Bye Bye Tinkerbell & Sugar

January 13, 2010

Had to make a trip to the vets with Tinkerbell & Sugar today. They had both started to get very old and were struggling to get around and had both got very skinny. Tinks in particular was in a very bad way, with a nasty scab on her tummy so I thought it kindest to send them on their final journey together.

Tinkerbell 14/02/07 – 13/01/10

My longest lived rat (so far) came from down in Falkirk from a breeder who had taken on a rescue litter. Tinkerbell and Doughnut were the 3rd and 4th rats I ever had. Steve named Tinkerbell and it was always too dainty a name for the sort of rat she was! She got called Tinks or Tinky for short.

She was a little hooligan, always out to play for the longest when she was younger and she could be a little bit arguementative with the other girls. She was never a cuddly rat when she was younger but after she got spayed she would sit still for longer on me and at one time actually got quite clingy. As she got older she preffered to sleep and would give me a little nip if she didn’t want to come out of bed at cleaning out time. She loved the company of other rats and would always be found snuggled up with Sugar.

Baby Tinky soon after she arrived

Posing during a photoshoot

and again

On her first birthday eating malt loaf with Pepper

And again on her first birthday.

Bye Bye Tinks, we’ll miss you loads, go find Doughnut and the other girlies.

Sugar – ?/2007 – 13/01/10

Sugar was a very special rat. She was the first rat that had babies here and gave me the perfect introduction to raising baby ratties. She arrived late September 2007 and 4 days later gave birth to 11 little ones. She was fine with me handling them from day 1. Her favourite thing while I was handling and weighing her babies was to stash food under my pillow! I would go to bed and find a little pile of (thankfully) dry rat food. She outlived all of the six of her children that stayed here.

Sugar loved food. She was always too fat but it just added to her cuddly charm. She was the perfect rat to introduce to those that didn’t like rats. She would have cuddles with anyone, just sitting quietly on your shoulder or in your arms, just loving being loved.

She was also great with other rats. She never picked a fight and was always gentle and loving. If a rat was ill Sugar would be put with them to keep them company. She would lie across an ill companion, protecting and grooming them and even did this to Tinks today on their last trip to the vets.

I know we’re not allowed favourites but she was one of mine and I shall miss her so much.

Bye Bye special girly, go find your kids and the other girlies. They’ll be waiting for a cuddle.

Sugar with her pregnant tum

In Jan 2008

Doing her favourite thing – eating!

and again, this time stealing corn on the cob with Doughnut

And one of the last pics taken of her, in Oct/Nov 2009

Losing these two is the end of an era. Between Jan 2007 and Jan 2008 my numbers grew from my first two rats (Charlotte and Treacle) to 17 rats, and then in 2008 I only got 3 new ones. Tinks and Sugar are the last two from this first year of rat keeping, my two very special old ladies.

Fogwatt passed away peacefully at home with no signs of ill health at all, the way I wish for all of my babies to go when it’s their time.

Fogwatt arrived in September 2007 with Burmickity & Sugar. She was meant to be a foster but stayed when Steve fell in love with Burmickity.

Fogwatt was a character! She was a grumpy bum with other rats, it was always her picking a fight, either with current cage mates or new cage mates and it didn’t matter what size group she lived in. She was possessive of her bed and would bite me if she was in the cage during cleaning out time. But despite all that, I loved her and once she was out of the cage she enjoyed her cuddles and would seek me out to play with during free range time.

She slowed down and got grumpier as she got older and loved nothing more than snuggling in bed with Sugar and Tinkerbell.

Bye bye you little madam, the cage is quieter without you but I shall still miss you and love you lots:

Soon after she arrived

Posing during out time

Glaring at me from her bed when I was trying to remove her to clean out!

Taken during a potoshoot in Oct this year

During out time in Jan 2008 with Treacle, Doughnut and Burmickity

Yes another goodbye, this time to Jools the last of my Sugar babies. He had been off his food for a few days then on Thursday didn’t eat anything not even his yummy fresh food and even more worryingly was struggling to get about and his head was shaking when he was moving. I got him to the vet on Friday and found pus in his ear. The vet thinks he had a middle ear infection and he had a steroid injection and some baytril, but he went to sleep for the final time during the day 😦

He was a lovely boy, big and soft but with slightly more mischief about him than Rupert. He got a ‘cheeky rat award’ at the one and only rat show he ever went to. He loved to just sit on your lap and be cuddled, particularly recently while he was living on his own. He never got to meet the new boys, I think he would have taken to them fine. He was very good with other rats and he was the one that befriended Luke when they all moved in together.

Bye Bye Jools, go find your brothers Rupert and Charlie and cage mates Beau & Luke. The rat room is empty without your little black face peering out of your bed.

Nutmeg was one of Sugar’s babies. She was the smallest of the litter, not runty but definitely smaller than her siblings. She was originally going to a new home with Saffron & Fudge but the home fell through and by the time it did they were about 12 weeks old and I decided to keep them!

