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Discussion Starter #1
she won't listen to me at all when I say rats need friends. She says it's okay because she's going to spend all her time on her girl, but when I say it doesn't matter she just says I'm not her parent. No matter what I say, how I put it, she just says she can't handle two (despite having had two rats before). I compared it to saying you can't handle walks and getting a dog, no response.

Can you guys help me convince her?
 

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She sounds like something my friend would do out of ignorance and stubbornness. Try guilt-tripping, but I don't know if that would work. Just try explaining it really simply. Sorry I'm not much help, and the dog analogy is good. You could also say it's like flying a plane, but only knowing half the controls, as rats are lonlier and I'm guessing more subdued when they're lonely
 

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She sounds like something my friend would do out of ignorance and stubbornness. Try guilt-tripping, but I don't know if that would work. Just try explaining it really simply. Sorry I'm not much help, and the dog analogy is good. You could also say it's like flying a plane, but only knowing half the controls, as rats are lonlier and I'm guessing more subdued when they're lonely
It's worse, because she knows exactly that what I'm saying is true. After her one rat died she didn't have the money for a good cage, another rat, or even food. So I couldn't blame her. Now she makes at least $550 a week, and she's getting a CN. She knows what's good for rats, she's just actively choosing not to.. I compared it to locking a small child in a bedroom, or that just because they've never had it (her rat that died when she had two was very old and sickly, died a few weeks after getting a playmate, the current rat, for the old one) doesn't mean they won't enjoy it.

I'm at my wits end..
 

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You can't really do much. It's her choice. But you can come over and play with it. Or offer to babysit it so she can go to the spa or something and have a break.
 

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If she is just stubborn/cruel enough to keep it on its own, I don't know if this will help. But tell her that two rats are actually easier to care for then one, and possibly cheaper. As the lone rat can get health issues caused from stress, due to being alone. They can also develop neurological problems due to being alone, simply because they're incredibly social.
 

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If someone can afford to spend enough time with one rat to keep her from getting lonely, then she definitely can handle two rats. You might as well shoot a hole in that argument right now.

It's strange that she's being so stubborn, but stubbornness is a funny thing. It can make people (and some animals) do things that are completely illogical. And you could try reverse psychology on her, but if she sees that you're trying to manipulate her, that could make things worse.

What if you visit pet stores together and play with ratties? It's possible that there may be one out there that'll melt her heart. Then she may choose to buy the rat to keep her current rat company.

Otherwise, you gave her all the information. I just hope that she is giving the rat enough attention, but most likely she's not engaging with the rat while she's working, so there is still a lot of alone time for her.
 

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Ok first of all its perfectly possible and not cruel to keep a single male rat. There are plenty of lab studies that show with handling and a enriched environment there are no isolation stress hormones released or negative neurological outcomes. The is actually evidence that a solo rat is less anxious and group dynamics can be stressful on sub members. The only effect of being a well cared for single rat is a higher degree of territorial defense against other rats. Not to mention wild male rats actively defend a territory and eject other males from it. If its a female rat then you could argue a little more toward solo being bad unless you have tones of free time.

If however shes just sticking it in a cage for 23 out of the 24 hours a day on its own then that indeed is cruel but I doubt you will change her mind. There may be other factors that she is not tell you that are effecting her choice to keep one. I can only suggest you encourage her with cute baby rat pictures and visits to the pet shop rather than jump on her which will only make her more defensive. :)
 

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Fuzzy Rat was an only rat, and yes, we took her everywhere and spent every waking moment of the day with her and she turned out to become absolutely remarkable for the experience. It was also an incredibly difficult and time consuming challenge... When she got older she had roommates but that special bond of being a human family member never really faded. So yes, an only rat can be done well, but it's more of a commitment than owning a dog. I do know most of the rat friendly restaurants and stores in my area thanks to her. But once she had a friend, our lives got much easier... I could finally go out and buy groceries at the local supermarket again knowing Fuzzy Rat wasn't sitting there at home all alone.

We currently have two only rats... one pup too small to introduce and one big girl that wants nothing more than to meet and eat her new "frenemy". And yes we're spending lots of time with them... The pup was waking me up all morning, guess where she's sleeping. In a few weeks they will be introduced and the insanity will end, I can't wait for a good nights sleep...

I would tell your friend two things. First that once her rat has a rat friend, that won't affect her rat's relationship with her. We were actually afraid that Fuzzy Rat might become less affectionate, and she most certainly didn't... rats can have multiple friends. Second life will get a lot easier with two rats.

While it might be true that only rats will become more affectionate and even smarter with constant human contact, doing this well has a very high cost in terms of your own quality of life.

Best luck.
 

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My absolute best friend in the entire world is guilty of 2 of my pet related pet-peeves. She keeps her betta in a tiny bowl and lets her cat outside often. She KNOWS the cat would be fine inside all the time but lets her out because "she likes it!" And a multitude of other excuses including "my family always let our cats outside, nothing ever happened to them." I flat out told her I'll be singing "I told you so" if something ever does happen to her cat, despite the fact that I like the cat very much! No matter what facts or figures I throw at her, she's going to keep doing it. No matter how many betta tanks I show her, she insists "he's fine, hes a fish, hes 2 yrs old, etc". The "this is the way we've always done it" mentality is what holds a lot of people back from making changes to their pet care. It sucks but you can't change everyones mind. However, don't give up, you never know what might stick with them.
 

