Pests as Pets?

Earlier, Sherrina mused on the popularity of rodents as pets. I’m not sure I get it either. I mean, I can understand the appeal of guinea pigs and hamsters, but rats and mice? Aren’t they the very pests we’ve been trying to get rid of?

Unsurprisingly, the family rodent is uncommon. According to the poll, only 2% of pet-owners surveyed had a rodent. The American Pet Products Association, which records pet industry stats and trends, estimates that only 5.3 million households owned a “small animal” in the 2009-2010 season. In contrast, 38.2 million own a cat and 45.6 million own a dog.

Despite their small numbers however, rodent owners have banded together to form groups like The New York City Rat Meetup Group and American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association, a non-profit club created “to promote and encourage the breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice for show and pets.” You can even adopt rodents online.

Clearly, these animals have an appeal for some people — but I’m not sure why. Help me figure it out by filling out the survey after the cut:

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