When we were children, mice were often the popular focal point of a handful of fun and exciting nursery rhymes.
In adulthood, we start to look at them as unsanitary and brand them with negative connotations like "rodent."
In our dreams, what rats represent often translates directly to how we feel about them in the real world.
Rats can be symbolized in many negative ways, and possibly even a few positives depending on how you choose to perceive them. Unfortunately, most of these perceptions are negative, with a couple of exceptions.
Let's take a closer look at each of the prevailing opinions of rats or mice and what they might mean when you find them in your dreams.
Dreams about Mice: Interpretations
Fear and Anxiety
Whether it's in horror movies, or in real life, we're often afraid or anxious around mice. When we encounter rats and mice in dreams, it might invoke the same level of anxiety as you’d expect to feel in the real world.
However, feelings of fear and anxiety can be overwhelming to gauge when it comes to dreaming. They can be crushingly unpleasant and yet lack any semblance of a connection to the real world.
A close example would be mentally revisiting a traumatic experience. If you close your eyes and focus on one of the moments in life that invokes a strong feeling of fear or anxiety, it becomes incredibly real.
So, when fear and anxiety rear their ugly heads in our dreams, it can easily be that same feeling resurfacing in a way that's relevant to what's currently going on in your life. When we visit similar periods of transition in our lives, it's easy for our subconscious to cause these feelings to resurface.
As a positive word of advice, it's best to use these feelings of fear and anxiety in our dreams as tools to identify them and confront them in real life.
We shouldn't allow these things to manifest as a worst-case scenario. Being in full control in the real world is a great way to maintain positive and healthy dreams when we re-enter the vivid, life-like world produced by our subconscious.
Sickness And Disease
One of the reasons we fear mice and rats is because of their history as carriers of a whole slew of diseases. In the 1300s rats and mice were known to be the cause of the Bubonic plague, today they're still renowned for spreading illnesses such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Rat Bite virus.
It's entirely rational to fear deathly illnesses and ailments, although there's a point where your fear of getting sick might creep into your dreams. However, the fear of getting sick isn't exclusive to physically being sick, and it can be a fear of an illness taking over your mind.
Sickness, as well as a disease, might even refer to your relationships. A person's destructive behaviors might be reflected by the symptoms of a sick rat in your dreams. Pay close attention to what's wrong with the rat if you notice it's unhealthy.
At the same time, on a personal level, sick mice can easily be a sign of any negative aspect of your life becoming rapidly overwhelming. If you can quickly identify these things, you should immediately confront them to spare yourself the emotional trauma.
A "Rat" or "Snitch"
Watching old gangster movies or reading old literature, you'd often hear informers or "snitches" be called rats.
Supposedly in the early 1800's the author Thomas Moore used the word rat frequently for one of the characters in the book "The Fudge Family In Paris."
Fast-forward nearly 100 years, and it became a commonly used term for sneaks and informers. Because of the nature of the word’s modern slang meaning, rats quickly became a universal symbol of betrayal.
While you dream of mice, they could signify disloyalty and betrayal. Many of us have suffered from the experience because of the harsh acts of others. When the feelings or motions of betrayal become a prominent factor in your life, the fear of deception or a recent betrayal might make an appearance in your dreams.
Additionally, a rat representing betrayal might represent the consequence of your own actions. Do you feel like you've betrayed someone? You should always confront these feelings and clear your conscience. The guilty rat in your dream might be a manifestation of your personal experience with revealing someone else.
Mice and rats are known for their incredible adaptability and resourcefulness. After all mice have lots of natural predators such as hawks, coyotes, foxes, and owls.
That is to say that they are continually battling to survive, and as a result, they've become incredibly bright little creatures. Mice and rats can hide effectively and keep themselves fed without getting caught by predators or humans.
Furthermore, mice and rats have been used in animal behavior studies for years, proving them to be some of the smartest animals in existence. In an old research paper from the 1960s, John Calhoun predicted our future as humans based on mice.
He was able to predict how humans would adapt to overpopulation. You wouldn't typically expect it, but rats and mice have comparable abilities when it comes to adaptation and elementary problem solving as humans do.
Encountering a smart mouse or rat in a dream might represent our cleverness and adaptable behavior in uncomfortable situations. Just like mice, we are social beings that will do what we need to succeed or to survive in life.
When you see a mouse or rat succeed in one of your dreams, it may be a sign of your ability to adapt to your surroundings cleverly. We avoid situations and interactions that might feel uncomfortable by utilizing our intelligent defense mechanisms. Albeit, in some cases, it might lead to a more neurotic, anxious and fearful outlook on life.
In addition to this, you may see a smart rat or mouse as a symbol of someone you look up to. When we see the cleverness and adaptability in other people, we often respect it.
Perseverance is a counterpart to a rat’s cleverness, it's often incredibly resilient animal that will persevere through the toughest situations. You might find a rat dragging a food item more than twice its size or close to its weight to keep itself fed, and it will defend its food at all costs. No matter what the goal of a rat is, it will always work its hardest to meet it.
Because of rats' perseverance, they've been an excellent test subject in the field of addiction. Whatever animal finds great importance in things like morphine or a piece of cheese, setting it up to compete in an activity to be rewarded will display its innate perseverance.
You may have seen a few examples of this idea tested in modern research, where rats will move from one end of a maze to another, knowing that they will be rewarded upon completion.
In your dreams, a perseverant rat can be a sign of tenacity in your own life. If you're motivated and keep clear goals, you're the type of person that's likely to reach them. You know the path laid in front of you, and you recognize the rewarding feeling of your own hard work.
Dreams About Being Chased
Combining all of the attributes of a rat, we occasionally have dreams where we are being chased by animals that we might consider to be sick, betrayers, or a source of fear and anxiety.
What we currently know about chase dreams is that it’s a clear sign of pursuit, no matter how you look at it. Whether we're pursuing the idea of escaping the things in our lives that frighten us or run towards our goals, we need to escape the confines of whatever is preventing that from happening.
Jungian psychology would suggest that we should directly confront the things that we don't like and this includes chase dreams. Running away will only make matters worse, and when we are confronted by mice and rats chasing us in our dreams, we should let them overtake us. Ultimately, it's essential to accept the aspects of ourselves that we don't like.
In short, you should always turn the tables on the negativity you're confronted with inside of your dreams. When you give in, and your dreams accept whatever their negative symbolism is, you ultimately take away the power that they have over your emotions.
Because rats are often detrimental when it comes to your dreams, you need to have the power of understanding and coming to terms with what they represent in real life.
This might not just be an easy entry to add to your dream journal, but your CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) journal as well. It's incredibly easy to identify the cognitive biases that have control over your life when you take the time to analyze what they look like in the world of your dreams.
And once you’ve analyzed them, you’re in the perfect position to act on them and use the information from your dreams to make big positive changes in the real world.