After much discussion and debate, Ninja and I have finally decided on a way forward with our rat owning. As I’ve mentioned before, we were concerned that Flea might get lonely being an only rat. It really is preferable to keep rats in pairs or groups, but of course life isn’t always as clean-cut as that…
Flea enjoying some oranges (Please note: never feed oranges to male rats!)
At first we considered getting a neutered male of Flea’s age to join her as a companion. After inquiring with our fellow rat club members and discussing it at length, however, we realised we may as well begin the process of getting the new young male rats we were hoping to get one day when Coffee and Flea had passed away.
And so we’ve taken the first step in purchasing a pedigreed fancy rat (or four!) We’ve contacted a reputable breeder (the same lady who raised our amazing agouti badger husky rats, Scribble and Muesli) and asked to be placed on the waiting list for four boys from two litters she has planned – two boys each for Ninja and I.
We feel ready, after having owned five rats in total so far (I’m also counting Mizu, our very first rat from years ago; a little petshop rescue who opened my eyes to the joys of rat owning), to now have more than one rat each. No doubt it’ll be quite an adventure! 🙂
The idea is that we’ll get four young boys and keep them separate from Flea at first. Then we hope to have at least two of them neutered as soon as they’re the right age (between 2 and 6 months old, I believe). Neutering has several benefits apart from allowing males to live with females, including avoiding testicular cancer and reducing excesses of aggression. Often it keeps the boys’ fur softer as well, with a chance of a bit less oily ‘buck grease’ forming on their backs.
Once the month-long ‘safety window’ has passed for the neutered males to be rendered infertile, we can begin the process of introducing them to Flea. If all goes well with that and once our budget has recovered, we’ll hopefully get the other two males neutered so we call put all our ratties together. It’s something we’ve never done before, but many other rat owners have done it successfully, so we’re going to give it a try. At least then our old lady Flea will have some
toy boys companions to cuddle with 😀
It’s all sooooo exciting! And I thought it might be interesting to blog about it as the process unfolds, for those of you who are curious or who may still be a bit wide eyed at the idea of going to so much trouble for rats! 😉