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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello again, second post for the day!! I have two new Ratties in my home and I am a first time owner. I would love some advice on a few things, any help would be SO appreciated.

Here is a quick summary. I bought my ratties Friday and have had them a few days now. I have Cookie, who is my male hooded rat, he is by far the Alpha, he is bigger, he is food motivated, curious, and friendly. Then I have Chip, he is not food motivated, he is happy sitting in the cage hiding, and seems stressed when we try to give him attention. Chip does not bite, but when you pick him up he pees and poops and squirms then hides. ): He also has had some diarrhea, I'm assuming the poor guy is a little stressed. Chip also never explores the cage, even if I put him on the third floor, he rushes down to his hiding spot.

-First, how in the world do I keep these guys from smearing poop and pee on my hands and clothes when we hold them. I know chip is scared so it is expected, but Cookie does this as well. Today to build some trust, I put them on a higher table, put out a blanket, and let them roam around. . . they pooped and peed everywhere, and every time Cookie came to me he pooped on me. . . . Is this normal, can I fix this?? (I am litter training them by putting a litter pan in the most used corner and putting their poop in it from around their cage. So far they have been using it some)

-Secondly, should I be concerned for Chip? I see Cookie snacking and eating all day and Chip NEVER leaves the hiding spot or first level. I can even put food at him and Chip leaves it and Cookie glady eats it for him. He seems so overwhelmed and stressed out.

Thirdly, I was told how clean rats are, yet they seem opposite of clean. I do clean anything poopy besides the litter box with diluted white vinegar to help But these guys stink and poop everywhere. I purchased these for my almost 6 year old and I don't want to be freaking out about her sanitation when they trust her enough to hold them.

That is it for tonight, thank you guys so much!

Stephanie

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It sounds like you need to take them to a vet for the diarrhea, it's not normal for rats to smear pee and poop everywhere.
What are you feeding them? What kind of treats are you using to bond with them? Does Chip seem to be scared of anything specific (like people or being in the open?)?

For trust training I recommend waiting till your rats are comfortable and confident in the cage before taking them out and getting them used to a whole new place.
 

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Hi and welcome!

Changes in a rat's diet can cause softer and smellier poops. Rats will also "fear poop" in stressful situations and these poops are also generally softer and smellier. I think you'll find that these issues will improve as they get more comfortable in their new home.

That said, rats poop a lot. Litter training can help but many rats (especially boys) never fully accept the concept. While they'll probably stop pooping on you when they're out of their cage, they still may continue to poop all over the place in their cage.

I would suggest continuing to bring them out of their cage for daily playtime to help them more quickly get accustomed to being handled and interacting outside of the cage. It sounds like you're doing great. I'm sorry you were given the impression that rats were something other than stupid poop monsters.
 

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You both are so wonderful for taking the time to reach out. I do believe I may have not explained myself very thoroughly. Not both boys are having diarrhea, only Chip and it seems to be only when I have him outside the cage, so I do believe it is fear poop. Cookie just seems to poop on me (solid) then rub around and I end up with it smeared. Also, both boys are so happy laying in their own feces. . . . they have a favorite area of their home, where I have setup some bedding and a igloo, they lay in it, poop in it, pee in it and now they and their area smells horrendous. I just keep moving the poop to the litter pan, dumping the bedding daily, and wiping the area I don't want to smell of urine with diluted vinegar. I'm hoping they figure this out, they are smart boys. . . they will soon realize I hope.
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As far as treats, I do apples and cheerios. I will admit, Cookie goes bonkers over cheerios. I purchased the boys from two different pet stores and to be honest I can tell a 180 difference in them. Cookie seems so used to human interaction, whereas Chip just seems petrified! From your statement above, Chip is nervous of everything you named, human, noise, movement, all of the above. I have caught him at night moving around and he rushes back to his hidey hole.
 

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To get Chip to become more confident you will have to get him used to the things that are frightening to him. Before taking him out of the cage make sure he is comfortable with you, you can do this by giving treats as you pass by the cage, luring your rat out of his hidey spots to show him that being with you or in the open is fine. If your rat is especially timid your going to have to be patient, use a licking treat to force the rat to stay with you (since it can't run away with the treat), and other times use small pieces of treats to teach the rat to keep coming back. It depends on what your rat is afraid of, but if your rat is afraid of being touched then in the beginning don't touch your rat just lure him to you and give treats, then after he's confident with being near you, start touching while giving treats and then start stroking and holding. Make sure to encourage confident behaviour, when feeding, spread the food around the cage so they need to come out to find it.

Please say if missed anything and keep updating on the progress!
 

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Thank you so much, I will definitely try reinforcing his trust with me by giving him treats when I walk by the cage. I'm working from home currently, so I put them in the same room as I work in. They will surely get used to me. lol Also, speaking of updating you on progress, I made a new post this morning called "Sweeter than a cookie". . . it is a super exciting update, but hasn't been approved yet. ): I can't wait for you to read it!
 

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You both are so wonderful for taking the time to reach out. I do believe I may have not explained myself very thoroughly. Not both boys are having diarrhea, only Chip and it seems to be only when I have him outside the cage, so I do believe it is fear poop. Cookie just seems to poop on me (solid) then rub around and I end up with it smeared. Also, both boys are so happy laying in their own feces. . . . they have a favorite area of their home, where I have setup some bedding and a igloo, they lay in it, poop in it, pee in it and now they and their area smells horrendous. I just keep moving the poop to the litter pan, dumping the bedding daily, and wiping the area I don't want to smell of urine with diluted vinegar. I'm hoping they figure this out, they are smart boys. . . they will soon realize I hope.
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As far as treats, I do apples and cheerios. I will admit, Cookie goes bonkers over cheerios. I purchased the boys from two different pet stores and to be honest I can tell a 180 difference in them. Cookie seems so used to human interaction, whereas Chip just seems petrified! From your statement above, Chip is nervous of everything you named, human, noise, movement, all of the above. I have caught him at night moving around and he rushes back to his hidey hole.
I bought 2 rats from PetSmart last month and they were fine the first few days but then they started having diarrhea. I also thought it might be stress but when it didn’t resolve on it’s own I took them to the vet. It turned out that they had a high number of a common parasite. I’d say take them both to the vet just to be sure. If they are housed together and a parasite is involved, if they aren’t treated together they can just keep passing it back and forth.
 

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I would recommend waiting a few days to see about the diarrhea it can be related to stress or a new kind of food or treats. About the peeing and pooping on your hand this can also be related to stress but you can start training your rats. One of my rats used to do the same thing what I did was right when I took her out I would immediately put her in the bathroom sink after of course making it safe. Then after awhile she knew she couldn’t go to the bathroom on me. Also just curious why you got them from two different places and not one.
 
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