It’s been a difficult one, this week. Mainly because of Hawkeye, who I suspect has been having some kind of ratty mid-life crisis. If he were human, he’d be wearing leather trousers and driving a sports car.
On Monday evening I went past the rat room and saw him having a row with Radar. Now, arguments happen and the boys have always been a bit on the squabbly side, but it’s never been serious or resulted in injury. I left them to it. Ten or fifteen minutes later, when I went past again and J was also in the vicinity, they were still arguing – and Hawkeye was chasing Radar round and round the entire cage, catching him and pinning him.
Generally when there’s a row in the cage, I go up and open the door (sometimes all it takes is for me to walk into the room) and they stop, and look at me all innocent: “We were just playing, Mum, honest!” This time, they carried on fighting. Or more accurately, Hawkeye carried on attacking and Radar carried on trying to get away. Eventually Radar got out of Hawkeye’s clutches and before Hawkeye could move I got him out of there. Radar scarpered to the lower level of the cage and I put a furious Hawkeye in a carrier while I rearranged the cage. The beauty of a double Critter Nation is that by turning the upper level tray around, you block the access between the levels, creating two cages.
So we had two separate cages, and two brothers needing to be reconciled. We realised after separating them that Radar had a bite on his back, so clearly things had got pretty bad. We tried several times over the next couple of days to reintroduce them to one another, with the same results. Hawkeye became angry as soon as he smelt another rat, and after a few minutes he could stand it no longer and attacked Radar. Radar was clearly scared and confused by this; before an attack, he seemed to want to approach Hawkeye but was nervous of doing so. Afterwards, he just ran for cover.
So on Wednesday I decided enough was enough, and rang the vet. If Hawkeye was having some sort of hormone surge then it needed to be dealt with. My vet is very good and doesn’t muck about, and he was booked in for neutering straight away. The op was on Thursday, so I took him in first thing, and arranged to phone later and see how he was, with a view to collecting him after work.
It didn’t quite work out like that. He took longer than expected to come round from the anaesthetic, so the vet kept him overnight (in fact, I gather she took him home with her). So instead of picking him up on Thursday I found myself dropping off some extra food to keep him going. By Friday morning he was much better, and I brought him home on Friday afternoon. Not that he was exactly pleased to see me. He was very grumpy to begin with, though he’s getting back to normal now.
We’ll give him a few days to get over the op, then we’ll start thinking about re-introducing the brothers. And if it still doesn’t work out? The best option will probably be to get Radar done as well, and give them both girlfriends. So we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.