On Friday our beautiful boys turned one year old. Hard to believe they’ve gone from tiny, hairless bubs to fat, fluffy adult rats so quickly. To celebrate I decided to act like the crazy rat lady I am and throw them a little party!
Hello there friends!
I’m back at last, finding a new normal with my Ninja and the fuzzies in our brand new home. Thanks for your patience while I was away; I’ve missed reading your blogs and sending out some cyber scribbles of my own 😉
Wow, what an adventure the past few weeks have been! Moving house sure is messy, whether you do it all in one go or bit-by-bit over many weekends like we did. Towards the end we were sleeping on just a couch cushion on the floor, with no furniture or appliances left except a tiny bar fridge that held only a few meals’ worth of groceries, and clocking hundreds of kilometres driving back and forth between the two homes on weekends. Exhausting.
From me and my four furries, Happy World Rat Day everyone! 😀
To celebrate the joy of owning rats, I’ll be treating Moon, Knight, Mishka and Vodka to some salmon today. That’s always fun 🙂
I also want to take a moment to say that you’ll probably be hearing less from me for a while, or at least between now and the end of May. Ninja and I are in the process of moving house, and as everyone who’s done it knows – it’s chaos!
If I do get a chance to shoot off some quick posts I will, but otherwise please bear with me as I make this transition. I’m sure once it’s all behind us and we’ve settled in, I’ll have plenty new stories and pictures to share. Besides, many of the goals I’ve set for myself can only really come alive once we’re in our new home, so that should kick off an exciting new season for us!
Until then, keep well and keep smiling 🙂
Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
~ Anthony J. D’Angelo ~
When we treated our boys to leftover prawns, I got a few shots of Mishka’s mad method of eating the seafood without holding it in his hands:
Hehehe. Ah man this rat melts my heart! 🙂
Our rats are on a see-food diet: if they see food, they eat it! On occasion, that diet includes actual seafood too 🙂
I’ve mentioned before how much they enjoy salmon, and the other day we treated them to something even more decadent: prawns! Or, to be more accurate, the leftovers of Ninja’s prawn dinner. We washed off most of the lemon butter sauce, but Ninja left a little meat in the shells for the boys.
We started by waving the bowl of prawns in front of the cage to tantalise our pets (who looked ready to leap into the bowl!):
Of course they each grabbed a piece as soon as they could…
… and scurried off to their separate corners to chow down 🙂
It was an absolute feast, and so quiet in the cage except for the sounds of contented nibbling. Afterwards I collected a handful of squeaky-clean, transparent shells.
Here are the before and after shots:
You know, if you’d told me a few years ago that I would one day be happy to wash a pile of cold, half-eaten prawns and feed them to a mischief of ravenous rats, I would have thought you mad.
Now you can be the ones to think me mad, how’s that?! 🙂
You probably won’t believe this. I barely do myself.
But just when I thought Vodka’s right paw had healed beautifully from last week, we noticed last night that he’s now limping with the left paw held up!
At first I thought Ninja was playing a prank when he told me. Then, when the paw didn’t look swollen or sore this morning before work, I even thought Vodka might just be asking for some attention. But now that the left paw is all swollen and purple just like his right one was last week, I’m just… baffled.
I have no idea how this happened, or what it is, or why it would happen twice in a row. It doesn’t seem to be bumblefoot (a painful sore rats can get on their feet when kept in the wrong cages). It just seems to be the way my life is going this year so far. Sigh.
So the little guy is back in the hospital cage under observation, and I’m back on love-him-back-to-health duty with extra treats and healing meals 😉
In other words: if you don’t hear terribly much from me for a while, at least you know why!
Are mice really shy? I used to think so… until I saw this little guy!
These are a few pics my dad snapped of a teeny striped fieldmouse that’s taken up residence in my parents’ garden. The pics were taken in the middle of the day, a few metres from the house.
He doesn’t seem shy at all! Every day, my parents report, this cute mouse races around their garden in broad daylight, following a set path next to the boundary walls and through the shrubbery.
My folks very sweetly leave tasty tidbits along his route, and they own no prowling pets that might discover the little interloper. No wonder he’s quite happy to call that yard his own 🙂
When he passes by my mom and dad as they walk and work on the property, they call out and talk to him. As you can see from the pics, he doesn’t seem to mind their presence. It’s adorable!
I love his smart stripes, just like some tiny rodent version of a jock’s Ford ST. I think he has a cuter face than a rat’s, and of course he’s way smaller – if you look at the long paving brick he’s sitting on, our smallest rat (Moon) would take up that entire brick with just his body length, never mind his tail.
So although when we move there this cutey will be our new neighbour, we’ll make sure he never gets to meet our rat pack 😛
Sorry I’ve been so quiet, friends.
Each week of this new year has brought a new distressing event in our lives. I’ve already mentioned the retrenchment we’re facing; then add to that some upsetting family news over the past few days and now my poor Vodka ratty has a broken paw 😦
Sigh… they do say these things happen in threes 😦 (Though I far prefer the German version: ‘aller guten Dinge sind drei‘!)
