Why Do People Hate Pet Rats So Much? Tails? Disease?
All rat lovers hear it at some point: “EW! You have RATS as… pets?!” And what do we do? We roll our eyes! *Here we go again. Another person who has no earthly idea what they’re talking about.* Fortunately, these people can be educated, and a MAJORITY of them are won over! Before you can confront these people, you have to understand the multitude of reasons that people “hate” them. I say “hate” because you cannot hate something you know nothing about; hence the amount of people that are won over by the Ratty Casanovas!
The Tails are “Gross”
FALSE! These people seem to love dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, and gerbils. They all have tails too! Unlike these other animals, rats’ tails serve for more than just balance; it is their own personal cooling system. Since they don’t sweat, they have to let heat out somehow. The tail also constricts when the rat is cold in order to preserve body heat when the surrounding temperature drops.
They “Carry Disease”
Unless rats have fleas, they really do not carry the diseases that people are so scared of. You are more likely to contract rabies from the neighbor’s dog; it’s *almost* impossible for a caged domestic rat to contract rabies. The only real fear is Rat Bite Fever. This illness can be debilitating, but as I previously stated it is nearly impossible for a pet rat to contract this. It has to come from another infected specimen’s urine. This could be a potential scenario in a rescue, ONLY if RBF is active in the area. Most rescues keep this under control. It is fully treatable with antibiotics.
They’re “Aggressive and Mean” and “Attack People”
A mean rat? SO INCREDIBLY RARE! Rats are super docile animals, with loving, curious, incredibly patient personalities. Unless of course we’re dealing with food or cage free time; then they become hounding little nuisances to get exactly what they want. But that’s our fault for spoiling their adorable little faces! I’ve seen TRULY mean rats (I’m talking Norman Bates and Freddy Krueger had a love child), TWO of them. Now, please know that this is over the course of 14 years and over 1,500 rats. I’ve seen lots of rats, I’ve known lots of rats, I’ve loved lots of rats. My encounters with these two satanic rats only proved my suspicions: Rats can be born psychopathic too. Just like humans, dogs, and cats. Something was missing in those brains of theirs- as they didn’t come out of abusive situations.
They’re Just Like Hamsters
Again, a RESOUNDING NO! Hamsters have absolutely nothing on rats. Hamsters have no where near the intelligence, patience, affection, and playful energy that rats do. For me, hamsters are the equivalent of a moody rat who had a lobotomy; some of you might find that to be offensive, but I simply don’t enjoy hamsters. I’ve not had one since I was 10 years old, because we made the switch to rats! Once you go rat, you never go back!
They Are “Dirty” Animals
This could not be any more wrong, either. Rats are most definitely not dirty animals. As a matter of fact, they are actually clean freaks. You see them bathing for hours out of the day. Their schedules are much like those of cats, only they eat more often. They sleep a lot, bath a lot, play & wrestle, and hoard food. They don’t like to potty where they sleep, but they are big offenders when it comes to marking their territory. This might be where people get “dirty” from, but that’s just a rat thing. they have to let you know that they love their furniture, right?