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Introducing a new rat to current rat... Help!

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:55 am
by wilmatherat
Hi all,

I’m in need of some rat advice. I got two female rats (Wilma and Betty) last November, knowing rats are happiest with a friend. Around 4 months ago I had my sister rat sit for me as I was away for a week. When I returned, I came home to a lonesome Wilma. My sister had both girls out to play, as I had asked (I did say to only have them out if being supervised, but younger sisters r tend to not listen), but didn’t make sure the fox terrier was outside. Sadly my sweet little Betty didn’t stand a chance.

Wilma has been by herself for for the past 4 months, as I wasn’t sure if she would welcome another female rat. She is quite aggressive toward my while she’s in her cage, but fine with him when they’re both together out of the cage. I understand that there is a process to go through when introducing new rats and i’m 100% willing to do it the right way, but seeing how Wilma is to other animals while she’s in her cage worries me that she won’t accept new company. I don’t want any harm to come to her or the new addition.

Will it help if I get a brand new cage? Something bigger than she has now? She’s currently in a 1.5m high cage with 3 levels. All new bedding and toys?

Any advice will be of great help. I just want my little girl to never be lonely as I can’t play with her all day every day, as much as I’d love to :D

P.S The fox terrier is my mums dog and doesn’t live with me anymore, so there will be not threat for Wilma and her new companion.

Re: Introducing a new rat to current rat... Help!

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:35 pm
by [cub]
wilmatherat wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:55 am
She is quite aggressive toward my while she’s in her cage, but fine with him when they’re both together out of the cage.
Aggressive towards your what? Inter-species interaction is generally not recommended as neither side usually gets anything out of it so it's just an unnecessary risk for both.

The carrier method is generally recommended for rat introductions, as it works most reliably and safely in the majority of cases. Have a read through this guide here, and also watch the video linked at the bottom if you can: http://www.isamurats.co.uk/the-carrier-method.html

Introducing an adult to kittens is generally easiet as the adult tends not to see the kittens as a threat. The generally recommended age for introducing kittens is 9-10 weeks, as very small kittens can be killed accidentally by boisterous adults, whereas older/larger kittens are more robust and can fend for themselves. Getting kittens from a good breeder rather than a pet shop is recommended for a variety of reasons, not least temperament, but good breeders tend to have long waiting lists. If you explain that you have a lone rat situation, they may give you priority, but there may still be a wait, which may not be acceptable given that Wilma is on her own. Nevertheless, you may wish to contact registered breeders in your area: https://www.nfrs.org/breeders_list.html

Not all registered breeders will align with your ethics, mind you, so do consider them individually. There's a guide to assessing breeders here: https://azulinerattery.wixsite.com/azul ... e-breeders

Local rescues may also have kittens in, but failing that, adult to adult introductions frequently work well too. The priority really should be to get Wilma some rat companions ASAP.

Also, make sure you know how to sex rats: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=51
Pet shops are notorious for missexing rats (another reason to avoid them), but very occasionally one hears of rescues missexing them (usually the big ones with lots of branches), and also bad breeders. So it's always good to be able to double-check yourself so as not to end up with 10x as many rats as you originally wanted. :P

Re: Introducing a new rat to current rat... Help!

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:58 pm
by wilmatherat
wilmatherat wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:55 am
Hi all,

I’m in need of some rat advice. I got two female rats (Wilma and Betty) last November, knowing rats are happiest with a friend. Around 4 months ago I had my sister rat sit for me as I was away for a week. When I returned, I came home to a lonesome Wilma. My sister had both girls out to play, as I had asked (I did say to only have them out if being supervised, but younger sisters tend to not listen), but didn’t make sure the fox terrier was outside. Sadly my sweet little Betty didn’t stand a chance.

Wilma has been by herself for for the past 4 months, as I wasn’t sure if she would welcome another female rat. She is quite aggressive toward my elderly cat while she’s in her cage, but fine with him when she’s out of her out of the cage. (Just to address this as I don’t want anyone’s knickers in a knot, my rat is caged in my small animal room. My cat only has access to this room when I am cleaning cages or feeding. She has her own “play pen” that I set up in my living room while I’m in there. The cat has no access to inside the pen, but will walk past and Wilma will not run and try to grab at him through the pen as she does in her cage.)

I understand that there is a process to go through when introducing new rats and i’m 100% willing to do it the right way, but seeing how Wilma is to other animals while she’s in her cage worries me that she won’t accept new company. I don’t want any harm to come to her or the new addition.

Will it help if I get a brand new cage? Something bigger than she has now? She’s currently in a 1.5m high cage with 3 levels. All new bedding and toys?

Any advice will be of great help. I just want my little girl to never be lonely as I can’t play with her all day every day, as much as I’d love to :D

P.S The fox terrier is my mums dog and doesn’t live with me anymore, so there will be not threat for Wilma and her new companion.