Mice + Depression

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Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sat 16 Dec 2017, 9:00 pm

Grahams depression was pretty bad today. She was napping and didn't even move when I pet her -- she only seemed to care enough to move when I tried to pick her up.

She was a lot happier being held, though She spent 45 minutes being handled today and another 30 running around in a play pen. She loves getting pet and she's her energetic self in the pen. When she went back tonight I had made her a new foraging toy which she loves, and she seems a lot happier.

I don't know any other ways to counteract this, though. What will make a depressed mouse happier? We're working on a new friend, of course, and should have one within the week, but what else can we do for her?

The Petsmart we got Ares from called me on Tuesday or Wednesday because they had some new mice on quarantine -- they won't be available for adoption until Tuesday though. Will the quarantine they've already been through make the quarantine they go through here shorter?

Depression is such a horrible thing, even for mice. It hurts seeing her so upset -- I'm worried for her. Luckily she still seems interested in her treats and vegetables, though.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by Rodents rock! on Sat 16 Dec 2017, 11:34 pm

Hi River, sorry Graham is lonely and depressed. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to me. Do you know how long PETsMART has had the mice in quarantine?
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sat 16 Dec 2017, 11:47 pm

They got them in Wednesday, had to check the paper from when we got Ares. They said they would call when they're out of quarantine, but estimate about a week.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by essentiallysue on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 5:17 am

Just like to tell you my experience. I had an elderly mouse. She had outlived two other sets of two mice. I figured she didn't have long to live, but I brought home two other mice for her. It turned out they were pregnant, and had 10 babies apiece. The old mouse came to life, mothering the pregnant moms, and then the new babies. She was so active taking care of them all. It is 6 months later and she is still alive. From what I can figure, she must be 3 years old. If you can keep her going until she gets her new friends, you may see a change in her.

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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by Rodents rock! on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 8:19 am

Do you plan on getting two mice for Graham?
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 8:22 am

Yep, though not at the same time. Were getting one from a breeder who comes to town this March and one from a shop ASAP. That makes introductions harder but for a healthy, well bred mouse, I'll take it.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by Rodents rock! on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 8:24 am

That's good, I'm glad Graham will have a new sister soon Very Happy
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by Rodents rock! on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 8:29 am

I will add though, I got Mickey from PETsMART and he has been totally healthy his whole life and he is over a year and a half now and still doing great. So pet shop mice can be very healthy Very Happy
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 9:34 am

Since Graham seems more content when she's with you, can you adjust your schedule to spend a bit more time with her during her natural "awake" hours while she's waiting for her new roommate?  For example, take a nap after dinner and then stay up an extra hour or two later than usual after the nap?

My little April was an "only mouse".  She loved to sleep either inside my shirt or on my shoulder (usually the right one, next to my neck and tucked part-way under the collar like a blanket), even while I was at work or working at home.  I slept almost every night in the same room with her, and very often within arm's reach, so (I hoped) she could smell and even see me nearby.  Is it possible for you to arrange for any more extra-close time with her like that, temporarily?

Is there anybody else in the house, who Graham is already familiar with, who can put in a little extra friendly time with her?

If she's happier in her play area, can you set her up in there for more time per day, or even all day?  Or is it something she can escape from too easily?

Are you giving her the ever-popular cheek rubs?  They seem to get endorphins (or something) flowing in our little rodent friends.

And, of course, a really rare treat could pick her spirits up.  April was very fond of sweet potato casserole and rice pudding -- stuff that was basically good for her (sweet potatoes and rice), but naughtied up enough to be irresistible.

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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 10:29 am

With my sleep schedule as is, I could take her out until around 3 am - but she can only be out for 30 minutes at a time so she can get water to drink, so I would need breaks between, but I don't know how long those breaks should be. Thoughts?

Graham knows (and likes) my sister but she won't spend time with her, so I'll be upping the time out of cage myself. The cage is already at the foot of my bed so most of my day is spent nearby. Her play area is the bath tub with a towel on it, so while she can't be in it 100% of the time she can definitely be in for at least an hour a day when I have the time for it. No way to escape, so she's fine there unsupervised for a half hour or so.

