A panicky scare!

Published March 2, 2013 by Kokomo

In the second week after my operation, I found that Maarit was just sneezing and snottering a little too much for my taste, and I was slightly disturbed by all the biting that Valo was doing. Just my by the way, not Maarit. So I decided to ask my dear rat-hating dad, who had also made a plexi-glass separating plate for the cage, to drive me to the vet.

As she took Maarit out of the travelcase, the little devil of a girl just sat in her arms. Docile, calm. Not so much sick, but just… relaxed. Way more then she had relaxed with me so far.

The vet listened to both ladies and thankfully, they were both ok. Maarit did get a cure of antibiotics to get rid of that nasty cold, but Valo was all clear. Healthy, happy, at a good weight and looking fine.

The next day, I went to give Maarit her AB’s and fed it to her mixed with babyfood. Afterwards I decided to give Valo some of this too. Bad choice. Within a few minutes, Valo jumped out of the sputnik, ran to the bottom of the cage and started breathing heavily, through her mouth. It took me about 10 minutes to arrive into a state of complete panic, complete with sobbing, crying and calling just about everyone I know.

I still wasn’t able to drive a car myself, so I called my friend who had planned on coming over a little later. He rushed over to me, but it still took too long for me. I was panicking, stressing out and just wanted to gogogo! After a few attempts, I got hold of the lady of the shelter that Valo used to be in. Thankfully, she was able to calm me down and talk me through the whole thing, as I was waiting for my friend to come. In the mean time, I had called the vet’s office at least 3 times. I had put Valo in the travelcase and watched her closely. Her ears were turning white, her lower lip was turning blue and she was kind of dropping herself on her right side. I was sure it was over.

Right before my friend arrived, she had started sneezing and snorting and the heavy breathing had surpassed. As we arrived at the vet’s everything was fine with the world again and she was active and seemed happy. The vet gave her an injection of antibiotics and gave me a dose to start giving 2 days after the visit, if things hadn’t gotten better.

So there we went again. More meds to give, but hopefull she would recover. For the next 3 days, every morning, clockwise between 9 and 9.30 am, Valo started ‘hyperventilating’ again. The sound woke me up 3 mornings in a row. Obviously I didn’t panic that much anymore, and on the second day, I got the advise to give her nosedrops. Miraculously, these seemed to work, because after 3 days (and 4 days of meds) the attacks stopped.

She probably choked on some food and had some left overs stuck in her system, or perhaps damaged her airpipe in her panic attack.

What I have learned from the whole experience is that I NEVER, EVER want to see a rat getting into this condition again. There’s probably nothing worse than seeing a rat choke. And to illustrate, I uploaded a vid (the vet had asked me to tape it in case it kept happening). You be the judge. (the cracking sound is my bandage rubbing against the phone..)

A short update

Published February 15, 2013 by Kokomo

Hi everyone,

 

thnx for sticking around during the silent times. Just a quick update to tell you I had my first operation (carpal tunnel syndrome) last monday. I am doing ok, although I’ve had a pain relapse today 😦

There is a big bandaid on the stitches which is (sorry for the details) filled with blood, that has dried up and stuck to the stitches, therefor if I move my hand in a way that moves the bandaid, stretches it, it pulls on the stitches and thus the wound. Very annoying as this makes even going to the bathroom virtually impossible (thank goodness my left hand still works). I am not supposed to remove the bandaid, until the stitches are removed, a week from monday (feb 25th). I called the hospital today and asked if I could soak it off and put on a new one, but the doctor’s assistent said no such thing, because I might infect the wound. So I am just going to have to suck it up and see what I can actually do with my right hand. Which isn’t much; this is just about enough typing now, as it is starting to hurt. Enjoy the visuals I added for you! 🙂

just out the hospital

just out the hospital

2 days after; swollen and blueish

2 days after; swollen and blueish

Another new addition!!

Published February 5, 2013 by Kokomo

Wow. So suddenly the rat population in my house has doubled! Four rats are now happily residing here. I am not entirely sure how happy I am about it, takes some getting used to (more little ones means more attention and more worries when they make weird noises or have diarrhea), on the other hand I am so happy that I can give these two ladies a good old day.

 

So without further ado, let me (officially)introduce you to Maarit en Valo. The topfloor inhabitants of my Royal Suite:

Little Maarit nomming away

Little Maarit nomming away

Maarit; born November 2010
Black japanese hooded. She has had a little tumor behind her left front paw and a chronic sneeze, but besides that she is active, lively, still a little shy but NUTS about snacks and treats! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valo; aprrox. 2 years old. Not sure when she was born but she has been in the shelter for over a year. Valo is also a hooded Japanese, but I haven’t defined her color yet. I am guessing it is a mink/pearl combo. Valo’s behavior is still quite unpredictable. She can be playful one moment and scared the next. She is a little more active then Maarit but also a lot more shy, although she has less trouble with being picked up then Maarit has.

