The best laid plans, and all that. I intended to post at least one blog a week here but the last couple of weeks has been very busy, and it can be unbelievably hard to find the time. Add to that the fact that I spend almost my entire working day looking at a computer screen and you understand why I might not feel like posting much in the week.

Anyhoo. It’s about time for a quick update on our current residents, especially as the boys have settled right down together again. So we’ll start with them. The re-introductions went so well that we put them in the same cage within a week, and they have been aggro-free ever since. Luther continues to be treated for mites, but his skin is improving visibly each day – the huge black scab visible in photos a few weeks ago came off a couple of weeks back, since when we have been bathing his back with hibiscrub to prevent infection, much to his disgust. Arkwright is a much happier boy and has had a growth spurt since his op – Luther is still smaller than him but also starting to bulk up a little. They are supposed to come out every evening for playtime, after the girls have been out, but the last couple of times Luther has been unco-operative. He seems to want to come out but has always had issues with doors, and with being picked up. His preferred method is to climb onto my hands then jump up to my shoulder, but yesterday he wouldn’t even do that.

So what do you do with a reluctant rattie? Grabbing him is not an option – he is far too fast, and will freak out if he thinks you’re going to try anything. We are left with either taking the cage to pieces to get at him (every night?), standing by the cage door waiting for him to decide to jump out, or giving up and going away. Sometimes the last option is the best, as the next time he seems to remember that he didn’t get to come out and play and he does enjoy himself once he’s out… but at the moment he knows he is likely to get wet stuff all over his back (whether it’s hibiscrub in warm water, or mite ointment) and even with the incentive of a treat afterwards, he would rather not risk it.

Arkwright is sometimes difficult but will usually sit still and let us pick him up – I treasure the hope that he will tell Luther it’s not so bad, really, and Luther will calm down.

The girls, meanwhile, are lovely as ever, with a side order of mischief. Domino seems to rule the roost, and is surprisingly lively and perky for a blind girl of unknown age with hind leg degeneration, recurring mites and breathing trouble. Her determination to have a good old wander around during playtime is admirable, and she is clearly put out by the constant presence of our hands next to her – without which she would, however, totter over the edge of the bed. The little girls bounce all around her, but she seems unbothered by this, and rarely takes much notice – though I have found her giving them a good grooming on occasion, firmly ignoring the protesting squeaks.

Cora is still far more confident than Clarice but Clarice is slightly bigger. Cora’s newest game involves getting inside our clothes; I have no problem with her being inside my sweater as long as she isn’t inside my t-shirt too, but if I’m too slow she gets into the t-shirt and she has little sharp claws… Both girls still have an obsession with hair, faces and ear-rings, and Cora still makes intermittent attempts to get inside the bed. They are almost always alert and up at the bars as soon as we approach the rat room, and will be hanging on to the cage door as I open it, which adds a new level of juggling skills to the process of getting them out of the cage.

The young girls have recently experienced their first overnight ‘home alone’ – we have no problem leaving the rats for one night, provided they have plenty of food and water. None of ours have ever seemed to have any issues with this, and we’ve done it numerous times over the years. Obviously for a longer absence we would arrange for someone to look after them. Last weekend we were away for one night. We left lots of extra food, and everyone was happy and content when we got back, so no worries.

In other news, I have a name to contact at the possible publishers, and will try to get in touch and arrange a meeting soon. The book is ready, and could be done in time for Xmas if I get myself in gear. I will need people to promise to buy it, though, so spread the word.

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