Why Rats Make Better Pests Than Pets

After previously pondering the pitfalls of domesticating raccoons, we’re responding to all the rage of sticking a rat in a cage.

While most normal humans see rats as intended – repulsive rodents – there are animal lovers who see the appeal of keeping these little cretins as pets.

If you’re considering welcoming a rat into your family, let Terminix Canada be your internal voice of reason, as we explain why rats make terrible pets.

Rat Bite Fever

Rat bite fever is an illness caused by bacteria transmitted through the bites, urine, and feces of an infected rat. The bacterium responsible for the sickness is located in a rat’s mouth, nose, and respiratory tract. Rats can also infect our dogs and cats, who in turn can infect us.

The mortality rate for rat bite fever is 13% if left untreated. Owners of pet rats, or those living in rat infested buildings, are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Children under the age of 5, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should, under no circumstances, keep rats as pets.

…actually, nobody should have a pet rat.

Guaranteed Heartbreak

If you’re crazy enough to own a pet rat, then like any other pet owner, you’ll view them as a member of the family.

When it comes to cats and dogs, you’re guaranteed a decade of snuggles, licks, and cute videos, but domesticated rats generally only live up to three years. They have a proclivity for picking up diseases and ailments such as dermatitis, mange, bumble feet (not as fun as it sounds), cysts, and tumors. They’re also likely to develop other self-inflicted infections and injuries from biting and scratching themselves—a side effect to the aforementioned diseases.

Considering the revolving door of rats that’d be coming in and out of your life, we’d suggest steering clear of what would amount to inevitable heartache.

Don’t Be a Weirdo

If you aren’t a lab scientist performing groundbreaking research, domesticating a rat is, well, strange.

We understand gerbils and hamsters… but rats? They are wily, disease-ridden, and the idea of having one in our home gives us a terminal case of the heeby-jeebies.


Rats are pests, not pets! If one of these nasty little critters has made its way into your home, don’t give it a bath and a warm meal – call Terminix Canada to get rid of that rat problem!

We practice environmentally-friendly rodent control, removal, and prevention throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

If you’ve developed a rat problem in your home, contact us today for a free consultation!