The Rat of the Chinese Zodiac

Rat Chinese Horoscopes
Years: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Element: Water
Yin or Yang: Yang
Lucky Colours: Blue, Gold, Green
Lucky Numbers: 2, 3
Crystal: Garnet
Flower: Lily
Characteristics: Intelligent, ambitious, stubborn, quick

The Legend of the Rat

Of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac, none are quite so astute or quick-witted as the Rat.

According to legend, the first animal to cross the finish line was the Rat. Considering he was up against far larger and faster animals, such as the Ox, Tiger, and Dragon, it may have seemed bewildering that he came first. But true to his nature, he was clever and intelligent; he convinced the Ox to let him hitch a ride on his back before jumping off of him at the last minute and throwing himself over the finishing line.

The Jade Emperor, who had organized the whole affair in the first place, awarded him the first year of the zodiac.

Year of the Rat Personality Traits

The year of the Rat’s base quality is Yang. Of all the animals, the Rat’s Yang is the most significant as he represents the start of a new cycle.

The 12 Chinese zodiac animals represent the 12 Earthly Branches in the Chinese lunar calendar.

It is said that animals with an odd number of toes are put in the Yang group. Because of the unique features of the Rat’s toes (four toes on the front leg and five toes on the hind), Rats symbolize the transition between opposites, such as night to morning, first to second, and Yin to Yang.

Chinese zodiac Rats rely on brains over brawn to win their battles. They aren’t the type to seek the limelight, at least not in the most flamboyant sense of the word, which the Dragon, for example, is prone to. Instead, Rats prefer to work behind the scenes, pulling the strings and staying up late into the night, concocting plans to achieve their goals.

The Rat is not an idle dreamer nor a fantasist; they work with logic and cool emotion, taking careful and strategic steps to get what they want.

Rats are generally highly sociable and can often be found with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. They are caring souls who deeply value their loved ones and, as bosses and managers, show genuine care and concern for employees who may be having an off day or who demonstrate signs of sickness.

Rats will be the ones to send flowers, arrange the “get well soon” card, and engage in empathetic conversation with anyone who may be feeling down in the dumps. In fact, the Rat’s ability to care for others is only surpassed by their intellect and love of money.

However, despite this seemingly tight-fisted demeanor that Rat natives display, they are deeply generous with those they cherish. Penny-pinching does not exist for loved ones; if you receive an expensive gift from a Rat, you can be sure that they hold you in the highest esteem. But true to their business-like nature, if you are a friend, in-law, or relative who needs a place to stay or a roof over your head, then rest assured you will work for your keep.

The Rat is a pack animal and is happy to let others live off of them so long as they can put them to work around the household. It is indicative of the practical efficiency that dominates the Rat personality.

To tell when a Rat is upset, keep an eye out for nervous irritability. They won’t lose their temper and roar the house down like the Tiger, nor will they become stone-cold like the Snake who waits for the right moment to strike. Instead, Rats become irritable, impatient, snappy, and on edge like a boiling pot about to burst but never quite reaching a breaking point.

Rats like to hide their feelings and will not typically start a fight or engage in conflict. The surefire way to annoy a Rat is to demonstrate laziness or disregard for frugality. So, if you are having dinner with a Rat and decide to leave all your mashed potatoes and beans to one side, be warned – the Rat will not take kindly to it.

Rats & Love

Chinese zodiac Rats are sentimental in love and not often inclined to engage in one-night stands.

If you should find yourself lucky enough to be pursued by a Rat, just remember that fast and furious expressions of romance turn them off.

They appreciate spontaneity—within reason—but they have firm views on love and will clarify these before you officially become a couple. The Rat likes to woo, so ensure to let yourself be wooed!

Male Rats

Younger male Rats tend to be attracted to more dependent partners as it gives their protective urges a greater sense of responsibility. Still, older Rats tend to seek a stronger counterpart who can provide them with stability and support as they work through their endeavors. These Rat men are typically handsome and enjoy being in love like their female counterparts.

Rat men have high standards: health, kindness, beauty, and status are all considered. And, once his heart is captured, he will not look elsewhere. It is quality, not quantity, that the male Rat craves.

As a husband or long-term partner, he is highly principled; his morals regarding romance are high, and he does not waver from them.

If things should go pear-shaped, it is not uncommon for the Rat male to suffer from physical symptoms such as anxiety, long-term frustration, and even digestion problems.

Female Rats

The female Rat loves to be in love but will steer clear of overly macho types. Instead, she prefers a partner whom she can care for, revere, protect, and nurture to an extent. It is said that Rat females are unfailingly loyal. Still, if they do have an extra-marital affair, it would only be with someone who is the same sign as them, as they may find themselves unable to resist the seductions they are familiar with.

