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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really think I should get a buddy for my single rat, Remy. The problem is, last time we tried an introduction he was very aggressive to the other rat, so he ended up staying alone. I know that rats are always supposed to be kept in pairs or more... but would Remy want to be kept with another rat if they kept on fighting?

If the supposed new rat didn't end up getting along with Remy I don't know what we would do... the spare cage is way too small for any rat to live in permanently.

When (if I can) get another rat is there a certain age that would make them get along better? Remy is currently 7 or 8 months old, so would another male about the same age give them the best chance to get along?

I can tell that Remy is quite bored when someone's not playing with him, no matter what enrichment goes into the cage.

Any advice is very welcome.
 

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How are you going about the introduction process? (give me step by step how you introduced the other rat to him)

Also if you're following the introduction process correctly and he's still aggressive, you might consider getting him neutered! That may lower your chances of him being so territorial.

Also if you get a rat from a breeder, most breeders allow you to bring the rat back to them if it doesn't work out. You don't get a refund, but at least he'll go back to a good place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just to make it a little clearer, Remy was actually the new rat, and we were trying to introduce him to my other boy, Nico. Nico passed away in January though from URI.

Introduction Process:

1) Quarantine. Remy was kept in a cage in another room of the house, for about a month. Should I have put farther away?

2) Putting the cages close to each other. We just stuck them on the floor about 4 inches apart. Both rats were mildly interested, but soon went off to do their own stuff. We did this for maybe two weeks, leaving them for an hour or more at a time.

3) Bathtub introduction. (We skipped the swapping cages part. Um, could that be the problem?) The first 10 minutes went okay, the rats pretty much ignored each other an were more focused on escaping. Then Remy just jumped on Nico and tried to power groom him. Nico, who was already much older and suffering from hind-leg-paralysis, tried to move away but Remy then started an actual fight. We separated them, and Nico had some clumps of fur pulled out. The next few times went downhill. Then Nico got his URI and we had to call the introduction process off.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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I don't do cages next to each other, IME that tends to make things worse because they can see/smell each other, but not get close enough to inspect the new rat. With boys, my best intros have been between older and younger rats. Also, do a search for the carrier method on here, I haven't personally used that one but I've heard it's worked for more than a few people. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After reading the carrier method thread, I'm kind of worried that Remy has been alone too long. Since we got him, he's never lived with another rat... That must be 5 or 6 months. Could he have forgotten how to "talk" to other rats?
 

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You did everything how I did it too! But I had no luck at all with the bath tub introduction. They were way too focused on getting out. What I ended up doing with my four was just putting them all on my bed together with no pillows or blankets. I kept a spray bottle full of water with me and just made them interact with each other for an hour. When fights would break out I would clap and spray them with the water bottle. Then I put them away in their separate cages for about 3 hours, cleaned the big cage super well, took all the hideys and hammocks out so nobody would feel cornered, and just threw the new guys in the cage. I sat on the floor by the cage for two hours with the spray bottle and sprayed them any time anybody got carried away. I actually ended up getting them able to live with each other fine by just doing that.
BUT my two older guys are neutered, so I feel like that probably played a huge part in everybody getting along.
I would go ahead and try to get Remy a companion or two. It might just take a bit longer to get them used to each other since he's been away from rats for so long. Make sure you get the new guys from someone you're sure you can return them to though. Because some rats will just never be able to live with others. but it's worth a shot! Honestly, I would highly recommend getting him neutered. It might really help you out. And if you're able to get him someone to spend time with it would probably greatly enrich his life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! Is there a specific age that would work? If the new rat was older or younger then chances are that even if they did get along, one younger one would spend the last part of his life alone. But if they were the same age, could that induce more fighting?
 

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Honestly, I would get a pair of rats to live with Remy. That way when Remy passes eventually the two others will have each other. I think it would be safe to get a pair that are near in age or a bit younger than Remy. I would also try to get more submissive personality rats if it's possible. That way Remy won't feel his dominance being threatened and might make the transition easier for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Three rats would be great, but the cage will only fit two. I have an All Living Things Rat Starter Kit, and at the moment we really don't have enough space for a DCN or something.
 
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