A Rat Of Many Problems?

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A Rat Of Many Problems?

Post by Mitters » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:31 pm

After my current rat Katrina was left alone, I decided to get a playmate for her. Katrina has been alone for just a week and so far seems antsy to meet the baby. But, the siamese baby(SB for now) seems to be showing early signs of having many problems. I'm covering many topics, so I just decided to keep it in one post in other rat care.

SB's Store
I got her at Incredible Pets, I've gotten a hamster there before. I know that their pets have problems with socialization (humans), but I didn't think the store would've gotten so bad over the years. Just know, that I looked in many places and was desperate to console Katrina's loneliness.

My guardian picked her out really fast and I only saw a glimpse of her. She had bright eyes and seemed to have a calm demeanor, so I didn't question anything. I was looking into the other cages, looking for a pair. All the cages didn't even have an inch of bedding and no houses or wheels. The food looked like left over bird seeds and I noticed all of the rats had beige soft turds. SB was all alone and most of the other rats were too.

Thought I could just fix her up with a good diet and my guardian already had her in a box. Not even a box carrier, just one that you get in the mail, when you order something. SB was popping out and you had to hold it all the way down. The whole area with small animals had bedding all over the floor and was piled in with trash bins and boxes.

The employees couldn't tell gender, with clear ball sacks bouncing about. All rats were picked up by their tails, even when showing clear distress about it. One older employee seemed fond of SB and I think she might have played with her somewhat often?

SB Behavior

When I just put her in the cage, she was pulling me in too trying to snuggle and rub on me. At first I thought she was just that kind of rat, but maybe she was isolated for so long that she craved any form of touch. My dogs are nosy as hell and they already get along fine. (Don't worry about the dogs at all, I keep close watch.) Katrina and SB are in the same cage, separated by a middle divider.

SB is very alarmed and looks scared when Katrina bounces about. Not too much though, since SB got a sneaky crotch sniff. SB is not okay when Katrina makes any noise, she squeaks and grabs on me hard. Very desperate for any human touch, okay with dogs, and scared of other rats. She does not know what a house is and sleeps out in the open, even if you have nice houses to choose from. She is heavy handed.

SB Appearance
Bad fur quality on butt, has loss of fur and two/three pink spots.
It's not greasy and she smells nice, she is grooming herself.
Appears to have dried blood on the tips on her ears.

SB Health
Has whistled and squeaked, some squeaks stop after I enter cage.
Seems to favor one back leg.
Guardian said she shed a lot.

Has cold feet. I have put bedding in her one spot, temperature in home is fine.
Mostly left her alone, but I think it's best the more I interact more. Her current environment has fleece bedding, houses, chew stuff, toys, pellets plus other stuff, and so far has been quiet. The dogs bark loudly, but I can shush them up quickly. She gets alarmed, but is more interested. Room-mates are horrible and scream (kinda faraway from cage, they are three rooms apart). My old rats quickly adjusted to it and it didn't affect them badly. (We are trying to move)


Pissed that she only has half a cage. Did one of most sad squeaks after she knew another rat was near. She is in high alert, not with her crotch though. She has a dominant streak and I don't know what her squeak means. Was it actually sad, was she just calling out for her, or wants a fight? Katrina isn't aggressive with any animal, she just likes to be top dog.

What my big concerns is that she is in an early stage of something. I kept up looking up hair loss stuff and honestly it could be anything. She might have been picked on or depressed or have some illness. I just want to know if it's anything that might affect Katrina. I need to get her company soon, since she has been stressed. I think SB would die if I took her back and my guardian didn't take my other rat to the vet no matter how much I brought it up (she died). Please tell me what I can do to improve her quality of life and how quickly I could have the two rats interact.

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Re: A Rat Of Many Problems?

Post by ScissorCrow » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:59 pm

First of all I'm sorry for the loss of your other rat. It's clear that you care about Katrina's well being as you don't want her to be alone.

However I'm a little concerned that your pets don't have access to veterinary care. I know it's hard being young without easy access due to distance/money and guardians not being willing, but getting an animal to a veterinarian when they need it is a vital part of pet ownership. Have you thought about what you're going to do the next time Katrina or SB get sick?

