What Does Dreaming About Rats Mean? Here’s Every Answer You Need

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff

Most of us have encountered a rat at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s a shadow scurrying away in a busy urban area and sometimes it’s as a pet. Some of us have even been brought a rat as a gift from our cats.

So it is no wonder that rats can be a theme in our dreams at times. Be it as pets or pests, rats in our dreams can have a tendency to leave us wondering why we dreamt of those little paws scurrying their way through our minds.

In the article below we will look at a few common scenarios about what dreaming about rats mean.


  1. Why We Dream of Rats
  2. Rats & How They Are Associated With Vermin
  3. Rats & Associations With Dirt and Disease
  4. Rats As Pets
  5. Rats & Theft
  6. Where We See Rats In Our Dreams
  7. Conclusion: What Does Dreaming About Rats Mean

what does dreaming about rats mean

Why We Dream About Rats

When it comes to dreams about rats, these critters are quite versatile in their meanings in our dreams.

The Negative Aspects

For the vast majority of people, rats have a negative reputation. So in our dreams when we see rats, we can often look at this as being representative of feelings that we connect to a negative representation of the self or another.

The most common associations we tend to have in this type of dream could be that of a feeling of a lack of worth, overindulgence, doubts or in some cases guilt.

We tend to as society associate rats with creatures that are unworthy and greedy. We also see them as creatures that live in the more hidden areas of our worlds. So when we ask what does dreaming about rats mean, we often have to take into account these negative connotations.

The Hidden Self

Due to the nature of where we normally see rats living (in hidden places and within the shadows), we could also take this in our dreams to represent aspects of the self that we are keeping hidden. Often these could be things we find shameful or difficult to face.

While it can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, what we find shameful within ourselves could very well be something others don’t care about or see in the same negative light.

Uncleanliness & Disease

Another association we generally see with rats is that of being filthy and carrying disease.

When we look at this in our dreams we could take it as symbolic of feeling an aspect of our lives or the self is unclean or diseased. While this could refer to disease or dirt in the literal sense, it more often relates to these aspects in a metaphorical sense.

It does not mean one is diseased or unclean. But rather that one may be feeling that there are parts of one’s waking life that could metaphorically represent these aspects. While it can be due to a belief we have of ourselves, we can often find that it stems from the influence of others on how we see ourselves.


Lastly, we look at how a dream of a rat or rats could relate to seeing someone as a rat in a figurative sense in our waking lives.

At times when we dream about rats, it may be due to a feeling in our waking lives that someone has betrayed our trust or there may be a sense that you feels another person is undermining you.

So it’s possible that when asking the question, what does dreaming about rats mean, it could stem from a feeling of someone going behind your back.

what does dreaming about rats mean

Rats and how they are associated with vermin

Rats have an unfortunate reputation for the most part. As a society, we often see them as vermin that need to be exterminated or removed from our living areas, cities or any other place we tend to gather on the regular.

So below we will look at what it means if we trap or get bitten by a rat in our dreams, specifically when we associate them as being a pest or potential problem.

Trapping or Catching a Rat

When we look at the negative associations rats carry in dreams, we could look at the trapping or catching of a rat or rats in a more positive light.

Generally, we could look at this as being symbolic of having a sense of control or ability to contain these negative aspects associated with rats.

While it could refer to the self, we can also look at this as representative of how we may feel we are handling these negative aspects in another person in our waking lives.

For example, we may feel that we have someone in our lives who displays a greedy nature. However, catching the rat could represent that we may feel we have a handle on the situation at hand with this person. 

Being Bitten

Now we take a look at what it means when we are bitten by a rat in our dreams, especially in regards to when we have caught a rat.

While we can take the catching of the rat as potentially feeling that we may have control over the negative aspects represented by rats, when we find ourselves bitten in a dream we could see it as a fear that the control or ability to handle the situation feels precarious.

closeup photo of tan rat

Rats and the associations of dirt and disease

As mentioned above, rats are commonly associated with being dirty and carrying diseases.

While opinions on their cleanliness vary, in this part of the article we will be looking at what dreams about rats could mean when we associate them with dirt and disease. So working out the question what does dreaming about rats mean, may also have to incorporate these associations.


Dirt in dreams can vary depending on what it is that we see as dirty. In this case, we will look at what it means when we encounter a rat in our dreams and we feel dirtied by the encounter.

We could look at this as a symbol of our anxieties being brought to the forefront of our minds by the subconscious. In this case, these anxieties would normally relate to the associations we have with rats and could show our fears of perhaps feeling that we may be displaying these aspects.

Alternatively, it could also be a representation of how the subconscious may be viewing a deed or situation in our waking lives. It may be that we feel we have done something or have had something done to us that has left us feeling sullied or unclean in a figurative sense.


Next, we look at how we associate diseases with rats and how it ties into our dreams.

When we have a dream in which we feel a rat or rats have brought disease to us or others we can look at it in one of two ways normally.

Firstly, it could be a representation of our anxieties regarding actual diseases in our waking lives. We may be sick and feel extreme concern or rejection due to our illness, or we may carry a fear of becoming sick. While these types of dreams can mean we are anxious about an actual disease, they cannot act as predictors of actual disease and if there is a fear of a disease in one’s waking life it is always best practice to consult with a medical professional. Rather be safe, than regret it later.

