Author Topic: Geriatric Rats  (Read 685 times)

Offline kyssyfur

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Geriatric Rats
« on: September 03, 2007, 10:59:33 PM »
My rats are getting old :BlueDumboBigEyes: *sigh* I need to make my cage more  geriatric.  I have a superpet cage.  Currently, I have a rat that is starting to have hind leg degenerations and one with lung cancer.  Any suggestions?

Offline Dearpie

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Re: Geriatric Rats
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2007, 11:45:35 PM »
I'd make the bottom of the cage most comfy for him.  Put food, water, an igloo and a very low hanging hammock so he can make that 'his home'.  I hate when they get elderly ...  :(

Offline kyssyfur

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Re: Geriatric Rats
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2007, 11:52:53 PM »
This is my first experience with rats aging.  I don't want to seperate the younger ones from the older ones but i want to cage to be fun for them also!

Offline Grace

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Re: Geriatric Rats
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 12:13:42 AM »
It stinks when they get older, huh?  That's one of the main reasons I won't buy a cage with a small footprint anymore.  Once the boys get older and lose motor function, they're stuck in that tiny space.  :(

If you're looking into possibly getting them a new cage, I'd go with a Marchioro.  Easy to clean, reasonably priced, and they provide a decent amount of floor space for older kiddos.  Otherwise a Martin's 685 works well.

Otherwise steps you'll want to take would be to move food and water down to the bottom floor.  Hang hammocks lower, so they can crawl into them.  Cover ramps with carpeting or fabric.  This makes it less "slippery" if they do want to climb the ramp, since they'd have something to grab onto while climbing.  Covering ramps also ensures they don't get a foot or leg stuck in the bars.

You may need to rearrange the shelving if he's still climbing ramps.  Be sure there aren't large open spaces where he could fall a far distance if he lost his footing.  Make sure all the ramps and shelves are covered if they aren't solid, etc etc.  You could hang hammocks arranged so if he did fall off a shelf, he'd fall onto a soft hammock instead of all the way down the cage.  Things like that.

Edit...  Forgot to add...  Make sure your ramps aren't steep!  It makes it harder for him to climb, and easier to fall.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 12:16:36 AM by Grace Jr »


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Offline Dearpie

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Re: Geriatric Rats
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 11:29:47 AM »
This is my first experience with rats aging.  I don't want to seperate the younger ones from the older ones but i want to cage to be fun for them also!

Yep, that's why I recommended ADDING things to the bottom level/area of the cage.  The younger ones can still go down there and play, while leaving the rest of the cage as is for them.   You just need a safer environment for the elderly rats, you don't need to block them off, or remove things in the rest of the cage.

Offline pawsplus

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Re: Geriatric Rats
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2007, 12:32:20 PM »
My experience has been that older ratties KNOW they're old.  They self-limit pretty well as long as you make sure their stuff is where they want it.

When my Phineas got older, there was a very peaceful and mutual "changing of the guard," whereby he passed his authority to Fergus.  Fergus not only brought him food when Phineas was too tired to go get it, but he disciplined the young rats when they played rough around Phineas.  I will NEVER forget seeing Fergus grab Fiona (who was hell on wheels!) by both sides of the scruff of her neck, shake her hard, look into her eyes, and say, "Cut it out!"  It was SO CLEAR what he said that he might as well have said it.  :yelcutelaugh:

The whole pack seemed to take Phineas' getting older (and then Fergus', and then Oliver's, etc.) in stride, and it was touching how they all cared for the older rattie.  So I think that as long as you provide a nice, comfy place that is safe, things will work themselves out. :)
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