RightPet Study Finds Kids Choose Rats Over Cats, Dogs


California, United States


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Yes. You read that correctly. Kids love rats.

Santa Barbara, California, August 1, 2018 — According to a new online survey, children and teens say they get more satisfaction owning rats than any other pets. Not the wild rats you see around garbage dumpsters (or even the kind that broke up with your sister via text), but domesticated “fancy rats” which have different colors and fur types.

Pet owners between the ages of 10 - 17 say that their rats gave them more satisfaction than any other types of pets.

Why rats? Kids say it’s because rats are inexpensive and low-maintenance, making it easy to take care of them with just a little help from mom and dad.

“It’s easy to see why kids and teens love pet rats,” says Brett Hodges, owner/editor at RightPet, “They’re smart and affectionate little clowns who bond with their owners and thrive on social interaction.”

It’s the pet/owner relationship that young rat fans love most, saying that female rats tend to be more outgoing, playful and hygienic, and that male rats are more loving and cuddly.

“My favorite thing to do after getting home from school would be to take her out and carry her on my shoulder; she would stay put there and nuzzle into my neck and hair. Owning a rat reminded me of having a miniature dog, as they can be just as loyal and loving.” shared RightPet member hayleaoryan.

Part of the appeal of pet rats to children and teens also seems to be the inevitable look of horror on their parent's faces when they say they want a rat.

“For preteens and teens, pet rats have an aura of ‘creepy cute’, and it can be appealing to have a pet that others find scary or strange”, says Gail F. Melson, Professor Emerita at the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University.

"Adults probably associate fancy rats with the stereotyped dirty and disease-spreading wild rat. The association is unwarranted, but if I were a teen, I might enjoy having a pet that freaks out my parents.”

Here is the RightPet Rat Section

And the full RightPet Pet Ownership Study