By Madelyn Jones
When people hear “rat,” their first instinct is usually to label them as a pest or vermin, but today I ask you to think of them as something else: a loving pet. People often think of hamsters or guinea pigs when they plan on getting a pet rodent, but a rat is just as good of a choice, or in my opinion, even better.
In sixth grade, my aunt asked me if I wanted a pet rat for my birthday, and I was appalled. I had never heard of someone owning a rat, and I thought they were dirty and vicious. Then one day, I randomly woke up with a change of heart, and went to the pet store to get my first rat. Since then, I have had seven rats who have all been amazing pets.
Rats are often associated with labs or the street. They have a reputation of being unclean and mean, but that does not ring true when they are domesticated. In fact, rats clean themselves more than cats. Wild rats are only dirty because of their environment.
If you get a rat when it is young, it bonds to you. People often overlook how emotional rats are, but pet rats genuinely love and care for their owners.
If you want a pet that loves attention, rats are a perfect choice. They are pack animals, so they can easily get lonely, and, therefore, they are obvious when they want love, and they want it quite often. I had a rat that would stick her nose in between the bars of her cage when I walked into the room, and not stop until I picked her up.
I have had a good amount of experience with rats, and I have never met one that reminds me of another. They have complex and unique personalities, just like dogs and cats.
Rats are also incredibly smart. They love to be entertained with new toys and places to explore. You can also teach them tricks; you can even teach them how to swim!
Another plus to pet rats is that they are not expensive to take care of. If you cannot afford a dog or cat, but still want an animal to love that will love you back, a rat is a good option.
In general, they are cuter animals than people expect. Many love to give kisses, play, cuddle and burrow in blankets. Some animals become attuned to their owner’s emotions and lend them support, and rats are no different. I had a rat that noticed every time I was upset, and when I took her out of the cage, refused to play, and stayed by my side until I felt better.
I introduced my rats to many people who were skeptical about them, and the vast majority ended up falling in love with how cuddly and sweet they are. The negative stereotypes about rats are not relevant to domesticated ones, and usually once people meet a pet rat, they change their opinions on them become positive.
It is important to teach people to throw away the stereotypes of rats because they are sweet creatures who just want to be loved.
Article source: http://willamettecollegian.com/main/do-not-say-rats-to-pet-rats/