foxy's situation

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foxy's situation

Post by markrum » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:51 pm

Hi,I recently moved home and during the process one of my two rats has disappeared. She is gone or dead now, I have no hope of recovery, it has been over a month (im sorry nina). My problem is Foxy, my other rat. I know she is lonely but I cant rush out and get another rat because the landlord forbids them and I cant make a commitment to another. I have thought about giving foxy away but here is where it gets difficult. Because I am a student and at home all the time I let Foxy 'free range' around the entire flat with me, she has become accustomed to it and has relaxed into her freedom. she sleeps in my bed, she eats on my lap and drinks out of my fish tank (water quality is better than tap, I test regularly). This is irresponsible but try telling that to the rat, Foxy loves it. She goes back to her cage only when she wont stop tickling my face when im sleeping, or by her own accord to poo and pick up ratfood. I dont think anybody could afford this life for foxy. She has lost her friend and i dont want her life to become worse.

I know she is sad because other rats talk to her and as much as i try, I just cant grind my teeth that fast. I know she misses chasing nina and rolling around with her. Its the thought of making her life worse I cant deal with it, but, I cant get a new rat. Foxy took a long time to civilise herself, she no longer chews on wires or clothes, she now talks to me when she wants to leave the room instead of ripping at the carpet. I cant afford another new rat who will, by her actions, affect my tenancy, I couldnt trust her like i trust foxy and i cannot keep them in the cage all the time either; If I give her up I know she is going to a smaller cage (i have her in a supine, 5 by 4 foot renovated cupboard) and usually to someone who works all day and rarely lets her roam. What should i do? what is best for foxy?

A: give her to another home and maybe donate the cupboard, B: keep her alone but as free as she is.

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Re: foxy's situation

Post by fuschia » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:10 pm

Have a look around this forum, I know there are people with massive rat cages and also some whose rats spend the majority of the day free ranging. I think with the help of this forum you'd be able to find her a new home you'd be happy with, where she'd have friends and still also have plenty of freedom.
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Re: foxy's situation

Post by HannahF » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:55 pm

My first two pairs were kept that way but when I increased my numbers it was no longer viable although the full group did continue to get full room free range for several hours in the evening. I can honestly tell you that in my experience with the rats who had spent most if their lives getting permanent free roam of the living room that the introduction of the babies distracted them sufficiently and they didn't suffer for it.

Having company is really important for her, while to us it may seem a bigger benefit to have huge free range space, to them company is more important. Yes she can explore but she has nobody to talk to, groom or sleep with. Having a smaller free range space or less time isn't necessarily a bad thing, my lads only get about 1-2 hours in my bathroom at the moment but there's cat trees etc and it's 1-2 hours of them being the sole focus which I know they didn't get as much of in the past. I honestly believe my rats now are just as if not more happy than the rats that had permenant free roam, they're in a nice group size and have a great dynamic which goes a long way to their happiness.
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Re: foxy's situation

Post by Hobbit Stealer » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:54 pm

I think you'd be pleasantly surprised by what makes rats thrive in their home. I personally think she would be far happier, and get much more out of a life with a companion (or more), than a life with no cage and no friends. I don't think unlimited free range compares to the necessity of social animals to have friends. Living by herself I can see how Foxy might become bored if she had to spend any amount of time in a cage, but rats with companions have someone to snuggle with, play with, groom etc. When my rats are in their cage, they're not gnawing at the bars trying to escape - they're perfectly content to spend their time in there. Its familiar to them and 'theirs', and every time they come out for free range it's exciting and interesting for them.
I don't think you need to worry that if you rehomed her, she would become miserable from having her environment 'downsized'. Most rat owners provide hours of free range daily for their groups of rats. I think a rat living in a social group, with a large cage with lots of toys/enrichment in it, with time out each day to run around and interact with people, would be happier than a lonely rat with free access to a large room.

There is no replacement for company for a rat. A person can't replace other rats, a large room to run around in can't replace them. For social animals, providing company is as necessary as food or water. So if you are absolutely certain you can't get any more rats I think the best thing to do would be to rehome her to a new home where she can live in a social group. It must be a scary thought but this forum is a wonderful source of support and has a fantastic rehoming network. I 100% believe you could rehome her to someone who would give her excellent care, and you could even stay in touch with the new owner and see how she's getting on.
Formerly known as Hobbit Stealer

Ratmum to Bilbo, Pip, Milo, Iroh and Zuko. 2 Lady Gerbils - Gandalf and Radagast. Baby Spider - Shelob <3
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