Are rats a good pet?

  • By: belly
  • Date: September 9, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Are rats a good pet? There are many factors to consider before deciding on which pet is the best for you.

Rats make great pets, but they do require more care than some other animals, they have specific needs that you’ll need to meet to keep them happy and healthy.

Rats are a good pet for people who want to take care of an animal but don’t have the time, space, or money that other pets require. They’re also great because they’re happy in their own company and can be left for periods during the day without attention. Rats need only occasional food and water through out the day.

are rats a good pet

Rats are low maintenance pets

Rats are a low-maintenance pet to have.

They are quite content in their own surroundings and can go without attention for extended periods of time.

If you’re the type of person who spends lots of time away from home, pet rats might be a fantastic option for you.

Make sure there’s plenty of food and water available for them, and occasionally provide treats (e.g., mealworms, fresh fruit or vegetables), and you’ll be good to go.

Rats are social creatures

Rats are known to be extremely social creatures, so it’s best to get them a friend of the same sex if they’re the only pet in your house.

Two female rats can get along just fine, as can two male rats.

If you’re not home much and want to keep your rat entertained when you’re gone, a cage mate is the perfect companion for them (just make sure they’ve got enough room).

Recommended cage for pet rats

Pawhut 4 Platform Pet Cage
Ideal choice for pet rats, ferrets and chinchillas

Rats are very intelligent creatures

The average pet rat has 32 different vocal squeaks that it uses to communicate with you.

Rats are smart animals and they like to keep themselves busy, so it’s important that you’re able to provide them with toys and other items for entertainment.

If not, your rats might find things around your house to entertain themselves with.

Stale popcorn kernels are a favorite of rats.

Rats are clean animals

If you’ve ever seen a rat in the wild, you might be surprised to know that they’re actually quite well groomed.

The average pet rat spends about 30% of its waking time keeping itself clean and tidy .

Rats like to keep their coats nice and shiny, and they spend a lot of time licking their fur to do so.

If you handle your rats regularly, the oils from your skin will transfer over to them, which can keep their coats clean as well.

Rats need a large cage with many levels

Another distinguishing feature of pet rats is that they love to climb , which is why they require a large cage with plenty of room to move around.

In fact, rats need as much floor space as you can give them.

Rats also like to have different levels in their cages where they can explore and play . Wooden ramps or ladders are another great option if your rat doesn’t feel up for climbing all those stairs.

Amazon is a great place to look for good quality rat cages and this cage from Pawhut with hammocks and multiple levels is one of our favorites.

Rats like to have toys

Just like cats and dogs, rats enjoy spending time with their owners and playing games.

Toys for rats are widely available at most pet stores, but you might find your rats have more fun with things you already have around the house, such as paper towel or toilet paper rolls.

Just be sure to monitor them if they’re playing with anything you don’t want bitten or ripped up.

Rats need clean, fresh bedding

On the topic of rat cages, these little guys require a lot of cleaning .

Cleaning out your rats’ cage will need to be done regularly (at least once every couple of weeks) and thoroughly (so make sure you’ve got a lot of time on your hands).

Rat cages should be cleaned out with soap and warm water, and then rinsed off. Then, the bedding in the cage will need to be replaced.

The type of bedding you use is up to you–cedar shavings or pine shavings are popular choices, but even shredded paper or cloth can work. Paper towels with the cardboard removed also make fantastic bedding for rats.

Rats need to be handled regularly

People often complain that their rat is skittish and doesn’t like to be held.

Rats actually love being petted, picked up and snuggled, as long as you give them a chance to get used to your handling.

Rats might be a little shy at first, but by regularly picking them up and petting them, their trust in you will grow.

If your rat seems particularly skittish or doesn’t want anything to do with you, it’s probably best not to force them to interact.

are rats a good pet

Useful rat facts

Here are some things to consider before you adopt a rat as a pet.

Rats live for 2-3 years on average, but can live up to 5 or even sometimes 6 years if kept healthy and well.

A female rat is called a ‘doe’ and male rats are called ‘bucks’.

A baby rat is called a ‘kitten’ until it’s 6 months old, when it becomes known as a ‘juvenile’. But once they reach the age of 1 they are known as an ‘adults’.

Just like cats and dogs, rats have their own unique personalities. This means some will be more cuddly than others.

Eat / drink

Rats eat special rat food which you can buy at any pet shop. It’s important not to feed your rats human food, as it is very bad for them. They also will need fresh water available to drink throughout the day too.

They only need to be fed once a day (twice if they’re still growing).

They will also need a supply of toilet paper and kitchen roll to use as bedding.


Rats are very social animals and should always be kept in pairs, so it’s best to get two from the start if you want them as pets. They will need a large cage with lots of space for running around and playing together. It’s a good idea to get a cage that is at least three storeys high, and has a separate living area for sleeping.

Toys / Entertainment

Rats are intelligent little creatures with tons of personality, so they need lots of toys to play with. This will include things like e-collars (moving ladders), toilet roll tubes, boxes and anything similar.

They will need lots of exercise every day to keep them fit and healthy, so it’s a good idea to give them mazes or a large space where they can run around at least twice a day. Make sure the area is safe first though!

Medical care / first aid

Although rats are relatively healthy pets, like any animal they can become sick or injured. So you should always know what to do in an emergency and where to find a vet that treats small animals near to you.

Final Words

Rats can make great pets and companions. They are clean, intelligent animals that enjoy playing games and snuggling with their human friends.

If you’re considering getting a pet rat as your next furry friend, we hope this blog post has helped answer any questions or concerns you may have about them.

In conclusion, rats make great pets.

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