Rats are medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the family Muridae.[1] They are mostly active at night, can swim and climb with great agility, and consume almost anything. Rats often live and travel in packs of a considerable size.[2]


Rats are small rodents with long, hairless tails that curve at the tip. Their tails are used mostly for balance, and have few other functions.[3] Rats also have incisors and molars. Incisors are the frontmost teeth in most mammals. Rats have four incisors, long and sharp, two on top and two on bottom. Incisors like these help rats gnaw. Molars are the back teeth, used for grinding food before swallowing it. Rats have three molars on each side of their jaw, top and bottom, yielding a total of twelve molars. These are never replaced, as rats only have one set of teeth in their whole life.[4] Their skull and nasal bones are relatively narrow.[5]

Rats also have a huge variation of coat colors. They can be solid black to white, from dark browns to warm tans to creams, from slate gray to pale blue. They can also display patches of white that range from a small chest spot to a belly blotch to white with a pigmented head and beyond, making most different from each other.[6]

Rats live in all parts of the world, and live in large packs. They mostly live near a source of water, or, since they are agile climbers, up in trees or high places. Most rats are medium sized with relatively large ears and a tail that is nearly always longer than the body. They can weigh between 70 and 300g, and are between 16 and 22 cm in head and body length with a tail length of 19 cm or longer. Males are usually longer and heavier than females.[7]

Rats typically live for about a year, females giving birth to 4-7 litters a year. Each litter consists of about 6-13 rats. They feast on mostly fruit, grain, cereals, and other vegetation. However, rats are omnivores, and will feast on insects or other invertebrates if necessary. They consume about 15g of food and 15mL of water per day.[8]

Relation to Clan cats

Colonies of rats are usually dangerous to cats, as they are aggressive and tend to attack them.[9] Episodes of rats attacking groups of cats are described in several books. They also carry diseases that can spread to cats, causing severe illness, and sometimes death.[10] For this reason, rats are generally not hunted as fresh-kill.

In the Forest, colonies of rats lived at a trash dump in ShadowClan territory, called the Carrionplace by the cats. The first ShadowClan medicine cat, Pebbleheart, realized that the rats were a source of infection.[11] Raggedstar fought a violent battle with the rats that kept them from bothering ShadowClan for many moons.[12] His deputy, Foxheart, was killed in one of these battles.[13] A single rat contaminated the whole of ShadowClan during Nightstar's brief time being a leader.[14]

Book Appearances

In the Super Edition Arc

Moth Flight's Vision

When Silver Stripe is trapped in a rabbit burrow, her brothers fret about badgers, but when they are told that the tunnel is too big for badgers, White Tail worries about rats.

Crookedstar's Promise

When a RiverClan patrol is searching the Twoleg barn for dry grass, a swarm of rats attack them, wounding Sedgecreek and causing Hailstar to lose his last life.

Bluestar's Prophecy

Leopardfoot mentions that Hailstar lost his ninth life to a rat bite.

Firestar's Quest

It is revealed that after the original SkyClan were driven out of the Forest, a colony of rats attacked the gorge where the Clan had set up camp and drove them out. The surviving cats became kittypets, loners or rogues. In the caves, the rats scratched the walls, leaving deep horizontal scores to mark their victory and ownership of the gorge. Firestar at first thinks these were from kits, and makes it the nursery.
Many moons after the attack, Firestar and his mate Sandstorm come on a quest to rebuild SkyClan. As the Clan starts to rebuild, they set up a patrol. On this patrol, the Rat leader shows up and informs the cats that his kind killed the previous SkyClan before and they would now kill them again. The rats attack SkyClan, and the warriors fight fiercely. The leader of this pack stays in the protection from a mass of rats so every other rat takes orders from him. When the SkyClan cats begin to gain the upper hand in the battle, he calls the rats to retreat.
SkyClan attacks the warehouse where the rats lived, knowing someone would have to attack first. Their new plan is to find the leader and kill him first. The cats try to trick the leader into showing himself, but he is too clever to fall for the ruse, and encourages the rats to fight harder. The warriors lose and retreat.
After the battle, the warriors now have a new plan. With Firestar to guide them, they realize the mass of rats are taking commands from the leader through small movements, such as a twitch of the tail or brush of fur. Firestar traces the movements to the center of the pack and identifies the real rat leader. Without warning, Firestar attacks and kills him, with a squeal of shock coming from the leader. Without their leader to guide them, the remaining rats flee.
The SkyClan warrior, Rainfur, dies in the battle with the rats. Another warrior, Shortwhisker, gets injured by a rat and realizes his future as a kittypet.

SkyClan's Destiny

Leafstar, Patchfoot, Ebonyclaw, Frecklepaw, Cora, Shorty, and Snookpaw were going to reset the border markers. As they set the markers, Patchfoot started heading for the Twolegplace and suddenly stopped to taste the air. His fur rose, so Leafstar tasted the air for herself and smelled the stench of rat. They found out that the rats were back and the four cats from the Twolegplace happened to eat rats and knew how to kill them. So they set up a plan to attack the rats.
Their plan was to try to block some of the holes, then scare them, making them flee to the open holes so they could attack. All of the cats were eager to kill the rodents, as they tried to destroy SkyClan after their first victory with the original SkyClan.
The plan succeeds, although Waspwhisker is badly injured. The SkyClan cats go back to camp.

Bramblestar's Storm

Purdy tells Amberpaw that he will tell her a story about he once killed a whole nest of rats.

In the Dawn of the Clans arc

Thunder Rising

After catching a rabbit, Clear Sky and Thunder encounter three rats on the moorland. The rats fight the cats over their prey and flee when they are overpowered.

In the The Prophecies Begin Arc

Into the Wild

Bluestar, Firepaw, Graypaw, Tigerclaw and Ravenpaw are attacked by some rats on their way back from the Moonstone. The rats are defeated, but Bluestar loses her seventh life in the fight.

Rising Storm

Several ShadowClan cats get sick after they ate diseased rats brought to the fresh-kill pile from the Carrionplace. Nightstar and his deputy Cinderfur die of the sickness.

In the New Prophecy Arc


The six questing cats are attacked by rats near a trash dump in Big Twolegplace. Tawnypelt gets an infected bite on her shoulder, and limps painfully for most of the time. Her wound eventually heals, after being treated by Midnight, and later by Teller of the Pointed Stones.

In the Power of Three Arc


When six cats traveled to The Tribe of Rushing Water, Tawnypelt, was telling Brambleclaw how she remembered the rat bite she got from visiting Midnight the badger.
Later, Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Breezepaw are exploring and they come across a rat. Lionpaw kills it with a bite to the neck.

In the Omen of the Stars Arc

Fading Echoes

Dovepaw's senses reach out to ShadowClan, and she can envision Ratscar choosing a rat from the fresh-kill pile and eating it.
Later, Blossompaw hisses at Ivypaw for scaring off a rat she was hunting during her assessment.

See also

References and citations

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  9. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 392
  10. Revealed on [1]
  11. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 66
  12. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 63
  13. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 71
  14. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 93