My oldest rat, Zen is CUTE yet temperamental/competitive/super-dominant/independent a.k.a. when she's not snuggling with her 2 other cagemates, she's picking on them.
Zen was my first rat & she's from a pet store so I'm obviously figuring out that her independent personality/competitive nature when it comes to food is due to her upbringing. My two other rats, Moxie & Shylah, are sisters who I received from an accidental litter. Shylah is the smallest one & gets picked on the most. She's always got little scratches on her back, but once a month, there's always a huge scruffle between her & Zen and she ends up with a gash on her back. I've finally had it when a fight between Zen & Moxie caused Moxie to fall from the top of the cage & sprain her paw (I'm guessing it's a sprain, there's no indication of major swelling or bone poking out, but she's nursing her paw & trying not to put pressure on it, so I've been giving her the proper rat-dosage of ibuprofen). Shylah's gashes heal pretty quickly, but they are nasty & scare me. Zen has never bit me, but she's also more likely to run off & do her own thing when I let her out then chill with me for a little bit like the others...she just likes to do her own thing & unfortunately, I can't keep up with the fighting when I have 2 other ones who like my attention & I feel like I'm being a bad mom by letting them get bullied, you know?
I've considered it before, and now I'm really trying to give Zen up to a home that either a.) Wants to keep her as a single pet (she snuggles with her cagemates, but at times she likes to be on her own & will fight for her own space) or b.) Is willing to introduce her to another rat & see how they get along, though I can't promise anything.
So, Zen is the only reason that Shylah gets scratched up & Shylah had such a skittish personality to begin with when I first got her, but I feel like it continued from getting beat up all of the time. When I opened up the cage to see what was going on last night, she jumped out and ran behind my bed for awhile. She'd usually be a little less quick & at least let me get her into my lap. I don't want her to grow up scared & I feel like Zen is affecting her personality. Moxie isn't as intimidated by Zen & usually doesn't get much grief, but her poor paw has really been the last straw for me. I'm still paying off vet bills from Zen (she was pregnant when I got her, I didn't know & there were complications. She also had an abscess removed which cost more $$$, therefore, purchasing another cage is not an option & I don't even have room for another one. I'm scared that keeping the 3 together will cause vet bills that I could have prevented if a really nasty fight occurs in the future).
I just feel like these incidents outweigh any of the good times, and that maybe she'd be better off by herself? She's never bit me, she's a cute rat, it's just...I don't know if their personalities go together & I'm not very well off with money & space. I feel like Moxie & Shylah would be more stable if they didn't have such a dominant rat around & I think Zen stresses herself out too much trying to be first with food, fighting over nothing. Is anyone willing to adopt/know of any safe places I can surrender Zen to?
I have them separated right now & with Moxie & Shylah in a cage and Zen in a fish tank which is not a proper home. I can send a picture, my email is lisafiorvante @ gmail.com (without spaces) so I can show you Zen. I'm not allowed to post links/pictures yet.