new owner need help :/

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
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jjbean
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new owner need help :/

Post by jjbean » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:47 pm

hey, i got gus gus a week ago, hes been very nervous, sits in one corner of his cage, comes out mainly when im out of the room. im not sure how to comfort him or reassure him hes safe, i talk to him, give him bits of food, i feel like i cant pick him up or smooth him without him biting me out of fear as hes done this a few times. i dont want to make him feel more frightened, any advice on how to reassure him would be appreciated :)

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littlebabyribbon
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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by littlebabyribbon » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:51 pm

Does gus live on his own? do you have any other rats?

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Rach210
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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by Rach210 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:59 pm

Littlebabyribbon is right, if he lives alone then i would definitely get a friend of a similiar age, he will be much happier. My Charlie was very nervous, it took months of sitting with him hiding inside my hoodie or dressing gown every night until he'd let me pick him up. Try letting him crawl into a dressing gown so he can be with you but still hide away. Some people also suggest putting an old tshirt or something that you have worn in the cage so he can get used to your smell.
Owned by Jack and Charlie my two fatty ratties

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by jjbean » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:14 pm

he lives alone, one of the reasons i got him was my friend was getting his cage mate (at a pet shop) and he only wanted one, i said i would take the other as they may still be able to see each other but that hasnt happened this week.

im afraid i took him on without fully understanding his needs, i just want to do whats best for him but like my friend, my current living situation doesnt allow me to get him a friend. i planned on taking him to see his cage mate most days, would this be a bad idea now considering they have been apart for a week? different smells etc? my friends rat seems to be getting on better as well, so maybe he just needs more time?

thanks for the help, i will try putting an old top in with him in the hopes he gets used to my scent.
Gus and Jaq <3

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by shibby69 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:46 pm

It sounds like you really want to do the best for Gus :), but unfortunately one of the very most important requirements for a rat is to have some ratty company. Seeing your friends' rat isn't really going to be enough for either of them :(, and whilst they might not end up fighting if they see each other regularly it just isn't going to provide them with what they need. Both of them will get awfully lonely being apart, as rats are very social animals and really must have another rat to groom them, to play with them, and to snuggle with them :).

He's going to be a little bit nervous just because he's in new surroundings, however, being alone will play quite a big part in it - rats are prey animals and being on his own will increase his fear that something might happen. When they have a friend with them they have some reassurance, and they often find it easier to settle down and socialise and become friendly and tame :)

To be honest, with them being so very sociable and having company being one of the most basic requirements, if you really can't fulfill this for Gus i'd suggest it might be better for him to be rehomed to somewhere where he can have company? It's not an easy decision but if you definitely can't get him friends then i'm afraid it's going to be best for him

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by MarianFL » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:50 pm

Hi

I agree with the others - he needs a friend. Rats are social animals and rarely do well on their own, however much time you spend with them. I'm sorry of this sounds negative, but I would consider rehoming him to someone who already has rats if you can't get him a friend. He's only been apart from his cagemate for a week, so he would probably accept other rats quite well at this stage.
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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by MarianFL » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:52 pm

Cross posted with shibby69!
Owned by Barney, Darla and Dory.:love:
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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by Kaz542 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:11 am

As much as I can agree with the others - out of my twelve boys I have two of my boys living in separate cages to the others as they don't get on with any of the other boys at all. I have just had them neutered to see if that will help them to be less aggressive and hopefully pair up. They both get on really happily in their separate cages. I'd say give it a few more days, offer loads of treats - they love monkey nuts, and then see how he is. If he still isn't settling then you may well have to get him a play mate. All my boys have come here scared and nervous but with time (can take two weeks or even a month, six weeks) they have become happy and really social. :D
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Jird
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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by Jird » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:05 am

Kaz542 wrote:They both get on really happily in their separate cages. I'd say give it a few more days, offer loads of treats - they love monkey nuts, and then see how he is. If he still isn't settling then you may well have to get him a play mate.
Really I think living alone is a worst case scenario, and should only be considered if the rat absolutely will not accept company even after being neutered and trying lengthy intros with various other rats. It's great that your currently-lone boys seem to be doing well, but even if Gus seems to perk up it's still not an option to keep him alone as same-species company really is an essential need, not an optional extra for ratties :)
Emily and the boys - Jamie, Bailey, Finn and Tumnus
Love you Bond, Liam, George, Blaze. See you at the bridge little guys.

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by ratty-katty » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:52 pm

Just to add that I agree that getting a friend would be great for Gus if possible - I became a new rat owner earlier this year, and like you, initially just got one rattie who was the only one left in a pet-shop out of her litter mates - her behaviour at first was nervous a tad agressive and she just did not seem altogether happy - with the help of this forum and reading around I realised that her behavioural problems stemmed from being a lone rat. We got another little girl as a friend and noticed almost immediate improvement in her - in fact now she is such a friendly happy little rat and very tame. Also - I've found very little difference in the amount of time/care/space needed to look after two rats as opposed to one. Best wishes, xx

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by jjbean » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:42 pm

thanks for all the advice :) i take getting another rat into serious consideration, after getting gus iv since done a lot of reading anyway and know how sociable they like to be with their own kind, if this will make him overall a more comfortable ratty then it is definitely something to think about. iv also read about pet shop rats and would prefer with what iv found to get one from a breeder instead but would have no idea how to find one... does anybody know any more about this by any chance?

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Jird
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Re: new owner neehttp://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/d help :/

Post by Jird » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:03 am

Good on you for deciding to avoid pet shops! :) 'Tis definitely the right decision.

If you post your whereabouts in the Breeding and Varieties forum then I'm sure someone can point you in the direction of a local breeder, or alternatively you could email breeders@nfrs.org for a list of all the registered breeders in the UK.

Another non-pet-shop option you may not have considered is rescue. An advantage of rescue is that there are always rescues available, whereas sometimes you have to wait several weeks for breeder kittens to become available which obviously isn't ideal for Gus. If you'd like to go the rescue route you could have a look at the rehoming boards on this forum or check out your local RSPCA centres etc :)
Emily and the boys - Jamie, Bailey, Finn and Tumnus
Love you Bond, Liam, George, Blaze. See you at the bridge little guys.

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Re: new owner need help :/

Post by longwing » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Hi there!

I found my breeder on gumtree, luckily she happened to supply a half decent pet shop (4 words that don't normally go together) in my area. I arranged to meet up with her on the street (so there were lots of people around) and made sure I had the right change on me. If you go by the interent route there are some dodgy types around (and even if you don't go by internet!) - make sure you ask lots of questions (how old are they, how long have the sexes been separated, when were they weaned, how much are they). If it's a good breeder they'll also want to know why you're only getting one. If they get fed up with being asked questions it's a bad sign, so find another breeder. I don't want to make you nervous at all but in this day and age paranoid types like me are careful. My breeder was great, she answered all my questions and let me pick out my rats, it was obvious they were really well handled and really healthy. If you don't like what you see when you see the rats, you can always back off and say no - you're not obliged to buy them even if you think you are. I don't know if this is a problem with rats, although I expect it is, but it is with other animals.

And good on you for choosing to get another, I know some rats actually seem to be fine on their own and even prefer it - just like dogs, and people. But they are the exception, not the rule, and even a rat that seems okay by itself may find a completely new lease of life with a partner. I know my rat Brown Rat, if he's left alone in the cage while I take Merlin out, just chills out as normal. But if I leave Merlin alone in the cage for that long, he's running about saying where's rat!!!?? Then I put Rat back in and he says I missed you! I missed you! lol.

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