What to do when you’re in an introduction?

Published May 9, 2013 by Kokomo

So, as my last post stated, I got a new girl to add to the group. Being well-aware that Maarit isn’t going to last forever, I chose a girl that was the same age as Koko and Ruma. I knew that at a certain point in the near future, I was going to have to introduce her to Koko and Ruma. And as I was home for two weeks after my second surgery (left hand), I decided now was as good a time as any. I put them together as soon as I got home with Lumi. At this point, Lumi and Maarit had been together for over 48 hrs without any troubles.

The first hour was very boring. They sniffed each other, they ran around in the Duna trying to find a way out (mostly Koko and Ruma of course, not being used to being in a Duna very often) and they pooped. They also knew where to find the food and water, so so far, so good. After a while, little shenanigans started happening; Lumi and Ruma rolling around, but mostly Koko and Lumi going at eachother. Koko is the alpha, EVERYTHING belongs to her, so naturally, she’s not going to be happy about sharing. She’s a little (wel, big fat) bitch. Lumi figured she had to at least test if Koko really was the alpha, and if she was any good at it. Well.. six nights with little sleep later, the calm started to come and they moved from the Duna to a quarter RS and added a hammock. So far so good. Strangely, since they have been in there, Koko started picking on Maarit again (again? sigh…), but it hasn’t been disastrous. I added some elements to prevent her from getting angry (a second dish of food, a second toilet) and over the past days I started adding sleeping places until yesterday, I moved them to the bottom half of the RS, which I redecorated and it’s almost as a normal decoration. They are still adjusting and the intro isn’t over, but it’s looking ok.

So what do rats do during an introduction you ask? Well, take a look for yourself…

You cuddle...

You cuddle…

 

You stretch out...

You stretch out…

 

You huddle together...

You huddle together…

 

You pile up...

You pile up.

 

You curl up...

You curl up…

 

You dream away...

You dream away…

 

You wash...

You wash…

 

And sometimes, you sleep silly...

And sometimes, you sleep silly…

 

Or lazy...

Or lazy…

REALLY lazy...

REALLY lazy…

 

Or just downright insane...

Or just downright insane…

 

Thanks for laughing!🙂 More pictures are acomin’!

 

 

 

 

A new beginning

Published May 9, 2013 by Kokomo

–crap I thought I’d already posted this! —

 

Of course our goodbye to Valo was sad. It was very hard losing her after trying so hard to keep her healthy and feeling so powerless when she had those attacks. But after she passed, Maarit stayed behind alone. I tried putting Ruma with her, but the poor thing just fled and started pooping immediately. I knew this wasn’t going to be a match, so I had to start looking for a new buddy.

At first I had my mind set on a castrated male, because I really wanted to give a male a try. After some emails and phonecalls I found out that there may have been 1 male (c) available but he was very large, and contact with the shelter took a long time. I hadn’t gone to the shelter that Valo came from yet, because she was closed and in quarantine for a while, because she had a virus going round. I figured I didn’t want to wait forever to find a buddy for Maarit, so I had contacted another shelter first. But since she was a little slow in responding, it was decided that on the Monday that I had to go back into surgery for my left hand (this was last monday), I was going to bring over Maarit and she would try to match her.

Well, she tried a few options and then one of them turned out to be a match! I went over to visit her wednesday, to see how they were doing, and the intro was going so well, what when my dad brought me back to my own house that night, we picked up the ladies first. SO without further ado, I’d like to introduce y’all to my new lady-friend; Lumi (snow in Finnish)

(yeah, try and take good pictures of a white rat when it’s already dark and you’re using a flash…)

Yeah, white and shiny! ;)

Yeah, white and shiny!😉

Lumi is white, with red-eyes. She was ‘rescued’ from a lab in Austria in december 2012, together with about 20 other rats and estimated at about 1 year old at that time (same as Koko and Ruma).

Very curious little girl!

Very curious little girl!

Lumi was quite sick during the period the shelter had a virus, her eyes were infected and swollen, but she has recovered now.

Did you put food here?

Did you put food here?

Lumi didn’t have a name yet, as she had come in with quite a few wite red-eyes. I went looking for another Finnish name and I really liked the Finnish word for snow.

This smells YUMMY!

This smells YUMMY!

