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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2006
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    VA (or MS during the school year)
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    2,481

    Question My rats won't eat when I'm gone. What can I do?

    I recently went away for 4 days and left my rats at my apartment. My roommate came in and checked on them each day, refilled their water as needed, etc. When I left I filled their bowl with food. When I got back 4 days later, I noticed their bowl was almost completely full but the bag of food I left wasn't opened. I asked my roommate about it and she said they had not eaten much if anything (obviously) while I was gone. Within hours of me coming back, they had scarfed down their food, so I knew it wasn't a bad batch. My mother thought that maybe they were depressed, as I generally have them out every day for play time and my roommate did not.

    My concern is, I am going to NY for Thanksgiving and I am going to have to board the rats at a vet office here in Mississippi (I tried to see if I could fly them with me but it wasn't possible). I will be bringing them with their cage, toys, food, etc. But I am worried that they won't eat again... and I'm going to be gone for 8 days. Is there anything I can do to get them to eat or help them feel more comfortable while I am gone? I'm going to be worried sick the whole time I am away.
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2001
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    virginia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Milocalwinnings View Post
    Is there anything I can do to get them to eat or help them feel more comfortable while I am gone? I'm going to be worried sick the whole time I am away.
    when I boarded my cat at a vets office they said that they had a med to give the cat to make her more interested in food IF she didn't eat while I lfet her there. Was for 2 weeks. Anyway she ate, they never had any issues with her.

    So I wonder if there is a rat dosage??

    Even if there is no meds to give them I suspect that the rats would eat after a while. They are such smart critters and I can't see one dying of starvation due to depression.

    another thought is to have more people feed and handle your rats so that they feel comfortable with other people caring for them.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2005
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Why are you not allowed to fly with them? I know you used to be able to put them in one of those small, under seat carriers and take them on a plane as a carry on. It has been years since I researched that, though, so YMMV.
    ~ Shannon ~
    "My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.” ― Anna Sewell, Black Beauty



  4. #4
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    Apr. 4, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookhorse View Post
    Why are you not allowed to fly with them? I know you used to be able to put them in one of those small, under seat carriers and take them on a plane as a carry on. It has been years since I researched that, though, so YMMV.
    Everything I read online told me that I couldn't bring rats on. Most were ok with dogs/cats/rabbits. I researched several different airlines. I will call them on Monday and see if talking to them in person brings different results.
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
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    See if the vet will offer them extra yummy treats like yoggies, cooked pasta, hard boiled eggs, baby food and other favorites. Those may tempt them to nibble, which often gets their little appetites going.



  6. #6
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    Dec. 5, 2001
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    virginia
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    You should call up and ask, but I'd be very surprised if they said yes. When I had a hamster in college (20 some years ago) it was illegal to bring a rodent on a plane. That was well before 9/11 and heightened security. I think that it was forbidden b/c they were afraid that the rodent could get loose/lost and chew electrical lines whilst living on the plane.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2010
    Location
    Columbia, SC
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    867

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    cyproheptadine can be used in cats as an appetite stimulant. I dont have a CLUE about rats.

    I just wanted to post and say I find your love of your rats very touching and endearing and they are lucky to have you



  8. #8
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    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
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    no healthy animal will starve itself to death. They will be fine. they will eat when they feel the need.



  9. #9
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    Apr. 4, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    You should call up and ask, but I'd be very surprised if they said yes. When I had a hamster in college (20 some years ago) it was illegal to bring a rodent on a plane. That was well before 9/11 and heightened security. I think that it was forbidden b/c they were afraid that the rodent could get loose/lost and chew electrical lines whilst living on the plane.
    I think that will be the case here too. Everything I read online says only dogs/cats/rabbits (sometimes).

    Thanks for the ideas. I'll be sure to send them with other yummy foods to hopefully get them to eat. They say they will eat if they get hungry enough, but I'm not sure I like that idea. The older one is slender in general and can't afford to lose much weight
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"



  10. #10
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Can your roommate (or whoever is feeding them when you're gone) make an effort before the holiday to make friends with the rats and feed them special treats? Perhaps if they're already eating for her, that will carry over when you're not there...



  11. #11
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    Apr. 4, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Can your roommate (or whoever is feeding them when you're gone) make an effort before the holiday to make friends with the rats and feed them special treats? Perhaps if they're already eating for her, that will carry over when you're not there...
    They are going to be at a vets office while I am gone this time, as both of us are going away for Thanksgiving (me to NY and my roommate to Chicago). I can have other people start giving them treats to hopefully help get them used to other people a little bit and maybe that will help with new people feeding them.
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"



  12. #12
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    Nov. 15, 2005
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    Eastern Shore, MD
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    I don't know a thing about pet rats, but I've dealt with some fussy dogs and cats, so I'm not sure how many of these suggestions might transfer...

    DEFINITELY get other people to feed them starting now - and have the "strangers" offer them only "good stuff", while you only give them regular/boring foods (in dog terms, I'd say strangers feed wet/stinky foods, you give them plain jane kibble) so that they learn that strangers bring good stuff.

    I don't know if you free feed, but I'd offer very limited portions of food (and have the strangers do so, too) - for some reason, critters that will pass on a full bowl of food will clean up the same amount of food if it's offered as several much smaller portions.

    If they'll eat "junk food" and the vets office is willing to feed it, I'd let them have it - 8 days of junk food is still 8 days of food, even if it's not what you'd prefer them to eat.

    Best of luck!



  13. #13
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    Sep. 5, 2011
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    2,966

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    I had pet rats for many years, & they're both intelligent & resourceful. To the point where no rat in its right mind - regardless of how fond of you it is - is going to deliberately starve itself to death. Simply will not happen.

    While it's cute that you think they're not eating because they miss you, I doubt that's the reason. Being creatures of habit, could be due to the fact that their normal daily schedule is upset when you're away, but even then, they'll eat when they're hungry.

    And if you're boarding them with a vet, they should notice if something is awry, & take care of it - whether that means offering treats or a little attention.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    147

    Default Rats that don't eat

    Quote Originally Posted by Milocalwinnings View Post
    They are going to be at a vets office while I am gone this time, as both of us are going away for Thanksgiving (me to NY and my roommate to Chicago). I can have other people start giving them treats to hopefully help get them used to other people a little bit and maybe that will help with new people feeding them.

    Great idea, and since they'll be at the vet's office they should be in good hands. Rats will sometimes go on food strike when they're feeling a little anxious or when their food is stale - or when they've figured out that not eating their Rat Chow gets them fresh food!

    One of my long-time students had many rats for many years, so I had the opportunity to learn a lot about them. One thing I learned - maybe this will be comforting? is that most rats are clever creatures, and after a day or three will simply sigh and eat the food they don't like so much, if the food they prefer (or the person they prefer) doesn't appear.

    We also learned, from a vet who kept pet rats, that even if a rat doesn't eat for a week, you shouldn't panic as long as it's drinking its water. Apparently rats can last for two full weeks without food, although I would hate to know exactly how this fact was discovered!

    It sounds as if you're doing everything you can to keep your ratty friends healthy and happy in your absence.
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  15. #15
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    Feb. 22, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezzy View Post
    no healthy animal will starve itself to death. They will be fine. they will eat when they feel the need.
    Exactly.
    Proud Native Texan!
    owned by 3 Cardigan Corgi's + 3 wonderful horses!



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