Rat Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reporting Kaylee's behaviour is starting to become a weekly event. On the plus side she appears to becoming less aggressive with me and my partner. However i am becoming concerned about her and River. Just to remind you River has a neurological condition which make it difficult to use her back legs properly and she's not all there mentally. She's not an old rat so I don't know the cause but the vet has assured me she isn't in any pain and is otherwise healthy. Normally the girls get on well and Kaylee can be overly protective with her especially if i am stroking River.

My concern is that often Kaylee likes to assert her dominance by pushing River around, taking food out of her mouth and fighting at least once a day. Most of it is harmless and usually a no from me stops Kaylee from taking it too far. However like a few minutes ago Kaylee starting to fight with her and could hear River crying out so i said no and got ignored. Then i went up to the cage and ended up pulling Kaylee off River who was laying on her side with her eyes shut. I honestly thought she was dead until she turned round.

I am worried because Kaylee can be so rough i don't know if its aggression or play fighting and i don't really want to wait to find out which one and if there is something i can do. River has no real way to defend herself.

I know Kaylee clearly has a lot of issues i just need help to help her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just to give a little more info on the fights. Kaylee is always the instigator of these arguments and they way River responds shows that the fight is Kaylee reminding her who is boss. Also these fights are completely random, one minute they will be curled up together and the next minute shes attacking her. I don't believe these fights draw blood but occasionally it does look like there are tiny flecs in Rivers fur although as her back claws are very sharp i put this down to a slight miscalculation in scratching.

Since immersion, Kaylee has gotten a lot more confident and is now trying to find ways to break out of her cage and still occasionally tries to bite, almost like shes trying to tell me whos in charge (like that is ever going to happen) and has drawn blood from my partner who was just putting food in their bowl. After these episodes she goes back to ignoring us and cuddly with her sister and you would never know that she had tried to attack only minutes before. I am just starting to wonder if there is more going on than simple distrust.

As you can tell i am completely new at rats and to have all the info i can before dealing with an issue. I have hamster and two gerbils and despite an inexplicable need to put holes in my clothes they are all pretty simple.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Rats can play aggressively, and one rat usually signals the other when the play fight is over by rolling over. This once became a problem for one of our rats who had massive tumors and couldn't move properly anymore... A rat can't signal it's giving up if it can't roll over. So she squeaked for me and I stopped the engagement, much to the other rat's surprise. And no, she wasn't being aggressive, she just didn't get that the game was over. Just a thought; if perhaps if River can't properly communicate, Kaylee can't understand her.

But you do have to think of Kaylee as a child. She's terribly smart and yes she can be stubborn like a child and she can become pushy. And yes some rats can think that they can push you around and run your household... To some extent our rats do tend to get their way a lot, but like with any child you have to set firm limits... and No Biting... ever is rule one in our household... even our part wild rat learned that, well as far as family went. To be fair, it took an accidental impact with a distant wall to drive the point home, (reflex when something bites me), but she never ever tried it again and was remarkable well behaved ever after. Yes, she was still naturally vicious, but I was the boss so she was my best friend and life was mutually respectful and orderly, just the way wild rats like it. She really never was aggressive, killing things or tearing them up was just how she expressed herself. Once she understood it wasn't allowed she stopped immediately. And she was an exceptionally well behaved rat, always the first one to come when called.

No, I don't advocate flinging rats into walls, I'm sure that's a matter of overkill or at least nearly kill, but a very aggressive and immediate response is required if your rat attacks you... The faster Kaylee learns it isn't acceptable behavior the sooner she'll stop doing it.

When you are in doubt about what your rat is doing, pretend she's a child. If you saw a child doing the same thing, what would you think? Rats brains are wired very much like ours, they have roughly the same emotions and drives as social animals... So if you feel confused about what Kaylee is doing or telling you, think of her as a toddler or even a teenager and most things will become clearer.

Best luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
I'm hesitant to suggest this since you say you are a new rat owner, but perhaps a third rat would help. It'd give Kaylee someone else to play with (if her frustration is that River is not playing back). As someone who owned rats for only a month before buying a third one, I can say that it's not that much more of a hardship. Of course, I didn't have a special-needs rat either, so a third rat might not be ideal for your situation.

But maybe Kaylee is a little bit lonely because River can't reciprocate, and she's taking it out on her. This is just wild speculation on my part. In any case, it shouldn't hurt you to get a third rat, but if you feel overwhelmed by these two, then strike that.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top