Rats may get a bad rap in movies as the pesky sewer dwellers who enter the scene to signal an approaching villain. But a growing number of people across North American and the UK are keeping ‘fancy’ rat, the domesticated form of rat, (that comes in a variety of colours and is not the typical brown rat you think of) as pets.
In a survey by the UK Pet Food Manufacturers Association, Rats were above mice and insects in popular, and estimated to make up .2% of the pet population (that is about 50,000 rat owners in Canada).
So why are some people avid and enthusiastic about owning rats as pets? Here’s why rat owners say rats make great pets.
They Have Great Personalities
Of all caged pets (think hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs), rats are one of the least aggressive. As rodents, they are fairly intelligent, and develop very distinct and unique personalities. Rats can be shy and timid, or outgoing. They can develop bonds with their owners, and express them well.
They Are Inexpensive and Clean
Rats are considerably clean animals. They are happy in a fair sized cage, and you don’t need constant attention (though they do need affirmation and affection at least some of the time, like all of us). Unlike larger animals, they are easy to care for with a demanding or unpredictable schedule.
Rats and their cages, food, and accessories are also relatively inexpensive compared to other pets. Rats aren’t typically associated with major health problems, too. On average, you can expect not to have high medical bills for your rat over its lifetime.
They Are Friendly & Trainable
As mentioned before, you can form a bond with your pet rat, and you can also train it. Rats have great memories and are quick learners. Combined with a friendly attitude and a friendly, non-aggressive orientation, rats make good pets to live with.