However, Rat ladies love to be married and will eagerly pursue any worthy suitor if they tick all the right boxes. Even love-making can only be of the highest caliber, and once a Rat lady is impressed, she is impressed for life!

The Rat woman’s eagerness to start a family may sometimes frighten potential suitors, and they might flee; but once the Rat finds her match, she is a truly happy individual who considers one of her main life goals completed.

By contrast, if the Rat lady does not find her ideal partner, she will likely create a family of friends and adopted pets.

Rat Love Compatibility

Those born in the year of the Rat are typically attracted to Ox in the Chinese zodiac. After all, the Ox agreed to let the Rat hop on his back during the Chinese zodiac Race. Ox people deeply value Rat people’s shrewd alertness, and Rat people love the devotion and stability of the faithful Ox. This pairing is almost always guaranteed to be harmonious.

Similarly, Rats do very well with Dragons and Monkeys. The three of them share the same trine in Chinese astrology, and all three possess gifts of initiative and progression. These signs are highly compatible, both in relationships and work. Rats admire the Monkeys’ quick-witted and intelligent nature, and they have great respect for the powerful and determined Dragons.

Rats are advised to steer clear of Horses. In the Chinese Horoscope Circle of Conflict, the Rat and Horse stand opposite one another, demonstrating their very different personalities. The natural element of the Rat is Water, while the Horse is Fire. The Rat’s season is winter, and the Horse’s is summer.

Legend says that before the Chinese zodiac race began, the Rat first approached the Horse in an attempt to hitch a ride on his back. He knew of the Horse’s swiftness and fleeting foot and felt the stallion was the best animal to carry him to the finishing line. But the Horse, with his proud independent streak and resentment at being told what to do, refused. Since then, the Rat and Horse have been enemies, with the Rat never quite forgiving the Horse for refusing to help him to the end of the race.

The Rat is practical, down-to-earth, and likes to have very clear, set plans. The Horse is the complete opposite and tends to go wherever the wind takes him. This match is strongly advised against unless, of course, a Rat-friendly ascendant is present in the Horse native and vice versa.

Rats & Career

Clever, alert, and very strategic, Rats thrive particularly in areas of business. Anyone who requires assistance in forming business deals or drafting proposal plans would do well to enlist the services of a Rat.

Those born in the year of the Rat have an extraordinary sense of self-preservation and are highly resourceful. Even rats in the wild are known to “flee a sinking ship” due to their fantastic perceptions of oncoming danger. This is why they do particularly well in the armed forces, for their keen sense of danger and ability to cope with crises make them excellent soldiers and law enforcers.

They are also fabulous writers, and this is mainly in part due to their inquisitive nature. At their best, they make marvelous detectives and investigators, able to piece together seemingly mind-boggling puzzles with the ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes himself. Rats would do very well as journalists or bloggers; even vlogging (video blogging) would be a good move for Rats, as they are keen to combine their research skills with inanimate chatter on screen.

Rats often particularly excel in the financial sector, where they can put their intelligent minds and general love of money to good use. They also do extraordinarily well in the tourism and health sectors due to their charm and diligence.

On the negative side, this inquisitiveness predisposes them to gossip, nagging, and criticism, which can become unbearably tiresome for their contemporaries. Rats may want to steer clear of jobs where they feel their talents are not put to best use—this would include working in retail, where the Rat native would eventually grow bored and dissatisfied, or working in a bar or restaurant.

Rats need a job that can engage their strong, intelligent cognitive abilities, and they are happiest when they are constantly being challenged.

Rats & Money

The Year of the Rat often means an innate love of money, which is apparent in a Rat’s dealings with others.

Compassionate and caring they may be, but when it comes to seeking a raise or borrowing a loan, watch out! Rats can display a certain amount of stinginess, which may leave their contemporaries feeling rather taken aback, not to mention frustrated by the amount of arm twisting it takes to get a Rat to part with their pennies.

One thing Chinese zodiac Rats are not guilty of is spend-thriftiness. In fact, they only become somewhat careless with money when they spot a bargain and simply have to have it, not because they need it, but because it is a bargain in itself!

Rat women are particularly frugal; they will recycle and upcycle, buy second-hand clothing and stitch up damaged garments. Rats often hold regular yard sales to ensure nothing goes to waste.

Rats also have no problem lending, providing they get something in return. Whether you’re paying back a decent amount of interest or providing a service to a Rat in another way, you will find them highly agreeable as long as you realize deals are two-way. Be prepared for a bite of those massive incisors if you attempt to freeload off the Rat! Nothing comes for free in this world, and the Rat believes in this more than anyone.

