New member questions

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Agy, Nov 6, 2018.

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  1. Nov 6, 2018 #1

    Agy

    Agy

    Agy

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    Hello everybody!
    I'm Agy from the UK. I adopted two adult males a week ago (George and Seymour). I used to have a rat and mice as a child but this was so long ago that I kind of consider myself a new owner. I have lots of questions but probably won't remember them all right now.

    First of all, my ratties pee and poo all over the place. I thought they'd do that in one area but they do it everywhere including in their own blanket and their food area (they have a four level cage). They are both 11 months old. I think I was over confident when I thought I will potty train them. I'm trying to at least get them to poo on one level. That would really help me with cleaning. Their stools seem a bit sloppy. Not totally runny but not hard pellets. Maybe I was over enthusiastic giving them too many treats. Trying to stick to rat foods for a bit but it's so hard to resist when I see their faces. I just want to give them everything.

    I am normally a hygiene freak. Having rats has changed things a bit since males dribble wee. I wanted originally females for this reason but when the opportunity came up to take the boys form someone who couldn't keep them, I couldn't resist. I let them run around my living room under supervision so I imagine their wee is all over my sofa, books, handbag etc. Should I be worried? Will my stuff be ruined forever and smell? Covering up everything is impossible and they get under covers anyway. I plan to build some kind of play pen but I like giving them the freedom. Do people let boys run on their stuff and furniture?

    How long does new home sneezing last? It's been a week now for George. He seem perfectly healthy otherwise. Very energetic, curious, confident and with good appetite.

    Lastly, turns out I'm actually very allergic to them. I knew I would get skin rashes but getting asthma caught me by surprise. I don't believe in pharmaceuticals so would rather try natural remedies. Do HEPA filters work well?

    I'm sure I'll be back with more but that's all for now.

    Thanks for reading

    Agy
     
  2. Nov 8, 2018 #2

    SQ

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    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

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    Hi Agy!
    Yes, get a air purifier with a permanent hepa filter and replaceable carbon filters (not an ionizer) that is large enough for the area it will be in

    Male rats that are not neutered have 100 times the amount of allergen in their urine then neutered males, so if you have access to a good vet with the knowledge and experience to safely neuter rats, then you might consider it. Neutered boys do not scent mark as much as unneutered males. Neutering rats is different then other animals, plus rats can only have gas anesthetic and no pain meds etc by injection until after the surgery.

    Jorats and a few other can give you ideas on how to manage allergies.

    You can put litter boxes, containing an unscented paper based kitty litter in corner litter boxes in the corners where they like to eliminate.

    New home sneezes usually only last for a few days. Do you think it might be environmental? Is their bedding dusty?

    Many people who use their bed or a couch as the play area will cover it with a large fleece blanket to protect it from urine. Others use a confined rat safe area that only contains items they do not mind getting chewed or peed on.

    The recommended diet is:
    a good quality low protein rat block available at all times
    a variety of daily vegs (there is a forbidden foods list)
    and occasional healthy treats such as berries, a piece of fruit, cooked whole grains, cooked quinoa, a few cooked dry beans, a few cooked chickpeas, organic pumpkin seeds, squash seeds etc

    no foods with added sugar (or sweeteners), no added sail, no added fat, and try to stay away from hoghly processed foods
    this may have some useful info https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/
     
  3. Nov 9, 2018 #3

    Agy

    Agy

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    They poop absolutely everywhere. There is no one or even two places to put litter boxes. They have four floors and poo on each one in various areas. I keep putting the poops in the litter box when I'm at home but so far it's not working.

    I didn't use any bedding to begin with like the previous owner but that didn't work because the poops just stick to the cage and won't come off properly. Now I use care fresh. Also to minimise the odour.

    I sadly cannot afford neutering... I knew I was meant to get females but I took the chance anyway and looks like it wasn't the wisest...

    Laying out a blanket for them won't work as they won't stay on it. They are super excited as soon as I let them out and run ALL OVER the room and very fast as well. I try to teach them not to go on the sofa etc by taking them down each time but they are so fast, the moment I keep an eye on one, the other has already done ten miles LOL

    I saw lots of people treat them with cherios. Surely that's junk food.. I wouldn't eat it myself so can't be good for rats...
     
  4. Nov 9, 2018 #4

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    Hi Agy! Welcome to rattie parenthood. I do understand the hygiene issues are hard to take. I personally don't let my guys run loose on the furniture or on my personal items other than the clothes I'm wearing. I cover a spare bed with a fleece blanket and put toys all over it for them: tunnels, balls, baskets, a sheet for them to crawl under, and their favorite - cardboard boxes with holes cut out for doorways (always at least 2 for escape). I stuff several sheets of tissue paper in there, and they love those. I've made a couple of condos with 3 boxes connected inside, which they enjoy tremendously. (These must be replaced after a while!) I alternate the bed with the hallway, which is hardwood, block off the ends, close the doors, and put the toys on the floor. Both of these spaces provide room to run as well as things to explore and places to hide without them ruining anything. Yes, boys dribble, but so do girls to some extent, and I find boys the cuddliest and sweetest, just my personal opinion, as I've had both a number of times.

    As for the cage, you're probably fighting an uphill battle because of their age. They've been going wherever they like for a year. But definitely keep trying; rats are very smart and can learn quickly if they want to. Put litter boxes on every level and keep cleaning up everything you see asap. You really need "pee rocks" too: a large rock you've washed and disinfected placed in each litter box will give them a place to go. I don't know why it works, but it truly does! My 3 boys were 3 mos & 4 mos when I got them, never having had a litter box and, although they dribble a bit, they never wee a puddle outside the boxes. Once they get serious about using boxes you can decrease the number. I don't use any litter other than in the boxes and no bedding on the floors. Two boys do virtually all their poops in the boxes and one is hit & miss, mostly being too lazy to get out of a hammock to go to the box. So,other than raisins in the hammocks and wiping everything down once a day, I have only litter boxes to clean. Rats are naturally fastidious, so maybe if you keep it cleaned up for a while, and use the pee rocks, they'll decide they want to keep it that way too. Don't get discouraged, and don't be too hard on boys that weren't raised properly. Things will get better.

