Dreaming of Rats – Possible Meanings and Scenarios

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Dreams can be a very complicated topic, and despite many advances in medicine and psychology, experts are still baffled by why we dream, and how we can dream about different things.  

The scientific community believes that dreams occur when our brains are “exercising” and maintaining themselves. Meanwhile, others believe that dreams can help predict our future or expose our own subconscious thoughts through symbolism. 

 As such, coming across rats in your dreams, under different circumstances, can be an indication of something that’s about to happen in your life. Let’s take a look at how different cultures, throughout the ages, have perceived rats, and what it means when you keep dreaming about them. 

Rats – A Brief Overview 

mixed colored rats

While they don’t exactly have a good reputation around the world, rats are not as despicable as they may appear to be. In fact, in recent years, they have been rising in popularity as household pets.  

Although you may not be aware of it, rats are very similar to humans in basic physiology. They have the same organs and body structure, so their nervous system and body chemistry work the same way as humans. As a result, rats have similar reactions to infection and injury and are extensively used in research and animal testing. 

There are many types of rats, but the most common are brown rats and house rats. These types can be found practically anywhere that humans are present and are also the reason why rats have earned a bad reputation. 

Because they live around houses and cities, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that rats have developed a cultural significance in many parts of the world. Some negative associations include plagues, diseases, and filth, but there are also positive ones, like fertility and wealth. For example, the rat is the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac and stands for intelligence, loyalty, and ambition. 

With such a diverse range of concepts associated with rats, dreaming about them can be hard to interpret. Was your dream positive or negative? Should you be worried or happy? By analyzing the dream and remembering as many details of the dream as possible, you’ll be able to garner some meaning from it and hopefully interpret it.  

Dreaming of Rats – Common Interpretations 

a rat holding a food

When it comes to dreams, the appearance of rats can have different meanings.  

Negative Meanings 

Most of the time, having a rat in your dream is a bad omen, usually indicating jealousy, envy, betrayal, powerlessness, fear, insecurity, anxiety, or illness. It could also be a warning that someone close to you will betray you and you must be on your guard.  

If you are an introvert, seeing rats in your dreams can represent the discomfort you feel when surrounded by people. So, if you start dreaming of rats, you may need to rethink your activities and see if a specific situation has made you feel awkward or has forced you to stay with people who make you unhappy. 

Untamed house rats often steal food or ruin clothes and other items around the house. Thus, dreaming of these common rats usually indicates selfishness or destruction. This could be the subconscious reminding you to carefully choose the people you form relationships with.  

Positive Meanings 

However, in certain conditions, the presence of a rat in your dream could also have positive connotations, such as love, friendship, success, or safety. It can also hint at happy events, such as overcoming a problem that has been bothering you or being able to move on from a dark chapter in your life.  

The actual meaning and symbolism of the rat would depend on what it looked like or what it was doing in your dream. As such, you need to pay attention to the details in the dream if you want to understand what it is trying to tell you. 

So, with that being said, here are 20 possible interpretations of rats in dreams, depending on the context: 

1. Swarming Rats 

If you see rats flocking around you in your dream, this indicates fear or anxiety about losing control. You may be in a leadership position and are in danger of being replaced, or in a situation where the power to make decisions has been taken out of your hands.  

2. Dead Rats in Dreams 

a dead rat

Stumbling across a dead rat in your dreams can signify a feeling of suffocation. Most often, this can be due to a certain situation in your life causing you to be overwhelmed or helpless. However, it could also mean that a relationship has ended badly, due to a betrayal or a serious disagreement.  

3. Rats Crawling Over You 

The image of rats crawling all over your body is definitely not pleasant, and the interpretation of this dream is no different. You probably dream about rats crawling all over you because you fear getting cheated on.  

So, it could mean that your subconscious mind is trying to tell you that someone in your life is being disloyal. 

4. Dreaming of Rats While You are Pregnant 

If you are currently pregnant and suddenly see rats in your dreams, it is a manifestation of your anxiety about the future, possibly about your pregnancy. You could be worrying about your baby’s safety as well as your labor and delivery. On the other hand, it could also hint at a happy occasion, such as the birth of a healthy baby.  

5. White Rats in Dreams 

a white rat

One of the positive associations of rats in dreams is when a particularly white-colored rat appears in your dreams. Usually, this can imply that a problem that has been bothering you for quite some time, will be resolved soon. You will receive help from someone you don’t expect or may not know about. 

It can also indicate a positive self-image, which means that you are feeling confident, happy, and content with yourself. 

6. Being Chased by Rats 

Getting chased by a rat in your dream represents a disagreement or an argument that you had with someone during the day. There might be repercussions, and your dream is to remind you to stay alert and protect yourself. 

In a similar fashion, it can also refer to financial issues that have not been settled, created as a result of being anxious about your financial situation.  