Lumi is, even though she’s a labrat, very human-oriented. She shows up the door right away when she hears me. he’s not a big fan of being picked up, but once you have her with you, she sits with you quietly and comfortly🙂

Togetha

Togetha

Yeah, so better pics will be posted soon! But for now, a nice first impression!

A proper farewell

Published May 2, 2013 by Kokomo

It seems like ages ago already, but it has been 3,5 weeks now, since I had to let go of my sweet Valo.

On Sunday, after I posted, the attacks got worse, with, late that evening the worst bloody nose ever. The poor thing was covered in blood, her snout, her face, her belly, her paws, everything was bloody and the poor thing cleaned it all up after the attack had passed. I felt so bad for the poor thing, I gave her some painkillers and left her in the Duna, and put Maarit with her so she wouldn’t be alone. I knew that there was very little left to be done for her, but I didn’t want to go to the emergency animal hospital again, as they are extremely expensive and really not that able with rats. So, I managed to contact a co-worker to ask her to work for me the next day and tried to get some sleep with the ladies right next to my pillow.

They had a quiet and peacefulnight, but around 7am another heavy breathing attack woke me up. I couldn’t do anything to help the poor thing. I had to wait until 8am (which turned out to be 9am) before I could call the vet and luckily they could see me as the first patient. But that did still mean waiting untill 10.30 am. By the time I arrived at the vet’s, Valo was barely breathing anymore. The vet listened to hear and could hear her lungs had filled up with moisture and her breathing was very shallow. There was nothing left to do but to let the poor baby go.

For me, this was the first time in 10 years that I had to have a pet put to sleep, and the first time I had to do it all on my own. It’s not an easy decision I can tell you. Not so much choosing what is best for your animal, but realizing you have their life in your hands, and the emotional impact that has. I found it hard and I cried her a river or two. Luckily I have a great vet, who’s an expert in rats and she handled her very respectfully. I trust her with my pet’s lives😉.

I left Valo at the vet’s because 1. I don’t have a garden and 2. I don’t think my dad would feel up to burying her in his garden. I decided to donate her body to science, in the hope the vets working at the emergency animal hospital would learn something from her.

When I got home I cried and cried and cried and wrote her a goodbye on the forum where I first found the lady who runs the shelter I got her from. After a while I decided to get Ruma out of her cage, and she licked the tears right off my cheeks. Those were the last tears I cried that day. It’s amazing how much comfort a still living pet can give. I cuddled the crap out of my three remaining ladies, and kept on doing so for the next days, until it was time to come back to reality and start looking for a new friend for Maarit. More on that in my next post.

For now; goodbye dear Valo. You weren’t with me long, but you were special and dear to me and Maarit. I have learned so much from you in the 2,5 months that you were here and I will never forget. Have fun on the bridge!

 

In the Sputnik together

In the Sputnik together

 

Valo posing (or better said, pooping)

Valo posing (or better said, pooping)

Valo being a little acrobate as che found the goodies!

Valo being a little acrobate as she found the goodies!

Sigh…

Published April 14, 2013 by Kokomo

Ok, I am not allowed to post good news anymore…

Just a while after my post yesterday, Valo had another attack. For some reason she cannot breathe through her nose anymore and she ends up gasping for air through her mouth. It’s a very disturbing sound and sight. I’ve been to the vet for this, more than once, and she has gotten 2 cures of antibiotics for it. While she’s on the cure, things are usually fine, but once she gets off it, the attacks just come back. The cause isn’t exactly clear, the vet thinks she has a small tumor in her nose, and it can congest the whole airflow. They cannot actually look for it as her tiny nose is too small to look into or even take x-rays of. If she’s really lucky, she also gets a heavy nosebleed.

Yesterday I was walking to the bathroom when I heard a snort that didn’t sound like Maarit’s snorts. I looked at the cage and saw it was Valo. When she has these attacks, I usually take her out of the cage, try to give her nosedrops and keep her calm. Yesterday, after the nosedrops, her nose quite quickly opened up, but then the bleeding began. Even still, the bleeding wasn’t too heavy, so after she had started breathing normally again, I put her back in the cage with Maarit. I did find some bloody splatters all over the cage later, but it wasn’t a heavy nosebleed.

This is a video I shot when she first started having these attacks. The vet asked me to film it so I could always show them.