    I'm afraid that's all the time I have. Hopefully someone else will address the other issues for you. Take care!
     
  5. Nov 9, 2018 #5

    Agy

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    Thank you :) Oh I'm never hard on them. They're like newborns in a way. You can't possibly be hard on them hehe.
    Yes, I need to build a play pen to contain them at least to one area of the living room. Right now, it doesn't matter what I lay out for them as they are so excited they jump all over the place and go into my baskets with bits and bobs, on the sofa, behind the sofa, on my lamp (even climb it on occasion because the lamp is a giant flower with many branches; this I need to be extra strict on as I can't get it ruined), behind books, DVDs, magazines, I mean everywhere. They are MEGA inquisitive. Them sitting with me in one space is impossible. They come to me, jump on me, play a bit then run off again into every corner and furniture they can access... and even tho I'm worried about pee marks, I still cannot stop myself form letting them do it when I see how happy it makes them. I'm currently collecting massive cardboard boxes to build a playpen.
     
  6. Nov 9, 2018 #6

    SQ

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    Cover the couch with a large fleece blanket to protect it and put a smaller fleece blanket over it for them to burrow under, or move the couch out of their play area

    I would suggest that you get some sheets of chloroplast to make a playpen, the sides will need to be over 2.5 feet high as rats can jump quite high.
    The previous link I provided has some ideas .... Please see https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/
     
  7. Nov 10, 2018 #7

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    I apologize, Agy, for forgetting the culture gap. By being hard on them, I only meant that I hoped you wouldn't think too badly of the boys, certainly not that you would mistreat them!:eek: It's only been a week or so. Once you've fixed a playpen as planned and worked on the litter training, things will get better and you'll love them bunches. Please do try my litter training suggestions, as my boys' cage is so wonderfully clean now, I don't know how I managed in the past without the rocks. Also, I'm sure you know it, but just in case, be sure to freeze your carefreshh or similar bedding before use so as not to introduce mites to your cage.

    I hope the hepa filter decreases your allergy symptoms and you're soon feeling much better. :)
     
  8. Nov 13, 2018 at 4:59 PM #8

    Agy

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    I think they've been sneezing more since the care fresh. why do they sell it if it's not suitable?? I don't get it. it has dust mites in it??? so then i'll be allergic to it as well!

    covering an area without a wall is out of question. they will not stay there. i have now built a cardboard playpen/wall so they are contained to about a quarter of my living room and so no more peeing on my sofa and books. they do look quite disappointed LOL. they know very well what is behind the wall and keep trying to get out (tho they can't jump that high hehe). They tasted the joys of the entire room and the playpen now is not good enough hehe.

    I saw something called yesterday news on other sites. i haven't seen it in the UK. maybe it's just in the USA. sounds like it's the best thing.
     
  9. Nov 13, 2018 at 9:13 PM #9

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    Oh dear, Agy, I'm sorry to say they're not dust mites, but rat mites. Don't worry, though. They're species specific; they shouldn't bother you Pretty much any warehouse that stores retail goods for packaging will have wild rodents, and they can leave mites and lice (also species specific) behind, which wouldn't matter unless there are rats for the bugs to get on. So, small animal owners have learned to freeze the bedding to prevent infestations. If your freezer is crowded like mine, just put some in a small bag and freeze for 24 hrs. It's not a big deal, most people get bugs at some point, just as most dogs and cats get fleas.

    I'm glad you got the playpen made. They'll have to get over being spoiled, poor babies :D. They'll learn to enjoy it, and your stuff will stay clean.
     
  10. Nov 14, 2018 at 12:35 PM #10

    Agy

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    They have been great at working out ways to get out and almost succeeding. Amazing how smart they are :D
     
  11. Nov 16, 2018 at 4:19 PM #11

    DanielZielwolf

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    I've had only ever had male rats, and it's not that common for rats to poop all over the place. Usually they stick to one area of a cage where there is litter. I currently have one though who tends to poop in his nest box, he's in the photo, he's 18 months old and he's not going to change his ways. I don't know why he does it. Could be background, personality, genetics. He's a rescue and came from a "broken home" and is very shy not wanting to leave his box much so maybe that has something to do with it? Who knows? The way I deal with it is just to insulate his sleeping box (which is just a converted gift box) with duct tape, layer it thickly with paper towels, then an old t-shirt and clean it out every 24 hours max. One thing to remember though which we often forget is that rats are coprophages. That just means that rats eat their poop because their (natural) food needs to go through their digestive system twice to get the maximum nutritional benefit. Kinda like cows chew the cud except gross to us simple-minded (lol) humans. (There's a species of rat - the Dassie rat - that in fact properly chews the cud, just like cows do, instead of eating its poop.) So, that just means that although to us rat poop is just smelly icky waste, to rats it's an important source of nutrition, the first time around. Rat stool should not be sloppy. I would go see a vet just in case. The first time round, rat stool comprises soft but solid pellets, not sloppy or sticky. The second time round it's small, hard and dry and very easy to clean away. Be careful with treats, I know how tempting it is but try to stick to healthy stuff. Fruit makes for a great treat. It's got natural, not added, sugar content, it's unprocessed and has lots of health benefits. You can't go wrong with fresh fruit, especially berries. My rats are absolutely crazy about blueberries.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018 at 4:26 PM

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