According to PETA, rats are highly intelligent animals that excel at learning new skills and concepts. Rats have the ability to be trained and learn a variety of tricks, just like dogs. The Rat Assistance and Teaching Society states that some rats are even more intelligent than dogs are. Rats are also smart enough to recognize their name and come when called.

Rats display many of the same emotions as humans, such as loneliness, anxiety, depression and stress. These emotions are typically experienced when they do not have the companionship of other rats or a human owner. Studies show that rats also experience feelings of regret over missed opportunities.

Rats are extremely social animals that communicate through touch, smell and high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to human hearing. They become incredibly attached to other rats or their human family, and they display a great deal of affection towards them. They show this through cuddling, licking and grooming. A study conducted by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp found that rats laugh when they are tickled and during play. The study also found that rats bond socially with humans who tickle them in the attempt to be tickled more. It has also been discovered that rats who lose their human companions often mourn the loss and sometimes die from sadness.