A ? about my rat

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by KTMom91, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We have had Cadence for about a year and a half. She's supposed to belong to Miss KT, but my mother wouldn't let her take "that rodent" when she moved in. Today's behavior has been kind of strange. She worked all morning to bring wood chips up to the second floor of her cage, and built herself a nest up there, and she's curled up in it. She's never done anything like that before. I'm wondering if this means I'll be having a rat funeral soon.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Could she be hibernating? I know rats don't usually do this, but if it's been cold and dark where she lives, maybe that's why she's doing it?

    Has she been behaving erratically before this?

    Maybe it's a "false" pregnancy... sometimes dogs will nest when they go through this. I'm sure other mammals are not immune to weird hormonal things.

    I hope it's not the end!
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Sounds like a false pregnancy to me, but I am hoping that Star sees this.

    She's sort of the resident expert on pet ratties and I suspect can tell you for sure what is going on.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It could be hibernation or it could be phantom pregnancy. Or, if there's a chance another rat has got to her, it could be a real pregnancy. All you can do is keep an eye on her, keep her cage clean, dry and warm as well as well-supplied with fresh water and clean food, then watch.

    From my experience of sick rats, they don't usually go to any effort to make themselves a deathbed. But they Do make themselves nests, either for hibernation or for having pups. While I've never had them hibernate on me (not in Sydney!) I HAVE seen Pygmy Possums asleep (they hibernate with every sleep, every day) and I remember for them, warmth was an issue. Their body temperature would drop when asleep, but if you held them in your hand they would slowly wake up as they warmed up. You could see their skin change from pale pink to a deep rose, and their muscle tone would go from flaccid to being able to grip your finger really tightly with their tail.

    I also remember that rats that were REALLY being coddled at my work were kept in a room that was set to about 35C (a smidgin below body heat) with moderately high humidity, also. The Rattus Ritz.

    A thought - if she will let you, or if you can observe without having to handle her too much (and upsetting her) then have a look at her skin and/or mucous membranes. If she's a white rat, look at her ears and her tail, also the pads of her feet. The best place to look (apart from pads of feet in a white rat) is inside her mouth, at her gums, but that might upset her. You might be able to get a look at the colour of her tongue when she is drinking from a sipper bottle. If her skin is a healthy pink that is a good sign. if it is very pale, I would consider taking her to the vet.
    If she will let you handle her, feel how her paws feel on your hand (in terms of warmth). Or her tail (harder to tell). We used to have a very tiny sphygmomanometer cuff for taking their blood pressure, round the tail. We used to have to lightly anaesthetise them to do this, but ours were lab rats and not pets. We occasionally had some very tame rats that were used to being handled, but even they didn't like their tail being interfered with. The BiPolar (BP) rats - they were being used to study new drugs for treating hypertension. The drugs were given to the rats in their drinking water, the rats lived an otherwise normal life (for a lab rat) in terms of having a comfortable cage, plenty of food and water and room service. They were left to eventually die of natural causes, since the study was also assessing any possible long-term problems.

    I hope you get some good answers for her.

  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Their eyes bleed and stain their face - you think they are crying but when you wash them? It's blood. I dont' know what causes this, but mine never seemed to be in pain and were happy to just have a Q-tip in warm water brushed on the corners of their eyes.

    They have mini-strokes and some have violent seizures. They loose motor control of their back legs first. They will drag themselves around again seemingly not in pain but it is more than I can bare to watch. Albert has this going on and then not, then drag and then not. Makes you crazy because you think - should I take him to the vet? No today he's okay then come home and he is dragging only one foot.

    They will have spasms or seizures and flop around for a few minutes - then will either stare off like they aren't there or seem just fine and go back to daily routines.

    Albert has built himself a nest up high - I put the winter snuggly up for him to get in and out of and ramps for him to use, but he still crawls. This morning when I left - I was eating cheerios and I heard purring or bruxing - this is his way of "cuddling" up for a snack and mine LOVE cheerios.

    Mine did build a nest for the babies - but Albert has built himself quite the Taj Mahal with blanket scraps and abandoned his hammock for the fleece cube I sewed for him. Rats that are alone will be okay pets but since they are a highly social animal they should either have a snuggly or another rat to keep them warm. I think she's getting older and is cold. They sell fleece lined cubes or you can sew one pretty cheap. I got 2 blankets at the Salvation army, cut them, and sewed them - in the Summer time? Nah - they lay in their hammocs but in the Winter? Especially since Albert is alone? He's in the cube -

    I would plan for the worst.....hope for the best and enjoy her while you can, take pictures.

    I've only ever taken one to be put to sleep - and that was Noodles - she got a HUGE tumor that was operable, but she was almost 2 years old and the vet said for the pain of her going through surgery - and the expense she may not survive. The others died at home, comfortable as I could make them.

    Currently Albert is in the dragging, not dragging of his hind legs and has some tearing. Some times you look at him and he's just as fit and happy, young as the day he came home. Other days I see the dragging legs, and his staggering and know that our time together is coming to a close.

    If it weren't for how violently they pass? I don't think I'd ever be without one, but I get so attached and it's so hard to watch them perish.

    best of luck with your little girl.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the advice. She lives alone, and I have her cage in the living room, near the heater. Hubby and I both play with her, and talk to her when we walk by the cage. I hadn't thought she might be cold. I'll put some extra wood chips in for her. She seems fine today, but I'll be keeping an eye on her.