A little sad news

Our little old lady Pinch has left us today.SONY DSC

She had been on her own since her friend Bitesize left us in January, but adapted well and enjoyed coming out for fruit pudding and scritches every evening. Recently she had been slowing down and eating less, but with nothing specific that we could ascribe to anything other than old age we carried on – giving her supplements where possible and making sure she had access to tasty foods to keep her interested.

Today at a vet visit it became clear that she had a number of intestinal tumours. I made the decision to bring her home and try to keep her comfy but as it was she decided to leave us shortly afterwards. J and I will get her a suitable pot and plant at the weekend.

Run free at the Bridge, Pinch. We will miss you but your friends Bitesize and Hawkeye will be pleased to see you.

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Mission: Impossible

“Cromarty, come here – I want to get a picture of your whiskers – they’re so long and handsome.”

"Get lost."

“Get lost.”

“Oh, come on. Just a couple of quick photos.”

"Is there a treat in it for me?"

“Is there a treat in it for me?”

“You already had apple and banana pudding, remember? You owe me a photo or two.”

*sigh* "Ok, I suppose. How's this angle?"

*sigh* “Ok, I suppose. How’s this angle?”

“Pretty good. I don’t suppose you can persuade your brother to co-operate too, can you?”

"There you go. That's your lot, human. It's dinner time."

“There you go. That’s your lot, human. It’s dinner time.”

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A busy couple of weeks

The ratties have been keeping us busy lately. We’ve had the two big boys on antibiotics for weeks trying to get rid of their sniffles – Fitzroy is a lot better but Cromarty is still sneezy and I’m wondering if it is actually allergy-related. The pollen count has been ridiculous this year, J and I have both had worse hayfever than usual as have many other people, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if rats with their delicate respiratory systems had similar trouble. I may try him with some children’s liquid anti-histamine and see if that helps.

Yesterday was the inaugural show of the Heart of England Rat Club, as as it wasn’t too far away from us and involved a lot of people we know, we went along. I had planned to take Cromarty and Fitzroy as shoulder rats but with the sniffles that was out of the question.

I’d also thought about putting Susan in the Pets class but with amazing timing she sprouted two small lumps at the start of the week, which put paid to that idea. Thankfully the vets at the practice we use are all very no-nonsense about these things and after a check-up on Tuesday to make sure she was otherwise in good health, they whipped both lumps off in Wednesday. She is absolutely fine, healing beautifully and went back in the main cage on Thursday evening because she was giving me evils and chewing the bars of the hospital cage. But of course I couldn’t show her, or even take her as a shoulder rat. We took Scarecrow and Sirocco as shoulder rats and they were very well behaved, so for the next show in  August I may put Scarecrow in Pets and see how she does.

It was also a good chance to catch up with a few people we haven’t seen in a while, and to cuddle some lovely rats. And we won some raffle prizes! So all in all, a good day.

And no, we haven’t put any more decals up yet.

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A decal, at last

You may remember that some months ago I bought some Banksy-style decals to decorate the rat room. Since then we have said at regular intervals (usually during or after cage cleaning) “We really must get those decals up.” Finally we have managed to put one up. Yes, just one. So now we say “We really must get the rest of those decals up.”

Here it is:

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The wallpaper strip goes rather well with the street art decal. The decal was harder than expected to put up as it’s not a print on clear vinyl as I thought it would be – the black is all there is so the pieces all need to stick separately, so it was quite fiddly. And that is why there’s still only one up…

While I was in there with the camera I took a few rat pictures too. Mostly everyone was asleep, but a few were intrigued enough to come and nose about.

Misty - she has now completely roaned out and it's hard to remember that she used to have buff-coloured markings.

Misty – she has now completely roaned out and it’s hard to remember that she used to have buff-coloured markings.

Biscay and Boots stayed firmly in their sputnik.

Biscay and Boots stayed firmly in their sputnik.

 

Scarecrow and Susan woke up and did the cute peeping-out-of-hammock thing...

Scarecrow and Susan woke up and did the cute peeping-out-of-hammock thing…

... then got up to see what was going on...

… then got up to see what was going on…

... and thought about having a go at escape, as the door was open.

… and thought about having a go at escape, as the door was open.

 

Ragweed was determined to pretend none of this was happening. She's lying on Sam, who did eventually get up to say hello.

