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(I noticed some other people needing help so I said this wasn't urgent in the hopes those with knowledge will help the others first.)


So sadly, my Penelope died of a series of health problems resulting from an unfortunate lineage which was to be expected, as a feeder rat. However I have done some homework and reading and so now I am about to be getting two baby rats from a breeder semi-nearby in the near future. :)


My question is are female rats still cuddly? This question bugs me because I keep seeing "rats are cuddly" in the descriptions of rats in general but then I see "females are hyper not cuddly" right under that. I hear people say "it depends on the rat" but my question here is then: will the majority of female rats still be cuddly? I get it if males are cuddlier but I still wanna be able to cuddle my girls. Usually I prefer female pets especially as they tend to pee less and it's just a personal preference. Will I most likely still be able to cuddle lots with my rats from a breeder?Unfortunately I don't think meeting them beforehand is an option (though I do trust this breeder wholeheartedly) so I can't really tell the rats personalities before I get them :/


Also another question: I know rats get tumors but apparently they're more common in females? How much will spaying them reduce the amount of risk for these, and how much does spaying normally cost? I already disturbed my living mates because I kept having to take my other rat to the vet; I just want these ones to be healthy and happy (and cuddly!)

Thanks everyone!
 

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Hey Felix, I'm just going to share my experience with you and for anyone else interested. Years ago I got two little rat sisters from the pet store, they were hand raised by a local little girl. Pinky and Dragon were both very hyper and playful when they were babies, but as they grew they became more and more cuddly. They loved belly rubs/tickles and giving kisses, and they'd snuggle up in my sweater or arms. So yes I think females can be very cuddly, but also like to move around more than males.

I think it depends more on how each person defines cuddle time over if males or females are more cuddly by nature, just my two cents. Males will snuggle up and watch tv with you and females like playing around and coming up for snuggles, is how I see it.

When Pinky and Dragon got older, Dragon developed a lump. It turned out to be a benign tumor. We had it removed by a local veterinary college. Some months later Dragon passed from strokes. Pinky passed on later from old age, she never got sick or had a tumor. Both of them were unaltered.

I'm currently looking into getting female rats in late January / early February so I was also wondering about spaying too. Until I came across this post from 1998 (phew long time ago) http://www.rmca.org/Articles/spay2.htm I don't know how recently it's been updated.

For spaying you would want to make sure that your vet would have extensive experience with spaying a rat, maybe check around your area to see if anyone could recommend a vet. This is an invasive procedure and could (maybe) cost the rat its life if done with an inexperienced vet.

Knowing that spaying rats isn't common around where I am I decided I wont risk it, and instead put aside money if should ever my rats would get sick or get tumors. This is of course a very personal choice for each rat owner, and I won't say that it doesn't help.
 

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I have a female that isn't always cuddly, but she will cuddle. She usually like a to run around, come say hi to me, then run around some more. But I find that when I wake her up early in the afternoon she is more likely to cuddle. Sometimes she crawls in my bra and sleeps in there. She's also curled up in my lap before. But I raised her since she was a baby, would spend hours and hours a day with her, and she wasn't around any other rats until she was 6 months old. So we are super close.
My male is more into cuddling, but even he loves to run off and explore.

I can't help you on the tumors. This is my first time around with rats, and while I haven't had any issues so far I have wild born roof rats which I've read are less prone to tumors.

None of my rats are fixed.
 

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My preference are females myself. I have 10 of them lol (I do have boys too)

Blah blah yes all rats are unique and have their own personalities. But yes in general I would say females are not cuddly.

I like to think of it as females are hyped up. They have been chugging energy drinks and coffee all day. They just gotta go, gotta move, gotta think & explore. They do not have time to sit still with your nonsense cuddles. My baby boys are hyper too, I have one boy who literally will bounce off you and everything else. But the boys just seem to be so much slower about it. It is not so urgent.

But that is not to say that girls are not affectionate and sweet. I think alot of the time people hear girls are not cuddly and think that means they are standoffish or not as sweet or living. That is not true.

It is just that they are busy. I have some very loving sweet girls. They run right to me, they wanna sit on my shoulder. They give kisses. When I have them out they will run around and do their thing but then they come back and check in with me :) I feel very loved by them.

It is also worth it to note that they do slow down some with age. But I have never had a female as snuggly as my boys.


Yes females are fairly prone to tumors. Since you are getting yours from a breeder, it may have lower risk. You could ask how healthy the line is and how many in the line got tumors and see if they know.
Here is a good article on them: http://ratguide.com/health/neoplasia/mammary_tumor.php it suggests diet plays a heavy role in prevention and I agree.

