A post a day

May 26, 2010

Right, I really need to get back into the habit of blogging so there is going to be a post a day (most days!) for the next month. I am going away so some days I won’t be at a PC, but the days that I am, the blog will be updated.

Today is a very quick general update, and more detail will follow.

We have said goodbye to Cheese, I found her passed away on 21st April in her cage. Her breathing had been bad since I got her and despite trying antibiotics, nothing seemed to help, I’m just pleased she went peacefully at home.

I have managed to successfully integrate two cages of girls so I now have 10 in the aviary. It took a while and poor Bella ended up being bitten again, but they do eventually seem to have settled down.

My first litter was one of only one baby – the gorgeous Angus, who is turning into a lovely boy.

We have 7 new arrivals. I have got two more boys from Aquarius Rattery – Mackenzie, a British Blue Agouti, and Dewar, an Agouti. One of these two will be used to sire a litter with one of Evie’s offspring, when she has her litter (if all goes to plan!!). There are also two Agouti Berkshires from RCT Rattery, Leigh and Blair. One of these girls will be paired up with Angus to continue creating the British Blue Varies. Along with Leigh and Blair, I collected Ashton (black) and Fratton (Ivory) from Coastboat Rattery. Ashton was part of the ‘package’ with the two agouti girls and Fratton was ‘spare’. She has proved to be an interesting ‘spare’ – details to come tomorrow! And finally, there is Douglas, a Pets at Home adoptee with a head tilt. He is a little black hoody and is very tilty. Hopefully he will be going in with Newcy and Smirnoff but he’s a wee bit nervous at the moment.

So, that’s most of the news. As I said, more will follow soon….

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.

Luke came home with Beau early in January 2008. They had both been in the pet shop I work in for many months and had ended up out the back, being treated for mites as Beau had bald arms and Luke had a bald spot on his head. I’m fairly sure it was simply Beau barbering because he was bored, however, as it stopped as soon as they arrived home. They had both got big, so I ended up adopting them.

They moved in with Charlie, Jools and Rupert with Luke and Jools to be found snuggled together from about 2 days of having Luke! Luke was a livewire. When he was at work he was the ‘pr’ rat because he was so friendly and would go to anyone. He remained that way here and was always up to mischief. He would actually run around at free range time, rather than sit on top of the cage like the other boys!

He liked tea and would always finish the dregs given half a chance.

In November I noticed he was getting a bit thin and Charlie was giving him a bit of grief, but after the move here they seemed to settle down so I left the four of them together. He got an infection inside his eye in January, then at the begining of February I noticed the lump in his armpit. My lovely, lively boy slowed down, lost weight and slowly lost interest in life. I took him to the vets for the final time on Monday.

Bye, Bye my beautiful boy. Run free now and find your brother Beau.

With Jools soon after he came home.

Exploring during free range

Found something to munch

Sharing a cuppa!

Snuggles with Beau (RIP) and either Jools or Rupert

And eating a stolen digestive

I had to have the lovely Pepper pts on Wednesday. I said that she was not right in herself and noticed Tuesday night that she seemed to be struggling breathing, breathing really deeply and stopping every so often to catch her breath. She was still trundling about and jumping in and out the cage. By Wednesday morning, she was looking worse, so I booked her into the vets for 4pm, then pulled the appointment forward when I found her gasping and having to drag herself about. By the time we got to the vets she was so far gone, she wasn’t even sedated before being given the injection 😦 . I held her in my arms as she left me after having sat in the vet’s waiting room with her snuggled in my fleece.

We buried her under the tree in the garden.

Pepper came home on 3rd July after being advertised free to a good home with Mustard on a local website. She settled in really quickly and was the easiest intro ever into the group of girls.

She was a hooligan rat, always full of mischief and the first to check out new things. She liked to barge around in my fleece but the thing I will always remember her for is her jewellery fetish.  She would chew and pull my earings and my necklace while I was wearing them! She would also give a rather hard head massage, chewing and grooming my hair. And she’d bite my lips and grab at my eyes with her hands! My OH loved her and would tease her when she was sat on his shoulder, blowing at her and then blocking her path with his hand when she tried to get at his mouth. She would push and pull and climb to get over his hand then pretend to give up, sneaking back a minute later and bite his ears! She was trouble but so much fun with it, my favourite sort of rat.

Here are some photos of her:

black hooded female fancy rat

With her head in a jar

black hooded female fancy rat

Talking to the boys (she would regularly escape out of the play pen by jumping from our laps to the barrier)

black hooded female fancy rat

Looking for yoggies

black hooded female fancy rat

Working out how to get out (with Doughnut)

black hooded female fancy rat

Eyeing up the barrier

black hooded female fancy rat

Heading out to play

black hooded female fancy rat

And looking for an escape route again!

Bye Bye my girl, play times are quiet without you. Go find Mustard and Treacle and cause some mischief!!

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 found Mustard passed away in the cage on Thursday. She’s the first one to die at home and there was no sign of illness or anything, I was so shocked. She was just stretched out in their nest under the shelf with her eyes closed. I guess she just went to sleep and didn’t wake up, which is quite comforting as it doesn’t seem as if she suffered.

She came to live with me in July ’07 with Pepper after being advertised free to a good home as her original owner had got 2 kittens and no longer wanted her rats. They were being kept in a hamster cage and had to be manually extracted from a tube, they were that unused to being held. They settled in with the other 4 girls with barely a squeak. Mustard never liked being held and would wriggle like mad when I got hold of her but she was friendly and liked to clamber about on me, so was never a problem to catch, I just waited for her to come to me!

Mustard was always a skinny little girl, only getting over 300g in her last month or so. When she first arrived she could get out of the Tommy, so I had to mesh up the cage until she grew. I will always remember her for being a livewire, for being the first one out to play and always starfishing even when the rest were all asleep. She used to sit on my shoulder and jump 2 – 3 feet through the air to the playpen wall so she could escape for a wander round the other side. Sometimes she made it as well! And if she didn’t she just came back for another go! She could climb up the playpen wall as well, with one front foot round the side of the door and the other and her back feet propelling her up the wood. She was so light and quick.

Bye bye baby girl, we will miss you and your mad antics.

Pile of pet rats snuggled together

Pile of pet rats snuggled together

Mustard - pet / fancy silver fawn rat

None of the photos capture her that well, she was never still for long enough to get good ones! Here are three videos of her, one from when she first arrived and two later ones of her showing off her agility skills! I think they sum her up better because she is on the go.