Whenever ratties leave our home, we always send either a hammock or snugglie, and a bit of fleece that smells like the mischief. If it is a single rattie going to a new established mischief this is especially important. Can you imagine being taken away from the only thing you have ever known and put in a room filled with different smells and items, without a way to contact your loved ones. For a rattie, especially during the 3 week quarantine a comfort item is important.
People will often have larger pets with comfort items. A dog that has a favorite toy, a cat that snuggles on a 'special' towel or even a bird that cannot seem to part with a certain toy in it's cage. All of these are things that most owners would want to take to the vet, if their pet was going in for a procedure or to be re-homed. Why not the same for a rat? The boys that came yesterday, came with bags of food, toys, hammocks and fleece. I took most of their fleece that was dirty and threw it into the laundry, making sure to keep one piece for their cage. I didn't wash their hammocks or their toys. After I got a ton of kisses and love, I put them in their old cage and let them snuggle up with each other. This morning, when I woke up, they both were laying on top of their blue fleece, not hiding in the cage but actually holding on to it like a bear hug right by the door. My heart broke a little for them. Yes our home had familiar smells and noises but it has been five months. This image only confirmed to me we are doing the right thing sending 'transitional objects' with our babies when they leave the home.
(A comfort object, transitional object, or security blanket is an item used to provide psychological comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations...) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_object Granted, some may say I am looking at this as a human needs a comfort item not an animal, I will always continue to provide something with their mischief's smells to help in the transition.