Are Rats Good Pets? (Updated Guide)

Are Rats Good Pets?

Are you wondering, Are Rats Good Pets? Many people are unaware of this, but rats have been domesticated as pets for a long time. The earliest evidence of this comes from Japan, specifically between the 16th and 18th centuries when people couldn’t resist keeping fancy rats.

Are Rats Good Pets?

As more people see the advantages of having a pet rat, it seems important for you to also know more about them—this will help you make the right decisions.

In this article, “Are Rats Good Pets?”, you will get a clearer picture of the reasons why rats make good pets. You will also learn about the different types as well as the best ways to take care of them.

Who are the most common rats in every pet shop selling smaller animals?

Domestic rats come in different varieties and colors. They are affectionate and not difficult to care for. That is why, despite their low popularity, these cute rats will always be found in every pet shop that sells smaller animals.

Why Rats are Good Pets? Reasons

If you wanna know, Are Rats Good Pets, read this article. Unlike dogs and cats, rats get an unfairly icky representation in movies, which adds to their poor reputation as pets. But fancy rats have many special qualities that make them good pets, and they hardly ever bite people.

The rats are clean.

Unlike the wild ones, pet rats are not dirty. So, there is no need for you to worry about them digging into your trash can to look for food. Pet rats do not scamper around sewers or do any of those unpleasant things that movies have made rats known for.

Pet rats are very comfortable around people. They spend a large amount of their time grooming, and they like to be in clean places. After spending ample time in a cage, they will automatically use a part of it as a “toilet”. That’s why you hardly find them messing up their cages with poop.

Rats are small in size.

This is quite obvious, but it also has many advantages. Since pet rats are pocket-sized, more apartments can tolerate them. Most hotels and vacation rentals don’t allow pets, but they always make an exception for rats because they are small.

While bigger pets like dogs and cats tend to run around the entire apartment, pet rats are usually restricted to the comfort of their cages. They also make little to no noise compared to dogs that bark from time to time.

To bond with your pet rat, you don’t have to take them out for a walk. They will be happy to sit with you during movie time or simply play around with your body. Are Rats Good Pets? Obviously yes!

Rats are easy to train.

The average rat is very intelligent. They excel at learning, so you can get them to obey simple commands with little effort within a short period of time.

You can have a lot of fun while training your pet rat, as they will easily respond to their names and perform basic tricks after a few sessions of practice.

After your rats master these tricks, you and your friends will have even more fun playing with them. They are very sociable pets and can easily make people laugh.

Rats are low-maintenance pets

Having a pet rat will not cost you a lot of money and time. They don’t need so much attention, so you can stay out of the house for a long time without worrying about your pet.

Just provide enough food and water for them and they will be happy. They won’t disturb your neighbors or anyone in the house while you are away.

Rats are very good with kids.

If you have kids, you will be happy to know that rats could be one of the best pets you can get for them. Even for kids as young as 7 years old, pet rats can be great companions.

Since pet rats are clean animals, they will not mess up your children’s rooms. And your kids will learn a lot about responsibility after having to take care of calm and laid-back creatures like pet rats.

Watch this video: Are Rats Good Pets? Pros and Cons of Fancy Rats as Pets

Types of pet rats:

Pet rats do not come in different breeds. There is only one species, and it is called Rattus norvegicus. These are the different types of pet rats that are recognized by AFRMA (American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association). Are Rats Good Pets? Let’s discover their types!


These pet rats can feel wooly and lose some of their hair with age. They have curly whiskers and eyelashes and can live for 2 to 3 years.


Dumbo rats are some of the most popular fancy rats in the world. They have big round ears and are roughly the same size as other pet rats. They have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years.


The standard fancy rat has a tail that is as long as its entire body. You can easily identify them by their ears that are on top of their heads. They have an average lifespan of 2.5 to 3.5 years.


These fancy rats are known for their silky smooth coats. Their whiskers are also very long and curly at the end. They have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years.


As the name implies, these pet rats do not have hair. They are very smooth to the touch and may not even have whiskers. They require extra care and warmth because they can easily fall sick. With extra care, they can live for up to three years. But their lifespan is usually around one year.

Briste coat

You can easily identify bristle-coated rats by their coats’ coarseness, and some may have crunchy fur. They have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years.


As the name implies, these rats have no tails. This makes them susceptible to various medical issues, so they require extra medical care. They have a lifespan of about two years.

There are various other types of pet rats, but these are the most commonly known ones you will find.

They are all relatively easy to take care of, with the exception of the tailless and hairless rats. Since these two types have no fur and tail protection, they are prone to different medical issues and you are advised to get other types of rat pets in place of them.

Read this article: What Does It Mean When a Guinea Pig Chirps?

How to take care of a pet rat

The following tips will help you take proper care of your pet rat, no matter the type.

Give them a good cage

Your pet needs to play around the cage, so you have to provide a suitable home for them. Space is important, so your rat cage should have a minimum dimension of 12 x 24 inches.

For more flexibility, it should be a wire cage and you should make the bars horizontal. This will allow your pet rat to freely climb around and play within the cage.

Feed them well

Food and water are very important to your pet. So always keep a water bottle close to the rat by attaching a sipper tube to the side of the cage. Make sure that the bottle is always full and change the water daily for hygienic purposes.

Add fruits, vegetables, and buts to your rat’s diet. They need vitamins. Feed them meals with high soy content as well.

Handle them gently

Rats like to play, but don’t handle them roughly. Try as much as possible to be gentle with them and do not insert your finger into their mouth because they may bite you.

When picking up your rat, don’t lift it up by the tail. This will be very painful for the rat, and the tailskin could also tear.

Play with them

No matter how busy you are, find time to relax and have some fun with your pet rat—they love it!

Teach them different tricks and get them nice tiny toys that they can run around and play with. This will help them exercise and reduce boredom.

When you make cardboard paper boxes for your rats, cut sizeable holes to allow them easy access. Other things you can provide include ping pong balls, tubes stuffed with shredded paper,

Exercise wheels and rat tunnels are also a lot of fun for them. With these toys, they can have fun on their own without you. So, even if you cannot play with them, they will not get bored in the cage.

Clean the cage regularly 

Clean the entire rat cage at least twice a week. Remember that your rat likes to be neat, but this regular cleaning will also prevent diseases.

When cleaning, use warm soapy water to wash the cage and replace the beginnings.

Conclusion: Are Rats Good Pets?

Wondering Are Rats Good Pets? Yes! Rats are amazing pets, and some of your favorite celebrities have them at home. If you follow the guidelines stated above, your rat will live throughout its complete lifespan.

Simple but important practices like cleanliness, a healthy diet, and constant exercise (playing around) can keep your pet rat healthy. Also, be sure to maintain a good relationship with your veterinarian in case your rat needs any treatment or a medical check-up.

Photo of author

Frank Kane

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been head-over-paws for all creatures, great and small. I’m on a mission to help other pet lovers better understand, care for, and enjoy life with their furry, scaly, or feathery friends.