Do Pet Rats Show Affection?

Rats seem to be always misrepresented as unfeeling when it comes to how they act.

This could be a problem if you are new to having rats as pets because affection is a big reason why a lot of us get pets in the first place. So do pet rats show affection?

Pet rats most definitely show affection to their owners. In fact, owners play a big role in their pet rat’s life. These little fellows are not only social but highly sympathetic.

The bonds they create with the pet owners that take care of them will affect them for their whole lives.

Pet rats are highly sensitive to their environment and they can sense whether their owner is in a good or bad mood.

Sometimes their mood will change because of your mood, which means they can become happy or stressed depending on how you act.

Do Pet Rats Show Affection To Their Owners?

It might sound crazy to someone who has never had a pet rat before, but these tiny animals show a lot of affection to their loved ones, whether they are other rats or their owners.

Not all rats love the same way though, each pet rat is different with their own personality traits.

One pet rat might be all about loving you and another one might be a little bit more independent and distant. That doesn’t change the fact that they’ll still have some kind of bond with you.

If you’re worried whether your pet rat likes you or not, you should first see if it looks like they like having you around.

Most pet rodents get scared easily and are quick to escape any stressful environment.

So if your pet rat doesn’t try to run and hide when you walk past them or walk in the room, it’s a high chance that they like you.

If they seem relaxed and happy when you’re around then that’s great. If they don’t then that’s fine too, just be patient and give them some time to warm up to you. Pet rats love at their own pace.

How Do Pet Rats Show Affection To Their Owners?

Pet rats will show you love through two of the activities they like the most:

  • Playing.
  • Grooming.

If your little pet has bonded with you, they will try to get you to play with them all the time.

They will also try to get you to groom them, usually by petting them. In exchange, you’ll notice that they will try to groom you too.

There are several games that a pet rat will sometimes try to play with their owner. Peak-a-boo is a favorite, and so is hide and seek.

Keep in mind that sometimes pet rats won’t be trying to play, but trying to have a little bit of me-time, that’s how they deal with stress.

So if they’re trying to show you some affection and look like they want to play, then play along. If you see your pet rat trying to hide, then let them rest.

Pet rats are actually really clean and grooming is another important way they show affection.

They will lick you and try to clean your hands and hair. It might sound odd, but they’ll also try to get inside your mouth and clean in there too.

Trying to give you some attention is another way pet rats will show affection.

They will try to get out of the cage so they can be closer to you as well as explore their surroundings.

They’ll usually spend that time checking on how you’re doing and cuddling with you.

Pet rats care about their owner’s comfort as much as their own. They love bonding with their owners and have nothing but love to give.

How Can You Show Affection Back To Your Pet Rat?

If you love your pet rat, there are several things you can do for them. First of all, being a responsible owner is the best way to show affection.

Keeping your pets in a big enough cage and feeding them quality food is most important.

Also, avoid stressful situations that could potentially scar them, they’ll be more hesitant to show you any affection if they associate you with being scared.

More direct ways of showing affection include:

  • Giving them treats.
  • Playing with them in their cage.
  • Spending time near them.
  • Grooming and petting them.
  • Taking them out of their cage to play.

A quick way to show love to your pet rats in a way that they’ll like no matter what is by giving them treats.

Keep in mind this should always be done in moderation. They won’t see it as a treat if you constantly give it to them, they’ll just expect it.

Letting Them Out Of Their Cage To Play

Just as much as pet rats will try to get you to play with them, you should be doing the same every once in a while.

That being said, rats are sensitive and might not respond well if they are trying to rest or don’t feel like it, so be extra careful.

If your pet rat doesn’t feel like playing around in their cage, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy some time outside of the cage. Take them out of their cage and keep them close to you.

Pet rats love to snuggle up to their owners, so a cuddle session might be the very thing they need for comfort.

Petting your little friend is a great way to show affection too. The places they love to be petted the most are behind the ears and on their shoulders.

Belly rubs are great too but only if they roll over on their own and ask for it, don’t try to force it.

Every once in awhile, you can take them out of their cage and let them roam free around your room.

Always keep an eye on your pet rats when they’re out of the cage and keep any possible dangers away from them.

Do Pet Rats Show Affection To Other Rats?

Not only do pet rats show affection to other rats, but they need the companionship in order to thrive.

Pet rats that live alone rarely have a good life. Most of them need at least one rat friend to have a happy life.

Pet rats are social animals. They need to share their time with someone who is just like them.

That’s why you should almost always get more than one pet rat if you’re looking to adopt these beautiful tiny animals. So keep that in mind when you’re making a decision on getting some.

How Do Pet Rats Show Affection To Other Rats?

There are several ways a pet rat will show affection to another one. Most of the time they look similar to the ways they show affection to their owners. These include:

  • Grooming.
  • Playing.
  • Sharing food.
  • Taking care of each other.

Pet rats are obsessed with being clean and grooming. They will take up huge portions of their day grooming themselves and also grooming each other.

So that means if one pet rat starts grooming another, it’s a sign of love and the need to be clean.

Playing is also a big deal for them, even though sometimes it can be hard to tell if your pet rats are just playing or actually fighting.

Running around the cage together, play-fighting, and many other games are a show of affection that they have fun doing.

Sharing food and taking care of each other are also huge displays of affection.

Pet rats will bury their food or hoard it and give it to those who don’t have enough to feed themselves.

They will also take care of each other, either by protecting their sick or by fending off what they think are aggressors. All in all, pet rats know how to appreciate and care for each other.


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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