When I checked on the ladies later that night, I again noticed some blood coming out of her nose. It was just a few drops again, but I couldn’t imagine her feeling good, so I gave her some painmeds and put her in the miniduna for the night. When I woke up this morning, she seemed ok again. She had completely messed up her cage, and was hiding under the fleece on the bottom, but she had eaten, pooped and drank, so I figured she felt good enough to go back to Maarit. Her furr had come back down, which is also a sign of them feeling better.

She wasn’t in the cage for more than 30 minutes when I heard her again… The poor thing had another attack. I didn’t think twice, I picked her up, gave her nosedrops and put her back in the Duna. I feel bad for robbing her of her little playmate, companion and her own safe space. But about 10 minutes after I put her in, she started breathing normally again. So I guess I am keeping her in there for another day, just to make sure she recovers from all this. And tomorrow I shall stop by the vet to get some new meds.

Here we go again….:(

Good news!

Published April 13, 2013 by Kokomo

Oh me Oh my. I have been one shamefully absent blogger these past weeks! Most of that is due t the still medicating my rats every single day, and the decrease of energy from going back to my normal work-routine, which is still costing me energy as my hand hasn’t properly healed yet. It’s on the way though, and I suspect that before my next operation (left), I will be capable of almost everything I was before again.

Luckily, in rat land, peace has been restored. For now. I haven’t actually been to the vet in at least three weeks and the ladies seem to be doing fine. Two weeks ago, after all the bad news we had gotten, emergency visits to the vets, another cure of antibiotics for Valo AND a de-licing cure for all four (yes, we had lice), Koko started waking up with red eyes. Now I now what porfyrine is, and I know that’s what is was, mostly, but underneath, the skin was also kind of reddish and it seemed somewhat swollen on her right eye. Poor thing. For a second there, I again saw myself running up and down the vets office twice a week, again. But on the forum someone gave me the smart advice to give my ladies echinacea in their drinking water. Their immune system was probably a little low, making them also susceptible for the lice. So I did. Koko loved the water with echinacea, funnily, Valo and Maarit were not so charmed. And after about 6-8 days, no more red eyes. Yesterday I noticed something going on with Maarit’s good eye (the one that was infected is now ruined, she is clearly blind on that eye and it never went back to normal size), that looked quite the same as Koko’s eye. I had stopped giving them echinacea after a few days as they really didn’t like it, but I have now put it back in their waterbottle. That’s quite an issue though, because they seem to barely drink now. Going to try to give it to them in babyfood later.

But besides a little red eyes, the ladies are doing really well! They are eating well, sleeping a lot😉 But all four are playfull at night, dying for attention. Maarit and Valo are well on their way to fully trusting me and Koko and Ruma are their insane selves. Ruma insists on climbing on top of the cage everytime she is let out, to observe who’s living in the top part. It has given her a few sore toes over the weeks, as Valo can get defensive when Ruma is being the nosy peeper. Koko on the other hand is very content with just waddling around the room, scouring for food or anything that smells interesting, or just roaming around in her paper nest or gnawing on an old plastic bottle that is hidden somewhere under the bed🙂.

So, without further ado, I will now bore you with some more pics of tha ladies and hope to be back to regular blogging soon!

Little sleepy ball <3

Little sleepy ball❤

 

Sweet face! (this was before her eye went bad)

Sweet face! (this was before her eye went bad)

 

Arrrr, why's ya wakin' me? (my attempt to piratlingo)

Arrrr, why’s ya wakin’ me? (my attempt to piratlingo)

 

Nap time in the mini-duna

Nap time in the mini-duna

 

Ya can't see me!

Ya can’t see me!

 

Clean and redecorated cages!

Published March 23, 2013 by Kokomo

Ok, today I managed to gather enough energy and willpower to clean two cages after each other. Also both cages were pretty much RIPE with pee-smell😛

 

I realized I have taken so many pictures of the cage and things in it lately that I just wanted to add a photo post about the clean cages and more.

Hope you enjoy🙂

 

Bottom -Koko and Ruma; 2 hammocks, a cube-hammock, 2 houses, 2 tubes, a fortress (the greenbox), a cover/hide out, a silent spinner and a toilet.

Bottom -Koko and Ruma; 2 hammocks, a cube-hammock, 2 houses, 2 tubes, a fortress (the greenbox), a cover/hide out, a silent spinner and a toilet.

