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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all ... I am new to this forum and must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find so many rat fans out there.

Had a rat while growing up and she was my best friend. Saturday I decided it was time for my girls (human girls :p ) to share in some of the joy that I had with mine and bought Mulan from a pet store. I know it hasn't been long but I am worried that we are not bonding. She tends to stay in her little house (in the cage) 90% of the time. Will only come out if I physically take her out and won't take treats from me. The other thing that worries me is that she will sit with me while I play games or watch tv and she doesn't move ... just her head sways from side to side. Is this normal?

Maybe it's me and I'm just trying to rush things along so that I can rekindle my childhood memories.

Thanks for a great forum
 

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Hi! I was surprised too that there are so many people who love rats :D

Mulan will feel much more comfortable with another rat friend. They're very social and need to be kept with at least one other rat. Plus, it might just take her some time to get used to you and her new surroundings. Some rats adjust right away, and some need more time.. just like people :D

Does she have red or pink eyes? Rats with those colored eyes sway their heads to help them see. They don't have very good eyesight.
 

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I agree with mana 110% you should get her a friend... and i think you should name is MUSCHU or however you spell it haha
 

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I also say get another - it's actually almost WRONG in my opinion to have only one rat. They are extremely social and need a companion rat.

There aren't any arguments against it in reality. You still have to clean the cage either way, they become MORE friendly to humans if they have a companion, and they won't be depressed all day while you cannot be there.

Is there any reason you wouldn't want another?

Also as a side note - I've NEVER picked up one of my rats, I believe that it is their right to come to their owner. You need to have TONS of patience and just wait for her to come to you. Hold your hand by her door or in her cage and just be still, it may take about 20 minutes the first time, but now they always come straight to me when I hold out my hand. Again, BE PATIENT :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow thanks for all the advice. Yes Mana - Mulan is an albino.

Mulan is hardly ever alone. I work from home and have her cage next to my work station. I chat to her all the time.

A friend hey ??? Well I never - just shows you how little I actually know. I thought that by having more than one they would have each other for company and wouldn't need the human contact. I have no problem at all getting her a friend. I suppose that leads to other questions now. Do I get her a male or female friend? What about territory - won't she be threatened by another entering HER space?

We also had some progress last night / this morning. She now snuggles / hides under my clothing. She will nestle close to my neck under my jersey and seems quite content just staying there. This morning she actually had a nibble from a treat I offered.

I will go and look for a friend on the weekend. Renay I think Muschu is a brilliant name :)

Again thanks for coming back to me
 

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I would get her a female friend and I would also look up a bunch on quaritine and introductions. It seems ther have been alot of flamed debates about introductions and quarintines here so try using the search tool. I found that to be a good tool while I was lookig around for certain things.

Also she may need time to get used to you I handle my rats from day one when they come home with or with out their permission.
 

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Mushu! I love it! It's an adorable name for Mulan's friend! Make sure it's a female, unless you're willing to get either Mulan spayed or the male neutered.

If you get the new rat from the same place you got Mulan, and they have already lived together, there shouldn't be problems with Mulan feeling like her territory has been invaded. She will probably be very happy to see her old cagemate again! And I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) that you will not need to quarantine her, since it hasn't been that long.

But if you get one from somewhere else, you will have to quarantine the new rat, and then go through the process of introducing the two rats. There are numerous threads about both of these you should look at ^_^
 

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Am I the only one who gives my rats their own autonomy and allows them to come to me? I don't believe in forcing any living creature to "love" their owner.

I've always been patient with my girls and within a few days they were climbing out onto my hand and all over me.

Whenever I bring them into the bathroom for free runaround time, they constantly want to be all over me and shower me with love.

You don't NEED to force animals, and I personally think that you can allow them to choose you rather than handling them by force. :)
 

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Mana said:
If you get the new rat from the same place you got Mulan, and they have already lived together, there shouldn't be problems with Mulan feeling like her territory has been invaded. She will probably be very happy to see her old cagemate again! And I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) that you will not need to quarantine her, since it hasn't been that long.

But if you get one from somewhere else, you will have to quarantine the new rat, and then go through the process of introducing the two rats. There are numerous threads about both of these you should look at ^_^
Actually since you don't know if the entire litter has sold and this would be a new litter quarintine is still VERY important plus introductions canget nasty if they were not from the same litter and so on.
 

