Rat Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've had 2 female albino rats for about 1 year and 5 months now that I bought from petland, and for about 1 year everything was perfect. But since October my one rat Scritchy had to go in for a surgery to have a tumor removed. After that, I'm not sure if their health has decreased or I'm seeing everything as potentially life threatening. Every little sniffle or myco attack sends me running to the vet. I end up taking them to the vet almost once every 2 weeks just for slightly altered breathing. Right this moment Scritchy is having a spay due to a womb complication (A polyp is causing her to bleed every 10 days or so, and was told that eventually that can cause really bad problems.) She's had a head tilt since she was young from an ear infection she received at the pet store but otherwise she's fine (Although much smaller than most rats.)

Shrieksy is much bigger than Scritchy and recently she's slowed down a lot and seems to prefer crawling into my shirt when I let them out rather than explore around the room. I'm not sure if shes eating less or I'm just being a nervous wreck. Sometimes she takes treats, sometimes she doesnt. She'll almost always eat her fruit baby food when offered but when she doesn't I get so stressed out. I hear when rats get older they get less energetic and calm down, but I always think she may be sick, too. I let them out for at least 3 hours a day but it's starting to get to the point that before then, I have to work myself up so much to go up to their room and see them, as I'm afraid that another problem may appear, or I might catch one in the middle of a myco attack and freak out again. These myco attacks didnt really bother me before and I'd always just set up a humidifier in the room and give them a little chocolate, but now one wheeze makes me depressed. Maybe it's my fear of them growing older, or my fear of what will happen if one sister passes away and leaves the other lonely.

My question is, there is a rat rescue near where I live called Charming Rat Rescue (www.facebook.com/CharmingRatRescue) and the owner says she has close to 100 rats and I've been thinking of giving them up for a chance to be adopted by someone without anxiety or depression. But I just spent 2 hours last night petting them while they cuddled under my shirt and I get so upset not having them. What course of action does everyone else thing I should take?

tl;dr I sometimes see problems that arent there, I easily freak out and think every problem is life threatening and I'm having anxiety attacks because of it. Should I give them to a local rat rescue, or stick with them and take the good with the bad?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
A rats final months are usually a wonderful time to share affection. This is an important stage in their life and they appreciate every kindness you show them so much more... Think of your girls as grandmoms who want to be with you and are happiest when you cuddle them.

I know you are thinking about them dying, and yes a rats life is short, but this is a precious time for you and your rats to share... it's part of life....

Don't concern yourself too much about your rats living forever... they won't, they can't... rats live short lives, that's the deal and there's nothing you can do about it.... concentrate on making every moment and memory the best you can and love them every minute they have left. This will give your rats the best possible senior experience and you the fondest memories to carry with you for the rest of your life....

Our remarkable Fuzzy Rat became completely disabled by tumors and she had to be carried around and lifted to her food and water in her final months of life... We still took her outside to nap in the clovers and to do meet and greets with the children she loved so much and even when she couldn't walk she loved every bit of the attention she received... and I snuggled with her and fed her grapes and fortune cookies until she finally asked to go back to her cage where she waited for my daughter to give her her bedtime skritch and she went to sleep and passed away... Her roommate Amelia, was suffering from congestive heart failure, but climbed up onto my shoulder one last time when her heart stopped as I was holding her against my neck.... In fact we had been holding her pretty much around the clock for a few days before she passed away.

The last months, weeks, hours and even minutes we spent with our best beloved furry friends have always been precious... yes heartbreaking and bittersweet... but they are memories I'll keep for the rest of my life...

Don't be afraid, night passes into day and the tide will rise and rats will pass away to make room for more rats... it's the nature of things... and someday someone else with inherit your world too. But think about when you are old and frail, would you rather be with your beloved family or put into a senior home? Or if you have an old grandparent you love that is sick wouldn't you rather spend time with them while you have a chance or would you rather stay away until they die...

Life isn't about living forever, it's about making the most out of the time an love you have...

Don't worry about what's going to happen, just make the best out of the time you still have... the best times with your rats are still ahead, if you use the time wisely.... The senior days can be a great time for all of you.

