HELP! Female rat aggressive to cage-mate after cage-mate's spay and surgery!!!

SookieandBear

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
8
Location
USA
Help! I have two female rats, about 10 months old. One of them had a vaginal polyp so had surgery and was spayed last week. Her name is Bear and she is the larger, more dominant rat. Since the spay, it seems her only cage-mate, that the littler rat, Sookie, is way more aggressive and has even bitten and scarred her Bear, who is still recovering from the surgeries.

After the surgery and spay, Bear and Sookie were separated and in two different cages for about a week. A few days ago they were put back together and yesterday I noticed the multiple scars on Bear, which are quite large. So I separated them again over night, and just put Bear back in the main cage to see how they were doing. Sookie immediately went after the same scarred and injured spot on Bear, trying to bite her.

Is this normal? Has this happened with your rats? Would spaying Sookie help? Should they be separated?

These are our first rats and until now, they’ve been fine together. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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SoupChef

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Québec, Canada
Poor Bear! After long times apart and ESPECIALLY when there's been a lot of other smells around, I find it's helpful to treat it the same as introducing a new rat. I'd really recommend searching introduction protocols and perhaps fast-tracking it according to the progress you see, but in brief:

Begin by having them in separate cages but in the same room, near one another if that doesn't seem to stress them out. It can be helpful to switch some blankies between them so they smell like one another a bit and feel more familiar again. Try introductions in a neutral space - lots of people use the bathtub - with thorough supervision. If one rat is particularly more aggressive, hovering with a gloved hand over the more submissive rat can be extra protection if needed. Since my boys are not food aggressive whatsoever, I'll put an ABUNDANCE of snacks in (so many that even if they were, there's no need to steal) so that they can hang out and enjoy food together. After a few days of bathtub meet and greets (again, since this is a re-introduction you know your rats and can choose the pace accordingly), we try both of them going for a VISIT in one cage. If a couple visits go well, we switch to a whole day (if I'm home to be around to hear any trouble) or just whatever length of time I can be confident I'm in earshot. If that goes well, voila, they can be roommates!

AGAIN this is a brief summary of what works in my household - googling or checking on this forum for other introduction and re-introduction protocols could help you figure out what makes sense for your ladies.
 

SookieandBear

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
8
Location
USA
Poor Bear! After long times apart and ESPECIALLY when there's been a lot of other smells around, I find it's helpful to treat it the same as introducing a new rat. I'd really recommend searching introduction protocols and perhaps fast-tracking it according to the progress you see, but in brief:

Begin by having them in separate cages but in the same room, near one another if that doesn't seem to stress them out. It can be helpful to switch some blankies between them so they smell like one another a bit and feel more familiar again. Try introductions in a neutral space - lots of people use the bathtub - with thorough supervision. If one rat is particularly more aggressive, hovering with a gloved hand over the more submissive rat can be extra protection if needed. Since my boys are not food aggressive whatsoever, I'll put an ABUNDANCE of snacks in (so many that even if they were, there's no need to steal) so that they can hang out and enjoy food together. After a few days of bathtub meet and greets (again, since this is a re-introduction you know your rats and can choose the pace accordingly), we try both of them going for a VISIT in one cage. If a couple visits go well, we switch to a whole day (if I'm home to be around to hear any trouble) or just whatever length of time I can be confident I'm in earshot. If that goes well, voila, they can be roommates!

AGAIN this is a brief summary of what works in my household - googling or checking on this forum for other introduction and re-introduction protocols could help you figure out what makes sense for your ladies.
Thank you SO much! This information is very helpful. I will try re-introducing them slowly, and go from there!
 

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