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Hi, my name is Rae, I'm a university student studying music and I got two pet rats this year. I'd never owned a rodent before so I only got one rat first (to make sure I could look after a rat, and bc I didn't realize they needed to be in pairs - I did a lot of my reading after I'd bought him). I also learned a few months ago that I'm allergic to my rats (which explains why my "seasonal" allergies were particularly bad this year..) but I was already too attached to them to just give them away, so I'm just suffering through it.. (It's not unbearable until I clean the cages - then I feel awful...)

Here's Clause the first day I got him.  Every day after school I'd come home and put him in the sweater of my pocket so he could feel safe (hiding in the pocket) but I could also pet him and he could get used to me. He cleans himself (and Ivan, when I got him) religiously, and loves pushing around bedding. He's also fairly low energy and can sit still a lot longer than Ivan can. (He's also a more comfortable with water than Ivan, so the few baths I've given him haven't been as difficult as bathing Ivan..)

This is Ivan the first day I got him. Even just comparing the two images, there's a decent age difference. It really didn't seem to be a problem until Ivan his puberty, but I'll touch on that in a sec. Ivan is much more curious than Clause, but when I would let them both out, Ivan would sniff around and Clause would kind of trudge along behind him, so I think it was really good for him to have somebody to explore with. Ivan likes to chew on boxes and explore outside of the cage. He handles strangers a lot better than Clause (who basically will just hide from strangers).

Here they are a couple months later - they practically always slept with each other, and I'm very sure they enjoyed each others company. Once in a while things would be a little tense between them, but it always resolved itself within a day, and there was never any actual fighting (just boxing, really).

It got a lot worse about a month ago, though, and they would actually fight. Clause became terrified and would basically sit in his hammock all day, until Ivan went to sleep. I finally took him out one day because Ivan had been trying to push him out of the hammock, and he had the same terrified look on his face that he had the first time I tried to bathe him. I put him in a giant cardboard box I found, threw in some bedding, food, and a dish of water, and he was noticeably better. I went to the pet store and got a cage for him (it's just a hamster cage, but he isn't as active as Ivan, and I've put his cage somewhere that I can open the door when I get home and let him run around there as he pleases). Again, he's much better since getting away from Ivan.

The only real problem now is that when I come home they both run to the side of their cage to see me, so I think they're pretty lonely, and I now have to split my time between the two of them (which also sucks because I got the second rat so they could keep each other company when I was away/busy). I love them both very much, and like to collect boxes and make little forts for them.

Aside from having to make time to play with them both separately, I don't even mind having to clean two cages (and the food splits pretty evenly still anyway). I'm really iffy about the idea of neutering Ivan because I've heard the price can be insane, and, as a student, I have enough money to look after my rats but.. you know, more in terms of general care and immediate health (- Clause had a sinus infection earlier this year, and paying for that vet trip + meds sucked but I didn't mind). Plus my parents basically refuse to contribute a lot of money to a pet that's life span is basically 2 years. (If I can find a good vet with a decent price I think I could do it, and the more I think about it, I'm pretty sure it'd be worth it..)


Anyways.. Other than that lovely mess, they're great rats. They never bite aggressively, they eat well (Clause is a bit picky sometimes.. :'D), they travel well. I'll admit that Clause is my favourite, but that's because he's very mild mannered, and his actions and appearance are just really adorable to me. Ivan is a big suck, though, and will sit at the edge of the cage and watch me, or try to get my attention/ get over to my desk, so it's easy to love him as well.m Also they love Whiskas Temptations cat treats!! They're basically tiny cats themselves.. :'D

So nice to meet everyone - I love looking at pictures of your cute ratties! - and if anyone has any input or advice for me (especially if you know any good vets around London Ontario that can neuter a rat for fairly cheap~) I'd be happy to hear it. Cheers!
-Rae, Clause and Ivan
 

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Welcome to the ratforum! I can't help you with the vet situation but we do have Canadian members that may be able to chime in. Your Clause sounds and looks like my Klaus. Very strange coincidence!

Honestly I would try to reintroduce the two before attempting a neuter. Obviously I do not know how bad the fights were between the two but the general rule in the rat world is if there is no blood, then there is no foul. Rat fights can sound and look very vicious but it is part of their natural way of establishing hierarchy (most commonly seen during the hormonal period). There are many really great threads on proper introductions and you may find following those steps will actually save the need for a vet trip. Our boys Elijah and Finn are at the hormonal stage themselves and we witness quite a lot of fights for dominance. Elijah has also come out of these tumbles with a scratch on his tail and a wound on his side a couple of times but nothing serious. They also sleep together and eat together so we know it is just part of their complex social interactions with each other. Klaus and Kiwi never really fight with anyone (they are also not into overthrowing Finn for alpha where Elijah is). Of course if one of the rats seems stressed and constantly scared then separating them is a good idea.
 
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