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Hello everyone!
My rat, Pam, is two years old and her cagemate recently passed away. (I made a post regarding this earlier.) Anyhow, I'm fully aware that rats must be kept in pairs (and the more the merrier!), but it's been hard convincing my mother to let me get another. Could you help me persuade her by writing comments, explaining why it's essential to always have two rats or more? I'm afraid I'm not very articulate, and I know many of you could express the importance of this much better than me!
 

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Basically, rats are social animals, some might say pack animals. In their natural environment they keep in constant contact with their extended families (packs). Just like humans they aren't emotionally designed to be on their own and will become depressed. A constant human companion will work, but this pretty much means someone has to be with the rat 24 hours a day 7 days a week and for most people that just isn't doable.

Typically when one rat of a pair dies the other gets depressed, gains weight and almost looks like it's getting older by the day. Sometimes it has taken us time to find a friend for a lone rat when it's friend died so we've seen this. The "aging" phenomenon is pretty much irreversible but it usually stops once the rat has a new friend. The longer it takes to get your rat a new companion the shorter it's lifespan is likely to be. This is somewhat similar to old people who lose a spouse and then die a short time later. If they have a larger family it doesn't happen as often, but when it's a couple of old people on their own and one dies, very often the other follows surprisingly quickly even if the two were years apart in age.

Best luck.
 
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