It’s not so much luck that drives the Rat to a successful life financially, but more an obsession with money itself. A wise Rat will plan investments and work diligently to reach their goals. An unwise Rat may have these dreams in their head but never take the time to make such plans; as a result, they may become bitter and resentful and possibly prone to get-rich-quick schemes.

The Rat Through The Elements

Metal Rat

Metal Rat
1960, 2020

This is perhaps the most emotional of all the Rats, and the Metal Rat tends to have an inclination toward drama. Of all the Rat elements, this is the one who will go to the greatest lengths to mask his emotions; what you see may not always be what you get.

The Metal Rat might be smiling and chirpy on the outside, but beneath this sunny façade may be anger, jealousy, and possessiveness. However, Metal Rats are also deeply moral with strong values and thus often drawn to humanitarian issues.

They require an understanding and patient partner who can handle their mood swings and reassure them when paranoia or jealousy rears its head. The Metal Rat likes to impress and is eager to climb the social ladder. They will be very successful if they can rein in their tendencies toward trying to dominate others.

Water Rat

Water Rat
1912, 1972

The Water Rat of the Chinese zodiac possesses unparalleled insight and is the most astute and observant of all the Rats. The perfect fly on the wall, Water Rats can watch a scenario unfold and memorize every single detail and word that was said, saving the memories for later so they may analyze them fully.

The Water Rat has a great gift for seeing through charades and has an instinctive understanding of other people’s likes, dislikes, needs, and wants. Because of this, they tend to find success in the business world as their calculated movements tend to be based on other people’s desires. Water Rat conversation is often sought after as they have deep levels of understanding, and people feel comfortable talking to them, particularly as they can help find solutions to any problem.

On the other hand, the Water Rat’s weakness is that, despite their clever shrewdness, they do like to share their thoughts with anyone who would like to listen. When this occurs with untrustworthy types, Water Rats may find themselves in hot water.

Wood Rat

Wood Rat
1924, 1984

The great explorer among the Chinese zodiac Rats, the Wood Rat has a vast, expansive outlook on things, and their minds are filled with endless questions. To seek is a reward unto itself, and the Wood Rat is the personification of this belief.

As someone who can be a little egotistical at times, he likes being admired, and consequently, Wood Rats will do everything possible to attain the admiration and approval of others. However, they also have a strong set of morals and values; if those are breached, Wood Rats will not hesitate to make their displeasure known.

They can be worrywarts at times, but this seemingly negative quality is what drives them to work so hard.

Wood Rats are capable of transforming their anxiety into something productive. Combined with their inquisitive, curious minds, they can reach extensive heights and ambitions that their elemental counterparts could not even dream of.

This is an articulate and confident Rat who can awe and inspire others with his cunning plans and determined implementations of them.

Fire Rat

Fire Rat
1936, 1996

Possibly the most intense and energetic of all the Rats, the Fire Rat has a talent for drama and excitement that others never fail to be awed by. They are often found embarking on social justice campaigns or marching the streets in protest of some political or social change.

Unlike Metal Rats, who keep their emotions close to their chest, Fire Rats wear their hearts on their sleeves and never fail to let other people know their thoughts or feelings – though woe betides anyone who disagrees with them!

The Fire element gives the Rat a burst of energy that is alien to other Rats, and he also lacks the discipline and tact that is usually common to the Rat native.

The Fire Rat goes with their heart, not their head, and can be extremely competitive. They would benefit from a calm, placid partner who knows how to handle their outbursts and can act as the calming eye in the whirlwind storm.

Earth Rat

Earth Rat
1948, 2008

The Earth element brings excellent self-discipline and a strong need for security to the Earth Rat. This Rat has a unique talent for introspection and can analyze their positive and negative qualities in equal measure, then strive to become the best of themselves by merging the two as one.

Earth Rats are steady and loyal, known for their dependability among their friends. The car breaks down in the middle of the night, and you’ve no one to turn to? Call an Earth Rat. Run out of money while on holiday and find yourself stranded on an island somewhere? Call an Earth Rat. No matter your situation, you can depend on Earth Rats to be there for you in times of need.

On the negative side, Earth Rats can be overly-materialistic, placing their worth and value on how much they earn and how it compares to others. They can be very stingy and display a strong reluctance to step outside the box; this method does ensure material success in the long run, but Earth Rats should be careful of prioritizing material endeavors above all else.

Famous People Born In The Year Of The Rat

  • William Shakespeare
  • Colin Firth
  • Hugh Grant
  • Marlon Brando
  • Prince Charles
  • Mozart
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Ben Affleck
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Doris Day
  • Julianne Moore
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Charlotte Bronte
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