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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my rats for a bit over a week, and it's just occurred to me that they may not acknowledge me as a person. How can I tell if they genuinely like me or if they just see me as a big climbing toy and food source? One of them never looks me in the eye. The other does more often but is also a little more timid.
 

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I have had 2 of my rats for about a month. They definitely recognize our scents. Now that we added 3 more today, you can see the difference in our 2 previous ones compared to the 3 new girls. We will get there with our new ones, but I know they recognize us.
 

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OK, they may not "know" like we know another human, but like DaisyNDahlia said, I think they know our scent, and our voices, too. My Roxy and Miss Daisy can definitely tell the difference between me and my husband. It just takes time.
 

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Considering the fact that my more timid rats (who come to me and lick me when I get home) won't even come to my husband and will potentially bite anyone else that puts their hand in the cage the wrong way...I'd say, yeah, they know who we are; it just takes some time to develop a relationship. I find it best to think of them as little people when I'm frustrated with the lack of instant love. It takes time and commitment to develop a relationship with a person and even after years of knowing a person, each relationship is different. Don't expect each of your rats to love you in the same way, but if you put in the time and effort, I can assure you that they will appreciate your presence in their lives.
 

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Yup! Rats recognize their owners as one of them, and can tell people apart. It is more mice and hamsters that think of their humans as just something to climb on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The reason I asked is because when I first got them I thought they instantly loved me (they would climb my shoulder and nuzzle my ear, lick my face, climb into my hand when I offered it, etc.), but now they are showing less interest in me, and today when I took Amadeus out for free-range time he wouldn't even look at me but just climbed over me as he was running around my room.

Do you think maybe they think I'm ignoring them when I have to go to work, and this is their way of "getting back"?
 

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No, I don't think they are getting back at you for ignoring them. Rats' minds just don't work that way. You can be especially sure of that since you having to go to work isn't a recent change; it's not like they are feeling neglected because you used to hold them a lot more. Ratties are good at adjusting to their owners' schedules.

Just give them time. :) Charlotte bonded with me really fast (she was sleeping in my arms the first night I had her). But it wasn't until a few days ago that I noticed she was really connecting with me (I've had her for four weeks). Now she loves it when I hold her with my thumbs under her arms and scratch her back, and she looks me in the eyes the whole time. Don't worry if it's taking them a while - they will come to love you. And doing immersion never hurts, either!

At least yours feel confident running around your room. Charlotte was a tiny baby when I got her - only four weeks old, and she wouldn't explore and only wanted to hide under me. She grew out of that though. :)
 

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Bbies typically get over excited and want to explore the world once they start to get a bit older and have more stamina. I find the best way of getting them to bond ot you and satisfy there craving for new things is to alternate the style of out time. I spend some time free ranging them with lots of interesting things to play and do, during which time i play with them with a feather wand and act as a climbing frame, and some cuddle time with me on the sofa which is much more about us spending time together and cuddling. It works best when i have an active play followed by cuddle time when there energy has reduced a bit
 

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Rats definitely do learn to be neglected. They learn that there is a pattern in the household that they follow. When I turn the TV on the rats tend to keep to themselves, when it's off they come out to say hi. They learn when you are busy and when not to disturb you... So yes very affectionate rats actually learn to leave you alone when they think you don't want to play with them. We once adopted a very neglected rat, she was actually a very sweet rat, but she very rarely ever came out to engage us.... she just assumed humans didn't want to be bothered with her.

As to rats actually getting to know you as a person, they very much do, once they realize you are a sentient being they actually make a very detailed study of you and know you much better than you think. This doesn't mean that all rats become affectionate, like the peculiar relative that your parents took in that lives in the basement or attic, some rats do keep to themselves more than others. Although it's unusual, humans an rats can actually get to know each other very well, cohabit and understand each other very well and never get close. Our sweet little girl Max actually became quite reclusive in her older age. She went from a best little buddy to a spoiled brat to an indignant old lady that snorted, flipped you the tail and walked away the instant you weren't about to give her whatever she wanted, she held a grudge and she could sulk for days... She was a brilliant rat, and was very easy to understand and she really understood us very well... she just had a personality that made it hard to like her sometimes.

Best luck
 

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I guess you kind of just know for one thing mine pee on me ..... ALOT. Which means there marking you as one of there own although mine pees way to much also I know because mine will come up to the cage when I enter the room and shower me in kisses and also I have never trained them to come by name but when I say there names they scamper on over (acting guilty of course)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for your comments. I guess it's just that mine are so young, they have short attention spans. I got Amadeus's attention earlier when he was chasing Link around and pushing him over, so I did the same thing to him, and suddenly he was just like "Oh, right. Shine is here too. Let's play with Shine." And then he climbed up my shirt to my shoulder and cuddled me. c:
 

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It takes time. My first boys grew more affectionate as time went on rather then pure curiosity and food dispenser. When they were out they would do their own rat things, stop by and say hi or even start pulling on my pants for attention but not all the time. They are not like those dogs who will lap up every second of attention you give them Rats will do things of their own terms, sorta like cats.

My new babies got super curious about me after a week of being somewhat timid and now run up the the cage to play with my hands even if I don't have food. They currently are spending every moment I'm around with me but these boys were socialized and handled every day before I got them. But lots of rats need time to build trust. Remember you are humongous.
 

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I agree, your rats will absolutely get to know you. My rats are soley mine, they live in my room, i feed them, i clean their cage and most importantly i play and cuddle with them. When i'm alone with them they're confident and adventurous and jump out of the cage the second the door is opened. But when i bring friends and family to meet them they stay back and suddenly become a bit timid. (With the exception of Bonnie who loves everyone and everything)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I feel like I am finally making an emotional connection with Amadeus. He was the one I thought didn't like me before, but now that I've got him to notice me he is just absolutely a ball of cuddles and joy. He climbs up the front of my shirt whenever he gets the chance and sits on my shoulder. He licks my hands and face and combs through my hair with his paws. He even goes places out of the house with me sometimes, if I'm wearing a coat that he can burrow into when he gets tired of riding my shoulder. Link is still a bit more of a timid cage-dwelling rat, but Amadeus is definitely a buddy. I'm so happy! c:
 

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Yay! So glad you were patient with him - it really pays off. :) He sounds a lot like my girl Charlotte - climbing the shirt to get to the shoulder, licking my hands, combing my hair, etc. I haven't taken her out of the house yet (except in the backyard) but I hope to soon. I'm sure with time that Link will be your little buddy as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Aw, how cute. We both have rat buddies. c:

Yeah, I hope Link becomes a little more social. It's not like he's really anti-social; he's just more of an introvert than Amadeus, and I can understand that. I don't relate well with members of my own species, so how can I expect a rat to? xb
 

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Actually having your rat chill in your hoodie or clothes is super helpful. (I suggest old hoodie and old clothes with the nervous one, I had fear poop on day two) It gives them a place to hide while still being close to you. I think thats what helped me bond to my babies super quick along with light immersion training. Also as it was with my older rats, my Timid Loki would observe the out going Nimbus, realized nothing bad happened to him and grew braver and more social over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That is good. Hopefully it will work with Link too. c:
 

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It takes a while. Trust me, your relationship with your rats have so much growing to do yet! it's gonna be great. A week is not nearly enough time to even see their true personalities come out yet. It took 3 weeks for my boys to come around to me. But yes, they can definitely tell the difference between you and some stranger cuz they wouldn't let just anybody pick them up. They will bond with you alot more over the next few months and it will be a really good experience.
 
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