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Rats were considered extinct - though by uncertain means - by 2267; however, this was proved to be incorrect when Hikaru Sulu brought one on board the USS Enterprise, which he had acquired on Vishnu and named Mickey. (TOS novel: Mission to Horatius)
Odo would often disguise himself as a rat when needing to eavesdrop on others. Odo once disguised himself as a rat in order to listen to a conversation between the Kohn-Ma terrorist Tahna Los and the Duras sisters Lursa and B'Etor. He later disguised himself as a rat while hiding on a Kressari freighter, and while in that form witnessed a Cardassian gul transferring weapons meant for the Bajoran Alliance for Global Unity movement. (DS9 episodes: "Past Prologue", "The Circle")
In addition to eavesdropping, Odo would adopt the form of a rat when needing to move rapidly through areas where his regular humanoid form would not fit. Odo used the form of a rat to catch Nog in a crawlspace after Nog played a prank on the station security forces. (DS9 novel: The Siege) Odo also turned into a rat when he had to dive into some spreading mold that was overtaking Quark. (DS9 comic: "Stowaway")