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OK, so Harriet is getting better about ten days after I got her from the pet store in a neglected state. Her coat is almost completely soft, she takes treats from me (only if I hand them to her but she doesn't approach me) and seems to have a better appetite. That's all good but she doesn't play with anything in her cage. She only lies rolled up under a cloth and peeks sometimes when I call her. She allows me to pet her, even when she is eating and continues eating. There is no sign of any nightly activity when I check on her in the morning. Could she be depressed from loneliness?
I will have cage buddies for her in about five weeks (they are about to be born) but will she be OK for the next month and not die from depression?
I really want to avoid having to go to the pet store again for an "emergency friend' while I am so looking forward to healthy (spoken for) socialized babies.
 

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I would advice paying more attention to her. I've had a single rat a couple times, usually after all the others passed away. The key is to take her out, and play with her as much as possible. She is lonely, and needs to feel like someone is there to play with her, sleep with her, and explore with her. You need to be that friend for her right now. Is she allows you to pick her up, why not carry her around. Maybe you could let her run on your floor as you watch her, and as you play games with her. Finally, maybe you should stick your hand in her cage, and give her attention. Honestly, the time required may be a lot, but it will make her feel much better.

She won't die from depression, but she may get sick because she is lonely and sad. She may also become completely introverted, and not get along with rats in the future. I think it is crucial that you pay attention to her as much as you possibly can. And do everything you can to make her feel better.
 

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Neophyte makes a good point. Just play with her as much as possible. If she will sit on your shoulder you can maybe just let her do that while you do chores or homework or whatever it be that you have to do. Whether it's just sitting on the computer. Let her wander around the desk as you watch her. It will probably be difficult but it will be worth it in the end =)
 
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