Valo posing (or better said, pooping)

Valo posing (or better said, pooping)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most important though, is that Maarit and Valo get along. No terrorising, no stealing from one another, no pushing the other in a corner, no dominant behavior what so ever. They might not always sleep together, but mostly they do and I have caught both of them bruxing and boggling, so I am a happy camper!

 

In the Sputnik together <3

In the Sputnik together ❤

A new addition!

Published February 2, 2013 by Kokomo

About 4-5 weeks before Christmas time, there was a topic on the forum about rats that I frequent, that had a link to a christmas-charity website for rats that are in shelters. There was a long list of pictures of rats in several different shelters, with the option to either send a care-package, financially adopt or officially adopt one of the rats. Not all rats were adoptable, but my eye happened to fall on a little girl named Marit. The picture they had posted of here was too adorable to pass. As you all know, I had been considering getting a new rat (or two) for quite some time, and after mulling it over for a few days, I sent in an adoption form and from then on emails went flying all over the place and before I knew it, I was allowed to come pick her up, an hour’s drive away from where I live, the first weekend of December.

Look at that litte cute faced girl <3

Look at that litte cute faced girl ❤

She was already 2 years old, had been in the shelter for over a year, and spent the first months of her life in a cage that was WAY too small, in a cold garage where she got no attention at all. Poor thing.

But then, two days before I was about to go pick her up, the lady from the shelter sent me a email that she had found a lump, which could mean she had a tumor and if so, she would need surgery. So we postponed my pick-up date and I told her to give Marit a good deal of time to heal after surgery. Luckily, surgery went very well and Marit recovered quickly. But, by the time this had all passed, it was almost time for my surgery on my hand. So I didn’t want to have an introduction going on when I couldn’t intervene with my sore hand. We postponed my pick-up date again, until after my surgery.

Then, the day of my surgery, I came to the hospital and it turned out I was misinformed and I wasn’t going to get surgery until the second week of February. Once I got home, upset and frustrated, I emailed the lady from the shelter and I made plans to pick up Marit that Saturday, and I did.

When I first saw her, I was a little shocked at quite how small she is. She is even smaller than Ruma and weighs less as well. She is a little hunched, like in the picture, has Japanese hooded fur and dumbo ears. She was VERY scared when I picked her up and I instantly got covered with poop. But she was so adorable. Only one of her stitches was still in place, the rest had dissolved neatly and her fur was growing back in the area of the surgery. She still had her fur standing up, from either discomfort or stress, not quite sure, but the poor thing surely wasn’t feeling too good. And then we started the long journey home. I stuck my hand in the carry-on basket every now and then and talked and sang to her the whole way back. Once I got home, I instantly put Ruma with her and the two hit it off right away.

Marit has been here for a few weeks now, but it hasn’t been easy. I started introduction with Ruma, in a small cage, called a ‘mini-duna’ which I had purchased for this purpose and also for when one of them would get so sick they’d need to be separated.

(mine is blue though)

(mine is blue though)

Ruma and Marit went great together. They sniffed a little, but very soon were lying in a corner together, bruxing and boggling. Marit’s fur went down very quickly and I knew these two would be great together. I kept them in there for about 3 hours and then added Koko to the mix. This seemed to go just as well, and impatient as I was, after only another hour, I moved them back to the RS. Even still, things seemed to go fine and the next day I made the cage twice the size. That’s where I went wrong. Suddenly the fighting started. I had never heard a rat scream and squeal like a little pig, but Marit did. On the forum they advised me to quickly make the cage smaller and after some hesitation (took me a few hours to get it ready), I did and besides a bed and food and water, I took everything out of the cage. Nothing left to fight about.

The next day I got a visit from a friend, for dinner, and for a while, things seemed quiet. But then again, the fighting started and it was BAD. Hair was flying around and Marit and Koko were rolling around the cage so fast I could barely keep up. One time, Marit even fell from the little floor that was in there (about 25 cm high) and got a nasty cut on her back. I decided it was enough and put them back in the mini-duna. They ended up staying in there from Monday-night until Saturday-morning. No more fights luckily!

Little hunch-backed Marit

Little hunch-backed Marit

IMG-20130116-03660

Sleeping together in the Mini-Duna

From another shelter that I had visited to do a donation (another story), I was able to borrow a bigger Duna. The normal sized one, to take the next step in their introduction. I put them in there on Saturday and as things went well, I slowly started adding things to the cage, like a hammock and later a Sputnik XL.

