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Rat people... question for you. (I caved...)

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  • Rat people... question for you. (I caved...)

    So, I have two male ratties who are awesome. Unfortunately one has been battling respiratory issues almost the entire time I've had him but it's always been controlable with medication up until now. Recently, however, the medication hasn't worked and it's breaking my heart to see him like this. I am more than likely taking him in next week to have him put to sleep because his quality of life is just not good anymore.

    I had just ordered him and his cagemate a new (much larger) cage... which of course has room for more rats While at the petstore picking up a few things for the cage. And of course, I made my first mistake by stopping by the rat cage... and then I made mistake #2 by holding them. I couldn't resist their cute little faces My mother just about killed me when I walked in the door with two new little rats.


    So anyways. My hope is that these two will be able to be introduced to Remy after Rebel passes. They about 5-6 months younger than Remy. What's the best way to introduce them? I've done introductions between other small animals (once with rabbits and several times with chinchillas). I'm assuming it would be a similar process? Supervised play time together until I'm comfortable with them together, and then short periods of supervised cage time until they are ok? Or is the process somehow different for rats?
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

  • #2
    With new rodents, they should be quaranteed for at least 2-3 weeks, preferrably in a seperate room with hand washing etc. between cages. Petstores are not know for their healthy animals

    As for introducing, their are a variety of ways. A gradual intro is best. Let them out together in a neutral area (bath tubs are great) with lots of toys so they aren't too focus on each other. Over the next few days take outo toys so they are more focused on eachother. You can put vanilla pudding or other tasty treats on each rat to encourage interaction. When you make the final move, use to food bowls and lots of sleeping places to discourage fights. Try to pick a day you are around a lot and watch out for squabbles. Squealing, chasing, rolling and boxing are fine. Biting, blood, flying fur or screaming are NOT okay. Break them up, seperate, and start over with introductions from the beginning. Don't assume they are fine untill you see them sleeping, preferrably together.

    To break up rat fights, keep an oven mitt, towels, and water nearby. don't reach you unprotected hand into a fight, rat bites can reach bone (ask me how I know) Fortunately most rats get along well, although males can start get nasty around 8-12 months. Not all, but it's something to watch out for.

    Good luck and I'm sorry for your boy!
    .

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
      With new rodents, they should be quaranteed for at least 2-3 weeks, preferrably in a seperate room with hand washing etc. between cages. Petstores are not know for their healthy animals

      As for introducing, their are a variety of ways. A gradual intro is best. Let them out together in a neutral area (bath tubs are great) with lots of toys so they aren't too focus on each other. Over the next few days take outo toys so they are more focused on eachother. You can put vanilla pudding or other tasty treats on each rat to encourage interaction. When you make the final move, use to food bowls and lots of sleeping places to discourage fights. Try to pick a day you are around a lot and watch out for squabbles. Squealing, chasing, rolling and boxing are fine. Biting, blood, flying fur or screaming are NOT okay. Break them up, seperate, and start over with introductions from the beginning. Don't assume they are fine untill you see them sleeping, preferrably together.

      To break up rat fights, keep an oven mitt, towels, and water nearby. don't reach you unprotected hand into a fight, rat bites can reach bone (ask me how I know) Fortunately most rats get along well, although males can start get nasty around 8-12 months. Not all, but it's something to watch out for.

      Good luck and I'm sorry for your boy!

      I've been around small animals enough to know that quarantine is a must... shoulda put that in my original post

      There was another rat there that I fell in love with and wish I could have / would have brought home. He was so curious and friendly, which shocked me for a petstore rat as they don't handle them often since they are usually sold as feeders. The cage they will be in is quite big, but I don't know that I'd want 4 rats in there. I am not opposed to people feeding rats to their snakes, but that little guy doesn't deserve to be a feeder rat I'm so torn and tempted to go get him... but my mother would kill me. I could take one of them back and exchange it for the other one, but I feel like that would be horrible to do :-/


      With the chinchillas, I always put vanilla extract near their noses so that it would mask the smell of a new animal a little bit. I may try that with these guys depending on how they interact with eachother.
      "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
        With new rodents, they should be quaranteed for at least 2-3 weeks, preferrably in a seperate room with hand washing etc. between cages. Petstores are not know for their healthy animals

        As for introducing, their are a variety of ways. A gradual intro is best. Let them out together in a neutral area (bath tubs are great) with lots of toys so they aren't too focus on each other. Over the next few days take outo toys so they are more focused on eachother. You can put vanilla pudding or other tasty treats on each rat to encourage interaction. When you make the final move, use to food bowls and lots of sleeping places to discourage fights. Try to pick a day you are around a lot and watch out for squabbles. Squealing, chasing, rolling and boxing are fine. Biting, blood, flying fur or screaming are NOT okay. Break them up, seperate, and start over with introductions from the beginning. Don't assume they are fine untill you see them sleeping, preferrably together.

        To break up rat fights, keep an oven mitt, towels, and water nearby. don't reach you unprotected hand into a fight, rat bites can reach bone (ask me how I know) Fortunately most rats get along well, although males can start get nasty around 8-12 months. Not all, but it's something to watch out for.

        Good luck and I'm sorry for your boy!
        All good advice!

        One other thing I usually do is let them exchange cages for a bit to catch a whiff of the other guys without having to meet just yet. Then you can progress to the bathtub introductions.

        I just had a rat succumb recently to a long battle with pneumonia. He was active and bright right up until the last few hours. It's so unfair that such smart and friendly little creatures have such short lives and such delicate systems. You get so attached so quickly!

        What size is your cage? 4 might not be a stretch?

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by bort84 View Post
          All good advice!

          One other thing I usually do is let them exchange cages for a bit to catch a whiff of the other guys without having to meet just yet. Then you can progress to the bathtub introductions.

          I just had a rat succumb recently to a long battle with pneumonia. He was active and bright right up until the last few hours. It's so unfair that such smart and friendly little creatures have such short lives and such delicate systems. You get so attached so quickly!

          What size is your cage? 4 might not be a stretch?

          It's about 3' tall by 2' wide by 1.5' deep.

          Poor Rebel is not doing well at all and I made an appt for this evening to put him to sleep. He still wants to come out and play, but it puts him out of breath really fast. The past 2 or 3 days he hasn't left the upper level of the cage. He's either sleeping with his brother or sitting in his hammock. He's no longer eating most foods (although he still does have a place in his heart for chocolate chip granola bars) and I can't tell if he is drinking or not. He isn't even going to the bottom of the cage to use the bathroom anymore. I knew this was coming... but I was so hoping that the medication we put him on would help. I just feel so bad for the poor guy and I will miss him... he was the best first rat ever
          "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

          Comment

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