Best luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'm worried that with the amount of stress building and anxiety every night I may make some bad decisions, or make no decisions at all. When I bought my rats all I had read was a book and a pamphlet on rat care from Petland. It didn't tell me about tumors or myco or any kind of illness, so I was very unprepared, though I have managed to take care of them, I have no prior experience with rats so I still don't know the difference between a respiratory infection, a myco attack, or just a dry/dusty room. Currently my one rat seems to be failing in health and I am unsure why. I vacuumed every inch of my room, I set up a humidifier to counteract the dry air, and she still seems to have trouble breathing. I've got her on antibiotics (Baytril), I give her dark chocolate every now and then, and I've put her in a room with a hot shower running to clear her nose and nothing seems to work. This seems to have come on suddenly, with no porphyrin around her eyes or nose. Her nose seems very dry though, but I had the hot water humidifier running all day next to her cage. I feel that someone who has taken care of rats before would be better suited for the job than I am right now.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
I doubt anyone is going to love your rats more than you do. The fact is that rats get old, sick and pass away, if your vet can't help, I doubt anyone else can do better... all you can do is focus on the good times you can still share with your rat for as long as you have her... Our big girl Max has growing mammary tumors, we're waiting for meds and we're going to give them a try, she's a year and half old and she may not make another three months if the meds don't work... we will miss her terribly we raised her from a two week old pup... She was out top rat and today I saw Cloud had her rolled over on her back... she's already losing energy and status and soon she will be pretty frail, then she will pass on. She was a feeder bin rat, she became a true shoulder rat, she's had a pretty good life and we hope to love her for as long as we can... I'm not going to stress out about her dying because for now, I'm still happy to have her with us...

Just do the best you can, enjoy every moment you have together and don't worry about what you can't fix or what happens next... don't screw up the time you have worrying about the time you don't.

Go give your rats a big hug and a tasty treat, show them how much you love them and let them help you feel better, that's the best way to deal with stress I know of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. I know I'm the only one capable of loving them this much but it's because I love them that I need to give them up. I used to have clinically diagnosed depression and I fear it may be returning. Honestly, it may not be my rats bringing it on, but I'm afraid that I may have a relapse and be unable to care for them for some time. It breaks my heart but I know that they would have a better shot with someone else more stable and more knowledgeable. I feel much better giving my rats to a rescue that is run out of someone's house than the local SPCA or Pet Store
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
996 Posts
I’m not really sure how to write all of my thoughts on this, so please forgive me if it seems disjointed and if things don’t make sense, please tell me so I can clarify…

I feel like I’ve been where you are, around the same timeline of having rats, in fact. I’d had them for a year, I’d dealt with case after case of respiratory issues, and add to that I wasn’t spending as much time with each rat as I should (I had eight), I felt so overwhelmed that I questioned whether I should have gotten rats at all. I rehomed three of them because those three definitely needed a place they would get the love I couldn’t give them. I held some resentment against two of them for kicking my favorite boy out of their pack and the other had bitten me (with good reason, so it wasn’t his fault) which made me hesitant to handle him even though he wasn’t aggressive. Those three needed a better home and last I heard, they are enjoying it very much.

Then there were my four girls… While searching for a home for those three boys, I also advertised my girls and just planned on keeping my favorite male who was in failing health (lost the use of his back legs) and wouldn’t live long anyways. I was ready to give up Silver, my first rat, and all three of her cage mates because I was done. I was done with them, their health issues, and their need for me to interact with them. I was just done.

You’re several steps ahead of me because I didn’t know I had depression or anxiety during that time. It wasn’t until after three of those four girls died that I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety (plus Asperger’s, Social Phobia, and ADHD). After that, everything suddenly made sense…

But that’s all me… Here’s how I relate it to you. I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t rehome your girls. Only you can know that.

However, I want you to look at them for a minute. What do you feel? Does you depression disappear for a moment? Does the anxiety melt away? Or do you feel worry? Do you feel stress?

For me, all the bad feelings I feel every day, beating myself up over stupid things I’ve done, being depressed about everything, and anxiety over life just disappears. The other day, I was extremely depressed and when I get into that state, I get angry… Unfortunately, my mom is usually the one that gets yelled at even if I’m not angry at her. She had enough of it and told me to go into the rat room. Pooka and Anya instantly jumped onto the sides of their cage when I walked in and a ghost of a smile passed over my face. My mom told me to sit next to them and their little noses stuck through the bars, hoping to be let out or get treats. I tried to ignore them and remain angry, but it was getting hard. My mom then told me to put my finger in there and before I even did, I was smiling and fighting back a laugh. When I did, everything was gone. What was I even upset about?

