A resting place

Coffee Girl has been laid to rest this afternoon. My first intention was to find a nice pot and put her in with a new plant I bought last week, but the pot I had was too small. So instead I used a salvia which I grew last year from a cutting, and which was already in a bigger pot, and put her in there. She’ll be fine.

She’s on the patio now, next to her friend Leggy McLegface with her Canary palm, which has emerged from the greenhouse to enjoy the spring sunshine.

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And just like that…

Coffee Girl has left us. After yesterday’s post I messaged her breeder to let her know about the decline and new symptoms (difficulty with food, head shaking, frantic face washing, phasing out as if in pain). As we chatted we came to the conclusion that poor Coffee was developing a pituitary tumour.

We’ve only really dealt with one definite pt, and that was a long time ago. A few suspected ones since then but they are so hard to diagnose, and usually by the time it’s obvious, it’s very advanced. Not that there’s anything you can do even if you catch it early. Some people have reported success with steroids (not an option when the rat already has heart trouble) or Galastop (but not in all cases, by any means). But Coffee Girl was already in pain, and nothing was going to make the tumour go away.

So we decided to give her all the strawberry complan and vanilla soya pudding she could eat last night, and take her to the vet today. Our vets are very good and they fitted us in at 9.30 this morning. So Coffee is now reunited with her friend Leggy McLegface, and not suffering any more, which is the important part.

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Visitors, and plans for the future

We had visitors over Easter, the boys belonging to a member of J’s team at work. They stayed with us at Christmas too, but sadly since then the eldest of the five has passed on so it was just the four black hoodies. They were a little more forthcoming this time, as much as anything because they were in a smaller and more accessible cage – last time I put them in the bottom of the Explorer but this time they went in the Furet. That meant rigging up a curtain from a bit of fleece between them and the WingDings who would otherwise have spent the entire two weeks wedged behind their wheel tormenting the poor lads.

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This is Loki, definitely – he has the wider splodges on his back. The others are harder to identify till you look closely.

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Loki is probably the boss of the group, and is hilarious in his grumpy misanthropy. We would go in the room and find him sitting on a ledge giving us death glares, but if we approached the cage he would immediately run and hide. The other three all came out for a run but he refused to co-operate – though he did take a prawn cracker from me when I offered it.

They went home yesterday and were very pleased to see their mum again. No more noisy girls running in wheels at all hours, and they didn’t think much of the food (apart from the roast chicken they got on Easter Sunday).

The WingDings go back to their breeder in mid-May, which will leave us very quiet indeed. Coffee Girl continues to soldier on with her heart meds but seems to be finding dry food increasingly difficult, though she still makes some effort. But she has lost weight, so I’m hand-feeding her soft foods such as rusks dissolved in Complan, to provide extra nutrients and calories. However, this stage is never a very good sign. A lot depends on her determination to keep going, and her ability to do so. Sometimes it seems that she doesn’t register the presence of food unless you put it right under her nose, and even then she’s not always sure what to do with it.

So we have been thinking about the future again, and what happens next. I have already indicated to our friend S (the breeder of Lias & Drumknott) that if she has some suitable boys this year we would like some – three, if possible. As far as the girls are concerned, the Moomins are all just over 12 months old now and I want to add more girls to the group soon but not until Coffee Girl as passed as she gets very agitated easily now, and I don’t want to cause her stress.

It’ll soon be time to start thinking of new names…

 

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Growing up and growing old

Hello, and sorry for being so absent – there’s been relatively little to say so far this year! No doubt that will all change. Our two groups are getting along fine, mostly, and we managed to get some good photos tonight at playtime so it’s time for an update.

First, the WingDings. They have been growing well and are full of character. Yesterday the breeder came for a visit – it was the first time she’d seen them since we took them on. I can’t believe it’s been five months already and they will go back in another two months. We’ll miss them but it will soon be time to decide what we want to do with our own group, whether we want to have some boys next, that sort of thing.

