Have you been considering getting a pet rat, but are still not sure if they’re the right pet for you?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
Pet rats are lovable and social animals that can create deep bonds with their owners.
They’re also very low maintenance and a good animal to have if you’re a bit more on the budget side. And pet rats don’t require a whole lot of space or constant care and attention.
There are just so many reasons to own a pet rat and I’ll be going through 17 of them in this article!
1- Pet Rats Are Very Low Maintenance
Aside from feeding them daily, along with some interaction, pet rats really don’t give a whole lot of work.
You don’t need to walk them, since they have their own bathroom in their cage. If you don’t have the time, you don’t need to play with them a lot, since they have other companions to play with!
So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, you can’t go wrong with pet rats. They’re cute and easy to take care of.
Sure, sometimes you need to clean up their cage, but even that it’s something you can do once every week or even every 2 weeks.
Pet rats are very sanitary. They spend most of their time grooming themselves, to keep clean. That means that their bedding won’t get easily dirty.
Not only that, but pet rats will naturally choose a corner of their cage to relieve themselves. For that reason, it’s possible to litter train them! Yes, you heard that right and it’s not even that hard.
The only thing you need to do is take out most of their droppings once every few days, just so the litter won’t become too dirty.
And since they’re very small animals it does take a while for their cages to get dirty. So aside from some 5-minute cleaning every few days, you really don’t have to do much more than give them fresh water and food daily!
2- Pet Rats Have Amazing Personalities!
Pet rats are very sociable and will create bonds not only with their companions but with their owners as well.
They’re curious and like to explore, so that means they’ll have a tendency to want to meet and play with you.
Of course, in the beginning, they might feel a bit nervous and scared, especially if they haven’t been handled before.
Not only that, but your pet rats just arrived at a new house and everything is new, even the scents!
However, after a few days of your presence and with the help of a few treats, they’ll warm up to you and treat you like you’re part of the group.
Given their curiosity and intelligence they’re very open to trying new games, all the time. This means they’re the perfect pets if you want a low-maintenance animal, who’s also very social, so you can spend some quality time with them!
More often than not, pet rats will want your company, so it’s good to keep their cage in a room where you spend most of your time.
This way your ratties can enjoy your company and maybe even take a nap nearby or on your lap!
3- You Can Teach Your Rat Some Neat Tricks
As I mentioned before, pet rats are very curious and smart. So if you want a pet that is into learning tricks, pet rats are the best for that!
There are just soo many tricks you can teach them. You can teach them things like jumping, shaking the paw, weaving the poles, and even playing catch!
They’ll also very easily learn to come to you when called, which can be very useful, or learn how to ride your shoulder. This way you can bring them with you to any part of the house.
Pet rats are very quick learners, but these tricks are also a great mental exercise for them. Pet rats need interesting activities to keep them happy, and learning new things is a great way of doing that.
Since they respond very well to positive reinforcement, remember to keep tasty treats close by, so you can reward them every time they complete a task!
If you want to know more about tricks here are 9 tricks you can start teaching your pet rat, today.
4- Pet Rats Are (Mostly) Odorless
Pet rats are very clean.
They’ll spend most of their waking time grooming.
They groom themselves but also help each other, to make sure no spot goes unclean!
For that reason, there’s really no need to bathe them unless they got into a sticky situation. They’ll take care of their own hygiene.
As mentioned above, pet rats will very rarely relieve themselves in random places in their cage.
If they’re healthy, they’ll choose a corner of the cage and that’s their bathroom. To keep things, even more, hygienic it’s good to instead give them a litter box, with a litter that is different from their bedding.
This way you’ll maintain their cage cleaner and odorless for longer.
It’s also recommendable to clean their droppings daily or at least every few days, to keep things that way for even longer!
Most of the odor you’ll feel from pet rats comes from their urine, that with quantity and time will start to smell a bit.
However, with very minimal daily cleaning, it’s possible to maintain that odor at a very minimum level for almost two weeks.
I like to check their bedding every few days as well as take out litter that is too dirty, so I don’t need to deep clean the cage as often. And so far, there’s almost no odor in the room we keep our ratties in!
5- Pet Rats Are Very Clean, Even More Than Cats!
I know I’ve said this before, but yes, contrary to popular belief pet rats are really, really clean!
More often than not, we see disgruntled rats in movies, but actually, they are ‘dirtied’ before shooting so they look dirty.
If you notice, when those rats appear on screen, more often than not, they’re actually licking themselves. They know they’re dirty and are trying to go back to their neat look!
Pet rats have several activities during their day: sleep, play, explore, eat, drink, and… groom!
And if you notice, they’ll spend most of their time with the grooming part.
They’ll go over their whole body, tails, and paws. Pet rats will even trim their own nails if needed!
When it comes to places that are difficult to reach, pet rats will turn to their partners and groom each other, so they’re sure everything is neat and clean.