7. Getting Bitten by a Rat 

A rat bite, in real life, can lead to serious, life-threatening diseases. As such, dreaming of rats biting you, or wanting to bite you, can also be related to your health. 

Either you have already been diagnosed with an illness, or you have not been feeling very well lately. So, it might be time to see a doctor and try to put a name to this unknown threat.    

8. Seeing a Giant Rat 

If you see an unusually large rat in your dream, it can indicate a fear of being taken advantage of. You may be in the middle of negotiations or about to have a serious discussion with someone, and you are not sure if the other party will treat you fairly.  

9. Black Rat in Dreams 

a black rat

Black is a shade that indicates the absence of light. As a result, it usually represents bad omens, dark emotions, or even the manifestation of a broken spirit, while white, and by extension light, represents all things positive. 

Most often, these types of dreams can be attributed to psychological or emotional issues that are getting too intense and starting to affect your subconscious.  

10. Rats with Red Eyes 

While some rats have red eyes in real life, seeing them in your dreams indicates a concern for your children. It might mean that you are worried about their future and the environment they are growing up in, and maybe it’s time to do something about it. 

If you don’t have kids, your concern is probably directed at a young relative, such as a niece or nephew. 

11. Killing a Rat 

Successfully killing a rat in your dreams can be a promising sign that you will win over your opponents or other hurdles you might come across in the future. You will be able to get rid of negative influences that hinder your growth and achieve financial growth. 

However, it could also mean getting rid of people who are dragging you down and stopping you from reaching your goals.  

12. Seeing a Cat Chasing a Rat 

A cat holding a rat

When you see a cat chasing off a rat in your dreams, this is something to be happy about because it implies that a problem that has been weighing on your mind is about to be resolved soon. Also, it can mean that you don’t have to do anything about it as someone else will solve it for you. 

Another possible meaning is self-growth. You have just gone through a phase of self-discovery and come out stronger, wiser, and more confident of who you are as a person.   

13. Gray Rats 

Straddling the line between black and white, gray often symbolizes a dual existence. So, when you dream of gray rats, it hints at confusion and contradiction. 

Either you have too many things on your plate right now, and you are losing sight of your true priorities, or you are faced with a dilemma that could affect an important aspect of your life. 

14. Rat Running Away 

If a rat runs away from you in a dream, this is a warning that something bad is about to happen. Fortunately, it is not too late to do something about it, and you can either prevent it from happening or take measures to minimize the negative impact on your life. 

On the other hand, it can also hint at feelings of guilt or repressed anger. You may have received undeserved praise or have been in a situation where it was difficult to express your dissatisfaction and had to keep your feelings bottled up.  

15. Rats Eating in Dreams 

rats eating

Seeing rats eating, while in your dream, signifies a need for self-improvement. There are many areas of yourself that you are yet to explore because you have always chosen to stay in your comfort zone. However, people need to challenge themselves to grow, and now, the time has come for you to do so.  

16. Brown Rats in Dreams 

Having a brown rat appear in your dreams is a manifestation that you have problems with your body image. You are not happy with the physical changes that have occurred to your body, and this has made you self-conscious. 

In order to restore your self-esteem, you need to take active steps to work towards a healthier lifestyle and strengthen your body.  

17. Seeing a Tiny Rat 

The appearance of an abnormally small rat in your dream hints at your feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. You may feel invisible at work, at home, or in your social circle, and this has affected your self-esteem.  

18. Getting Scratched by a Rat 

When a rat scratches you in your dream, it is your subconscious trying to remind you of something important that you may have overlooked. If the rat was nibbling you, this can refer to money issues, so, it might be best to check up on your finances and investments as soon as possible.  

19. Rat Biting Your Hand 

If you dream of a rat biting your hand, it can signify duplicity from a trusted friend or a loved one. The hand symbolizes trust and the rat biting your hand can represent the betrayal of that trust. 

This is a warning to stay alert for your friends and loved ones because not all of the people around you aren’t as loyal as you would like them to be. 

20. Rat With Green Eyes 

Another positive dream about rats is when you see one with green eyes. This usually indicates happiness, wealth, or good fortune. 

Also, if you have made a new friend recently, the green-eyed rat could represent your satisfaction and excitement at this budding friendship.  

Wrapping Up 

Rats have been getting a bad reputation everywhere they go, mostly because of the common house rats that steal food and carry deadly diseases. However, not all rats are dangerous, and some rat species can actually be reared as pets.  

In the same vein, the appearance of a rat in your dream is not necessarily bad, as the meaning would depend on the type of rat or what it was doing. 

Therefore, if you hope to interpret your “rat dream,” it is important to note details such as the rat’s appearance, specifically, the color of its eyes and fur, along with how it behaves during the dream. These can indicate whether your dream was positive or negative. 

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.

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