Anyway, this is how the WingDings are looking:

Leelawadee:

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Bodoni:

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Mistral, who has a bit of a head tilt which appeared a couple of weeks ago. She’s had steroids and is still on antibiotics but I think she’ll always be a bit tilty, poor thing. Doesn’t seem to bother her much, though:

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Helvetica:

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Verdana, who seems to be boss of the group, and is becoming a bit cage territorial – she will try and give you a nip if she doesn’t think your hand should be in the cage:

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All five having an explore:

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Leelawadee:

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Bodoni:

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Verdana:

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Mistral:

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Leelawadee:

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Verdana and Leelawadee:

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Meanwhile three of our four have reached one year old – Snufkin and The Snork Maiden on the 17th and Little My on the 22nd. They’re such lovely girls. Coffee Girl is now on heart meds and is starting to look as though she is feeling her age, but while she’s still reasonably active, eating well and interested in her surroundings we will keep her comfortable. She gets a fair amount of respect from the others – tonight their digging box had pieces of prawn cracker in it, and the younger girls were trying to take them from each other but not from Coffee. They left her in peace and went off to find their own pieces rather than trying to steal hers. Coffee is now 28 months old so doing well.

Coffee Girl:

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The Snork Maiden:

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Snufkin, practising camouflage techniques:

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Little My:

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And the three younger girls all trying to climb on J:

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We’ll see what happens next. Personally I’d like to have a group of girls and a group of boys, but it depends on so many things.

 

 

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Playtime photos

Last night I got some photos during playtime – I’m pretty sure I posted them on here last night, too, but WordPress seems to have eaten the post which is odd. It was misbehaving and wouldn’t let me add categories or tags so perhaps there was a glitch of some sort. The photos uploaded successfully and are captioned so something worked!

Anyway, the WingDings ran around like crazy for about half an hour then all went and sat in their box. I gave them some treats to get them to sit still which was a partial success.

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Verdana

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Leelawadee and Bodoni

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Mistral

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Mistral and Helvetica

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Bodoni

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Everyone except Bodoni!

The older girls were a bit calmer but not much. They’re used to having a digging box to hunt for treats:

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The Snork Maiden diving in head first

And otherwise they have the usual assortment of cushions. tubes and chew toys.

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Snufkin

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Coffee Girl

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Snufkin

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Little My

A couple of close-ups taken from the photos of Coffee Girl and Little My, just because:

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Coffee Girl

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Little My’s spectacular whiskers

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Make your own bed!

Recently I’ve started putting whole loo rolls in the cages for the rats to use as nesting material. They do like it, but there’s a definite difference in technique between the two groups. The WingDings pull all the paper off as fast as possible then pile it up, while the older girls are a bit more measured and thoughtful about where it’s going.

This morning each group got a loo roll and when I checked on them a few hours later, the WingDings had piled most of it in the hammock:

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Loo paper? What loo paper?

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Oh, this loo paper? Very cosy, thanks!

The older girls had started dragging theirs into the hammock but had trailed it around decoratively:

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We think about how to design our cage. We don’t just fling stuff at it and hope it works.

I did manage to get a few more photos of some of the WingDings as well:

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Helvetica posing

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They look as though they’re about to start singing

Might try and get some more pics tonight at playtime.

 

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New arrangements

Our Christmas visitors have gone home today – they were pleased to be back with their Mum, I think, though it was a little hard to tell. Over the course of the ten days they spent with us I managed to pick up and cuddle (briefly) all of them except Loki, who reminded me of our spitting furry ball of hatred, Luther, though about three times the size. He was most unhappy about being picked up this afternoon and being put in a carrier, and was still sulking almost an hour later when reunited with his Mum. The others co-operatively got out of the carriers and checked out their cage, and Loki remained in the bottom of the carrier, fuming. He was not a happy boy. Hopefully he’s settled down again now.

So there was a lot of cleaning to do when we got home, not least because we wanted to move the Wing Dings into the big cage (though still separate from our four). After some discussion we decided to move our four into the bottom half of the cage and the WingDings into the top, mainly because the attachments for the wheel are fixed to to the top half and I really wanted the WingDings to have the wheel.

It also means we’ve been able to dismantle the Furet and make a bit more space in the rat room. We won’t be getting any more rats for some time, so we don’t really need the extra cage taking up space.

The WingDings seemed very pleased with their upgrade, and did a lot of exploring – and eventually they all seemed to get the hang of the wheel. Our four were a bit less impressed, and Coffee Girl went for a good old sulk at the back of the cage. They’ve actually got more furniture than they had in the old setup, and I’m sure they’ll be ok eventually.

The WingDings get upgraded

The older girls seem a bit less pleased

 

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