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Mice/Don't split up rats


QUESTION: Dear natasha,
I have completely  stopped rescueing mice after my parents
found out  (what's funny is my dad already knew) and my
Mother killed the mouse i had pretty much raised  from a baby
and brought out of shock twice Felix ,I know he was wild but to me
he was everything he'd actually gotten where I could actually hold
him and how he loved to have his neck scratched ...I gave up on it
because the lies and conflicts it became........when I get out of high school
and out of college  and have a well paying job  I was thinking about  funding a pet rodent
rescue  or ending up in a mouse infested  house (not rat but mice that would be so close to heaven to me)  
So I would do it again in a heartbeat..but I'll never forget all I've learned for you and I was wondering
How was rescueing those 63  (or more can't remember) animals ?

ANSWER: Hi Jada,

Wow. Killed your little mouse. I am so sorry. That is so horrible. Little Felix.

Yes, it sounds to me too that this isn't the time. I have certainly lived in mouse infested houses. Not on purpose of course, but I won't harm them. It does get a little crazy. One time I had left a bag with 8 big bags of chips in it, under my table (there was a long table cloth) and when I went to get them there were seven empty bags with little chew holes in them. There were chew holes in the 8th one too-- guacamole flavored Doritos I think-- but the mice hadn't eaten it. I figured they knew what they were doing and threw that one out :)

We had a lot of help with the 48 lab animals and didn't end up having to do a lot, but the 20 naked rats in a horrible house in PA, where the guy was threatening to throw them in the woods, took a lot more work. They are all in safe places right now, mostly forever homes, and the females are having babies. But naked rats can have trouble with milk production so a lot of the babies have already died (the owners should have hand nursed them but they didn't know how and didn't tell us in time).  Anyway we are still going to have to try to find homes for all of the babies that are left!

Again, I am sorry about Felix :(



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Natasha,
When Felix died I cried my eyes out as Jonah one of our cats tore into him when my mom wasn't looking I snuck over there to let him run away but he went into shock in one bite it was over....I'm pretty sure he didn't feel it...I m not mad at Jonah he was only doing what came natural.i feel a little jealous that you had a good time rescuing those rats.....and now my two rats have an uncertain future after a fight my mother put them in the buy sale so yes no more rats......I don't know what to do when I questioned her about she said don't question me again in a way you could say that rescuing mice destroyed my life but I think I've learned more than my fair share of responsibility, understanding ,patience, mouse behavior as well as rat, and trust...after all I've done is tried to save the creatures I love and at long last with a bit of dog food and a knowing heart the colony survives than that will soon end as well  there are also a fairly big infestation outside as well as in how was I supposed to know at that moment I had a male and female and when I released them the female was pregnant....that explains everything doesn't ,what am I supposed to do now?

ANSWER: Dear Jada,

Oh no, the ratties too? I am assuming the buy sale is classified ads?

1. Maybe maybe there is time to gently change her mind. I do not know your mom (and thank heaven my mom loves animals just like I do). But maybe you can approach her in a good mood and say "Mom, is there anything I can do, promise to clean the bathroom/ kitchen twice a week/ make dinner once a week/... (anything even if you will hate it) for you to let me keep the rats?" then of course you would absolutely have to do it forever.

2. That doesn't work so at least you want to make sure the rats don't get fed to snakes. There are two things to do:

A. Try a rescue/shelter. If you tell them how desperate the situation is maybe they can even come and get them. Tell me where you live and I can tell you what rescues I can find in your state. You can also do your own research.

B. If I know where you are I might possibly be able to find someone out of my friends in Facebook who can take them. I need to know age, sex, pattern, and personality.

C.  Make sure you ask an adoption price of $10. That way they are more expensive than snake food.

D.  Use a pet classified ad on a pet website. There are a couple of these. I don't know the names off the top of my head but you can research. In fact I ought to know for my website.

So write back right away with your location and description of the rats; do some research yourself; and I will see if there is anything I or you can do.

It will help if I have your phone number but if it will piss off your mom that someone is helping you, that is not a good idea because it might backfire. I can watch my allexperts questions more closely than I have been to communicate more easily. I have been terrible about it lately because I am running a rat and mouse Facebook group which is rapidly reaching 1400 people, and I monitor it very closely to make sure there is no fighting, as there is in so many groups, and that everyone's questions get good answers.

I really hope we can solve this. There are people who will sacrifice a lot to try to save a rat's life. I and one of my helpers on the site intervened to save a rat's life ten minutes before she was going to be put down for 'biting'-- once we got her she was a 6 month old sweetie and does not bite. I think the owner had obnoxious kids who tortured her. Anyway my point is that we work very hard for each rat.

I hope to hear soon.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Toby and Justin
Toby and Justin  
QUESTION: Dear Natasha,
I manage to fix it on my own after five hours of back scratching on my mom rats are ok I think (well we are keeping them)and  soon we're thinking of getting a another after my sister leaves for college she's taking hers with her. But this week hasn't been the best  I almost lost my rats,have  a cyst on my head,have two major wounds one on my finger and the other on my heel ,on the other foot got bit by a spider,and some freaky dreams, I mean how much can one girl take. But other than that life's been good and no matter how much I would love to see that Facebook page I can't don't have a facebook and I am defiantly not a computer person...all I have is a yahoo ,a gmail (,and currently this game I'm addicted to Pure Felinity. But anyways I was wondering my rat Justin is super hyper ,he's an agouti and white hooded rat he's a little over a year and a half while his cage mate Toby a Burgendy and white hooded rat who is just a month older is probably the laziest rat ever;and Justin is kind of skittish and small compared to toby yet he won't bite anyone but Toby has bite me, but what I'm trying to say is will justin ever mellow out or will he always be extremely jumpy?
By the way I live in AL

Dear Jada,

I am so happy that you can keep them. I had a bunch of friends waiting to mobilize and find homes for them, but this is better by far.

You can't split up the rats. They aren't toys. They love each other and they will both be very depressed, and may get sick. It is like you and your closest friend or sister live together alone and you have no-one else and then you two are taken apart. Only worse, because you each think the other is dead.

Your sister must absolutely have two rats. Rats cannot live alone. Every moment you are not interacting with a solitary rat it is in solitary confinement. Either you or your sister has to take both. And if the other wants a rat they must get two. It would be very cruel to split them. Please, if you are fighting over them, let her take them. It is better than splitting them up.

Do you know the parable about the two women who each claimed a baby was theirs? The went to a wise man and each told their side of the story. The wise man thought about it and finally said, the answer is you must cut the baby in half. One mother said OK; the other said I would rather she take it. The wise man said then I know that you are the mother.

You must be that 'mother,' the one who cares more about the rats than about yourself. You must rather your sister take them both, than split them up.

As for Justin, of course eventually he will get old and slow down. But I do not know if he will calm down before then. He needs lots of people time of course. A rat needs a couple of hours a day of love. If possible he should go in your sweatshirt or bathrobe and be next to you. You must also give him a lot of treats for being with you. Blueberry soy yogurt on a spoon, and, when you don't think he will bite, on your finger, is a great way to get him to want to be near you.

Please do the right thing for the rats!




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I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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