This is a very helpful article with tons of numbers on percents of rats getting tumors, spaying, survival, etc..
http://www.ratbehavior.org/TumorSpaying.htm

But there is also risk from the surgery. It is a difficult choice. I have never had any of mine spayed but I am also a breeder.

From the article linked above:
Conclusion: to spay or not to spay? It's a roulette: on the one hand, the pet owner spays the female rats. All the females go through elective, invasive surgery with associated risks, and 93.3-96% of them won't develop tumors later -- no more surgery for them. Zero to 6.7% percent will develop mammary tumors anyway requiring more surgery, though these rats will tend to develop their tumors about 6 months later in life than unspayed rats. Four percent will develop pituitary tumors anyway.
On the other hand, the pet owner does not spay. A number of the females go on to develop tumors -- somewhere around 17%-76% develop mammary tumors, 39%-66% develop pituitary tumors. Those who develop mammary tumors will go through one or more tumor surgeries and all the associated risks. Those who develop pituitary tumors may or may not show the neurological effects and possible mortality. The remainder of the unspayed rats don't develop these tumors so they don't experience spay or mammary tumor surgery at all.
One way to help illuminate a course of action is to narrow down the liklihood that a pet female rat will develop mammary or pituitary tumors, by learning about the tumor incidence in her female relatives. A rat from a tumor-prone line may be a better candidate for spay surgery than one from a relatively tumor-free line.
In conclusion, the picture is not clear-cut. It comes down to the kinds and magnitude of risk each pet owner is comfortable with. There are no certainties, just probabilities. There are good arguments to be made on both sides -- the decision is up to you.
The vet cost is difficult to answer as it is really crazy how different the prices can be just based on where you live. Your best bet would just be to call around and ask for prices from your local vets. But I would plan for around $300 each. it could be much lower I've seen vets only charge around $100 and I have also seen it much higher around $500 or more. But from a good guess $300 seems to be a safe number to plan for. Really though you won't know until you ask your local vets :)
 

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I just got girls after having boys for almost a year. One of my girls is a total love bug. She's the first to come greet me at the cage, she wants to play with me, and during our play will attack my hand with kisses. She's the kissiest rat I've ever met. She doesn't like to cuddle, exactly, but it's obvious she definitely wants to be near me. My other two girls don't care nearly as much, but even the little girl will groom me on occasion.
 

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Your best bet is to speak to the breeder, they should give you an idea of what to expect temp wise. For instance I can tell you my bucks are not your typical lap rats and not really cuddly any more than my girls are, both are equally likely to get up to no good and to lick and groom you to death. The girls are more likely to do this as a drive by licking but neither want to sit for long. I get the odd individuals that do but in general I know my rats keep there owners busy lol. Your breeder should be able to tell you this about her babies and also potentially pick out quieter more laid back kittens if she has options
 

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I remember the day I first met rats. The woman whose home I was in set a chair near the girls' cage and sat me in it and opened the door. I sat there with about 6 girls running up and down my arms and lap, bouncing back to the cage, bouncing back out to check out my hair. At one point I told her I was disappointed not to be able to hold/pet them. Her response was that they were busy exploring me and were happy to be bouncing all over me and not trying to escape. So, yes boys may sit still for longer at one time, but both sexes will play with you, come to the front of the cage to greet you, and generally show their affection for you each in their individual ways.
 

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I've owned 4 females and all of them would come up to me when out to check in and make sure my hands were clean. I only had one who would stay with me a majority of the time and actually choose to sleep on me. I currently have 3 girls and a boy. My girls are all spayed. I've lost 3/4 if my girls to pituitary tumors. They were all from different locations, though two were sisters. I lost two right after surgery to remove a mammary tumor, one of those to a pituitary tumor. The decreased risk of a pituitary tumor because of spay greatly impacted my decision. Calling around the 3 vets around me want $500 per rat!! I ended up having them spayed at a recommended vet 45 minutes away from $125 per rat. They turn two in January and are extremely healthy so far. *knock on wood*.

My boy I got from someone who kept them in an inappropriate cage with nothing for stimulation and he will come near me and climb on me, but is more adventurous than the girls I have right now who are by far the most adventurous rats I've owned. He is the only boy I've ever owned. I'm hoping to complete my mischief with a hairless boy. Just waiting for the right time to add on.
 

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I think rats pick up cues from you so to some degree if you are snugly they are more likely to be too. That said girls are high energy and like to go go go... They enjoy chasing around with you, hand wrestling, playing tug of war and other higher energy activities when they are younger, and usually they tend to sleep more when they are older, some will nap on you while other's will nap near you and keep an eye on you....

