Anyone there?

It’s been a while… my garden blog The Random Gardener has been a bit more active, though not much! There really hasn’t been a lot of rattie news, they have just been getting on with life, and I have been dealing with other things. My foot surgery went well and I’m now pretty much back to normal – we managed with the cage cleaning, though the first time we had to do a full clean I was exhausted afterwards. I didn’t get to do any Past Rats posts for you, as you’ll have noticed… In truth I was only off sick from work for five days and after that I worked from home for a few weeks.

You may remember I’ve mentioned the Heart of England Rat Club in the past – well sadly the show on 18th June (which I couldn’t get to) was our last show. The committee decided to wind up the club as we were not getting the attendance and interest from members. Most of the others were already involved with the National Fancy Rat Society so I have re-joined (I was briefly a member about 10 or 12 years ago) and will be going to some of their shows from time to time, so may well report back.

The hot weather hasn’t really done any of us any favours, but the rats have survived with the aid of ice cubes, frozen fruit, a fan on a timer, and the ever-faithful granite blocks. Things should start to settle down again now. We had a terrific thunderstorm yesterday and while I was wandering around looking out of windows and trying to get pictures of black clouds I also took a few of the rats. Drumknott was pretty cross with me for waking him up (and for the lack of food):

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“Dis fud bol empty. U tryin to starv me. I hate u.”

Lias couldn’t even be bothered to get out of bed.

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“Nope.”

Better luck next time.

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All quiet on the rattie front

There hasn’t been much to report lately – sorry! Everyone is pottering along happily. The boys will be turning 1 soon so there will probably be photos then😉

The next Heart of England rat show is on 18th June and is actually a joint show with the National Fancy Rat Society. I was very much looking forward to it as I’ve never been to an NFRS show but won’t be able to go as I’m having surgery on my left big toe on 14th June! So I’ll be sitting with my foot up and not doing a great deal for a while after that. I’m a bit concerned about how we will look after the rats, especially getting them cleaned out, but no doubt we will manage. Generally speaking if we empty litter trays and change hammocks fairly regularly there isn’t much of a problem if we don’t do a full clean every week.

Maybe while I’m laid up I’ll have time to work through some more “Past rats” posts for you!

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A new game

A few weeks ago our friend H gave me a foil tray for growing indoor grass for pets. She’d got some for her cats as they’re indoor cats and thought the rats might like one too, so since then it’s been sitting on the kitchen windowsill being watered occasionally and growing to a good length. Tonight we decided to try it out at playtime – I hid a few treats in the grass to give them something to look for, and we put the try in a shallow box in case they decided to dig into it and scatter growing medium all over the place.

The boys went first and were not very interested, really. They had a bit of a look but failed to find the treats and had to be given them directly.

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Lias, after being handed a treat

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Drumknott eating his treat while camouflaged

Cosmo and the girls were a lot more into the whole thing and got in and out of the box for several minutes. I think Dimity and Keepsake got most of the treats between them.

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Cosmo proved his lack of intelligence by standing right in front of a treat and failing to spot it.

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“It’s right in front of you, Cosmo.”

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“What? What is?”

So on balance a bigger hit with the girls and I think we’ll try them with the box again, either with the grass or with something else to explore.

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A quick photo session

Yesterday I worked at home for the last hour or so of the day which meant it was still warm and sunny when I finished work. I took a few pictures in the garden (which will end up on my other blog) and then took some of the ratties. And then realised these were the first rat pictures of 2016, which is very bad of me.

Cosmo was very pose-y but most of the others couldn’t be bothered.

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Dotsie was up and about and didn’t run for cover the minute I opened the cage door:

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But Keepsake and Dimity stayed very firmly in the hammock (though I did get a close-up of Keepsake):

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Drumknott and Lias weren’t much better, and refused to get out of the cube – Drumknott thought about it at one point but changed his mind.

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To be fair they did look very comfy!

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Nearly showtime again

Yes, next Saturday it’s the next Heart of England Rat Club show. Handily it’s not far for us to travel, which is always a bonus, and I’ll be busy in the kitchen providing teas, coffees, bacon rolls etc.

Last time (in Feb) I got some very cute pics of ratties in their show tanks so I’m hoping for some more on Saturday!

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We’re not showing anyone this time, but it’s always fun to see lots of gorgeous rats and covet them😉

So if you’re in the Northampton area, come along and say hello! And a Happy World Rat Day for tomorrow🙂

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Burials, at last

The last three of our old ladies have been patiently waiting for their resting places for some time. Today we finally bought some plants for them and gave them their burials. Sirocco and Scarecrow get a hebe each, while Misty gets a little Prunus (flowering cherry).

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Sirocco

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Scarecrow

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Misty

Misty’s Prunus looks a little bare from a distance but up close you can see the buds and a few small flowers:

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So I think it’s going to look lovely.

If you’re a gardening fan you can read more about our garden here: The Random Gardener

Love to you and yours!

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Past rats: Magna and Chira

Two little black hoodies who joined us in April 2008. We thought that they would be good company for the tearaway Roxie but she hated them on first sight and there were several months of tensions in the group, at least partly because of her animosity to them.

They were, as it happened, fairly laid-back girls who got on fine with all the others and after their initial wariness of Roxie they came to realise that the others would not let her hurt them, and grew in confidence quite rapidly.

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Soon after arrival – still babies, really

(Their names came from the pages of 2000AD, specifically from the Nemesis the Warlock series, for those of you who meed to know such things!)

By May 2009 they had been with us for just over a year, and employment needs moved us to another part of the country. We moved with five rats – our first boys, D.R. and Quinch, and the three remaining girls, Magna, Chira and their erstwhile enemy, Roxie.

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Chira

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Magna

Grown-ups now, and much happier in a smaller group, the three were quite contented together. Then in the July Roxie died, leaving just the two sisters. Shortly after that Chira started to show signs of respiratory infection and though we did what we could she died in early December, a month short of her second birthday. Magna became quite dependant on us, and though I was keen to find ratty company for her this took longer than anticipated – a local rescue had a girl who had been kept alone but she needed a good deal of treatment for mites and it was a month before she could come to us.magna and domino

But eventually she arrived and we named her Domino and introduced the two to each other. After a few days of tension and Mexican standoffs over food bowls, they seemed to decide that life was better if they were friends and after that they were pretty much inseparable.

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Sharing a chew toy

May 2010 saw us on the move again but by now Magna was starting to show her age. We weren’t too sure of Domino’s age but thought she was about a year younger than Magna. Magna had respiratory issues and hind leg degeneration, and meanwhile Domino had gone blind, so they were quite a pair. I kept getting the impression that Magna was forcing herself to keep going because she didn’t want to leave Domino alone, so to avoid a gap while we tried to find cagemates I put out an appeal on a rat forum and was immediately offered two younger girls by a local breeder. We went and collected them, put all four together in a new cage, and they all got on just fine. And Magna died the next day. So I remain convinced that she didn’t want to leave her friend, and held on until she knew Domino wasn’t going to be alone.

Sometimes Magna and Chira feel like afterthought rats, fitting in between others who were bigger personalities and left bigger memories behind. But the period when we had them was one of upheaval and change in our lives for a number of reasons (we changed jobs several times, moved around the country twice, and there were family bereavements) so when I think of those times there are other concerns crowding out the rat stuff. This does them an injustice – they were lovely girls, despite their unpromising start in life (as I recall, an accidental litter due to pet shop mis-sexing, rescued from being dumped by a friend of mine). They also had to compete for attention with our first boys, which would be hard on anyone.

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