Secondly, we could also look at this as a more figurative representation of disease. For example, we could feel that there is an aspect of the self, such as our emotional well-being, that feels negatively impacted. In a sense a figurative form of feeling diseased.

what does dreaming about rats mean

Rats as pets

As mentioned above, rats are generally seen in a negative light, however, this is not always the case. In some cases, we have rats as pets or associate them as pets rather than pests.

So when we have a dream in which a rat or rats are pets we can look at this in a more positive light. Instead of the negative aspects normally associated with rats, we look at how we normally see a rat as a pet.

So if you have positive feelings towards rats, the question of what does dreaming about rats mean will likely be completely different to the majority of society.

A Rat as a Pet

Pets in dreams normally symbolise love and approval or affection. If we have a positive experience with a pet rat in a dream, it could simply be a way of our subconscious acknowledging that we are experiencing these positive aspects.

However, even in a positive interaction, there may be a sense of longing or something may feel amiss in the dream. We could take this to mean that we may feel a lack of these positive aspects and may feel we need them in our waking lives.

two gray mice inside brown house


Pet rats are often associated with intelligence; we see this translating over to our dreams as well.

When we have a dream of a pet rat we could look at this as symbolic of our view on the intelligence of ourselves or someone close to us. We may find that we have a dream of a pet rat learning or displaying a trick or other capability. This could relate back to our waking lives in the sense that we may be in a situation where we feel intellectually we are being challenged or perhaps even succeeding.

Social Bonds

Rats are also usually known to be social creatures. In dreams of pet rats when we see more than one rat we can look at this as possibly relating to our family bonds.

The way we can view this depends on how we see the pet rats interact with each other. It may be that it acts as a reminder of the current bonds we have or perhaps even desire to have in our waking lives.

close up photo of mice

Rats & Theft

Now we look at the association between rats and the theft of food and what this means in our dreams.

While food normally represents our physical and emotional states and how we are nourishing them or feeling about them energy-wise, different foods have more specific meanings.

The Theft of Food

In the case of a dream where a rat or rats is stealing food, we tend to look at the food meaning in dreams more broadly and tie this in with our common associations with rats.

Theft in dreams often means that we may be feeling deprived or unfulfilled. When we tie this in with food in dreams we can take it a step further possibly meaning that we feel a lack in our physical or emotional states.

Taking this further by seeing a rat or rats steal food from us in our dreams, we could take this to be symbolic of feeling unfulfilled, deprived or a lack of some sort in our physical or emotional states due to experiencing some of the aspects associated with dreams of rats.

It may be due to another’s actions or our own, but what it usually represents is a message from the subconscious that there is a lack in our physical or emotional states due to possibly feeling like someone or ourselves may be stealing in a sense from our own well-being.

Where we see rats

Looking deeper into dreams of rats, we can also look at where we may often find or see rats in our dreams. We can tie what we know of the meaning of rats in dreams alongside what it means where we find them.

So when working out what does dreaming about rats mean, we must also consider where the rat is found in our dream.


Nests in dreams often represent a feeling of safety and comfort. The state of the nest can usually give us an indication of the state we may feel our safety or comfort is in.

When we dream of rats in a nest, we can look at this either positively or negatively, depending on how seeing the rats in the nest makes one feel.


Holes in our dreams can normally be seen as symbolic of a sense or feeling of being empty or hollow inside our waking lives. They can also be representative of actions or situations we may feel the need to keep hidden.

So when we see rats in holes in our dreams we can take the meaning of holes in our dreams with the meaning of rats. For example, it may be that we are feeling a sense of emptiness in our lives due to the excessive greed of another or we could be feeling that we have to hide a part of ourselves due to shame or guilt.

what does dreaming about rats mean


Sewers in our dreams can be symbolic of the subconscious and a blockage within ourselves causing us to feel the subconscious may be repressed in some way. This often is related to feeling a need for change in our waking lives.

Subconscious Repression

When we see rats or a rat in a sewer in our dreams and it is related to a subconscious blockage, we can look at this through what negative aspects rats represent and see if this may apply to our waking lives.

Perhaps we are experiencing this suppression due to having to face these negative aspects in someone we may have to interact with regularly in our waking lives.

 A Need For Change

Alternatively, sewers can also represent potentially feeling that there is some aspect of our lives we see as being a mess and feel the need to clean up. Usually, we can relate this back to a situation or difficulty we are facing in our waking lives.

Seeing rats in a sewer in this case in our dreams could relate to a situation we are finding ourselves in where the negative aspects of rats. For example, guilt or greed could be making us feel like we need to clean up the aspect of our waking life causing us distress.

Conclusion: what does dreaming about rats mean

To draw the question, what does dreaming about rats mean, to a close, we look at what we’ve learned above.

While for the most part rats in dreams are associated with negatives such as greed, guilt, disease, filth and betrayal, they can also be seen in a positive light when we dream of them as pets or in a friendly encounter.

Where we see rats in our dreams also often acts as a reinforcement of what we already know about the meaning of rats in our dreams. We may need to consider how we feel towards a rat or rats in our dreams in combination with what we commonly associate these critters with as a society, but also as an individual.

However dreams, while providing us with a window into the subconscious, should never replace seeing the appropriate professional for an issue we may have or fear we have.