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Elderly Rat Lost His Buddy & Is Depressed

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  • Elderly Rat Lost His Buddy & Is Depressed

    Pudge is 3.5 and just lost his cage-mate, Angus. he's very depressed. I know he's old, but do you think I should get him a buddy? He's in great health, and is very easygoing with other critters.

    My company/attention isn't doing it for him!
    "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

  • #2
    This is the saddest thing I have read all day!
    How to rats usually adapt to new cage mates? Is this likely to be stressful, or go fairly smoothly? Do YOU want another rat?
    Poor Pudgie.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


    • #3
      I think a new younger rat will likely pick on the old fellow. As sad as being alone is, its probably for the better. I had two littermates live together, but I don't remember what happened when one passed.


      • #4
        Do you have a way to get a second one and keep him close to the old guy but not actually together for a while? Don't know what yours are living in, but if you have a wire cage could you get a second so the can smell and even touch each other but still stay safe? Or maybe insert a wire partition in a tank (if that's what he's in).

        Poor ol' ratty


        • #5
          As a kid I used to keep a pet mouse and a pet gerbil together. I inherited a "pair" that way. When the first mouse died I had a petstore insist that I try a male gerbil with my male gerbil. Blood everywhere from gerbil fight. A nice adult mousie worked just fine. They had companionship but not babies.
          You mention he is easy going with other critters so maybe a female gerbil?
          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


          • #6

            I'm very sad for him. OP, can you carry him around on your shoulder until you find a solution? 24/7? I can't stand to think of an old rat having lost his friend and looking over the cliff at his own death.

            Oh, the humanity! Ratty!
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by mvp View Post

              I'm very sad for him. OP, can you carry him around on your shoulder until you find a solution? 24/7? I can't stand to think of an old rat having lost his friend and looking over the cliff at his own death.

              Oh, the humanity! Ratty!
              If he didn't feel the need to pee on me every time I put him on my shoulder, that might be an option... And I don't think my office mates would embrace his presence.

              I do want more rats—I planned on getting 2 more young males once my old guys were gone, but I don't want Pudge abused by a youngster! I just hate to see him like this!
              "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


              • #8
                Then get the new pair & house them close by in separate cage (definitely not touching unless you are right there).

                Jingles for your old fellow!


                • #9
                  If he is lonely I am guessing he will quickly adapt to new rat friends. Why not get two new rats (same gender or neutered) and put the three together (after proper quarantine and introductions). Rats do not like living alone.

                  Do not get another species and stick it in there and hope it works. It will likely result in a dead gerbil snack for your old guy or your old guy getting injured while he tries to get rid of the intruder.


                  • #10
                    3.5 is very old for a rat! congratulations! mine just hit the 3.5 mark too, but i cant imagine she will be around much longer.

                    is he neutered? why don't you look for local rat rescues? a lot of them have neutered males (the chance of rehoming a neutered male is far higher, for aesthetic reasons and also because they are easier to introduce to other rats). most adoptions will work with you to find another rat, and most of them have middle-aged bucks. having a companion is absolutely imperative for their happiness, i hope you can find one suitable for pudge! where about are you?
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                    • #11
                      in addition, if you do a rescue, you will still want to quarantine them, especially since your rat is elder. 2 weeks is a good bet, in a separate room
                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                      • #12
                        Would a rescue have a middle to older aged rat that might bond with him?


                        • #13
                          Aw, poor ratso!

                          I've never had luck introducing new pals to my elderly "widowers". My poor Farley rat lost his brother Squish, and he just mourned and moped. I tried allowing his mom (who was well past reproductive age) to room with him, but he wasn't having any of it. He was OK if he got to hang with the people, but he didn't want other rat company.

                          OTOH, my female rats have warmed up to new, younger cage mates with time. There was usually some mild bloodshed as the youngsters learned their place, but they always got along in the end.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by csaper58 View Post
                            Would a rescue have a middle to older aged rat that might bond with him?
                            yes. most rescued rats are middle aged (1-2), and some males are neutered. a neutered male is your best bet, or a spayed female.

                            i've never had issues with introducing new friends but you have to do it very slowly. it isn't like horses where you let them feel it out. you have to do it over a week at the least; set up the cages next to each other (once QT is over). after a few days of this (always hold one and then the other, so they get used to their smell on you), introduce them over a very neutral or new environment -- i do it in the tub with an inch of water in it. they will be more concerned about the water than the other rat, and about 15 minutes of this i transfer them into a very neutral or new environment - i.e, a big laundry bin with lots of boxes/tissues in it. they will usually go their separate way and groom themselves off and then reconvene and have a brief little tiff in which one establishes dominance and the other submission -- then they cuddle because they're usually cold!!

                            www.ratforum.com has some great advice on introduction, i would strongly encourage all rat owners to check it out.
                            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                            • Original Poster

                              I'm in NE Tennessee—Bristol/Kingsport/Johnson City. There are barely any dog and cat rescues around (2, I think), let alone other species.

                              And my ratties both came out of the "feeder" cage as babies so even pet stores around here don't consider them pets!

                              I'll do a search for rescues farther afield (Knoxville, maybe), but if anyone knows of one, please let me know.
                              "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


                              • #16
                                I would look at getting a younger companion but I like the idea of not keeping them in the same cage. Can they be next to each other? A new rat, especially considering your sources, will likely have upper respiratory so I would keep them separate.

                                I haven't had a rat for over 20 years, but mine lived to be almost five. She was a female and had two surgeries to remove mammary tumors. The first was to take one out and the second removed nine! Her surgeries were cheap back then. About $100 each, if I remember. I also had her treated for upper respiratory when I first brought her home as a baby and the vet only charged me $30. He had lower fees for rats. I really wish vets still did stuff like that. I have to look into it before I consider getting another little pet someday.
                                “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                                St. Padre Pio


                                • Original Poster

                                  I'll have to do some fiddling around to get cages next to each other at the same level, so they could see each other. Pudge is in the big 2-level rabbit cage on wheels that Petsmart sells as a kit. It's a plastic base about 8" deep, with a tall wire top over that. A ramp connects the two levels.

                                  It sounds like it might be best to go ahead and get 2 young males to keep together, and let them live next to Pudge until I see how things go. Although I'd love to get rescue rats!

                                  Thanks for all the suggestions so far!
                                  "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


                                  • #18
                                    http://www.rattituderescue.webs.com/ has some rescues. they might be outdated though??

                                    if you get two young bucks, consider neutering them. longevity with neutered/spayed ratties is increased, and it is easier to handle and care for them. they introduce better and are generally better overall.

                                    microbovine, my eldest currently has several mammary tumors that are all inoperable. i have considered putting her to sleep before it gets worse but it does not impede her and she still is as active as the 1 yr olds in her cage.. i called for an estimate to get her first tumor removed and the estimate came back to 500$!!

                                    OP, i would keep an eye out on your local craigslist. i dont know of any reputable breeders in your area. i really like ember of passion rattery, but they are far from you. i've gotten mine from sweet whispers rattery and they are the best rats i've had.
                                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012