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I kinda skimmed through this fast to see if anyone else mentioned it... don't think I saw it mentioned though.

The swaying thing is often a sign that they can't see very well... unless of course she is just double checking what she is seeing in preparation for a jump.

If she is shying away from you & not moving around & swaying most of the time... she may be blind or at least not see very well.

Try different treats... something she is very fond of & attempt to coax her to you rather than reaching in to grab. If she is blind or doesn't see well you may have to use smells/treats with her every time.

Albinos in the animal world tend to be challenged both in vision & hearing. Have you noticed her responding to sound?
 

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rattikins said:
Am I the only one who gives my rats their own autonomy and allows them to come to me? I don't believe in forcing any living creature to "love" their owner.

I've always been patient with my girls and within a few days they were climbing out onto my hand and all over me.

Whenever I bring them into the bathroom for free runaround time, they constantly want to be all over me and shower me with love.

You don't NEED to force animals, and I personally think that you can allow them to choose you rather than handling them by force. :)
Tsk. My boys don't like getting picked up.

But I've gotten them used to it and they don't mind it much anymore. I think they have to be used to getting picked up by me, in case something happens (like last night when Perry almost got to the front door, little *******... :lol: )
 

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RatCrazy said:
Mana said:
If you get the new rat from the same place you got Mulan, and they have already lived together, there shouldn't be problems with Mulan feeling like her territory has been invaded. She will probably be very happy to see her old cagemate again! And I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) that you will not need to quarantine her, since it hasn't been that long.

But if you get one from somewhere else, you will have to quarantine the new rat, and then go through the process of introducing the two rats. There are numerous threads about both of these you should look at ^_^
Actually since you don't know if the entire litter has sold and this would be a new litter quarintine is still VERY important plus introductions canget nasty if they were not from the same litter and so on.

I'm with the others that say quarantine

Maybe new stock has been delivered even if some of the same ones are there.

Also be careful if the cage is mixed sexes... these prolific little friends are fertile & ready to make babies at 6 weeks of age. If the girls are mixed with males that are even slightly older are even more likely to be preggers. Buying 2 females could potentially put you in the position of having 20 or more total within 3 weeks time.
 

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Forensic said:
rattikins said:
Am I the only one who gives my rats their own autonomy and allows them to come to me? I don't believe in forcing any living creature to "love" their owner.

I've always been patient with my girls and within a few days they were climbing out onto my hand and all over me.

Whenever I bring them into the bathroom for free runaround time, they constantly want to be all over me and shower me with love.

You don't NEED to force animals, and I personally think that you can allow them to choose you rather than handling them by force. :)
Tsk. My boys don't like getting picked up.

But I've gotten them used to it and they don't mind it much anymore. I think they have to be used to getting picked up by me, in case something happens (like last night when Perry almost got to the front door, little *******... :lol: )
That's a good point. I suppose if I NEEDED to pick on of them up, they wouldn't care. Anytime I want one of them to come to me, like when it's time to go back to their cage, I just lay my palm down on the ground and say "come here baby" and they both come running. :)
 

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rattikins said:
Also as a side note - I've NEVER picked up one of my rats, I believe that it is their right to come to their owner. You need to have TONS of patience and just wait for her to come to you. Hold your hand by her door or in her cage and just be still, it may take about 20 minutes the first time, but now they always come straight to me when I hold out my hand. Again, BE PATIENT :)

I have to agree with this, my boys hate being picked up (my hubby is always there behind me going 'you're doing it wrong!' lol), but they will usually just walk right onto my hand if I place it in front of them. Sometimes I can stick my hand in the cage and they'll come running up my arm to my shoulder. Hubby has big hands and can reach in there and scoop them up so that none of their legs hang off, they feel really secure and don't stuggle at all when he picks them up. My hands are a lot smaller and they don't like it when I pick them up, so I let them come to me.
 

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I keep the handling to a minimum myself in the beginnings. I put them on the couch and sit or lie there with them. They get used to me, and they get Out (very exciting!!), and I pat them gently, talk and even sing to them. Hands to most unsocialized rats are predators. They swoop down and grab you and you are "dead". I will sometimes pick up a nervous rat and pull them into my chest and under my chin, making sure to support them so they feel secure. I don't hold them for long but when I gently and carefully put them down, they often run and then turn and look at me "Huh? That wasn't too bad!"