So really, unless your pet rat got too dirty with a specific food or were playing in a dirt box, there’s no need to bathe them, for they’re going to take care of it!
6- Costs For Taking Care Of Rats Are Pretty Low
Aside from the veterinary check-up at least once a year, so you’re sure everything is good, pet rats aren’t costly at all!
In the beginning, you’ll spend some money on a cage, food bowl, water bottle, litter box, a hammock or a few hiding places, and some toys. But those things are mostly a one-time purchase!
After that, you’ll just need to buy food, bedding, and litter. Those are actually quite affordable, especially having into account that food and litter packages will last you for longer than a month.
And, if you’re more on a budget, you don’t even need to spend money on bedding. Instead, you can just use old clothes/blankets you have at home and use those as bedding.
Our ratties’ bedding is made out of old clothes we had at home, and we use those to cover the floors on the cage, but also to fill their hiding spots, so it feels more comfortable.
You can even DIY lots of accessories for their cages! You can use small cardboard boxes with a few holes to use as hiding spots, you can make toys out of toilet paper rolls and you can even make your own hammock with unused fabric.
There are really many options around, even if you’re on a budget while reassuring your pet rats to live a good life!
7- Pet Rats Are Very Friendly
When bringing them home, pet rats will first appear a bit nervous and not very open to being handled.
This is more than normal since everything is too new for them. For us it’s the same, we like to first explore our surroundings and know how things work when introduced to a new experience or place.
Of course, depending on their personality, some pet rats will accommodate themselves quicker than others!
So, after a bit of exploring and being sure they’re safe, pet rats will start to want to know you.
If you leave their cage open and offer a hand, they’ll most likely climb it to explore! If you have a treat ready for them, then pet rats will be even more open to getting to know you.
Not only that, but pet rats will very rarely act aggressively towards their owners. If they’re nervous or scared about something, they’ll most likely run away.
Otherwise, pet rats will welcome being picked up and will love some pets in return.
They’ll bond with you just as with their own companions, so pet rats will want to spend as much time as they can with you!
8- There Are Many Pet Rat “Breeds” To Choose
There aren’t actually different breeds of pet rats, however, there are several variations to them.
This might be important both aesthetically but also for your preferences or even for your own health. For example, if you’re allergic to fur, there are actually hairless pet rats.
This means that if you really want to own a pet rat, but are afraid of your allergies, then there’s a solution!
As for looks, there’s actually a different-looking pet rat variation called the ‘Dumbo Rat’.
These little fellas are especially known for their oversized ears. There’s really no other difference between a dumbo rat and a more ‘regular’ one.
So if you like those cute, round ears, it’s an option!
Other than that, it all comes to colors and patterns. Pet rats come in many different color variations.
You have the very popular albino rats: white fur accompanied by red eyes. But then you can also find pet rats with creamy fur, grey, orange, and brown.
They can have patterns of different colors or have a single color for their fur.
As for the eyes, they can be red, ruby, or black. All in all, what matters the most is their personality, but if you want a specific tone or pattern, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect pet rat for you!
9- Pet Rats Come As A Pair
What’s better than one pet rat? Two pet rats!
Since pet rats are very sociable, you should always get two pet rats. Even though they will interact with their owner, a single rat will not thrive unless they have someone of their own species.
Their owners can be great company, but they do require a lot of attention to be fully happy. It’s very hard for us to achieve that.
So, if you bring two pet rats home, you don’t need to worry too much about keeping them entertained. They’ll do everything together! From sleeping, eating, playing, and even grooming together.
Things that we couldn’t replace. We get playtime and their company, but they’ll always have each other, even when you’re not home!
10- Choose Your Pet Rat Sex! It Matters!
Depending on your personality or your own preferences, the pet rat’s sex might be important to you.
First of all, one thing you should know is that unless the ratties are spayed, you shouldn’t keep males and females in the same cage.
Doing so will result in seeing the number of your ratties increase very quickly, but also some fights might occur inside the cage during mating season.
So, with that out of the way, what would you prefer? A more energetic pet rat, or rather a cuddlier one?
Male rats tend to be lazier and prefer cuddles and pets over playtime.
For that reason, they also have a better tendency of gaining more weight.
On the other hand, female pet rats are very energetic and always ready to explore new places.
So it’s good to give them lots of activities!
Other than that, males tend to grow bigger than females, so that might also be something to take into account.
Of course, just like with any other animal or even person, pet rats have different personalities.
Some might be more energetic than others, some can be more nervous or even shy, while other pet rats are much more extroverted.
This we cannot control and can only discern after being with them for some time. That’s why it’s always good to meet potential future ratties before bringing them home!
11- Pet Rats LOVE To Play
As we’ve seen before, pet rats enjoy activity and love to play.
