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Maybe I sound crazy here, but is separation anxiety a thing rats can have?

Before we got Cosmo, during Milo's quarantine and after he had surgery, he was with me almost constantly because I felt horrible seeing him alone in the cage. Now that he has Cosmo I've been trying to sort of wean him off of being out for about 15 hours every day because as much as I love him it is hard watching over a little rat in my very busy and dangerous, un-ratproofed household (the two wilder cats are very, very interested in him, as well as the chihuahua).

He's done pretty well, but if I don't take him out for one on one time, just me and him cuddling, he starts getting destructive in the cage and chewing on his paw again. Last night I wasn't able to take him and Cosmo out for free range, wasn't able to take him out for one on one time, and this morning his paw is all raw from him chewing on it and I noticed he must have chewed on his tail some because it had some dried blood.

If he's taken out for his 3 hour one on one time and his 2 hour free range with Cosmo, I don't see any paw chewing or destructive behavior. He's totally healed up from surgery and not ill or injured, he gets along fabulously with Cosmo, they're constantly cuddling and playing, but I'm still seeing paw chewing.

Is this maybe separation anxiety? Is there anything I can do to maybe help him? I'm sure there are going to be times when I'm not able to give him one on one and/or free range and I don't want him inflicting self harm. Cosmo, Leo, and Stitch really couldn't care less if they're not taken out for a night, as long as they get some treats and extra time the next day, no self harming.

I love Milo but I swear it is his goal in life to stress me out.
 

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I have heard of rats self harming after a cage mate passes away or if they're never let out for free ranging but not if they only miss one session. I guess it's different in this case though because you spent so much time with him beforehand and so he grew accustomed to it. What if you put your hand in his cage every time you passed and gave him a scritch. Perhaps it will be a while before you have to pass on his out-of-cage time again and so the behaviour will die out on it's own.

Hope Milo's okay and that his behaviour stops
 

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Yeah, the first paw chewing started happening when he was still living alone and healing after having his eye removed and I didn't want to stress him out by doing another intro but because he was hurting himself I ended up doing the intro with Cosmo early. He was fine for a while after being introduced to Cosmo but the first time I missed a one on one time he started back up. Now he does it when he's not getting my attention.

I do make sure to pet him when I pass the cage and go in multiple times a day just to check everyone out and say hi, give a few pets and maybe a fruit or veggie so he does get some attention during the day, just not fully undivided. I do hope he outgrows it, him and Cosmo are getting closer every day so hopefully he'll sort things out himself, but if there's anything I can do in the meantime that would be great.
 

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Sounds a bit like what RatDaddy posted a while ago about his shoulder rat - when she didn't get out as much during winter she became destructive around the house. Once they experience something they like it's hard to go back to the old way. Maybe decreasing his time out until it's back to normal would be less of a shock to the system? In the mean time perhaps providing plenty of distractions in the cage might help? If you don't have one already, a digging box with scattered food, toilet paper roll piñatas, crumpled up paper balls with a treat inside etc etc. Hopefully he will settle down with time!
 

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This will get mixed reviews, and only works if you have someone who understands rats well, but have you spoke with a vet? It definitely sounds to me like some form of anxiety, possibly related to post traumatic stress of the eye injury. I had a guinea pig who had nervous ticks likely due to his previous home. I know with dogs and cats they can medicate to sort of calm their nerves. My moms dog has meds for when she will be in a high stress situation to calm her down and keep her from getting hurt. I don't know if its possible to do the same for a rat, or if there is a non-drug supplement or something that could be used to calm him down. But if you have access to any good rat vets it might be worth a discussion before he hurts himself seriously.
 

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They make calming treats for dogs and cats, most of them have l-tryptophan or chamomile in them so its all natural. Maybe you could try a very very small piece? I would consult a small animal vet first. My dog gets intense anxiety around fireworks (drooling, pacing, glued to my side, etc) and we give him Pet Natural's Calming treats and he sleeps all night.
 
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