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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pepper used to be the best rat. She'd jump right on to my hand, hang out on my shoulder where ever I go and even go outside with me and never leave my side. Now all of a sudden she hates me and wants nothing to do with me. She will come nibble on my fingers and sometimes climb on my hand before running off but when I hold her she squirms like her life is in danger. I've never hurt her or let her get hurt I have no idea why the change. It started slowly, one day she wasn't her self, she was terrified. (I had the vacuum on? she' was never afraid of it before) she got better. Then a few days later, again she was doing this. Got better. And now it's been weeks like this and she's not getting better. I'm so depressed, I miss my heart rat :(

Things that have changed: I added a new rat but the new rat was in a quarantine tank when the odd behavior first started. I later added new rat, they got along great. And I also since got a new kitten. Pepper is afraid of kitten but not my older cat I've had all along. Kitten is afraid of the rats too. Anyway, since I got the kitten she's not gotten better. I don't get why, the kitten can't even reach the bottom of their DCN cage, forget the top where they always hang out. (Noodle isn't afraid of kitten, once kitten put paw on cage and Noodle bit her paw :x) Now the kitten just watches from afar lol.

Is there anything I can do? I love this rat and it kills me that she hates me now. I give them treats everyday by hand and forget free range time now except noodle cause the other 2 hide and won't come out. Pepper used to love free range and would explore and never hide. She'd run back to me all the time and climb on me. /SIGH
 

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Girls go through and 'independent' phase. Misty is going through it now... Last night when I called her to come to bed she evaporated and I haven't seen her all day. She turns up to challenge me and attack me, but she doesn't really stop for skritches for more than a few minutes at a time. She'll still let me pick her up when she wants a lift, but otherwise it's hit and run lovin.

She still loves us, and she still loves to play, for a few minutes at a time, but the snugly little pup is gone for now. On the up side she's become very confident and competent. She can climb all sorts of things and can make great leaps from one piece of furniture to another, I think she's found her way into the walls and has turned up on the other floor. She's become somewhat assertive, although not quite aggressive and she's pretty much what a strong young girl rat should be, an intrepid explorer and a hard playing and running rat. This too will pass.

Girl rats, like girl humans have more energy than boys and they go through phases, you have to love them for who they are and roll with the changes.

Best luck
 

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I have girls as well and they too exhibit ultra independence for periods of time. Sometimes one or more of them are very interested in playing and socializing with me and then suddenly, for 1 or 2 weeks (sometimes longer), they sort of do their own thing. My girls free range in my bedroom, so there have been periods during which I've seen them only briefly for feedings.Be patient and understanding with your love for her. She loves you, but she is being who she is supposed to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why is she so afraid of me holding her?? So she might go back to normal some day?
 

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You actually have to decide if she's afraid of being held or just doesn't want to be held... there's a big difference. Currently Misty doesn't want to be held or restrained... she's got to go go go like a little race car stuck in high gear. But if she wants to get up to somewhere she can't reach she'll grab my leg and ask to be picked up... She'll also follow me around the house. If I reach for her she'll often bolt off, especially around bed time. If I try and restrain her she'll struggle. If I lay down, she'll mock attack me like a crazy rat.

So when she wants to be picked up and held she's very assertive about it, but mostly she wants to speed around under her own power. Most of our girls have gone through this phase. Now Cloud is older, it's a lot of work to get up to the cage, she she weebels over taps my foot to be picked up and points to the cage with her nose and I take her to he cage... She doesn't mind some skritches but overall she's hitching a ride or a lift, she's not looking for affection. On the other hand when the girls are sleepy, I can open the cage door and skritch them... Cloud rolls over onto her back and loves to have her belly rubbed and Misty just lays there and enjoys the attention.

So keep in mind with girls they may not be afraid of you they might just not like being held or restrained. As pups most girls are very affectionate, then they get stuck in high gear as to ever becoming snugly, oddly our most snugly girl was our part wild rat, for all of her insanity and vicious temperament, she actually did like to snuggle. She could lurk silently for hours in the shadows or the darkness, but this strange patience also allowed her to just nap in my lap when she wasn't prowling around in the darkness.

As to whether your girl will return to normal... that depends on what's normal for her. Fuzzy Rat, would nap on me when she was exhausted from running around outside and when she got old and sick... Most of our girls never regained an interest in long term snuggling. Snuggles were hit and run and mostly when they were tired or exhausted. But when you really think about it, our part wild rat, the one that should have been least likely to crave affection and generally had the temperament of a rattle snake was also rat most likely to settle in for an afternoon nap on my lap... So you really can't tell how affectionate your girl will become. They are all different.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well she never snuggled. She was always too hyper. But she would at least check in with me a lot or like you said, use my leg as an elevator to get where she wanted. She used to explore and run around on the floor, now she just hides in one place and won't come out.
If I stick my finger in the cage they all come running and lick my finger, but if I open the cage they back off. I don't need a snuggly rat I just want them to at least like to climb on me like they used to.
 

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It does sound like you introduced something frightening into the situation, the kitten perhaps. Rats adapt to changes in their environment remove he kitten from the equation for a few days and see if that helps.

The other thought is to have some one on one time in an immersion space and see if you can work through your issues together.

Actually there could be many things that could have affected your relationship but if you haven't noticed them, you wouldn't have mentioned them and not being there we can't really guess. Try to list the things that changed and try and reverse those you can. Otherwise try and play detective and look for clues in your rats behavior and perhaps in how your behavior may have changed or what else has entered the situation. Chances are that there's a reasonable and simple explanation, but without some detective work you won't easily spot it. Things that can upset rats are often very different things from what might upset us.
 
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