Loss at a distance

Yesterday I had a message from our friend S, the breeder who bred Lias and Drumknott, and where we took Lias after Drumknott died. Lias slipped away yesterday, aged two and a half, after ten happy months with his beloved princess Ingrid.


It’s strange having not been a part of his life since January but we still had a little “moment” on hearing the news. He was a lovely boy and I miss him (and Drumknott, the big loon) terribly but I always felt that if we had tried introing him to youngsters after Drumknott went, he would not have been as happy. Taking him back to S was the right thing to do, I’m sure of it.

Night-night, Lias. I hope you’ve found Drumknott, and you’re having fun together again.


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The five foster girls have been here for three weeks now and are completely mad and very cute. I had a photo session last week with them all in my new fancypants photo lightbox (which took a couple of months for me to figure out how to open it, but I got there in the end!). Had to be very quick as they’d be off exploring the dining table given half a chance. The breeder said we could name them for her so we went with a theme of typeface names, which means they are collectively known as the WingDings.







Leela has less fur since this photo as she’s moulting – she and Bodoni are fuzzy rexes so will be partly bald a lot of the time.





Mistral (background) and Leela:


Verdana (left) and Mistral:


There’s a bit of sad news as well, as the lovely Leggy McLegface departed a couple of weeks ago. We’d seen the vet and she had been on antibiotics though we were still trying to work out what was wrong, but evidently we didn’t work it out in time.




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Rat logic

The five girls love this type of hammock. Usually they’ll all be in the lowest level, but this morning this sight greeted me:

rat logic

One in the large lowest section and four crammed into the smaller middle section. Perfectly sensible if you’re a rat. Yesterday morning there were three in the middle section and two precariously balancing on the top.

We’re going to see the breeder again this morning to pick up some foster girls – the rattery has had an outbreak of parvo virus which in rats only affects pregnant does and can cause them to reabsorb the litters, but rats born during an outbreak can carry the virus for longer than adults. So to be on the safe side they are fostering out their recent litters, and as we have some empty cages we said a group could come here.

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Past rats: Luther and Arkwright

Ah, Luther and Arkwright. What a pair they were. Rescue boys, probably not siblings as the rescue had combined two litters of similar age at the point when the bucks needed to be separated from Mum. Luther was a very pale champagne hooded and Arkwright was a black Berkshire. We took them on with the intention of introing them to D.R. and Quinch, but D.R. really didn’t like them – and as we soon found out, he wasn’t at all well. After he died we did carry on trying to intro to Quinch but he wasn’t interested.

Part of the problem was that Luther was basically a hissing, spitting, furry ball of hatred for quite a lot of his life. Though as J said at the time, “He’s our hissing, spitting, furry ball of hatred and we love him.” He didn’t like people much, and was almost impossible to pick up, though he rarely bit anyone. He didn’t mind interacting with us once he was out of the cage, but was never exactly playful or affectionate. Arkwright always seemed to want to be more cuddly and friendly but as they got older he seemed to become afraid of Luther.





plannin permishn

They were ok to begin with but as they approached 12 months old the fights got worse, and eventually we decided to have them both neutered. It was pretty much the best thing we could have done for them. Luther never became a soppy boy but he did seem much happier, and Arkwright settled down really well afterwards.


Arkwright always did do a lot of peering out from under cushions…

The only issues after the neuter were that Luther got abscesses on the operation site, and had to keep going back to the vet (but he was surprisingly co-operative about it) and he got an enormous scab on his back which took a lot of fur with it when it came off. We think that was a particularly bad Baytril burn – the standard antibiotic can cause scabs if it’s injected, but usually it’s pretty small and just round the injection site.

29th aug Luth 2

You can just see the discolouration and the slightly raised area of fur on his back in this one.

29th aug L & A 329th aug Arkers 1

23 nov 10 luther & arkwright

But the two of them were much more contented together after the surgery and that was the main thing. Luther made it to 30 months old, and left us just before Christmas 2011 after developing hind leg degeneration. He hadn’t been very bad with it though and his death was a bit of a surprise.


The last photo I have of Luther, two months before he died. I don’t think he was really that fat, it’s just how he was sitting.


Not wanting Arkwright to be on his own, we introduced him to our two girls, Cora and Clarice (we did have more boys too, by then, but I thought boys would stress him out more). He got on ok with them but before long he developed HLD as well and had to be moved into a single level cage. He came out every evening for bathing as he could no longer wash himself, and then he got to snuggle in a soft warm towel and eat yoggies, which he loved. He left us just over a month after Luther.

The last photos of Arkwright were taken on Christmas Day 2011:


I think they were happy. I hope so, anyway.

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Not quite a trophy cabinet

When you win a few rosettes, you want to be able to show them off nicely, don’t you? (Just me? Ok, then.) Our first ever rosette was returned to the club when they needed a spare for that particular category but the five we have won since then now have a new home on a cork board, along with some of our prize cards (there are lots of those, and the ones on show will probably change every so often).


Excuse the slightly odd lighting, this was taken in our living room with curtains closed against the sun.

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Showing off

We had a little show success today! It was an NFRS pets show, so I thought I’d take Little My and the Snork Maiden as they’re lovely friendly girls. It was good to know that the judge agreed – she said they were just the kind of girls she likes.

In their show tanks:


little my in show tank

Mum? What am I doing in here?

snork maiden in show tank

What did I do to deserve this?


Little My came first in Adult Owned Doe and Adult Owned Pet, and the Snork Maiden came second, and the crowning achievement was that Little My won Best Pet and the Snork Maiden got Reserve Best Pet. They mostly coped well but by the time the judging was finished and I collected them they were getting very tired, and they were glad to go in the carrier and have a nap. They slept most of the journey home.

I took a few photos once they’d had chance to recover a bit.


Little My


The Snork Maiden


Both together, very pleased with themselves

Clever girls, eh?

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We have a new playtime game – digging for treats. A shoebox filled with shredded paper with some popcorn hidden in amongst it provides all five girls with a reasonable amount of distraction and entertainment. I think everyone found something, even if they didn’t all manage to finish eating what they found! We scatter feed them rather than using bowls so they’re used to foraging for their dinner anyway, and got the hang of it very quickly.

I’m hoping very much that we are all settling down again from the shenanigans of the last ten days or so. Leggy went back in with the others last weekend and has continued to heal very well. Coffee went to see our vet on Monday and after a brief discussion where we agreed that the most likely cause of her lashing out was hormonal, and that spaying was rather invasive given that there was no other reason to spay, the vet gave her the Suprelorin implant there and then. Just a little gas to sedate her as it’s basically a large injection. I brought her home and put her in the Mary overnight (she was very unimpressed) then she went back with the others the next morning. It takes a few weeks for the implant to take full effect so we shall see.

The next rat show I’m planning to go to is the NFRS AGM and pet show, so I may put Little My and the Snork Maiden in and see how they do. They are both extremely friendly and outgoing, and like nothing more than climbing up your arm to get on your shoulder. If they win anything I’l be sure to let you know 😉

Our former resident Lias turned two last month and I’m reliably informed that he is still happily living with his “wife”, Ingrid. I’m glad he’s having a happy retirement.

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