, rabbits. goats and anything this false science can make a dollar on. The only thing a human shares with these gentle creatures is love that is felt for others. Rats, being so gentle, are used for painful lab experiments with the mad scientists claiming human similarities in their tests. Make any sense? I don't know of anything in me or on me that is the same as a rat or any of the other animals used.

To test medicines or cosmetics, even the psychological experiments on an animal never will help anyone but the companies that profit from using animals. There are testing procedures that pertain to human health. Answers given without pain to anything. Human models (like trauma-man) to practice surgery on. Check with your university to see if rats (and other animals) are still being experimented on . Beware of meds and cosmetics tested on rats. Love them. Don't hurt them or support their use (torture) for false science.

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June 7, 20110 found this helpful

Pia, you must never have had a pet rat! I feel sorry for you that you've not taken the opportunity to have such a wonderful creature love you because of ignorance and prejudice :-( And God is indeed pleased when we care for and love all of His creatures! I can't think of one single bible verse that says He will be more pleased with us if we choose to be kind to humans only and not His other creations too!

Here is my pet rat, Yodi, who was my first pet after moving away from home in the early 70's. He was awesome and I still miss the love he gave!

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June 7, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know why this article, which is dated Feb. 2005, made it into this newsletter, but I'll add my 2 cents on the subject anyway! LOL! And Deeli I liked seeing a photo of you & your rat!

First, I don't & haven't owned any rats, mice or hamsters, although I had guinea pigs when I was a kid. When I was a kid I used to think rats were creepy with their beady eyes & twitchy noses. But the more I learned about them & how intelligent they are, the more I like them.

I think most people who are so horrified at the idea of a pet rat are making that judgment on what they've seen portrayed in tv & movies, or even the real life versions that live in cities, filthy, nasty, trash & dead animal-eating, disease-carrying, biting, night-time creeping vermin. Yes, these wild rats can be dirty & carry diseases look where they live. But they have a purpose too. When our city began to have a rat problem, an expert on things like this said that rats will only over-populate in an area that is not kept clean of trash, dead animals & other filth they fill a need by getting rid of waste we don't get rid of.

However, comparing a domesticated pet rat to a wild street rat is like comparing your favorite dog to feral wild dogs. They might look the same, but they are not the same animal not even close! Domesticated rats have been shown to be very loving, loyal, clean & disease-free animals who are highly intelligent(maybe more than cats!). Just because I can't see myself ever wanting to cuddle up to a rat (or a snake for that matter) & make a pet out of them that doesn't give me the right to say the animal is disgusting & so is whoever wants to own one. I wouldn't say that anyway, because I don't believe it.

There was a man here in town for many years, that I would see around at festivals & gatherings. He had a pet rat that went everywhere with him. It used to hide in his shirt or coat, or on his neck under his long hair & occasionally stick it's head out to see what was going on. They certainly got some big reactions to people! This rat was a very curious, friendly & social creature that liked to meet people that dared to come close enough. I always found him totally fascinating & was glad to see him around, it really helped me to learn not to be afraid of them & to appreciate them for what they are!

And this business of bringing God into the picture to use against something just because YOU don't agree with it is ridiculous. To me it's akin to taking God's name in vain & I really don't think God appreciates it either! At least I don't think my God would!

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December 4, 20120 found this helpful

When my youngest daughter was still small, we had two rats (separately over a period of years). We purchased them at a pet store and both were great pets. Rats are very intelligent and know who cares for them and respond in kind. Both Dorothy and Lickey Lou were tame and cuddly and loved being held and played with. We would let them out in the evening when we were watching TV (carefully because we also had a cat) and they stayed with us and liked to be petted and cuddled. Rats make great pets for anyone who doesn't have space or time for a larger pet.

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August 17, 20140 found this helpful

I have never had a rat, I've had frogs, toads, fish, gerbils and hamsters. I now have 23 rescued cats and a rescued dog! If all goes well I am seriously looking into getting a rat. All other creatures carry diseases, so a rat can't be the only culprit to carry bad stuff. So saying that, I will research rats to find out where to get one (but I don't think it will be from the slums). Lol.

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