I can indeed give her some cheek rubs! Right now, as for treats, she's getting two Gerber puff cereals a day, usually tucked into a foraging toy. Give or take a little. She had cheerios yesterday, and some cilantro. She does like pasta, bread, millet, and peanut butter, so I'll try adding some more of her favorites.

Thank you for the tips. She'll appreciate it, I can tell.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 12:00 pm

She got a cage clean today. We let her explore the empty quarantine cage and I put her back on crittercare. This bag has a slight smell to it, so I won't be using their newer bags again, but its mild and has less smell than her urine on newspaper shredding so I'll use it until the new bag comes in. She seems happy today, exploring new toys and digging in her bedding.

I'm going to be making a few new hammocks today. What hammocks do your mice like? What size do you use? The last one we made is really big so its more like a fleece nest than a hammock. Oops.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 12:05 pm

Well, it is not necessary to have her out whenever she is awake -- just to be there and watch for indications from her that she wants to come out or wants/needs company ... as well as the occasional offer from you to see if she is interested in visiting.

Is the half-hour time limit Graham's, or are you just playing it safe?  When April was out climbing/sleeping on me for extended periods of time, she would let me know when she wanted to go back home for a little food or water, and it was rarely less than an hour.  When I put her in a play box, I moved her food and water with her.  She always used a water bowl, never a bottle, so I didn't need a place to hang anything.

To take care of both food and water all in one, you can just mix up some baby cereal powder with extra water and put her dish of "gruel" in the tub while she's playing there.  Then she rehydrates while she's snarfing up porridge.  If she's just out spending time with you, you can offer the bowl to her wherever she happens to be, or put some porridge on a fingertip to see if she wants to lick some nummies.

A few things you could try to "fancy up" her snacks while she's feeling sad: honey, maple syrup (the REAL stuff), or soft fresh goat cheese.  A dot of honey thinly spread over one side of a Cheerio not only dresses up the treat -- it also gives the mousie the added fun of cleaning the honey residue off her hands and face when she's done.  A little maple syrup blended into peanut butter will thin it out and make it easier for her to swallow.  A dab of soft goat cheese in a macaroni noodle or on a salad leaf or on a bit of bread might be an unexpected yummy surprise.  Of course, if she turns out not to like them, you get to enjoy the leftovers!

Once Graham gets the new roommate and things are settled in the mousehouse, the special treats can be gradually reduced to "very occasional" status once again.  But for now the thing is to try to do things that will give her enjoyment to counteract the negative things grief is doing to her.  Don't expect to stop the grief, but DO try to lessen the damage.


P.S. I made a hammock for April as a Christmas gift last year. She HATED it. If it was possible for her to think "What the *%!# is THIS for? GET ME OUTTA this thing!", that was the look she gave me every time I'd offer her a little hammock time.

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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Sun 17 Dec 2017, 12:17 pm

She seems to get uneasy around the 30 minute mark, but part of it is me playing it safe. I do offer veggies during out of cage time so she gets hydrated, though.

Funny about April and the hammocks -- Graham absolutely loves them. They're her favorite place to nap.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by River on Wed 20 Dec 2017, 10:58 pm

An update on this:

Some days are worse than others.

Some days, she wants nothing to do with me: so she gets a lot of play pen time instead, just in case. Sometimes, she's snuggly and wants to be held 24/7. The chattering has decreased so I think she's come to notice it won't get a response.

Today was a bad day. She was held for hours, and now seems much happier back at home with a few new toys. It's so heartbreaking to watch a mouse mourn. I know she would improve with new friends but...

With the new cage talk, I'm not sure if I should get another mouse until I can upgrade -- who knows when that'll be? The mice seemed happy, and I do wholly think that they were, but if there's even the slightest risk that they weren't...I don't know. None of the shops near me have had females for adoption, so we haven't managed to get a new one yet. What do you think? Should we get another mouse even if the minimum here changes?

I'd hate to let her live the rest of her life alone like this, but I'm just a bit paranoid and unsure about what to do. I'd appreciate some advice.
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Re: Mice + Depression

Post by Peachy on Wed 20 Dec 2017, 11:28 pm

Get another mouse. This minimum talk is brand new, and you've said yourself your mice are happy. Your mouse will be happier with a mouse friend than she will be without a friend... no matter what the cage size is.

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