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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like I'm turning into a rodent rescue... Yesterday, I took in my friend's sister's mouse, and today I took in a new rat. My sister called me and said "I'm taking my rat to the humane society, unless you want her" :? This poor little girl had been lost in their house for almost 2 weeks, and then was kept in an inadequate cage that she kept escaping from because she and their other rat (who they are keeping - she's very sweet and friendly) no longer got along. They said she's dirty and she smells really bad, and she's too scared and they don't want to deal with her anymore :x

This girl is scared and skinny (and yes, she is dirty and stinky). I tried cleaning her off with a washcloth, but there's this black stuff on her fur and her feet that won't come off. They said she got into their oven and that's probably where it came from :( Does anyone have any tips on how to get that stuff off? I don't even know exactly what it is... black oven grease, I guess (I don't clean ovens, so I don't know). And she does smell, really strongly. They said when they put her in her cage, it was only a couple days before the cage smelled as bad as she did. I haven't had rats for very long, but I'm pretty well acquainted with their various smells (I have a sensitive nose) and I don't recognize this one at all. Could it possibly be a sign that there's something wrong with her? Is there any medical problem that makes a rat smell bad? Or does she just need a really good bath?

When I held her, she sniffed me and crawled around on me the same way Coconut does, but then out of nowhere she kind of freaked out and tried to get away. I was standing up and she was on my arm at about chest-level, and she actually jumped. Luckily, I caught her with my other hand, but it scared me that she would rather attempt a jump of about 4 feet than be handled.

She looks at me like she wants to trust me, and it actually brings tears to my eyes because she just hasn't had a very good time of it so far. She was always very shy, and I can't imagine how scary it must have been for her to have been lost in the walls of their house for almost 2 weeks, away from her cage and her friend. I can understand why she doesn't have positive associations with people, because they've always just been grabbing at her and trying to get her (including grabbing her tail while she was in the wall, which must have been painful). She's also from Petco, so who knows what she went through before my sister adopted her. She can't be more than about 3 months old right now though - she's still smaller than Coconut.

I think with time, and patience, and tons of love, she'll be able to trust me, and she's going to be a wonderful girl. I hate how she had to come to me, but I'm so glad she did. She'll finally have a good life now.
 

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You could try baby wipes to clean her until she's more trusting and then you could give her a bath.

An infection could also cause a nasty odor. I really hope it's not that.
 

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that black stuff does sound like oven grease, and it will probably come off given some time. in the meantime try bathing your new little girl and using some baby shampoo... it might remove the gunk quicker.

this little girl will soon realise that she now has a wonderful home with you and your ratties... and i bet she will be the friendliest little girl ever!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I took some pictures of her. This first one shows her dirtiness - you can see it on her side, and her tail, and her back foot. Also, above her front foot it looks like some black fur, but that's just more grease.



She is very pretty though. I decided to name her Sakura :D



I put on a hoodie and kept it partially unzipped, and she sat in there for a while. She kept poking her head out to look at me, and she didn't mind at all when I pet her. She's already doing much better, and I'm so relieved. She's going to be such a happy, sweet girl ^_^
 

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she is so gorgeous!!!
 

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oven grease... dish detergent? rat-safe detergent, that is, something non-toxic. just a thought, there may be a really good reason this is a bad idea or something. second opinion on idea?
 

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Honestly? She's frightened and untrusting and at a very skittish age too. I would not bathe her. Let her settle in and she will probably clean herself off eventually. Rats that came from filthy environments often groom like crazy once they are in a clean environment. Its like they didn't bother because they were just going to get dirty again.

The little old rescue gals I took in on Tuesday night smelt soo bad they made me gag, so I held my breath as I kissed them. :D Within 2 days the smell is much much better and they are on fleece too, which is not the best odor-eater in the world. :roll:

Might take a few days but see if she does it herself. She's absolutely adorable and when she realizes you will go very slowly and quietly around her she will relax. Teach that girl all humans ain't bad!!!! :mrgreen: A big Thumbsup to you for taking her in!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I thought as much, so I haven't bathed her yet. She does smell much better now, although there's still grease on her fur and feet. But I don't want to risk giving her a real bath yet, because I don't think it would take much to undo how far we've come the past few days. If there's still any grease left when I feel comfortable with washing her off, I think I will try some dish soap.

She's definitely making progress. She'll take treats from me now (she never would do that with my sister or her boyfriend), and doesn't freak out at every move I make. I've been talking to her almost constantly, because she would jump and run at the sound of my voice the first day. Last night she actually came out of the tunnel she was hiding in when I started talking to her! :D She willingly crawls into my hoodie sleeve when I put my hand in her cage, and loves to sleep in there while I'm at the computer ^_^

I'm still not happy with my sister and her boyfriend, but she is so much better off with me. Although they mentioned they won't be able to keep their other rat Bella when they go back to school, so I'll probably end up with her too >.<
 

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One of my favorite bonding things is brushing them with a clean toothbrush. They usually like it. You could try using that in conjunction with the baby wipes.

I think everyone is right, though... she doesn't like being dirty any more that you do. :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh, I'm sure she doesn't! Whenever she's not sleeping, she's grooming ^_^

I think I'll try the toothbrush thing, I haven't done that with any of my ratties. I might do that with Coconut too, she's having a bad hair day today :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks! :D

She really is doing wonderfully now. She is still a little skittish, and runs from sudden sounds/movements, but she's really come around. She runs up to the cage door when I open it, and is comfortable enough to eat treats while she's sitting on me. Last night she actually boggled while she was on my shoulder! I was so happy to hear that. She's also clean, still a couple little specks of grease on her back feet between her toes, but I'm sure that'll come off eventually too. And she's no longer stinky! She smells almost as good as Coconut now ^_^

I'm glad to have her as part of the family :D
 

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funny thing is your sakura looks just like one of my rats (the only one i got from petco) i will snap a pic of her for you to see, interesting.

my petco girl is sketchy, we're still working with her, weird because all of my rats are so comfortable with humans....
 
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