SB could have underlying problems due to poor breeding and living conditions. Are her signs of potential illness just hair loss and possibly blood on her ear tips? From what you've said it sounds like she is active, so that's good. Is her nose clear of red discharge, does she make noises when she breathes, you said she whistled and squeaked?

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Re: A Rat Of Many Problems?

Post by Mitters » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:58 am

I always thought that my guardian would take my pets to the vet if they were sick, well I wasn't wrong they just acted too late. We actually did get an appointment scheduled, but they slept in that day.(she has chronic pain and illness, so I'm not that mad) We rescheduled and she died the night before it. If my animals get sick or hurt, I've decided to be very aggressive (no punches, not even mean words) in getting into the vet. I still am upset about it, so I think my tears could guilt trip them. I can start working in six months, so I'm gonna save up for a emergency rat kit and vet bills. That plan would take awhile though.

I had her in the bathroom an hour ago. SB did have blood in her ears and my guardian cleaned it out(there was dried blood on her neck as well). I parted her fur and she has two scabs, guardian said one of them was a slice, the other one was rounder and looked like a puncture. Something is wrong with her one of her back feet thumbs, it's half the size it should be. I think it's safe to say her bad butt fur is from some abuse(whether rat or other) and that improper diet.

She doesn't whistle 24/7, but I hear it occasionally. She squeaks constantly and they seem to come in fits, another noise she makes is a unhappy chitter(it was so loud and crunchy). I can't tell if it means she's uncomfortable or distressed. Her nose is pretty pink and isn't full of anything. Two different things things popped up, her poo jumped to a way darker shade(guess she was veggie deprived) and her breathing is just a little faster then it should be. She is a pretty low quality siamese(still love her though), so not the best breeding.

I let SB and Katrina sniff through the bars of the cage, SB wanted to go away, however Katrina was very pleased. She did a happy little chitter and did something similar to a horse trot around the cage(she just had a very happy bounce to her step). I'm most worried about an underlying problem that might not be diagnosed and then it hurts SB and maybe Katrina.

If it sounds like it might spread, then please tell me. I'm trying to get them as cagemates as soon as everything allows me to.
Should I start nagging about the vet now? Knowing my guardian, they won't allow it this week for anything, but I am prepared to go all out.

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Re: A Rat Of Many Problems?

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:01 pm

Firstly, you are quite right that SB should have a same aged companion - she is probably suffering from stress due to not having a little playmate. Try to find a similar aged girl asap, and then introduce both of them to Katrina.

The best way to introduce rats is using the carrier method (see here for detailed instructions viewtopic.php?f=13&t=52). Dividing the cage as you currently have will just frustrate the rats because they can't meet properly, so if you have a second cage, I'd move SB into that for now.

If you don't already have a carrier (and I'm guessing you don't because you mentioned a cardboard box), then please explain to your guardian that it's a vital piece of equipment, not just for introductions, but for transporting around the house or for going to the vets in, as well as being a safe place in an emergency.

If SB does have an infection, then Katrina will already have been exposed to it, so there's no point in worrying about whether it will spread or not. In future, if you want to quarantine rats they need to be kept in a separate building for a couple of weeks.

ETA - I forgot to say, it's quite possible that her scratches are a result of her having some parasites on her skin, either mites or lice. They are easily treated with a spot on product, and it would be a good idea to treat Katrina, and the extra baby as well. In the UK we use ivermectin, but I get the impression you are possibly in America(?), so you'd need a different product which I can't remember off the top of my head. You can probably buy it from a pet shop rather than having to go to the vet.

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Re: A Rat Of Many Problems?

Post by Mitters » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:28 pm

Thanks for the advice so far. I do live in the states and I will pick up a 8 in 1 flea and tick spray tomorrow, when I go to school. I have been substituting a carrier with a bin, when I let them meet each other.

I will be following the carrier method from now on, thanks. I have certainly annoyed my guardian so far about my concerns for SB (her name is now Janae), but she is willing to get me a carrier and another rat at the end of the month. Would that be too long? I kinda felt like I was over-reacting with Janae's health, but better safe then sorry.

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