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I have a rattie named Rufus, and my sister has a brother from his litter named Ron. However, she's moving and taking Ron with her, and my mom won't allow me to get another rat. I have no idea what to do, and I really don't want to have to give him away. I love him dearly, but I know I need to keep his health in mind. Would rat playdates a few times a week suffice until I can convince my mom to get another?
 

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Ouch. Is there any way to explain to your mom that hairless rats need warmth from other rats and that all rats are pack animals and social animals who need other rats to communicate with, groom, spend time with, sleep with, have arguments with, and love? If your mom had to live alone without and human interaction, it too would be difficult.
 

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Try listing the effects that it could have on Rufus. Depression, destructive behavior, increased illnesses, etc. I think this may be becuase your mom doesn't understand just how important it is a rat has a cagemate.
 

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As a owner of a single Rat I feel like I can give you some thoughts which may be controversial here. Firstly you should listen to everyone whos going to tell you how bad it will be for Rufus to be kept alone and do whatever it takes to get him a friend. I would be skeptical about play dates because it could be quite stressful to keep introducing and breaking the social bond.

Now say you can't get another rat, the future for a short time is out of your hands. As Rufus has been with a cage mate before he will go either of two ways, depression or thrive. This is going to be down to his own little personality more than anything you can do at first. If he's depressed then the only humane thing to do would be rehome him. If however he doesn't spiral down there is hope for him to thrive as a lone rat. This is the point where everything you do and everywhere you go has to keep him in mind. You need to have him out and with you most of the day.. If he's awake he's out and you're making sure he has interaction, stimulation and protection wherever you are, no matter what you're doing. You no longer have a pet rat you have a small child and the bond you have cannot be one where you just talk now and then, you have to live life together. You really need to think it through because what you feel like doing now is very different to what you will feel like doing in 6 months when you are under stress from all the busy stuff life throws at you. It is possible for a lone rat to live a full and happy life but you will make or break it.

p.s Don't stress they can sense it and reflect your emotions. :)
 

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In part the reason our remarkable Fuzzy Rat became so special was that she was an only rat for a while... As Amph said, we took her with us everywhere and she was never left alone.... This meant we traveled with her, shopped with her and took her outside whenever we went out.... Indoors she hung out with us.... either playing with my daughter or napping on my desk....

That's not to suggest that she didn't have a very special personality.... she very much did... The combination of her special personality, her extreme intelligence and her daily outings as well as her constant ability to interact with us, made her evolve to something more like a dog or even a child than a typical rat..

So Amph is right, an only rat can be done successfully. But consider who with hang out with your rat when you have to go to school or work? If you go out to eat, which restaurants are rat friendly and which stores will let you bring your rat in when you shop? And most of all, does your rat even have that kind of personality, or will it just panic and run off when you take it outside? And this doesn't even take into account the time it takes to train a true shoulder rat... I won't say it's a nightmare, because we actually had a great deal of fun, but it was a lifestyle choice to say the least.

You can't believe how much easier it got having two rats, so that sometimes we could leave Fuzzy Rat at home with her friend. In truth, she still came out with us more than not, she had grown accustomed to traveling with us and we we used to having her along... but I could at least go to the supermarket again, which was nice.

I think you could try play dates, I don't know how that will work... but it might work out fine.... Still it involves doing a bit of scheduling or you and your sister could share joint custody of the rats and keep them together as they go from one home to the other.... One week at your house and the next with your sister for example... They might even enjoy that and both you and your sister get to keep both rats.

I understand where your mom is coming from... it just seems like one rat will be less work than two. In reality it's the exact opposite. If you are home most of the time and you can train your rat to be a true shoulder rat so it can travel with you when you go out, you really can build an amazing relationship, but in the sense of the amount of time and effort you are about to invest it's a bazaar thing to do... And that's coming from someone who's done it and will not likely do it again...

This is Fuzzy Rat...

Hanging out an playing with the kids at the playground...

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Napping on my desk...
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Keeping me company...
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And yes, of course eating dinner with us...
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I really can't say she was ever apart from us for more than a few hours during her entire lifetime... even when she had a friend who we also had drag along so she wasn't at home alone either... which posed certain additional problems...

Best luck.
 
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