As the old saying goes, “A rat is a man’s best friend.” OK, OK, so maybe that’s not quite how it goes. But it should be!
Rats may conjure terror images of filth, bubonic plague and death in the minds of many people, but this bad reputation is undeserved and unwarranted.
In the wild, rats have a hard time. They are more frightened of — and adversely affected by — us than we are by them. For wild rats, death is always around the next corner. They live among a population of giant, two-legged creatures hellbent on killing them. So they do whatever they can to survive. Wild rats use their wits and adventurous spirit to get by. It’s admirable.
Wild rats develop personalities that make them unsuitable pets (so please don’t try to tame one!). But rats bred as pets are a totally different story. Without the constant fear, anxiety and struggle that their wild cousins endure, pet rats have personalities that are calm, loving and highly sociable. They are also very intelligent animals.
A rat makes a very good emotional support pet. Here are seven reasons why.
Rats Are Highly Intelligent Emotional Support Pets
Rats have a much higher level of intelligence than most other animals. They are the smartest rodents in the class, sitting up front with perfectly sharpened pencils, straight ties and an apple for the teacher! They are easily trained to live cleanly in your house, to eat their own food and not yours, to go to the toilet inside their designated potty, and to do cool tricks such as sit, roll over, dance and even shake hands!
Rats Are Extremely Social
Rats are certainly not navel-gazing introverts. They adore socializing! A rat will long to spend quality time with their human ESA owner playing, cuddling and bonding the day away. An emotional support rat becomes a best friend very quickly. Due to this gregarious and sociable nature, an ESA rat will never fail to brighten your day. This, of course, makes a rat very suitable emotional pet support.
It’s Always Playtime with Your ESA Rat
Highly intelligent + extremely social = PLAYTIME! Rats love playing, and they are very good at it, too! Much like a puppy or a pig, a rat will happily spend endless hours locked in play with its human owner or rat companion. Learning tricks, conquering obstacle courses, playing hide and seek, solving puzzles, playing with toys — all part of a rat’s daily play schedule.
Make sure to supply your ESA rat with plenty of toys and obstacles to climb on. There’s never a dull moment with a mega-playful emotional pet rat around!
Rats Are Relatively Small and Easy to House
Due to their diminutive size, rats are quite easy to house. Even an urban shoebox apartment is large enough to house an emotional support pet rat. You will need to invest in a high-quality cage with different levels, a plastic nest, comfortable bedding, and food and water trays. You’ll need to get a suitably large cage, but even the largest of cages will fit in any reasonably sized human home.
Rats Aren’t Picky Eaters
Rats will eat pretty much anything. They will gladly feast on the leftovers from your dinner table. Their enthusiasm for your cooking will make you feel like Gordon Ramsay.
Even though an emotional support pet rat will eat anything, certain foods should be kept away from your ESA rat. Chocolate and sweets, no matter how much it begs and pleads, should not be allowed. They are bad for a rat’s health. A steady diet of high-quality rodent feed (available from all good pet shops) and fruits and vegetables is the best option, with treats of leftovers from time to time.
Rats Often Come in Pairs
Rats live in colonies in the wild, so it is highly advisable — for your ESA rat and its happiness — to get at least two emotional support pet rats. A rat on its own will feel very lonely, and this is a painful and unnatural state for a rat to be in. Keeping two or three rats is just as easy as keeping one — but it’s even more fun! With two or three emotional support pet rats in your home, you get to be a part of your own little rat colony! Wave loneliness goodbye!
Rats Are Easy to Exercise
Rats do not require hours of walking through the park in the wind, rain and snow. They are small enough to exercise effectively in your home. You can set up obstacle courses and physical challenges for them, train them to fetch and do tricks, and take them for little runs around your living room. Their legs are tiny, so exercising indoors is totally possible. It is still a good idea to take your pet rat outside regularly for fresh air and some novel sights, sounds, smells and experiences. A tiny rat lead is a good idea if the rat will be walking; otherwise, just carry it is your arms or let it perch on your shoulder.
It’s time to reinvent the rat, people!