My rats have brought me back from the edge. I mean, truly… I was writing a suicide note until I looked at Eevee and I saw her little face… I had to stay and take care of my babies. I love them more than anything and they bring me more joy than anything has ever in my life. While they don’t make me feel 100% better every time (recently, I was far too upset for that), they do keep me grounded and keep me from feeling completely hopeless.

Yes, they give me stress and anxiety too. Their illnesses cause me to cry sometimes, thinking nothing I do will make it better. Anya causes me great anxiety with her antics… One of these days, she’s just going to jump or fall off my shoulder and be gone… Yet I still carry her around the house to visit my family.

You just have to analyze how your rats make you feel the majority of the time. Do they only cause you this extreme feeling of anxiety because of health issues? When you’re not thinking of the health issues, how do they make you feel?

If a majority of the feelings they cause you are depression and anxiety and stress, then I do not think it would be wrong for you to rehome them. I would urge you to, before going through with it, to spend extra time with them. Try new things with them. I found teaching my rats tricks is great stress relief and something they really enjoy. Maybe try that a few times if you haven’t. Think of fun things you and your rats could do. Experience new things before you do something that can’t be reversed.
Hopefully all this made sense and was helpful… I didn’t mean to make it so much about me, so I’m very sorry for that… I just want for you to make a decision you can live with. Giving up a pet is hard, but sometimes is the best choice. It is not a choice that should be made lightly, though.

I do want to reassure you of something, though. I don’t think it’s right to say no one will love them as much as you do. Surprisingly, some people are capable of great love (who’d of thought that of humans? Lol) and I’ve seen firsthand how much people can love rats that were rehomed to them. If you’re worried about how much love they get, I recommend rehoming them yourself instead of giving to a rescue, so you can decide who they go to. (Also, depending on where you are located, I could possibly either help you find a home for them or even give them a home. Just let me know what you decide).

Best of luck and many virtual hugs to you and your rats!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The stress comes and goes. I sat in the veterinary office with my rat in my arm and she buried her face into the crook of my arm and let me pet her for almost an hour to the point that her heavy breathing disappeared, or maybe I was just too focused to hear it anymore. But usually during the evenings is when my mood turns bad and I can hardly bare to look at them. My boyfriend says that I've taken really great care of them. Better care than most people would, and way better care than the pet store I bought them from. I want to tell myself I did a good job but even if my rat makes a full recovery I know that one sneeze would cause me to lose the little sleep I already get and spend the next couple of days fretting over if I'm a good enough care giver or if I did something wrong.

I guess it's all traced back to my other rats first operation. A small lump appeared and I didn't take much notice. But in the span of a week blew up to be around the size of a small ping pong ball. In that time I took her to 2 seperated vets. One said she had an abscess and took a fine needle asperate, though something went wrong and I had to come in the next day for another. Then the doctor said it may be infected while another said it was most likely a mammory tumor. I went for the operation and in the end it turned out to be just an abscess. After that it has been a slow decent into anxiety as I look over every part of my rat, investigate every sneeze or cough, and flip out when they turn down food or treats.

My boyfriend says he worries about me and that ideally I would have a balance of their health and mine, but right now it's all one sided with me bending over backwards for them and then staying up all night stressing out and getting sick. I think they need a new owner who's a lot calmer and knows the difference between a dusty room, a myco flare up and a heart attack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
I HIGHLY encourage you to talk to a mental health professional before you make your decision. I would not want you to regret decisions made while depressed/suffering from anxiety issues. Rehoming your rats may not be the answer to your depression/anxiety.

http://www.wingofmadness.com/major-life-change-depressed/

Now, if you do decide to rehome your rats, I encourage you to try to find a home for them yourself rather than surrender them to the rescue, *especially* if they already have that many rats. They will be very hard pressed to find a home for two elderly PEW girls with previous health issues, and in all likelihood they will die in the rescue's care, competing for attention with 100 other rats and costing the rescue a ton in vet bills. You could ask the rescue for help, perhaps, by having them post them for you and/or screen interested parties for you, but you are your rats' best advocate, having loved and owned them most of their lives.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top