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Can't We All Just Get Along?

Eek and Scribble were introduced to each other gradually over a period of days. Then on August 7th, the girls spent their first night together in a new cage. Timid cautious Scribble was so much smaller than Eek at that time, and Eek picked on her a little, so Scribble had a "home" box with an entry hole too small for Eek. This at least gave Scribble a separate Eek-free space of her own, which is where she spent most of her time. This was not starting out auspiciously.

Very interested cats watching the cageThe cats, as should be expected, continued to be very interested in these activities and creatures, especially with the new cage. The cats spent hours together, maintaining a truce on their own conflicts, just to watch these curious small creatures from the best vantage point, which happened to be on the back of an armchair. Fortunately that armchair is about 6 feet away from the cage.

By the nineteenth, only twelve days later, Scribble had doubled in size and was rapidly gaining on, if not yet surpassing Eek. Having combed the Internet for suggestions on helping pet rats become friends, I began daily applying vanilla extract on both girls, to disguise their scents from each other. This was helpful, but did not fully resolve the squabbling. This also happened to be the first day the Scribble started interacting with me - which was exciting. On the other hand, Eek was increasingly withdrawn, sleeping more and seeming almost crabby.

Finally and with sadness, on the 24th, after only two weeks with the rats together, Eek seemed so very sullen, even depressed, that I split the cage space, separating the rats by putting Eek in the upper half and Scribble in the lower half. Eek was almost instantly happier. A couple of days later, for the first time, Scribble came out of the cage and onto my lap on her own volition.

Still hopeful that maybe they'd become companions, the girls continued to have daily "free range" time together - a chance to run at will in an empty, almost unfurnished bedroom closed off from the rest of the house. After the cage split they seemed less antagonistic towards each other during their free range time, though there was still the occasional tussle and squeak.

Will these two rats ever become friends?

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Blog_post | by Dr. Radut