Rats are friends, not the enemy

Rats aren’t dangerous

Rats are friends, not the enemy

Hayden Cohrs, Staff Writer

A common misconception about rats is that they are dirty creatures, but that isn’t the case. Rats have become a common household pet for some people, and they have the same emotions as any other “normal” household animal would. They care for their owners and other rat friends. They take care of injured rats in their pack, and without a friend they become depressed. Mice and rats are also highly intelligent and are quick when it comes to learning and understanding concepts.

When you think of rat, you probably think of some new york big rat who will attack you. That’s honestly fake news, rats also known as Rattus, do not attack people unless they are provoked and cornered. Those little cute guys from the pet store are not going to attack you and hurt you, they’re actually angels who love a good snuggle. They also like to give little kisses to their humans, just like dogs do! If you think about it, rats are like little tiny dogs.

Alex Mclaughlin, a rat lover, and a rat owner has always loved rats and wishes people would give them a chance. “I have eight male rats, two babies, two seniors and one around 1 ½ years old. I’ve always loved rats,” Mclaughlin said,” but I really fell in love when my first two rats, Benji and Sonjay, went on my first small trip with me. We went to Petco about thirty minutes away and they were loose on my lap, no cage.” Rats are precious angels who are curious and like roaming about. “My rats always do funny things, that’s one of the reasons everyone loves watching them. In particular one of my younger boys, solstice, is already an alpha, he escapes the cage when no one is looking and plays with my pitbull in the other room. I always find him easily and he never hides, he just loves seeing my dog, who also loves seeing my rat.” Mclaughlin tells, “Around 6/10 times when I take them places, people have had a negative reaction. I’ve had someone dramatically run the other way because my rat was asleep on my shoulder. I get people talking about their violent thoughts towards rats and I’m not sure why they assume I  want to hear them, it’s literally my pet. Sometimes I get really positive responses though. I’ve taken pictures with children with my rats and let people post pictures on their social media. Most of what I do is against the stereotype publically.”

Rats are super clean and like to clean themselves. Rats groom themselves more often a day than a cat does. “Rats are usually pretty clean, they clean themselves except their tails,” Mclaughlin said, “I personally put coconut on their tails so that they lick it off and that gets it clean. Sometimes one rat pees on another and that means I have to give them a bath. My senior rats have a hard time moving, so they kind of let themselves get really dirty, so I bathe most of them. I use hypoallergenic kitten soap and warm water in a bath for them” All those baths, and all that grooming really does work up an appetite though, “The stereotype that rats eat everything is sadly true, if I let them, they’d eat anything in sight!” Mclaughlin said about his rats, “They mainly eat Oxbow bagged rat food, I feed them two main meals a day. One is bagged food and the other is rat safe table food almost every day. They love cooked oatmeal yogurt, rice and any sweets I give them.”

Rats are super sweet and clean, almost none of the stereotypes about them are true, and if you believed those rumors, I hope your mind has changed. If you are interested in getting a pet rat, make sure you’re ready to handle the responsibility, just like you would with any other animal.