Nutmeg was a bit nervy as a youngster and not keen on getting picked up. She retained the dislike of getting picked up and was a nightmare to get hold of at the end of free-range, though I think it was more mischief than nervousness as she got older! When she was very little (less than a month old) she fell off my hand and went down behind a unit in the bedroom. I couldn’t get her out, eventually coaxing her into a empty Lactol tin they used as a bed. When I picked up the tin, she calmly walked straight out and up my arm, bless her.

She became a little hooligan as she got older and you wouldn’t have known she was the runt, she got as big as Sugar & her sisters. She was never a people rat but she was well happy in her group of other ratties and could be surprisingly bolshy when she wanted.

Baby Nutmeg at about 19 days old

And at about 10 weeks

Hiding in the wine rack

And looking for trouble!

And the last photo I took of her.

Bye Bye little girl, play hard with saffron & Fudge and the other girlies.

I never forgot Doughnut and her sister Tinkerbell’s birthday because of it being valentines day. I got the two of them from Vicki at Mana Rattery who was rehoming them for a friend who’d had a litter due to a pet shop mis-sexing. I drove down to Falkirk to pick them up, which amazed Vicki.

They were two well fed, chunky 8 week olds by the time I collected them and so outgoing and friendly. They were introduced to Treacle and Charlotte which didn’t go too badly, but Doughnut thought she was bigger than she actually was and ended up with a torn ear, which resulted in a chunk missing, making her look a right little bruiser! She could be a little arguementative with other rats but was always cuddly and friendly with people. She was a real gentle rat. She loved her food and was a bit porky as she got older!

Soon after she was intro’d to Fogwatt and co they were out playing in the rat room when my OH asked me what Doughnut had on her so I went to pick her up and discovered she had an inch long gash on her side, that was moving about to show the muscle underneath. As usual, the OH ran away at the sight of a poorly rat so I whizzed her up to the emergency vet, who put two staples in her. When the time came to remove the staples we could only find 1 and I assumed she’d managed to get one out as she had been fussing them a lot. About a month later I found the missing staple, she’d managed to twist it right round so the open side was pointing outwards! The vet was quite amazed at her.

Doughnut was a healthy girl, who loved her food and was always one of the first out to play. She chewed the door on the play pen and was quite determined one day she’d chew her way out!

Back in November I noticed a lump in her armpit. She was booked in to have it removed in December but when the time came I found another one in her groin. We decided to leave her and monitor the lumps. They grew, slowly but steadily and she reached her 2nd birthday I thought she might show signs of getting old. But she never did and the lumps kept growing. I took her back to the vet in April and decided to try and remove the armpit one and de-bulk the other one, but when the time came they’d got too big and the vet said it wouldn’t be helping her by putting her through such a big op. The lump began to ulcerate and Doughnut was struggling to get about, so we said goodbye while she was still happy. The girls cage is looking empty without her.

I have loads of pics of Doughnut, she was very photogenic and always around, being nosy:

baby Doughnut soon after she arrived

Having a yawn and showing off her tummy


Snuggled in the sputnik with Nutmeg

On her first birthday enjoying malt loaf

Somewhere near her second birthday, helping herself to the treats with Sugar!

With Pepper, waiting for the door to open so she could escape!

And a being a beautiful old lady. Still on her way out the cage, despite the lumps.

Bye bye my little chunky bruiser, go find Charlotte and the other girls and cause some trouble.

Monty came to live with me in November ’08 along with Bob & Marlon, after a work colleague had to give them up after moving back in with her parents.

Monty was very confident right from the word go and was the first out of the carrier and off exploring the desk. He was always very active, coming to the bars as soon as the door opened wanting some attention and to come out. He was a friendly ratty, both with people and with other rats, though he would occassionally have a squabble with Bob.

He became ill in April with a snotty nose and a bit of a rattle, which wouldn’t clear up. After trying three different antibiotics which failed to provide a long-term solution, the vet and I decided it was kinder to let him go.

He was hard to photograph as he never stayed still for long, but here are a couple that I managed to get:

With Bob, pretending to be angelic:

Heading out for mischief:

And stopped for a rare 5 seconds or so!

Bye Bye Monty, me and your first Mummy will miss you lots.

Charlotte came home with me on 2nd January 2007. She had been left on her own in the pet shop where I work and the day I’d decided i was going to have her, Treacle was brought back so they came home together.

Charlotte was very nervous at first and would hide under the furniture when we let her out, so we had to free-range her on the bed to prevent her hiding. It took her about three weeks before she developed her confidence and began to enjoy out time, so her and Treacle then had free run of the bedroom. It was Charlotte that showed me how much rats like sleeves – for a long time she would only come out of the cage into a sleeve.