Besides tricks, they’ll also have lots of fun with diverse toys.
They’re very intelligent and enjoy puzzles. For that reason, it’s always great to have different and interesting toys for them to play with.
It’s also good to have several toys, so you can rotate them, and this way our ratties won’t get bored. There are just so many different kinds of toys while being very affordable.
Big, small, with different shapes and different colors, to catch our ratties attention.
Not only that but a lot of toys you can even make at home! I have a list of 11 Best Pet Rat Toys, so feel free to take a look and you might get a few ideas from it.
Aside from toys, pet rats love playing with their owners and there are also lots of games you can join in with your pet rat. Hide and seek and play wrestling seem to be a favorite!
12- You Don’t Have To Keep Them Caged All The Time
There are bad rumors going around that pet rats just want to escape all the time.
This is simply not true. In fact, my pet rats were mostly afraid of leaving their cage even with the door wide open!
In the beginning pet rats will be very nervous about their new surroundings, but they’re naturally curious.
So they will eventually start getting braver and braver and explore more and more.
If you have a safe room where you put their cage, let them explore and search near you. Play with them outside the cage, and have fun!
Even if you rather have their cage in a room you spend most of your time in, it’s possible to create a safe area, where they can roam about.
Yes, pet rats have the tendency to chew on cables and other less desirable objects.
Of course, this is dangerous for them and you also don’t want to have your furniture, cables, and others ruined.
But as long as you have a space, safe from dangerous things for them to chew, they can move around comfortably and be near you all the time!
For example, we created a bridge between our ratties cage and the sofa, so that’s where they go most of the time.
They have a full playground, that is safe for them and that they can share with us!
13- There Are Free Pet Rats That You Can Adopt!
Yes, that’s right, especially if you’re reading this from the United States, you can have a pet rat for FREE while also helping the institutions clear out some space.
Plus, they are usually cleared of any possible health issues since they have been observed by veterinarians while being held there.
Now, of course, this depends on the areas and the parts of the world where you live.
But simply searching on google something like “pet rats for adoption in LOCATION” should get you some results!
It’s also important to do some research or even ask because just like with many other shelters, there can possibly exist a small adoption fee when rescuing a pet rat.
This is not too expensive though and only happens in certain shelters.
Other than that, if the option exists, it’s always good to go the adoption route!
14- Pet Rats Adapt To Your Schedule
Pet rats are nocturnal animals.
This means, they will be sleeping most of the morning and afternoon, so you can work without worrying about distractions if you’re working from home.
Even if you work at an office, you don’t need to worry if they’re missing you, because they’ll most likely be asleep.
This way, when you get home, they are active and refreshed, ready to play with you!
However, pet rats can adapt themselves to their owner’s schedule.
If they start noticing you tend to interact with them during the day and if you’re sharing the same room while the sun is up, they will change their habits, to spend more time with you!
They consider you part of their family and want to spend as much time as they can with you. So much so, that they’ll change their whole routine for that to happen.
I don’t know about you, but I find that insanely cute!
15- Pet Rats Are Very Quiet
Contrary to popular belief, pet rats don’t make any noise. We often see rats squeaking constantly in movies, but the truth is… that doesn’t happen!
Sure they do communicate between them, but at such a low frequency we can’t hear them. The only time you’ll hear a pet rat squeak, it’s because they want to communicate with you.
If they’re hurting or feeling especially nervous they’ll let you know by letting out a small squeak.
So, other than that, the only noises you’ll hear from such small rodents are from their activities. For example, every time they go for a drink from their water bottle, the recipient itself might make some noise.
If your pet rats are playing, then you’ll hear movement about the cage. The same goes if they have a wheel.
Wheels are notorious for their noise, but even then, if they’re good, they’ll be almost silent.
So all in all, pet rats don’t make a whole lot of noise!
16- Pet Rats Can SWIM!
Many animals are afraid of water and will refuse to touch even a small little drop. Because of that, along with their small size, it’s natural to assume the same goes for pet rats.
Now, of course, each pet rat has their own personality and some might like water more than others.
However, pet rats can learn to love the water and are also excellent swimmers!
If it’s new for them, it should be introduced to said ratties slowly, so they can… test the waters first!
Starting with a small plate with some water and growing from there, until they’re confident enough to dive and swim around bigger containers.
This activity should always be supervised, but it’s an excellent activity for you and your pet rats, especially in the summer.
They excel at fishing peas out of the water and reward themselves with them!
17- You Will Wish You Got Pet Rats Sooner!
After this huge list, there’s no way you’re still in doubt about owning a pet rat.
Really, they’re very good pets, that will share lovely moments with you, full of companionship!
Not only that, but they get along very well with children and even other animals like dogs and cats.
Very social, intelligent, and playful animals that don’t require too much attention and care, while still creating a bond with their owners that will last a lifetime!
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