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Hi all.

My name is Nicole and 2 weeks ago I got 2 baby male rats, approx. 8 weeks old. I named them Toby and Finnigan (Finny).

My question is about socializing them. . .they live in a modified flight cage with the same dimensions as a Martin's R695 (they were upgraded to that from a smaller cage: a Super Pet My First Critter Home Deluxe). They have toys in their cage and I feed them a modified Suebee's mix with Nutro Senior Lite dog food.

For their socialization: well it's been a bit staggered. I've just been reaching in the cage picking them up and holding them. . .putting them on my shoulder. I make the same noise each time I approach the cage and talk to them in the cage when I'm not handling them.

I've recently rehomed my cat so there was a cat around them for the first week and a half while they were here and they were very fearful of her: they stayed on the top level of the cage and wouldn't come down.

I tried free range time in the bathroom with some toys on the floor but they seemed to be terrified and pooping everywhere! I didn't feel it was very successful, they were running aorund crazily everywhere and seemed scared out of their minds: they would jump everytime I shifted my position on the floor.

When I pick them up, Finny refuses to be held in my hands and struggles out and runs to my shoulder. Toby is a bit calmer but likes to hide in sweatshirts. . .they also tend to rund and hide in the cage if I go to pick them up.

What am I doing wrong? Should I modify my technique? How long should I given them to adjust? Will Finny ever want to be held? Do they calm down as they grow up?

Any advice appreciated!!!
 

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You're doing all right. The pooping and such is common when they're young. If they haven't been socialized it may take a while.

Just make sure you're consistent. Holding them for longer than twenty minutes (ie... keeping them about your person) is recommended because theoretically most rats cannot hold fear of the same thing for more than twenty minutes.
 

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Hello Nicole, welcome to the forums :)

It sounds to me that you are doing everything right, you just need to give them a little more time.

Like Forensic says, be consistent and the patience will pay off. It sounds like they have been through a few changes already, new cage, no more cat scaring them... they probably just need a little longer to get used to what they have now. Also, I don't know how big your bathroom is, but while they are new like this I would try not to overwhelm them with big open spaces, unless they can easily get back to their cage if they get spooked. Just take it steady, and it'll work out just fine. :)
 
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