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Hi everyone,

First time rat owner and first time posting on here after reading for months! I’ve had my two little boys, Herzog and Little Princess, for 2 weeks now. I got them from a breeder and they’re very affectionate (always licking my nose and sometimes ear!) and curious about pretty much everything, with lots and LOTS of energy and are great friends to each other. After giving them a few days of settling in and bonding with my hands in the cage and letting them climb over my shoulders and arms just outside the cage, I began taking them out for some bonding and free-roam time. I first built a cardboard playpen in my hallway, but it seemed Herzog could jump higher than I thought, so built a higher one and had some brilliant sessions with some training to come back to me on command. All was going well until one night last week Little Princess managed to get his tail caught in a door, which was shut at the time and so I still have no idea how this managed to happen - it still keeps me up at night! A small ring of his tail was bleeding and I of course went into panic mode - I took him to the emergency vet who gave me a solution to put on his tail three times a day, and we had a check up with the vet yesterday who said his tail is healing really well and they were happy, and just to keep up with ensuring it’s kept clean. In between the injury and the vet visit yesterday I hadn’t let them out to free roam out of fear that something could happen to Little Princess’ tail again until I get the advice from the vet that it’s healed up enough. I continued to let them hang out with me on my shoulders and arms and in my pockets over this time, but nothing more than that for safety/my own piece of mind. The problem I’m having now is that I’m just so anxious taking them out in case anything happens to them again - I thought I’d rat proofed so well when I was taking them out pre injury and had been so careful, spending so long ensuring any cracks or crevices were covered and there was absolutely nowhere they could escape or get stuck (the amount of gorilla tape I got through!) and yet something still happened, for which I feel incredibly guilty. I took them out today for the first time since in my bathroom, again ensuring everything was safe and the one potential issue - a small hole by the sink - was well covered and filled. But after half an hour and them leaping about I had to put them back in the cage as I was so anxious about something happening. I’ve been thinking about my bed as on option for playtime also as I know that’s recommended - but I’m so worried about them jumping off as Herzog’s already shown himself to be quite a good jumper!

I wanted to ask for advice (and perhaps some reassurance about this being a normal worry!) for what might be a good way to get through this anxiety, and tips for early stages free roaming overall. I’d really like to get to a point where free roaming can be enjoyable for us all again.

Thank you so much - here’s a photo of Little Princess looking happy he got good news about his tail from the vet!

Rodent Whiskers Rat Hamster Fawn
 
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