Hello all! I’m braving the exasperating tardiness of our problematic internet connection to bring you a bit of info on the process the rat breeders go through to fly our pedigreed rats across the country to meet us 🙂
Our rats’ breeder has enlisted the help of another nearby rat breeder in arranging the flight for us, and I asked her to share a bit of what’s involved…
First, we organise a flight date with the breeder (it’ll be Aug 31st for our new boys!) and she buys the travel boxes. The rats are flown in the same boxes that bird breeders use to travel with birds. The size of the boxes will depend on what is available at the suppliers, as well as how many rats will be sharing a box.
Most breeders will never fly a single rat: only pairs or groups are transported in this way – and of course the kits sharing a box will always be the same sex. The breeder then furnishes the travel box with shredded paper and tissue to absorb urine and for the ratties to hide under if they feel scared. Aww 🙂
You might wonder whether it’s necessary to dose the bubs with some calming meds before the flight. I’ve been told that the breeders generally don’t dose them with anything as most of them don’t need it. That’s the reason they’re never flown alone: they take comfort from being with each other.
And their in-flight meals? The breeders put a little bit of dry food in the travel box, such as lab blocks or Reggie Rat, and often a piece of fruit such as apple or grapes to provide them with a bit of moisture and sugar. Our little newcomers won’t lack a thing!
Recently the laws about flying animals have changed, so a week or so before the flight, our boys have to be checked out by a vet. This is a requirement from the flight companies; animals without a health certificate signed by a vet will not be allowed to fly. The vets check the general health of the ratties: eyes, ears, coat, skin, breathing, no diarrhoea, etc.
Then, on the morning of the flight, everyone gets packed into their boxes and off they go to the airport. The bubs will have to be at the airport two hours before their flight. The airline the breeders use has offices with a pet lounge where animals are put while they wait for flights or wait to be collected, so the rats go here too. Then they’ll be put on their flight and fly for approxamately two hours (almost everywhere in SA takes two hours to get to!). And of course Ninja and I will be anxiously and excitedly waiting to collect them after their plane has landed
Despite all the TLC and preparation to smooth the way, of course some ratties can get a little freaked out by the flight. So (as difficult as it will be) once we’ve collected the boys and driven safely home, the kindest thing to do is to pop them in their new cage and give them time to adjust. But just as we did when we collected our first rats from the airport, Ninja and I will probably pull up our chairs in front of the cage and quietly enjoy the cuteness.
And of course we’ll have to pay special attention to our dear old furry Flea, whose nose may be a tad out of joint that day 😉