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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last few months I have been having some issues with my mental health. I'm on the right track to getting help but it has been a struggle.

I live in a room in a shared flat so space can be tight sometimes but a lot of people recommended getting a pet of some kind to keep me company.
After thinking about which type of pet to get and a dozen or so trips to pet shops in my area, I settled on rats.
Everything I'd read about them made me want them more. Intelligent, cuddles, interactive and still just as cute as a hamster or gerbil.
So a week ago, I bought a cage, toys, bedding and everything else I would need. And then the boys arrived.

I didn't name them at first because I wanted to give them suitable names that matched their characters (They're all named now :) )

The last week has been stressful because part of my mental health means I suffer from extreme paranoia most of the time. (It's led to me running home during my lunch break to check on them more than once)
However, they seem to have settled well and despite being very skittish towards me, they've had a sniff of my hand and seem to respond when I give them treats and attention.

The effect they've had on my mental health has been amazing. I wake up earlier and talk to them, I've sat and watched them for hours and it always brings a smile to my face when I see them making a nest, playing or just exploring.

In the mean-time, I've signed up here and asked all my overly paranoid questions. Not once has anyone said a bad word about my panic or inexperience. And that's been brilliant!

So thank-you to you guys for putting up with my "noob"-ness and having such a wealth of information right at my finger tips.
Thank-you to everyone that recommended rats, helped me pick my cage and have encouraged me all along and finally (though they'll never read it) thank-you to "The Pack" for just being rats and not biting me all the time!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's been a joy to look after them.

In all honesty I've been a bit skittish with them too. Don't want to stress them out too much and I've had a nip from one that drew blood (but he's a reclusive albino and was probably a bit fearful or confused)

I'm hoping to interact a bit more with them this week. I want to try and start building more of a bond.

I read somewhere to put some old towels on the bed and put the base of the cage on top and sit with them, so going to give that a go tonight.

Hopefully, they'll start getting a bit more relaxed with me soon but I definitely need to relax when I'm near them too.
 

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Something that worked well for me was to sit with my hand inside the cage and just let them get used to me and my smell. Then, once they were happy with that I would give them small treats (like rice crispies) and gradually move my hand further away so that they had to come to the cage door for their treat, then just outside the cage.

I found that once they were outside of the cage they would often be more interested in exploring than in the treat anyway. I would just sit for ages letting them dart in and out of the cage, building their confidence and getting used with me.

Mine live on the sofa with me now and the cage door is probably only closed 25% of the time. They just come and go as they like. It's great fun!

Good luck with your ratties, and I hope they continue to help you. Xx
 
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