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Research Reveals That Kids Are Happier With Pet Rats Over Dogs Or Cats

teen girl with pet rat

When it comes to trying to figure out if you are more of a dog family than a cat family (or vice versa), it looks like at the end of the day you and your family members might be neither one. That’s because a new survey suggests that little kids aren’t interested in having a dog or a cat as a family pet anymore. Instead, they want something totally different: a pet rat, much to the disbelief of parents everywhere.

That’s right: kids say they are happiest with pet rats over dogs or cats. According to The RightPet Pet Ownership Study, more than 16,792 individuals from over 100 nations received 64,284 reviews on 32 types of pets and livestock. The research was conducted between 2010 and 2018 and found that today’s children have more of a deep love for pet rats than their furry four-legged family members.

Kids between the ages of 10 and 17 reported that pet rats gave them more satisfaction than any other pet. Could this mean because they don’t have to take them out for long walks? Or perhaps give them baths or remember to feed them several times a day? Perhaps. But there are other reasons why, too.

pet rat for kids
Credit: iStock / dlHunter

What makes a pet rat so special? For starters, they are fastidious groomers and don’t like to get dirty. Rats are also extremely smart and emphatic and like to make lifelong bonds with their owners. They often like cuddling with their owners and love the warmth and contact of their caretakers, just like dogs and cats. But unfortunately, they don’t live as long as dogs or cats. Pet owners can expect them to only live about 2 to 3 years.

What’s more, many rats need preventive medical care, which can sometimes be very costly. Many rats, just like dogs, cats, and humans, can develop medical problems such as breast tumors, respiratory tract disease and uterine infections. Rats should have regular checkups with a rat-savvy vet, which isn’t always very easy to find.

In addition, the same study found that women prefer cats to dogs, while men like both pets just the same way. At the same time, many dog owners prefer larger canines than their smaller counterparts.

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