I'm new to the forum but this place has helped me before on various questions so I thought I'd turn here for help. This post is a bit long, but I'd really appreciate the read through and help. Thanks in advance.
A few months ago, we had to separate our two female rats (both about 10 months old). This came after a long time time of the dominant and aggressive one, Artemis, attacking and almost starving our other rat, Sweetie, to death. She was ripping out her fur, eating all the food, and just being terrible to her.
We separated them and kept their cages next to each other and Artemis was fine. We'd take them out together, but she would still harass Sweetie- even mounting her. What was worse was that Sweetie was still stressed out, secreting porphyrin and her fur wouldn't grow back (her neck was almost bald). The only good thing was that she ate more and went back to a healthy weight.
We recently took them both to the vet and he vet said they were both really healthy except that Artemis and Sweetie would need to be fully separated because they were both stressing each other out too much. We did that and now they're across the room from each other and don't come out together anymore.
Sweetie has flourished, her hair grew back and she's porphyrin-free. But Artemis seems sullen and withdrawn. At first when they were cage mates, they got along well even though Artemis was still bossy. They'd snuggle, be concerned for one another and play. But now when they're together they only fight.
I know the vet said they probably need to stay separated but I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this sort of problem and could give me some advice. I hate to see them separated and I just want the best for them. I take them both out and try to give Artemis more attention but she just acts up more. She gets really jealous when she sees me holding or playing with Sweetie or even just hears me talking to her. She's still sweet to me, bruxes, cleans my eyelid, etc
but she's definitely changed.
I sort of posted about this in another forum somewhere a while back when I was asking something else so if you see this again, sorry. I had said I'd see how it went but they still are unable to be housed together. Artemis just attacks Sweetie and Sweetie sort of whimpers and crouches on the ground. It's heartbreaking and frankly I don't know what to do.
Please help with advice if you can. Thanks so much.