Ragweed was determined to pretend none of this was happening. She’s lying on Sam, who did eventually get up to say hello.

Sirocco was another one who wasn't getting out of bed for anything.

Sirocco was another one who wasn’t getting out of bed for anything.

This was as much as I saw of the boys:

"Go wai. Is sleepytimes."

“Go wai. Is sleepytimes.”

And I didn’t see Pinch at all!

 

 

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A new plant for Cora

Things have mostly been quiet on the rat front here – since my last post, Sirocco has had some arguments with the bigger girls but they seem to have sorted themselves out, and Fitzroy and Cromarty have both been sniffly and are now on antibiotics, but other than that there’s been no real news.

By contrast, it’s been all go over at the gardening blog! It’s that time of year when we are concentrating on getting the garden just right so we can sit and enjoy it over the summer. It does cross over into the rat world of course as regulars will know – when our ratties pass we bury them under a nice plant. Occasionally (well, fairly often actually) the plants don’t survive for one reason or another, and have to be replaced. Cora left us over two years ago and was placed in a terracotta pot with a patio rose – a very pretty one – but after two summers of beautiful flowers, something got at the rose and it was eaten to nothing last year.

Yesterday we went out plant-buying and found some very nice hebes, so Cora now has a smart new plant:

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Na na na na na na na na RATMAAAAAN!

So I treated myself to this little guy. He came up on one of those snap sales on Facebook – you know, the “first person to comment ‘Sold’ gets me” sort of sales, and I jumped.

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Isn’t he adorable? He was made by an acquaintance who used to make felties but has had to give up, sadly. The rabbits she made were so realistic it was amazing. So, you can see why I couldn’t resist Ratman!

In other news, it’s been eventful here but I think we are settling down again. Sirocco has finally been removed from her sisters and Biscay, and put back with the four bigger girls – she was too keen to be alpha over Biscay and though he knew he should be alpha and was trying to put her in her place he’s really too much of a softie. The big girls, on the other hand, have an established hierarchy and she has just had to fit in somewhere near the bottom – they will not stand any nonsense from her, and she knows that. So everyone has sorted themselves out.

The downside has been that Biscay became very sniffly, possibly triggered in part by stress. We have had him on antibiotics since Tuesday but improvement has been slow. This morning he’s better than he has been for some days so I’m hopeful that we’ve turned a corner. No sooner had we started treating his sniffles than he managed to hurt one back foot and was limping around in a melodramatic fashion. Still, he was already on an anti-inflammatory as well as the ABs so that helped.

Pinch is still with us but is also getting a bit wheezy so it will be back on the ABs for her today. Poor thing. She still enjoys coming out for her fruit pudding every evening but we have had to put a little wooden block by the cage door as she was starting to have difficulty getting out of the cage. She is definitely slowing down and showing her age but seems determined to keep going at the moment.

The big boys are fine, and Cromarty seems to get more cuddly and affectionate by the day. Fitzroy still isn’t all that bothered, but Cromarty (and Biscay, as it happens) will now lick my fingers while I’m giving scritches and fussings. I wish we knew how old they are, though.

Hoping you and yours are all well and happy.

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Are you sure that’s the Easter Bunny?

Last weekend we went to a rat show with our friend N – she who makes hats for rats. This time she had made some little Easter Bunny ears, and this was really inevitable:

Biscay

Biscay

Susan

Susan

 

Cromarty

Cromarty

Of the three, Cromarty was the least bothered. Biscay hated them and Susan would only sit still and pose if given a treat.

In other news, we have had Biscay living with the little girls for three weeks with mixed results. To begin with they mostly ignored him or squeaked whenever he went near. After a week we transferred them into the top half of the big cage and all seemed to be ok, more or less. Then Sirocco decided to be difficult and start fights, so she has had to be separated. They have seen each other at playtimes and she is now taking balance drops, a herbal remedy for hormone troubles, in the hope it might settle her down a little. We will try to get her back in with the group after cage cleaning today. In the meantime it has given Biscay the chance to bond a bit better with Boots and Misty, and he has started snuggling up with them to sleep from time to time instead of being on his own. If Sirocco carries on being aggressive she might have to be spayed, but I am hoping it won’t come to that.

 

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