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.