Anyway, the accident must have happened sometime during his free run last night… Vodka did seem uncharacteristically skittish afterwards, and just before bed I noticed he was holding up his right front paw. At that stage it wasn’t swollen or discoloured, and he still let me touch it gently without squeaking.
But this morning the poor little pink foot had developed purple stripes over the toes and was clearly swollen. He couldn’t put any weight on it and held it very close to his body, walking with a pronounced limp. Turns out it’s a simple closed fracture on his little leg. My poor bub!
After doing some internet research and chatting to the vet, I’ve now isolated him in a cage without levels, switched his meals to easy-to-eat-with-one-paw foods and given him a tiny drop of the painkiller and anti-inflammatory, Metacam. I’m making sure he stays hydrated, too: squeezing fresh grape juice and mixing it with honey or vitamins before feeding it to him with a syringe.
We’re going to keep an eye on him over the next few days, but from all I’ve read online there’s not much more we can do – or even need to do. Thankfully ratties usually heal fairly quickly, and we’re boosting his diet with extra protein, carbs and vitamins to help him recover. I did put his best friend Moon in the cage with him, but Moony was not impressed with having to play nurse! So for now Voddy’s alone and it’s more peaceful that way.
It’s ironic that it would be Vodka – the rat I usually get most frustrated with – who goes through this horrible experience and needs my help. It’s changed my view of him completely. Sometimes when he’d senselessly attack Mishka I’d see him as a mean little critter, but today seeing him so slow, cautious and in pain has melted my heart. He’s an innocent animal in my care, just like each of our other sweet boys, and I’ve been wrong to love him less. Well I sure plan to make it up to him from here on in! 🙂
The last few weeks have really worn me down. With each new development I’ve seen more clearly that it’s only God’s grace that’s carrying me through. I certainly have no human strength or energy reserves left to face each new wave of bad news. I know it’s the time I spend praying and reading God’s wonderful Bible that renews my hope and faith each day. I may often be weak and discouraged, but I serve a great and faithful Father, who knows exactly what I need and supplies it abundantly!
And on my heart are the words of that lovely worship song from Matt Redman:
Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Remember when two of our little lads won first place in categories in our rat club’s online show?
Well, their prizes and ribbons have arrived:
So proud of our cuties! I hope we’ll be able to enter them (and Voddy and Teddy) in many other rat club shows during their time with us 🙂
Remember these little guys?
Well, six months later they’ve grown into four very handsome young adults:
‘Moonymoonymoonbeam…!’ I call out, and there comes a blazing streak of black and white dashing towards me 😀 Moon is the littlest boy in our bunch, but weighing 440 g is still decent for a male rat. In the four months he’s been with us he’s earned lots of random nicknames, including ‘Opposite Rat’ (for always being awake when the others are sleeping) and ‘Pliable’ (for accepting pretty much whatever cuddling you subject him to). He’s my second favourite ratty 🙂
Oh dear, poor Voddy! We have a bit of a tumultuous relationship, he and I, because I get fed up with his senseless biting of my Mishka’s ears He still picks on Mishka daily (his favourite time to strike is when the helpless dumbo is sleeping), but when he’s not being divisive he’s a really cute rat. He’s also very smart and the quickest to learn the few tricks we’ve tried teaching him. Ninja has a special place in his heart for this rat; we often joke that we should swap so I can call Moon mine and he can have Vodka! But of course they all belong to both of us 🙂 Vodka is our second biggest rat, weighing 500 g.
Ah Knight, the little gentleman 🙂 The pose in the pic above is typical of Knight’s polite, if-you-don’t-mind-I’ll-have-that-tidbit-now kind of attitude. He weighs 480 g at the moment, and feels so solid and well muscled in our hands. If you think you can resist the cuteness of a black rat, it all changes when those adorable white socks are clinging on the cage bars and begging for a run! Sometimes we still call him Tiny Tot even though he isn’t anymore, and I also call him our little Black Roof Rat 🙂
Awww Meeeeeshka! He weighs 520 g now and has carved out a cosy nest for himself in the middle of my heart 😀 He seems to slowly be outgrowing his reticence during free runs, but occasionally we do still see him peering cautiously around a corner as in the pic above 🙂 His attitude in the cage with his brothers is gentle, though he enjoys a good scuffle like the rest of them – and his policy for dealing with upstarts is simply to sit on them!
I’m very pleased with the progress our boys have made. They’ve all been neutered and Vodka and Knight recovered from the infections they got from the ops. They’ve all gained weight at a good rate and so far they’ve had no respiratory issues. At six months they’re officially mature, and it’s hard to believe they’ve already experienced about one quarter to one fifth of their expected lifetime.
Looking ahead, I hope that we can start taking one or two of them on short trips with us, as I’ve heard many rat owners do successfully. I also plan to add vitamins to their diet this year, and to keep up the regular clipping of their nails (that’s always fun!). As you know, Moon and Knight won prizes in our rat club’s first online rat show last year. In 2014 the club is hoping to host their first live show, and I’d really love to enter our boys in that competition if possible 🙂
And now enough blogging about the bubs… time for me to go clean their cage and give them that free run they’re begging for!