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I didn't mean to say it wasn't possible to keep a single rat. But judging by what the situation sounded like, I just assumed she wasn't devoting all her waking hours to socializing with the rat.
 

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I do think saying she is cruel for keeping a lone rat is a bit extreme. There are lots of things pet owners do that is cruel... Keeping male mice or Syrian hamsters together when they are fiercely territorial and will kill each other... Forcing an animal to live in their own poop and urine... Not feeding them... The list goes on and on.

I personally don't think keeping a lone rat is on that level unless they are keeping that rat completely devoid of stimulation but since she's getting the rat a CN, it sounds like the rat is well cared for.

Is it preferable? No. Is it cruel? Not in my opinion. If it is, then call me cruel;
Pooka was a lone rat for several months before his neuter, my late boy Bartok spent his last months alone after his brothers rejected him from the pack, and my current intact male is alone while waiting for his neuter (though he gets visits from Pooka but neither rat actually interact during them so they aren't often). My rats live in a QCN, get fresh food daily, eat a homemade diet I mix
myself every week, and get playtime out of their cage every day.

Amph, that study sounds interesting. I would love to read more about that.
 

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Physiol Behav. 1991

"Isolation stress" revisited: isolation-rearing effects depend on animal care methods.


Abstract
Early reports of enhanced behavioral reactivity in isolation-reared rats attributed this syndrome to "isolation stress." In the studies reported here, this "isolation stress syndrome" was reliably obtained in adult rats reared from weaning in individual hanging metal cages. Such isolates showed behavioral and adrenocortical symptoms of profound fear during open-field testing, unlike group-housed controls or littermate isolates reared singly in plastic cages. Animals in hanging metal cages are never touched by human caretakers, whereas rats reared in plastic cages are picked up and put in clean cages twice weekly. Handling hanging-cage isolates twice weekly to model the handling associated with cage changes completely protected against this syndrome. Further, there was no hormonal, neurochemical or anatomical evidence of chronic stress even in hanging-cage isolates. Littermates housed in social groupings (three rats per plastic cage) also froze and defecated in the open field at rates comparable to hanging-cage isolates if they were the first animals to be tested from their social group cage. It is probable that odor cues from familiar cagemates in the open field protected socially reared animals tested subsequently from the same cage from this syndrome. It is concluded that isolates are not chronically stressed, and that rearing effects are the result of a complex interaction between prior handling, social experience and test conditions.

Sorry I don't book mark all of them because I read so many about various subjects it would be pointless but I had this one laying around on my pc. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay so, thanks for all of your wonderful answers. I'm going to add a bit more information on the situation.

The cage is makeshift and not quite big enough, which is why I applaud her for deciding to get a critter nation. However, there is not nearly enough enrichment. She has a hut, a bowl, a water bottle and some rocks to keep down the fabric. Toilet paper tubes get thorn in every once in a while.

She tells everyone that she spends enough time with her rat (Risa is her rats name), but she doesn't. I've known this girl for 13 years, I've spent 14 hours a at with her, every day. We'd only not hang out when we were sleeping (even then sometimes). She's my sister, I love her, but she doesn't take risa out of her cage nearly enough. I'd go over and give her treats and play with her, take her out. Every three months or so my friend would make a rat run and let her play in there every day, but then it'd get tossed.

That's why I called it cruel. She has plans to spend all the time with her rat, but she doesn't do it yet. It worries me.

She loves her baby very much, I don't doubt it,
 

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Maybe once she gets the CN for Risa, you could buy or make her some "house warming" gifts for the new cage? :) Or show your friend some tutorials on making her own hammocks and toys?

Honestly, I still wouldn't label that cruel. Less than ideal, yes, but cruel is such a strong word. She isn't doing anything to endanger the rat and honestly, lots of rats have it worse and are still alright. Risa is getting a critter nation, one of the best cages ever. Help your friend fill it and Risa will be just fine. Maybe not perfect, but she'll be fine.
 

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Well, okay, so things aren't likely to change. If you two are like sisters, and she won't listen to you, then there's nothing the rest of us can do.

And it doesn't sound like something worth ending a friendship over. You try to help the rat out. Just keep doing what you are doing. Maybe she'll get bored when no one's around, but that's unfortunately the life of a pet. How often do dogs get bored when left at home? And even if they have a companion, the animal can still be bored.

Maybe having a CN will change her mind. If not, then don't worry about it. It's not like she's flogging the rat or feeding her apple seeds.
 

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I don't think there is anything you can do.. It sounds like getting a second rat isn't even a full solution if shes not caring for them correctly. You could talk to her parents about it but it would likely end your friendship. I feel it's a common problem that people start out with the best intentions but then once the novelty has worn off they slip into forgetting about their new pet. :(
 
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