Rat Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so I know that there are SO many introduction inquiries on this site so far, as I have read a good chunk of them, but I still have some personal questions that I feel would be better to ask then not and regret it later. Plus I know there are a bunch of rat owners here that have introduced new rats over and over again and I would really appreciate a personal opinion.

I have two adult, unneutered male rats. They are both around a year and a half and have actually only lived together for about eight months now. They are inseparable, and the humane society said that they bonded instantly. Duke is more laid back and chill. He likes to cuddle and sleep a lot unless it's play time then he absorbs some of Hartley's craziness. I notice he does power grooming A LOT. I will hear Hartley make little whiny noises at night and occasionally squeak if he gets too rough. Hartley is the extremely playful one. He is always instigating play and he is curious about every little thing he finds. One thing that happened, not quite sure it's important but I feel it's worth mentioning just in case! While I was petting them in their cage my cat came up beside me to rub against my left leg. Duke was closest to my cat and Hartley lunged and bit my cat on the nose drawing blood. I thought maybe he was being cage aggressive, or perhaps protecting Duke? I'm not sure but that concerned me with the idea of a new rat.

I want to get another rat, not only because I would like a new addition to my pair, but because I know if Hartley goes before Duke, Duke will not last long after. Long story short Duke was raised with his brother and when his brother died at the shelter, Duke just shut down and gave up. I think if he had another rattie friend to fall back on, the blow would be less traumatic (for the both of us).

Here is my concern. My boys play rough. Or at least they appear to play rough but I really have no other pair to base it on. But there is no blood so I let them be. I can't tell who the dominant one is because it seems to change every day. Also I'm basically psyching myself out because I'm terrified that it isn't going to work out and someone is going to get hurt. Or I'll have a lone rat on my hands and basically be doubling the needed care.

IF you think I should get a new rat, what age should he be? What introduction method do you think would be best? I have heard multiple times that it is a good idea to introduce two new rats to an existing pair, but I would very much like to avoid this because I think three is plenty for now. I don't want to overwhelm any of them. But if you think that it would be safer and better for them all, please let me know and I would seriously consider it.

Oh goodness, this turned into a ramble. But I've been pondering it for weeks now and I just really need another opinion. Please help me figure this out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
Hey kay, since you are asking for personal opinions I felt like I could give a different view than what would normally be given. Please don't take it negatively anyone. :eek: Ok so generally people seem to be adding to their mischief for various reasons at various stages.. However if you look to lab studies or best care practises most of them emphasize how important group stability is and the damaging effects of adding or removing members. It is far better to start out with 2-6 rats (more than six increases aggression levels in a group) and let the group live its life out naturally. I feel like a lot about rat care advice comes from our emotions and how we feel about something rather than based on factual evidence which is why I love lab studies. I know many people don't like testing on animals but its being done so I may as well use it to make my rats lives better...

My advice to you would be where ever possible start out with the number you want as babies but for this situation if you wish to get more get them all at the same time rather than another one now and then maybe another when one passes etc. Hopefully that came accross well enough not to offend anyone. *hides*
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
Actually Amph's got some pretty good advise, I hadn't thought of... if you don't need to upset the status quo and the status quo is good why do it?

But I'll give you another perspective to consider, not better just different. We have two rats about one year apart in age, which means that about every year one rat ages out and dies and we bring in one new rat. So every year, usually in spring we go through intros. And for the most part each intro goes differently. Some go pretty smoothly some turn into hellish combat that lasts for weeks and tears up the house, but so far at least they have all worked out in the end. I feel a lot depends on how much your rats are bonded with you and how much control you can exercise over the intro process. I also tend to feel with small groups, the more hands on influence you have with your group, the more harmonious the living arrangement will be in the long term.

We have to do intros every year, although we are always heart broken about losing a best furry friend and look forward to adopting a new love, we honestly don't look forward to the intros. And we've got another one coming up in about 3 weeks that I already dread. On the other hand so far they have all worked out in the end.

There are various methods to do intros that are better than others and some folks rats suggest that certain ages are more easily introduced or that rats are best introduced in pairs, but that wasn't your question... If you decide to go ahead with an adoption, you can figure that out at that time...

So... you might not want to upset the apple cart, I'd personally love a year without intros, on the other hand you have a pretty good reason to be thinking about the future, but the reason it is a tough call is that you really can't predict what will happen either way, even if things will usually work out.

As to your rat attacking your cat, we had a part wild rat that attacked cats on sight, she also killed mice and bit strangers, but after a particularly harrowing intro, she was fine with her rat friend. So rats that attack cats can have perfectly normal and healthy relations with other rats.

Lastly, we have a gap every year with a single rat that's mourning the loss of her friend, this can be hard on a rat, but so far we haven't lost one due to grief... they do slow down and get pudgy though when they are alone. So no real suggestions, just some more data for your decision making process.

Best luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you so much both of you! You both made some interesting points and as of now I think I'm going to wait. Both my boys are happy with just me and each other and I don't want to unnecessarily stress them out.

I can't keep stressing myself about the inevitable future. When the time comes, which hopefully won't be for a long time, I will decide what will be best for them.

Thanks again!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,244 Posts
It's hard to predict the future, but it sounds like you are making a pretty solid decision. If the world is happy right now, why screw it up?
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top