REFERENCE Thread - Read Only

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,197
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
Behaviour

Cats and Rats

Why are some rats not afraid of cats?

Does my rat really love me? A short essay.

I often see people lamenting the fact that their rat isn’t very cuddly. Perhaps he hates being picked up, refuses to roll onto his back or never falls asleep on your lap. Perhaps she doesn’t like to be touched or stroked when she is out and about, or she doesn’t seem to show much interest in her human parent unless they have food. I want to tell you that even if your rat fits this description, he or she almost certainly still loves you.
In the wild, rats have many predators. They are vulnerable to almost anything that is larger than them – which is a lot of creatures, including humans! The instinct for caution is ingrained in a rat’s DNA. Even a very docile, well-bred rat will likely have some cautious instincts built into their nature.
Also consider that rats have their own unique personality, their own likes and dislikes. Like humans, some rats show love through a lot of physical touch, while others prefer other means of interaction. Some rats really enjoy being patted and snuggled, while others prefer to play with their human or watch from afar. Here are some situations that you may not realize mean your rat loves you:
She eats while you are nearby – eating is inherently a risky behaviour, since the rat is distracted and therefore more vulnerable to predators. If she eats while you are in close proximity, it means she feels safe around you.
She grooms herself while you are nearby – like eating, grooming puts the rat at greater risk of predation since her attention is on her own body and not observing the area for predators. If she grooms on or near you, it means she trusts you.
He pancakes near you – “pancaking” is the colloquial term for when a rat assumes a relaxed posture while lying down. He will appear to spread out and melt into the surface he is on. Again, this means he feels safe in your presence and is relaxed around you. He can let his guard down. He may not want to lie down on your body, but he wants to be close to you.
He watches you – have you ever caught your rat just sitting and looking at you? His posture will likely look relaxed, but his eyes will be open, his ears rounded and pointed in your direction, and his whiskers may be extended towards you. This means he finds you interesting. He is enjoying just watching you go about your activities. He enjoys your presence.
She falls asleep near you – like grooming and eating, sleep is a time when a rat is not alert to her surroundings, so she is more vulnerable to danger. If she sleeps nearby you it means she feels safe with you. She is not threatened by your presence; rather she has accepted you as part of her family.
He licks or grooms your hand – this shows that he considers you part of the family. (Or that you have some tasty food residue on your hand!)
He bruxes or boggles while in close proximity – (assuming it is not in a stressful context, e.g. bath time, nail clipping) this means he is happy in your presence and feels loved – doubly so if he does it in response to hearing your voice.
Play behaviour – a playful rat is a happy rat. If she chases your hand or a toy, sprints away from your hand only to run back for more, or exhibits “popcorning” (excited little jumps) she is feeling safe, happy and exhilarated, which she wouldn’t be if she didn’t trust you.
A final point to note – some rats will only become cuddly near the end of their life or when they are feeling poorly. Young rats are full of energy and highly inquisitive. Most are too busy playing and exploring to hold still in your arms for a pat. Don’t take it personally. They have fast metabolisms and a lot of energy to burn. They will likely slow down and become more affectionate when they get older (though some will be full of energy until their final hour!) On this note, if your independent little rat suddenly becomes clingy and snuggly, check for signs of illness, such as puffed fur, hunched posture, lethargy or reduced appetite. Sometimes even the most grumpy and obstinate old rat will become a sooky “mummy’s boy” when he is feeling ill. He is looking to you for security and comfort. You see, he loved you all along.
by Jill Ian


And if your rat pees on you they are marking you, they are letting everyone know that you belong to them
 
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SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,197
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
Abbreviations

ASF = Africian Soft Fur (more like a mouse but called rats)
BID = (medication is given) twice a day
doxy = the medication doxycycline
dex = the medication dexamethasone
pred = the medication prednisone
zithro = the medication azithromycin
bromo = the medication bromocriptine
cab = the medication cabergoline
clorpalm = the medication chloramphenicol palmitate
HED = hind end degeneration
IM = intramuscular, medication is injected into deep muscle
IV = Intravenous
milk belly = newborn babies have thin skin and for a few days you can see the milk in their stomach
OP = original poster
pinky = a hairless baby under 10 days old, often a newborn
PO = oral
PT = pituitary tumour
PTS = put to sleep
RMCA = Rat and Mouse Club of America
SID = (medication is given) once a day
SQ, subQ or sub-Q = subcutaneous, injected under the skin
TID = (medication is given) three times a day
 
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