Charlotte was one of my OH’s favourites. She was quite cuddly and he loved that she would come to him if you rustled a bag of treats. Charlotte loved her food. Even when she got old, she would fight the youngsters for the good stuff, like a chicken bone. She was fantastic with other rats and I’m fairly certain that she was alpha rat, as no-one ever argued with her and she always got her own way with the food! She lived with 11 other rats at one time and could always be found snuggled up in a big heap, and more recently with Doughnut.

Charlotte had a lump removed in August last year and recovered really well. Another lump began to develop in December, so I’d been carefully watching her since then. She got old and thin and developed cataracts but remained happy and was eating well and coming out for a short wander at out time. She’d been slowing down over the last couple of months and I noticed at the end of April that she was dirty around her back end and unable to keep herself clean, so we said goodbye before it made her uncomfortable. She outlived 5 of her cage mates and her loss is the end of an era. Her and Treacle were the two that started the love of rats and she’ll have a special place in my heart forever.

Baby Charlotte, a day or 2 after arriving home:

Finding somewhere to hide from the big wide world:

Sharing a cup of tea with me and Sugar:

Enjoying her Christmas stocking:

And growing old gracefully, but still enjoying the food!

Goodbye Charlotte, my special old lady, go find Treacle and the other girls….

Some sad news

February 17, 2009

I was contacted at the beginning of February by Hannah who had three of Sugar’s boys off of me. She had lost two of them in January, one from a stroke and the other had a tumour removed but reacted badly to the anaesthetic and died at home (strangely enough, the same as Fudge and not much older then her either).

I was really sad to hear this news as they were only just over a year old and it sounded like they turned into lovely friendly boys.

Here are a couple of photos from when the little rascals were still here:

Jango the hoody beating up either Jools or Rupert and Remy watching on:

baby boy rats playing

Jango chewing on my shoe:

baby boy rats playing

Jango at about 10 ish weeks, just before they left:

baby boy rats playing

And Remy at the same time:

baby boy rats playing

Goodbye boys, go find your sister Fudge….

I had to have Treacle PTS last Thursday. Since just after New Year she had suddenly become very lethargic, barely eating anything and she was wobbling on her back legs. She was still climbing out the cage for a little trundle round and still had her characteristic bright eyed look, but by Thursday she was dragging her back legs and just looked so ill. She obviously wasn’t giving up, so I had to help her on her way.

She came home on 2nd Jan ’07, one of my first pair of girls that started it all off. She was returned to the shop by someone who wasn’t allowed rats in their rented accomodation on the same day I had already decided I was taking Charlottte, so she came home too. She was always braver than Charlotte and was always one of the first to investigate anything new. She accepted new rats readily, living with 10 other girls at the maximum and was always to be found snuggled in a big heap. Her one quirky thing with the other girls was every so often she would attempt to drag them around by their ears! I was never sure if she was being hormonal or just plain bossy.

She loved to get in my sleeves and inside my fleece or jumper and I could normally tell it was her from the enthusiastic barging about. If there was somewhere she wanted to be she just kept shoving until she got there! One of her favourite places to get when she was younger was my printer, which she’d dissapear inside, then re-appear, trailing inky ratty paw prints everywhere. I used to stuff a towel in the opening to attempt to block it, but she knew she’d got in before, so she just kept on digging and pulling until she got inside. She taught me how determined rats are and how well they remember. If I blocked an escape route she’d previously used, she’d remember where it was and work and work to get round the block.

One of the things I will always remember her for is her nest building. She would work for ages on a nest, tirelessly running up and down the cage with mouthfulls of shredded paper untill every last bit was added to her creation. I’m so pleased I got her on video doing it, it makes me smile every time I watch it.

Bye bye Treacle-pud (or Treaks). The cage is empty without you & we miss you so much.

Treacle on her first day:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Playing in the printer:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Treacle and friends:
female fancy rats in a hammock

Treacle wrestling a coconut snowball from my OH:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

Towards the end, Treacle looking out of the igloo:
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

And last Thursday, snuggled in my fleece. You can see how skinny she is here 😦
female agouti hooded fancy rat - Treacle

I brought Beau home early January 2008, along with Luke. They had been at work for several months and were pretty much full grown. They had been in ‘isolation’ due to Beau chewing the fur off his front legs and Luke having a bald patch on his head. They were treated for mites but I am pretty certain it was Beau barbering due to boredom because once they moved in with Rupert and co. into a nice big cage with regular play times, the bald patches dissappeared.

Beau was unfortunately fairly hormonal and could be pretty unpleasant to his cage mates, particularly during free range time. But he only ever bit me once and would occassionaly sit still for a small cuddle and never minded being picked up. One of his favourite little mischiefs was nipping my heels when I was wearing slippers. He was very agile for a pretty big buck and was the only one of the boys who could get over the play pen partition. While he could be a hooligan, he was also a gorgeous boy who did enjoy snuggling with the other boys and he was such a character. I shall definitely miss him in the rat shed.

Goodbye, baby boy. Mum loves you lots and is sorry she put you through the operation 😦