Rat Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I adopted both my males when they were 1 yr and 3-4 mnths old. They are turning 2 early next month. It's sad but I never really bonded with them as well as I did with my last rat. They both know their names and one comes when called consistently, and he loves my attention yet he still squeaks sometimes when I pick him up and doesn't like being held.

My other rat just seems like he couldn't care less about me. He comes when he feels like it which is rare. He still gets a bit nervous around my fast movements. Idk. I've tried taking them out for separate play times with only me to interact with but the one just always seems to want to get away. He jumps off my bed, he jumps out of pens, I don't even want to try the couch because I know he'd find a way off of that. It's just a bit frustrating because I love them both so much and I know what it's like to have that deep bond with a heart rat and I really want that. But is it too late to get it with either of them?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
No, it's never too late to improve your relationship with your rats but change doesn't come easy for older rats. They have learned what they think are 'the rules' and aren't going to become all touchy feely overnight. I suppose I'd always give our girls a little skritch and play a short while with them between doing other things, now they come for a little skritch and a little play and then go on with their business. Strangely, I might have created this relationship because I often didn't have the time to spend hours with them, so now they don't spend hours with me..... Don't get me wrong they are perfectly well bonded and will come when called and will come to steal my food and will stop by a couple of times a day for a skritch or a free lift and they will even nap near where I'm working, but they won't nap in my lap or put up with prolonged fussing. It's often, "Hi Dad... how are you? I'm fine. Gotta go go go....I'm late...."

Cats in a cradle.... (anyone remember that song by Harry Chapin?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
So you suggest just giving them little skritches here and there when they have their free range time and it will eventually improve?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,390 Posts
Lots of food and treats is my advice
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Trust me, they get plenty of treats from me every time they are out. So the one stops by me occasionally while they play but when I reach to pet or scritch him he sniffs me, realizes I don't have food and leaves.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Actually, I was more than likely talking about the relationship you already have... You can improve it by trying to do more things together. So today my girls were in a good mood and wanted to play so I got down on the floor and just played with them for a while since then Misty has been by to climb on me every half hour or so and Cloud has weebled by for skritches and a lift to hang out the open window about 4 times.... Each time I stop what I'm doing and play a little while... I have a little bit of time today so I'm "bending" the rules and the rats are doing the same....

It takes time to change the normal dynamic and no one is comfortable with change, but with a certain amount of effort and consistency it does work. It's kind of like when a good long term friend suggests something romantic... you may really like him or her, but there's something uncomfortable about it. Basically it's because there's a change in the dynamic of the relationship.

Strangely we don't always like the relationships we are in, but we get comfortable so we resist change. Rats brains are wired very much like ours and this also seems true of rats.

Years ago, Fuzzy Rat was our constant companion and side kick, she was with us 24 by 7 and she was an only rat for a long time, being attached at the hip was the way it always was and if we ignored her even for a little while she would slash all of our wires so we couldn't use the computer, stereo or telephone. She would snip the head phone wires while I was listening to the stereo and cut my mouse and keyboard wires while I was typing... Her normal was constant attention, she didn't accept being ignored. Our current girls never got that much attention and too much seems to make them suspicious or anxious...

I hope that makes sense... but with time and effort you can improve things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
Cats in a cradle.... (anyone remember that song by Harry Chapin?)
That was the first thing I thought of when I read your anecdote. But you beat me to it, so I can no longer be witty.

Trust me, they get plenty of treats from me every time they are out. So the one stops by me occasionally while they play but when I reach to pet or scritch him he sniffs me, realizes I don't have food and leaves.
It does seem to make sense to me that they'll realize that you're more than just a big thing that hands out food as you spend more time with them. Do you have a place to go where they can't get away? Sitting in a bathtub sounds ideal, though they might use you as a springboard to get away. I had great luck in my bathroom with part of the room blocked off with pressboard (about $4 for a 4'x2' piece). The rats were stuck there with me and could either do their thing alone in the corner or come climb on me. Often they climbed on me just to see if they could reach the bathroom counter. I wore sweatpants, and they loved to go up the pant leg. I just had to clamp a hand on my thigh before they got too friendly.

Of course, I had good luck because they were young rats. As Ratdaddy said, I'm sure they are set in their ways, so it may take a while. It might not even happen at all.

Bring a portable DVD player or a tablet so you can watch movies while sitting on the bathroom floor. That way if they aren't frolicking on you yet, you won't be bored waiting for them. They'll come to you in their sweet time. Bring some treats, but let them discover you as something more than just a dispenser.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Oddly, I finally figured out why my girls were so friendly last night... I was listening to music and not watching TV as I usually do. As soon as I turned the TV on they were gone, when I turned it off they were on me again....

So it appears that they have learned not to bother me when I watch TV. Most likely, I don't like to be bothered when I watch TV, but I never thought I'd conveyed that message to our rats. It really is amazing how and what they learn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
With my two, Roxy (who passed on earlier this month} was the more social. Daisy always a bit more skittish. Daisy would often prefer to sit at the open cage door and let me skritch her. She became a bit more social after Roxy passed, but is still a bit shy. I am going to be adopting two more rats later this month (if all goes well) and it will be interesting to see if Daisy's behavior changes. I have owned Daisy over a year, and she has always been shyer, and less willing to bond. The occasions she does come and play on my lap she is talked with a lot, and given a treat as soon as she comes out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
455 Posts
I just want to say, it might just be their personalities.

Carmen and Russel were with me every second of every day for the first month and a half of living with me. I got them at 7 weeks old. They were only children for the logest time, with 6+ hours out a day with Mommy on the bed. I loved them and cuddled them and gave them treats.

They were not that loving back. They just weren't those kind of rats. Carmen was a cuddly but skittish baby, and grew into a licky but still standoffish adult. Only when he was on his death bed di he want cuddles and love. Russel still glares at me from the back corner while the younger boys come bouncing gleefully towards me. They haven't even been close to as socialized at the big boys were.

I'm currently rehabbing a 1 year old female who is supper skittish and came from a petstore two owners ago. She is more loving then Russel is. He went way downhill after his litter brother died, and now hates interacting with people. Don't get me wrong, he loves me and greets me on his good days, but he's never going to be loving.

Try your hardest just to spend tome with them, but don't expect miracles. Some people are just introverts.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top