To be truthful girls are just as loving as boys, but they show it differently. Think about humans for a minute.... a guy can settle into his easy chair and watch a whole day of TV or Football games while a girl might watch football too, but while she's watching she's also preparing meals, dressing the kids knitting an afghan, paying the bills and doing six other things at the same time... Likewise, younger girl rats would split up and go in six directions simultaneously if they could.

So for many girls 5 minutes of snuggling is a hardship. But that's certainly not to say for all of them. Just like some guys have a TV in their garage and watch while fixing the car or working out and some human girls never get off the couch. Much depends on the individual... but for the most part rat girls just have too much energy to just sit still for too long and snuggle.

Personally, I enjoy our girls, I like their playful nature and intrepid personalities. Sure I wish they snuggled more, but it's a trade off.
 

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As to spaying... mammary tumors are pretty much inherited, I had a few rats from the same breeder and they got mammary tumors, I have two from a different breeder and so far, no tumors.... In my area the cost for a spay is prohibitively high. Too high to offset the statistical benefits. It does come down to a matter of statistics, some spayed rats will still get tumors and some unspayed rats won't. But keep in mind some strains have a lower incidence of tumors in the first place...

I met a fellow some years ago, he was 99 years old and he had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other and I lost a friend at the age of 56 from cancer and he never smoked... clean living helps, and perhaps certain preventative surgery helps too, but you can't beat good genes.
 

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Depends, many girls I've had have been snuggly many haven't.

Sissy, Emmy, Claire and Clover were always "stuff to do gotta run no time for snuggles" but Clover is slowing down and becoming more cuddly with age.

Olive, Katniss, Rue and Sprite were/are all cuddle girls.

So far I've broken about 50/50... but it really depends on the breeder.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've owned 4 females and all of them would come up to me when out to check in and make sure my hands were clean. I only had one who would stay with me a majority of the time and actually choose to sleep on me. I currently have 3 girls and a boy. My girls are all spayed. I've lost 3/4 if my girls to pituitary tumors. They were all from different locations, though two were sisters. I lost two right after surgery to remove a mammary tumor, one of those to a pituitary tumor. The decreased risk of a pituitary tumor because of spay greatly impacted my decision. Calling around the 3 vets around me want $500 per rat!! I ended up having them spayed at a recommended vet 45 minutes away from $125 per rat. They turn two in January and are extremely healthy so far. *knock on wood*.

My boy I got from someone who kept them in an inappropriate cage with nothing for stimulation and he will come near me and climb on me, but is more adventurous than the girls I have right now who are by far the most adventurous rats I've owned. He is the only boy I've ever owned. I'm hoping to complete my mischief with a hairless boy. Just waiting for the right time to add on.
I am really sorry about your little ratties. :( Not to sound insensitive, but at what age did those tumors occur?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Also I want to thank everyone for the replies! Honestly wasn't expecting so many replies on this, thanks to everyone for their input!
 

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All three of my girls will happily cuddle if under my clothes - they will lie on my chest or stomach, under my shirt or jersey, and I stroke them through my clothes. After around half an hour of this I can easily take them out, one by one, and they will lie along my arm while I scratch their ears and massage their shoulders, quite happy and fully stretched out. I then rotate the loving, focusing on each of them in turn, putting them back under my shirt with the other rats when we have had some cuddle time. I also do this is a very softly lit room, without the glaring overhead lights on, just a desk lamp in the corner of the room - they seem to be much more inclined to cuddle if its darker.
 

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I have one girl who is a busy bee but stops for cuddles if I've got a treat, or if she is cold or tired. My other two are like pancakes--warm, slow, cuddle bugs who just want to be held and squeezed. I love them so much. I also vouch for keeping the room dim.
 

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I am really sorry about your little ratties. :( Not to sound insensitive, but at what age did those tumors occur?
Two of the girls were over 2 years and one, that passed away after having her mammary tumor removed, was just over a year I believe.
 

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Anecdotally, females cuddle on their terms and usually not for very long. My newest girl, Paprika, is a big cuddlebug and seems to be an exception. She spends almost all of her time out of the cage either in the collar of my shirt underneath my ponytail, or in my wife's purse or hoodie pocket. The rest of my girls are very "gogogo" and rarely slow down to cuddle. If I wake them up, they'll spend some time being lazy and just sniff everything, but that usually ends after 5 minutes or so. They are generous with the kisses though. Anytime they get picked up, they start licking us until they get put down.
 
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