 

Top -Valo and Maarit; 3 hammocks, a sputnik, 2 baskets, 1 long tube, 2 little hide-outs, 2 ladders, a wooden chew-toy thing, a silent spinner and a toilet.

Top -Valo and Maarit; 3 hammocks, a sputnik, 2 baskets, 1 long tube, 2 little hide-outs, 3 ladders, a wooden chew-toy thing, a silent spinner and a toilet.

 

Whole cage

Whole cage

 

Koko and Ruma napping in the mini Duna as I was cleaning their cage.

Koko and Ruma napping in the mini Duna as I was cleaning their cage.

 

Before cleaning; Koko and Ruma had chewed a hole in the back of the cube-hammock and then pulled the inside into their ball-house, which of course is way more comfortable ;)

Before cleaning; Koko and Ruma had chewed a hole in the back of the cube-hammock and then pulled the inside into their ball-house, which of course is way more comfortable😉

 

Ruma, first time in the cube-hammock (she lost her nose :P )

Ruma, first time in the cube-hammock (she lost her nose😛 )

 

Ruma, loving the cube-hammock (this is before they wrecked it)

Ruma, loving the cube-hammock (this is before they wrecked it)

 

Koko doing some re-con

Koko doing some re-con

 

Valo doing some re-con

Valo doing some re-con

 

The sputnik can be quite tight when you're sis is squishing you XD

The sputnik can be quite tight when you’re sis is squishing you😄

 

A close-up of this darling little face. When her eye was still good

A close-up of this darling little face. When her eye was still good

 

Maarit doing some re-con

Maarit doing some re-con

 

Hello big hand, whatcha doin?

Hello big hand, whatcha doin?

 

can't see me!

can’t see me!

 

New toys!

Published March 9, 2013 by Kokomo

After all the misery of visits to the vet (more on this later), meds, antibiotics, painkillers, ointments and having been taken out of the cage against their will, I decided it was time to properly decorate the cage of Valo and Maarit.

They had a decorated cage, but it was just lacking certain finishing touches. They had to make do with two mini-toilets, a half-broken silent spinner (which is now probably going back to Ruma :P), and only a make-do hammock.

My mother has been sowing a cube-hammock for me, and since Koko and Ruma’s cage was done last wednesday and was still filled with hammocks and other stuff, I decided to give the cube-hammock to Valo and Maarit too. I went shopping for a new Silent Spinner, a bigger toilet, new corbo since I had run out of that as well and some treats for all of them.

I collected all my courage (cleaning and decorating a cage is still a difficult task with my hand still recovering from surgery) and cleaned out the cage as fast as I could. I think I’ve set a new record, as it took me only 40 minutes to remove all the dirty towels, all the corbo and poop spread through the cage, clean the different levels and all the toys and other things in the cage and redecorate. Doing their cage is easier than the other one, as they are up high and I can reach everything way more easily. So now the ladies have a fully decorated cage, with a cube-hammock, two ordinary hammocks, a Sputnik, a Silent spinner, a big toilet, a green basket/house and lot’s of toys. The cage has somehow gotten a green/purple theme and I kind of like it🙂

Unlike Koko and Ruma, Maarit and Valo went straight at discovering and sniffing the whole cage. Especially Valo was obviously enjoying running around (I think she was also missing all her hidden candy’s that I threw out😛 ) and trying everything out. She tested the silent spinner, pooped in the new toilet and now both ladies are happily sleeping. Maarit in her Sputnik and Valo in a corner on the bottom. Because why would you sleep in comfy hammocks if you can sleep on the floor?😉

I managed to snap some photo’s, so here we go:

Koko and Ruma's cage, newly done.

Koko and Ruma’s cage, newly done.

Valo and Maarit's cage

Valo and Maarit’s cage, newly done.

Maarit testing out the cube-hammock

Maarit testing out the cube-hammock

Valo being a little acrobate as che found the goodies!

Valo being a little acrobat when she found the goodies!

This Sputnik is MINE no matter where you place it :)

This Sputnik is MINE no matter where you place it🙂

Testing the new toilet

Testing the new toilet

What's on this floor?

What’s on this floor?

Playing with the treatball

Playing with the treatball

Hope you enjoyed as well!

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