Children Are Happier With Pet Rats Than With Cats And Dogs

The winner may surprise you!

Just when you thought every kid wanted their own puppy or kitten, the truth has come out: Children actually prefer rats, according to a pet ownership survey by RightPet.

That’s right! According to the survey, the most satisfying pet to own at age 15 is a rat, followed by catsdogs, horses and snakes.

From 2010 to 2018, RightPet analyzed more than 64,000 animal reviews collected for 32 types of pets and livestock. The pet owners who completed reviews either found the survey on their own, or were recruited and paid about $3 per review.


The rat finding is based on 5,150 reviews from people who own or owned a pet when they were 17 years old or younger. The data includes information from 222 rat owners.

RightPet found that kids who owned pets between the ages of 10 and 17, had overall more satisfaction from rats than they did from cats, dogs and other common pets. The fondness for rats decreased as people got older.

Why Do Rats Make Good Pets?

Dr. Jennifer Graham with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine said small pets are great options for young children because they can teach responsibility. Hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils tend to be more traditional options, but Graham said rats can make ideal pets because they are so easy to care for.

“Rats can be calm, laid-back, not as nippy as other small mammals, and they can be handled a lot,” Graham told the magazine Parents.

As RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges also pointed out, rats are small, cheap and you can play some great pranks on parents and siblings!

Of course, not everyone can get on board with a rat inside the home. Some other smaller-sized pets to consider for children are hedgehogs, rabbits and chinchillas


The results of the survey also found that women tend to like cats more than dogs, while dogs have only a slight lead over cats for men. Overall, people prefer larger dogs and dog lovers are more curious and open to new experiences than cat lovers.

Would you ever buy a rat for your child?