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Need advice for old rat who won't get along with any new cagemates

750 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Foxes81
Hi all! Sorry in advance for the long post, but I need some advice on what to do with my last remaining rat.

He is turning 2 this week and has lived with his previous cagemate for the past year and a half. His cagemate passed a little over a month ago. They got along pretty well -- his cagemate was much lazier than my remaining boy though so they didn't play with each other a ton. But occasionally, the cagemate would get grumpy and they would fight. Nothing too bad though (perhaps bc I broke it up before it got too bad) and they always ended up cuddling. At the time, I decided against neutering either him or his cagemate because they both have had chronic respiratory issues that meds only somewhat help and I didn't want them to pass during surgery.

I am not sure if that time caused him to be afraid of other rats though because ever since his cagemate passed, I have tried two separate intros with two different rat duos and both times he fought them and drew blood. I used the carrier method and took things very slow. The first duo of rats were both 6 months and the second duo was a 6 month old and a 3 month old. And with both groups, the intros were fine for the first few days and then he would attack.

At this point, I am just not sure what is best. I know having a lone rat isn't great, but he literally keeps attacking other rats and gets very visibly stressed during it. After the last intro attempt, his respiratory issues got worse for a little bit because of all the stress. I feel like the only possible situation where he could have friends is if I got really young rats that he didn't feel threatened by. And I think neutering isn't a great idea because of his age and URI issues.

As much as it would break my heart, I have considered rehoming him so someone could try friends with him (since I want to take a break from rats for a bit after my final boy passes). But a lot of the people with rats in my area either don't have great care (they post on Facebook groups I'm in) or have admitted to doing really fast intros, which I don't think would work well with my boy. So I'm not even sure if that's the right option, especially since he would probably be stressed from the move and not having me or my husband anymore.

Does anyone have any advice? Should I try to get him really young rats that he doesn't feel as threatened by? Should I keep him alone? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Personally, I don't really know if I'm qualified to do this as I am on my second pair, but when my rat Squirmy's cage mate died, I went to a breeder as I had bought my first pair from the pet store. All the breeder had were young rats, so I wasn't really sure, but we introduced them in a group and two of the babies were the sweetest -w- they followed Squirmy around and played with her, so I adopted them and took them back home, and now Squirmy acts like a mom/big sister to them so I would definitely try for younger rats!
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