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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My rat Muffin passed away this week after an illness.

Tonight my remaining two rats Meemer and Mooshie got into huge fur flying fight which I broke up. Mooshie received a small cut. They've been pretty subdued and cuddly all week so I didn't see this coming.
After I stopped the fight they contained to run about power grooming, standing up nose to nose, scuffling and kicking. Both rats where looked extremely stressed , whining and chuffing, shaking, and wagging their tails. When I tried to calm the situation down they both flinched and acted aggressive and dominant with me too, wagging tails, side kicking me and licking.
Meemer was the most upset and both only calmed down when I gave them 10 mins of firm full body pets. Even the way they eventually lay down next to each other for pets was strange, head to head, really intense and still as if they were submitting to me.

I've never seen them behave like this, normally they are little squishy cuddlers and have always been relaxed and happy. Muffin was the leader of the group and I guess his death has lead to a hierarchy shift and feelings of stress. I've been distracted with caring for muffin while he was sick and then long hours at work this week to meet a deadline so I've not been there for them either to provide proper reassurance.

Has anyone got any advice on what might be the best way to help them readjust. The last thing we all need is fighting in the cage. :(
 

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Hey, first of all, my condolences about Muffin.

Second, you probably know that rats are pretty smart & emotional animals, and can actually get depressed, especially if a cagemate dies.
Like you said, this is probably a combination of the stress and the hierarchy shift.
I imagine that in order to fix this fighting, you need to carry on as one usually would during rat spats: Break up the fight, kindly, and then place the victim or whoever seems to be "losing" the fight in a separate container near the cage in order to give them whatever care you'd deem necessary for the injuries. As for the hierarchy thing, it will take a while to work through. There may be some tussles, probably not as many as bad as this one, but it is possible that they persist and get really bad. In that case, you may have to separate them forever, to prevent further harm. :(

Remember, though, they just lost a friend! When you can, (Remember, it's also important/necessary to take of yourself, including your job!) take them out, give them both equal amounts of special attention as frequently as possible. Good luck! ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the kind advice. :)

It's been a stressful time for all of us. Muffin went through two ops and the past week as he went into decline coincided with a very busy time at work, and at the time I myself also had a pretty bad chest infection.

I've barely had time to process the loss myself and Mooshie and Meemer just haven't been getting the attention they usually get.

It was quite late by the time I got in from work last night so they hadn't been out yet. I took them both and sat in the hallway with them ( the space is quite confided I didn't want them fighting under the sofa) They both immediately ran into my lap and lay down for cuddles chattering away. Spent the next hour like that with two very clingy ratties desperate for affection. They are usually quite independent so it took me by surprise. Afterwards their interactions together where much more positive. I'm hopeful that further tlc and reassurance will help keep the fights at bay.

Poor babies I feel so guilty and sad for them.
 

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Sorry for your loss.....

Any time the group dynamic changes in a mischief, the rats need to sort out their social order all over again. As long as they aren't seriously injuring each other, just let them be. It shouldn't go on for long.
 
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