This article is from the WSSF 2015 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Lynn Sadler, e-mail
Q I have a question for you. I have two female rats that are just a year old and are either sisters or cousins. I got them at a pet store that gets their rats from a rattery, I think. Anyway, one has a cancer or an abscess and might have to be put down. I don’t know what to do with the other little girl. She would be miserable by herself and she is a doll! She is dark grey and on the small side, very animated, and inquisitive! I am trying to decide to adopt her to someone who would enjoy her as much as I have or to adopt a rat of similar age, but I don’t know how that would go down. Thank you for any help or suggestions. I love my little girls and want what is best for them.
A The best bet would be to get a couple new young females (from the same breeder if you can) and introduce them to your existing rat since she is still fairly young. After quarantining, place the cages next to each other for a few days so they can get used to each others’ scent. Then you can give everyone a bath and introduce them in a neutral place (a place none have been; bathtubs work great for this as they are not normally used as a rat’s play area) and see how they get along. If everything is fine after several days of introductions, then place everyone in the cage they will all be living in (thoroughly wash the cage and ev- erything that will be used in there if it is currently being used by the existing rat) and give lots of treats. It is sometimes best to not put all the toys in there at first until you know everyone will be OK and no one will try to claim something as their own. You could also swap cages after they’ve been in them for a few days and keep them in the swapped cages for 3 days so they get used to each others scent, then place everyone in the new clean community cage. One breeder I heard of will place all the rats that she wants to live together in a clean carrier and drive them around in the car for a while though I did that once and after I got home, fighting broke out between the rats and I had to separate them. Another tip is to use vanilla on the noses and genital area of everyone when making the introductions.
Hopefully the one with the lump is not serious and can be helped. She is young enough that if it is a tumor, it could be taken off if her health is good otherwise (most tumors are benign). It’s best to make an appointment with a vet right away to determine what is wrong with your little one and the best treatment option.
Emma Lee, Facebook
Q I have a new furry kid, she is a baby Dumbo rat. She lost her cagemate on Monday before I got her. When should I find her a new cagemate?
A The sooner the better. Since she is still a baby, she would be more accepting of a new friend. Also, if you got one right away from the same breeder, they could go through quarantine together.