Posted: January 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EST
Q: I have a mouse as a pet. I have had her for two years now. She had a sister who passed away four weeks ago. I have heard that I should not keep her alone, but I am afraid that if I get a tiny new little mouse she may be really rough on her. She and her sister used to go at it from time to time. Should I introduce another mouse in with the one I currently have? If I do, should I get a baby or should I try to get an older mouse? She seems lonely since losing her sister. I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing.
A: I'm sorry to hear that your mouse has lost her companion.
Some mouse pairs develop very deep bonds, and it can be difficult for them when their lifelong partner is suddenly gone. In spite of the fact that your mouse appears to be lonely, I wouldn't try to introduce her to another mouse. Two years is very old for a mouse, and I'm concerned that the stress of losing her cagemate plus the added stress of an introduction might be too much for her.
If your mouse is used to being handled a lot, try spending more time with her. You can also give her more treats (healthy ones of course).
Because your mouse is sleeping alone now, you might notice her building a nest to stay warmer. Make sure she has a small box or igloo to use as a house, and give her things like soft hay, shredded paper towels, toilet paper tubes and tissue to use in her nest. These items will help her stay busy and will have the added benefit of keeping her warm.
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