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Will a Rat Make a Good Pet?

August 01, 2014

Many people wouldn’t think of a rat as the first choice for a family pet. The truth is, though, that rats can make wonderful, friendly, lovable pets for a family that understands them. Learn more below from a Cambrian vet.

Rat Behavior

Rats are intelligent, lively, and social animals. They’ll actually be happiest when kept with another rat, so you might consider getting two at a time! With plenty of human contact, rats will become well-socialized, friendly creatures. Remember that they’re mostly nocturnal, though—they’ll be most active in the nighttime, so it may be wise not to put your rat’s cage in the bedroom.

Housing Requirements

Rats will need a relatively large cage, complete with plenty of hiding spots and fun toys. Consult your vet to find out what sort of bedding material your rat’s cage will require. Like any caged pet, your rat’s cage will need regular cleanings. Daily checks for uneaten food and soiled bedding are also necessary.


The bulk of your rat’s diet will be made of up of commercial rat feed, available at pet supply stores. He’ll also need the diet supplemented with fresh veggies and fruits to stay healthy. Ask your vet for more information on rat dietary requirements.


Your pet rat should get at least an hour of exercise time outside of the cage every day. Before purchasing a rat, make sure you’re able to make this commitment! This time is essential for your rat’s health, as well as proper socialization; a rat that spends all his time in a cage without human contact won’t warm up to human owners very easily.

Choosing a Healthy Rat

To choose a healthy rat, look at the animal’s overall body condition. It shouldn’t be too fat or too skinny, and should act alert and active. Check out the coat—is it clean and clear, free of debris and dirt? Picking a healthy animal will save you a lot of hassle, time, and money down the road.

If you have more questions about rat ownership and their care, don’t hesitate to contact your Cambrian veterinarian. He or she can tell you everything you need to know about these often-misunderstood but wonderful creatures!