Study Finds Kids Are Happier With Pet Rats Than Dogs or Cats

Photo by: Elena Lyadova
credit: Elena Lyadova/500Px Plus/GettyImages

Dogs might be man's best friend, but kids' best friends are rats, apparently. A new study reveals that kids are way, way more into rodents as BFFs than you ever would have imagined.

According to the RightPet Pet Ownership Study, rats are super satisfying pets. The study was definitely wide-ranging; it was conducted online between 2010 and 2018 and surveyed more than 16,792 individuals from 113 nations. The survey collected a whopping 64,284 reviews on 32 types of pets and livestock. So, yeah, RightPet did their research, and the right pet is a rat, it seems.

Young pet owners love rats, but begin to love dogs and cats the older they get.

The rat-love findings are based on 5,150 reviews from 2,867 RightPet members in 74 countries. According to the responses, people between the ages of 10-17 who own pet rats reported that the critters gave them more satisfaction than literally any other kind of pet — including cats and dogs, aka the reigning kings of petdom. Here's the catch though: The younger you are, the more you will love your rat. As the children in the study got older, their love for their rats decreased, and it basically tanked after age 17. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, just become more and more satisfying the older the owner gets.

This might explain why Scabbers the rat (aka Peter Petigrew, the Ultimate Creep Animagus) was passed down among the Weasley kids in the Harry Potter series. JK Rowling got it right: Kids love rats, but they outgrow that love as they get older.

Rats appeal to children because rodents freak out adults.

According to People, RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges attributes rats' appeal to young pet owners with the fact that they're cheap, easy to take care of and royally freak out adults — which is hilarious and fun when you're a little kid. Fair. As long as they're not secretly the dude who betrayed your best friend's dead parents, you know?