Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Sable Fights Back

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 1:08 pm on Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I almost hate to say anything about it. History has proven that anytime I think I know what’s going on with the Rattie Sisters, I wind up being wrong a week or two later.

Most recently, I had pronounced sadly that Sable and Lola weren’t going to be able to live together. Lola was getting too aggressively violent with her dominance behavior, and Sable was having night terrors. Separate cages seemed to be the permanent fate for these two.

Then, this weekend, less than a week after Lola had her opportunity to escape due to human error, Sable engineered her own escape. Without any help from humans.

Gryphon had been taking Sable’s cage in on his bed overnight, to keep her company. Sable’s cage is the same one that she and Star lived in ever since they came home to us, a homemade contraption of hardware cloth. For a year and eight months, it’s been more than adequately secure.

Until Sable got so desperate the other night, overnight in Gryphon’s room, that she managed to push the corners of the latched door out far enough to squeeze through. Gryphon awoke to an empty cage.

We surmised she probably hadn’t gone far, so Gryphon began searching through the stacks of stored items in his room. There were signs of Rattie habitation scattered here and there – a pocket of space holding a chewed hazelnut and some pellets; a speaker wire gnawed in two. Finally, he saw some movement in a large bag of packing peanuts he kept behind the end of the bed. There she was, happily nesting.

So, Sable turned up safely from her big adventure, just as Lola had from her own the week before. And we were presented with a problem.

Our cage collection includes two smaller ones, and one large. The smaller ones are Sable’s homemade cage, which is only just big enough for two rats, and Lola’s commercially made one, which is just a bit too small for a pair of Ratties. We could no longer trust the security of Sable’s cage without rebuilding the door. Sable knew now that she could escape, and would certainly do it again, and if Sable could, then Lola would, too.

Which left us with only two cage options to house the two rats – Lola’s secure cage, which would house one, and the large cage, which would house at least three or four.

I felt I was left with no option but to try putting Sable and Lola together again. To test the theory, I put them both in Lola’s cage for the day – it’s too small as a permanent residence for two, but fine for temporary.

They actually got along. In fact, they spent most of the day curled up together.

Encouraged, we decided to set up the large cage. Both Ratties have been living together in it since Saturday night. I’ve been watching carefully for signs of bullying. As time passes, Lola is gettting a bit more bold again. But it was very good to see on Sunday that at least half the times I heard squeaking from the cage, it was Sable who was on top of Lola, pouncing and fighting back against the younger bully.

Could be that she’s finally pulling out of the depression over losing her sister enough to assert her rights. That, and I’ll bet she’s even more desperate for the company, and more willing to do what’s needed to make it work. And maybe, just maybe, as Lola reaches full maturity, she’s mellowing out a little bit. As well as being desperate for company herself.

So, once again, we’re treated to scenes like this, Lola and Sable sleeping in a single pile together.

Sable and Lola, Together Again

Lola isn’t over her bratty ways yet. She’s still being Little Miss Grabby when it comes to treats, running quickly to stash her own, then dashing back to Sable to take hers. I’ve noticed, though, that Lola winds up forgetting about the one she stashed, and sometimes even the one she stole, and Sable eventually winds up with the goodies she wants anyhow.

I’m not going to make any rash declarations about this being the permanent state of reality for the Ratties. I’ve done that before, and obviously, I’ve been wrong every time. For now, then, we’re just going to enjoy the current State of Relative Peace that we’ve attained.


Comment by Tracy

October 30, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

I wonder if having a larger cage/more living space would help with the squabbling – having room to roam or move apart? Is this true for rats? I only know that it helped with Guinea Pig co-habitation behavior, they always got along better in bigger cages.

I do love the rat stories. For many reasons, we are without small furries right now and need to stay that way for awhile, but I miss ’em.

Comment by Carol

October 30, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

Yeah,take it a day at a time. I keep thinking that Pagan has gotten over her irritation with the new addition at my house. And then she puts the smackdown on him. Poor fellow. He is soooo non-agressive.

Comment by Carrie K

October 30, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

Well, I’ll cross my fingers that it works out – it would just be so much better for all concerned if it would. Until proven otherwise, it’s a good thing.

Comment by FemaleWriter

October 31, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

That sounds like good news. Hopefully they’re still getting lots of out of cage time (together). Good luck! 🙂

Take Care!


Comment by Claudia

November 1, 2007 @ 12:38 am

OMG that’s just fabulous! It’s so hard when our pets fight – I always take it as a personal affront that they haven’t adopted my own human ways. Sigh – so I really am glad to see the two of them sleeping together. And who knows – maybe it’ll last!

Comment by Laughingrat

December 26, 2007 @ 12:02 am

Hope the girls are getting along better by now. Rats really need each other–sometimes they just take a while to figure that out. 😉

I see from a more recent post that you’ve stopped blogging for a while, that it’s sort of taken over. Boy, I hear that. Hope you’ve had a decent holiday season and that you’re getting to do a lot more of what you like to do. 🙂

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