I am working on 2 young lab rat males that I took in last week for rehoming. So I should have some firsthand suggestions coming soon. :D
 

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Lesath said:
rattikins said:
Also as a side note - I've NEVER picked up one of my rats, I believe that it is their right to come to their owner. You need to have TONS of patience and just wait for her to come to you. Hold your hand by her door or in her cage and just be still, it may take about 20 minutes the first time, but now they always come straight to me when I hold out my hand. Again, BE PATIENT :)

I have to agree with this, my boys hate being picked up (my hubby is always there behind me going 'you're doing it wrong!' lol), but they will usually just walk right onto my hand if I place it in front of them. Sometimes I can stick my hand in the cage and they'll come running up my arm to my shoulder. Hubby has big hands and can reach in there and scoop them up so that none of their legs hang off, they feel really secure and don't stuggle at all when he picks them up. My hands are a lot smaller and they don't like it when I pick them up, so I let them come to me.
Yes, I suppose my whole thing is that I don't understand WHY people are concerned with how much their rats do for them. Being a rat owner isn't in my opinion about getting something, it's about giving.

It makes me happy just to watch them enjoying their little lives. I don't feel any need to force them to do anything, and the ironic thing is that being like that has made them VERY attached and affectionate.

Think of how you would prefer to live. Forced to love or ALLOWED to love. :)
 

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I don't think I'm forcing my boys to love me by picking them up.

I'm forcing them to be with me, but they can feel however they'd like about me.

Kinda like how I'm forced to go to work every day.

Still don't love it. No matter how they bribe me with cookies. :twisted:
 

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i agree with forensic. you can't force a feeling out of a rat but you can get them over feelings that they don't need, like fear of you. in my experience not letting them get away with feeling afraid has worked best. if they run from me when i pick them i make sure to pick them up and hold them and sook them for at least 20 minutes or so. a rat cannot stay afraid for longer then 20 minutes. their bodies just won't allow it. once they realize that you're not going to harm them it doesn't take long for them to then realize you're a good thing. my rats will crawl on my hands and all over me but they also don't mind being picked up. in fact a few of them anticipate it. bribery and stewie both will stretch out their bodies so i cna get a better hold of them to be picked up, then they just dangle there until i get them out of the cage and rested on a shoulder.

as for mulan though. i have also come across the effects of a proper sized cage and a ratty companion will have on the temperment of a single rat to their humans. some changes were as drastic as a rat that was cranky and bitey to a rat that became a big squishy, bruxx crazy lovebug in only a couple weeks and the changes started almost immediately after being put in the larger cage and meeting her new friend.

as for quarantine i guess that would depend on how lon ago you got mulan. if she hasn't even been with you for 2-3 weeks (the regular length of a qurantine) then its not going to matter much.

for introductions get her a female friend from the same store and put them in the bathtub together for a bit. chances are they'll get along just fine. remember, no blood no foul. they'll show signs of aggression before attacking though. they would get foofy (hair all standing on end) and/or sidle up to the other (walks sideways). basically they will try to look bigger and scarier then the other rat before attacking the other rat. if this happens then distract the aggessor or end the intro for a while and go back a step to just placing their cages close to each and swapping toys and such before trying to put them together again. having said all that it is in my experience that single rats (especially) young ones seldom have an issue in accepting new rat. once they have accepted each other on neutral territory then clean out the cage they will be sharing and pop them in there then watch them for a while to make extra sure all will be well.

please keep us posted as to mulan's (and possibly mushu's) progress.
 

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For the most part, my little ones run all over my arms and shoulders. I do think, though, that them being comfortable with being picked up is very important for their safety, if nothing else.
 

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Sparker said:
For the most part, my little ones run all over my arms and shoulders. I do think, though, that them being comfortable with being picked up is very important for their safety, if nothing else.
LOL! What could you possibly mean by this? If there was an emergency OF COURSE I would pick them up to put them in a carrier to take to the vet, but that in no way justifies handling them regularly in my opinion. So what do you mean by "is very important for their safety"??
 
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