Why do my rats pee on me all the time?

I once saw a television show about why dogs sniff everywhere when they go outside. The host likened it to “getting mail.” When other dogs peed on the ground, they left information about themselves for other dogs to “read.” Your dog catches a whiff of these markings and goes to investigate. It’s much the same in rats. When a rat leaves drops of pee everywhere, s/he is leaving a little piece of information about him or herself for other rats to find later. Mostly this has to do with reproduction. For more information, check out this much more scientific explanation.
Some rats do this much more than others.  Two of my female rats, Betty and Whiskers, and all of my males used to make a huge mess every time I’d take them out.  Most of my other females marked rarely, if at all.  Male rats tend to do this more than females…if it really bothers you, you can have your male rat neutered; this tends to stop the marking.

16 Responses to “Why do my rats pee on me all the time?”

  1. 1 Leonardo Livi

    I dont know it that is important, but urine markings are not just territory marking. Rats urine mark each other all the time. They urine mark food that is eatable, and so on. So it is a signature, but not realy a territorial thing. You must know that unlike some other rodents rats know their owners and they know people. They tont think they are just on some big thing, they know their owners as living things. They probably mark us as they mark the orher rats. I dont know exactly why they do that, bot certainly has to do with bonding, socializing and organising their groups.

    It is important to note that all rats urine mark others. The alfa marks the other rats and the other rats mark the alfa. Females mark males and even child rats mark adults and vice versa.

    I’m sorry if this is stuff you know, i just think this territory thing tends to give a wrong impression of urine markings from rats. Unlike some other animals like dogs, their urine markings are very complex and do not say sijply get away from here, this placve is taken. It can have tons of menaings, like: this food is safe, i want to remember this alfa for when i am in heat, this guy here is from my colony, etc…

    Congratulations for the site. I love the articles, and the design is Realy clean and beaultifull.

  2. 2 sara

    Thanks for this, Leonardo. I am a little confused by what you’re saying, but I did a more in-depth search about urine marking, and I will edit the question. :) I’m glad you like the site!

  3. 3 Tracy

    Our female rat is lots of fun but she pee’s on myself and our daughter. Why only the females in the house? She never pee’s on the boys. What the hell!

  4. 4 Barbie

    My young female rat (Sasha Valentine) has pee’d on me also, I think it’s a sign of marking me (affection). The reason I think this, is because she prefers to be on me all the time, I think it’s a comfort thing. She enjoys my company and burrowing in my clothing, to sitting on my lap. She usually doesn’t poop on me, but sometimes when I try to get her out of my shirt and she resists she’ll leave me a little present, but I think it’s mostly from all the resisting she has done. It’s weird how I know so much about my little furry friend, and I’ve only owned her for about three days now. :) Im learning more about her everyday, and THIS IS MY FIRST RATTIE.. :D I think we are definitely a match!

  5. 5 Tracy

    Loving me the most sounds great but in our case it just can’t be true. She is Daddy’s girl to the max! I tend to believe it’s just because we are girls and so is she. Maybe a pecking order of sorts. Barbie have so much fun with your little furry friend. Ours (Bodeccia) makes us laugh for hours.

  6. 6 jessca

    my female rat squeak has only started peeing on me but it is only my arms or legs, but i red up online that it means she is peeing on me as to say she owns me and that i am hers an she loves me, which i think is really cute hahah just dont like being pee’d on which isnt nice :’)

  7. 7 Angela

    Leonardo is right–Norway rats use their urine more to mark things that are *safe*, so when they are running around and smell their own scent, they know they have been there before and have been safe. Their eyesight is extremely poor, so they rely on whisking, smell, and hearing. Peeing on food means it is safe to eat. Peeing on their owner seems to mean the same thing. I just rescued a female rat from a shelter and the first night after some cuddling with her on my bed she began rubbing her back on me and marking me all over. She also smelled like grape soda perfume the first few days and I’m positive it was related. Since then she has not ever done it to that degree–I’m positive she was very happy and “owning me.” She rarely marks now. My other females have all been spayed by 3-4 months and never did any marking–they also never had mammary tumors, which is why spaying is so important for females before they mature. Male rats will mark more and they are even funnier to watch–when you let them free-range in a rat-proof room, they will do what I call “wall surfing,” rubbing their backs against the wall almost on their sides and scootching along and also they do the little paw rubbing dance sometimes too. I don’t find rat urine very odorous at all; sometimes I think people just *expect* it to smell. Rats smell wonderful, like grape soda or fresh corn tortillas or even floral perfume. It’s true–be sure to huff on your rats or you will miss out. Anyway, I have a little solution to the marking problem that I use: just dedicate a hoodie to wear while playing with your rat. If it already smells like them, there is less reason to mark you and you won’t worry so much about being marked when you can just wipe it off with your sleeve. Another tactic is just to carry a tiny cloth in your pocket when you are playing with them. It really is a sign of love. :)

  8. 8 Emily

    My male rat, Zaboo, pees on me all the time. And it’s obvious he waits till he runs across my hand to do it too. It’s almost like he can’t pee anywhere else, but on me. I guess I’m supposed to take that as a compliment?

  9. 9 sam

    my does the same but its really annoying when shes around i just feel wet :/ and everythings acing me cuz i got really bad exma ;(

  10. 10 Hayley

    I find that the pee used to mark is more “diluted” than the full on pee puddles they do in their litter trays. It would make sense, if they’re marking everything around them they wouldn’t want it to smell so much that predators are attracted, just enough for them and other rats to recognise it.

  11. 11 Dev

    I’ve had 2 rats for 7 months. They are hand raised and about 1 year old. Both pee on me but only if I have been away from them for at least a couple hours. It’s how they bond. They also tend to do it to each other – especially after being bathed. It’s there way of mixing scents. In most cases it is positive.

  12. 12 Llamasocks

    One thing to realize is that although they mark several things, if they seem to pee a lot on you, its probably because they cannot control where they “use the restroom”. They mark a lot, and sometimes it just seems they mark whenever they run over you (One of my rats deliberately marks me a lot more ;) I feel so special) they cannot control the pee.

  13. 13 ShoeFan

    I have two pet rats and they always peed on me and I felt that they were afraid of me but now that I know about this I can see that it’s all fine. I’m so happy because this is my first pet and I don’t want them not to like me! P.S there both girls

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