As you may know, I have 6 rats: Jekyll, Hyde and Darcy, who live together, and Richelieu, D'Artagnan and Willoughby, who live together. Back in the day, everyone except Darcy (I didn't have him then) lived in the same cage, but J&H are old men and needed time away from the boisterous younger rats. Eventually, the living arrangment became permanent, though they still play together happily enough. :)
Then I got Darcy. I neutered him, and he now lives happily with Jekyll and Hyde. However, he's two months younger than them and quite a bit healthier. I would love it if one day he could live with the Pesticles (the younger ones) so he doesn't have to be alone after the older boys pass. Unfortunately, they can't even play together. Darcy is terrified of them, and the Pesticles, as entire males, are pretty keen to assert their dominance. They are all nearly double Darcy's size, too, so I can't blame him for being so scared.
Tomorrow I am going to the vet to chat about neutering them. She does it chemically, with a little contraceptive bar, so it isn't invasive. The operation lasts about a minute and they are only under for maybe two or three. She's the best rat vet I've ever seen and I trust her completely, so I'm not worried about the risk factor. What I am worried about is the guilt factor.
I don't think the neutering will affect Darty much. He's the sweetest and quietest of the three Pests, so the loss of testosterone would simply enhance his perfect personality. Willoughby is a crazy, strange litte rat (he was actually in an asylum for a while, because his mentally ill owner smuggled him in!), but I don't feel like too much of his personality is tied up in his testicles, so I wouldn't feel like it would change him too much. Richelieu, on the other hand, is a naughty, cheeky, charming little squirt, and I feel that a good deal of that comes from his whatsits. I'm worried that if I have him neutered, he will lose his craziness and change into a quiet, dignified creature. I don't want to lose my naughty little Pest. Can anyone assuage my worry?
Also, I feel guilty for taking their manhood away.
Congratulations if you read all that. :p