They seemed to have become friends, so on Tuesday, I moved them back to half a Royal Suite. I slowly started adding things to the cage, one a day, like the Silent Spinner, and more hammocks. I started noticing they didn’t always sleep together, but that didn’t really worry me too much. Marit seemed to warm up to me, she would also come running to the door when I opened it, not as fast as the others, but always ready to receive a treat. I still couldn’t take her out of the cage much, because she would run and hide as fast as she could, but I figured this would just take time and patience. When I did take her out, she still had the habit of pooping all over me :(. The first days went great. They ate, pooped, drank and slept (together) and it seemed to have been a successful introduction. But then, everyday, I started noticing things. There would be a fight, Koko would have her hair standing up and threaten either Marit or Ruma, Marit would always be sleeping alone and more little things like this. On the forum they told me to be patient, maybe take out some beds from the cage and see what happened.

Marit nibbling at the hedgehog, ot a good pic, but you can see how small she is.

Marit nibbling at the hedgehog, ot a good pic, but you can see how small she is.

Then the other day, I had them all on my bed. Marit was happily exploring under my blankets and Koko came to join her. Instantly, Koko put her fur up and started pushing her. Marit would just make herself as small as possible and not move, hoping Koko would go away, but she didn’t. Eventually, Marit crawled into my shirt. Koko came towards us and then I caught her BITING Marit!!! I was so shocked! My Koko, biting! She wasn’t wounding Marit, but very clearly showing her disapproval. Obviously I didn’t let her and I instantly stopped this. Marit was so frightened after this. I kept her in my shirt for a while, until she felt safe enough to peek out again, and then returned her to the cage. Later on, I seemed to notice that Koko was locking her in the ball (they sleep in it as mentioned before). I wasn’t sure, so I moved the towel that Koko had been sleeping in, which was right in front of the ball, to the corner and checked again the next day. The towel was back in the same place, but I couldn’t be sure who did it, because Marit was always pulling it into the ball as well. So I left it like that.

In the mean time I had emailed the lady of the last named shelter, who loaned me her cage, to ask for her advice. What to do, because I could see Marit wasn’t happy, nor were Koko and Ruma. She told me I could come by and we could see of there was another rat there that Marit did click with. We made plans, but then I realised my surgery is coming up and I couldn’t be having an intro again here. She very sweetly offered to keep Marit for a while, if we were able to find her a friend there. I was to go over there on Saturday.

Then, last (Friday)night, when I let the ladies free range again, I noticed something that made me worry even more. Marit was on the bed with me, and Koko was nowhere to be seen, but Ruma came to say hi. Marit again made herself as small as possible and started pooping instantly. It was obvious fear-poop. Ruma, as far as I know, has never hurt her, she only grooms and cuddles, so I was quite shocked to see Marit behave like this. I realized she was just simply scared out of her mind for both my rats and I couldn’t put her back into the cage with them. So, I put her in the Duna, since it was just going to be one night anyways. I am going to the shelter today, and hopefully we will find Marit a new friend so she can spend her last weeks/months, maybe even year, happily together with her new friend.

Marit in a hammock in the RS. Love this sweet pic.

Marit in a hammock in the RS. Love this sweet pic.

This does mean I will have 2 groups of 2 rats, instead of one group of 3 or 4, as I wanted, but if this is best for the rats, this is what I will do. Either way, the RS will be in full use. I have enough to fill the cage, so it shouldn’t be an issue (except for the bottom plate that I need to get…). Not the way I would have liked to see it, but their happiness means more to me. So, I will keep you updated on the new developments!

P.S. Sorry for the endless post! 🙂

The cuddles, the cuddles!

Published February 1, 2013 by Kokomo

How very often I get the sweetest cuddles from little Ruma. She climbs into my clothes (especially when I lie on my belly on my bed), licks my hands and my face, loves sitting in my lap and washing herself and on occasion likes to explore my ears (the weirdest tickle you’ve ever felt!). Whenever she has done something she shouldn’t, which is about every 10 minutes, or one of her adventurous actions fails and ends in her falling off something, she comes running to me to get some reassuring cuddles. I really love it when I sit on my bed, legs crossed, laptop on my lap, there’s a hole under the laptop where she can sit for fifteen minutes if she’s calm enough and just wash herself and relax. I can always count on my little Ruma to come and give me cuddles.

Ruma kisses <3

Ruma kisses ❤

This is also one of the reasons I got these two. I had just lost my job, a new job that I actually liked, and I knew I was going to be at home, looking for a new job. I had spent quite some time home alone just months before recovering from a burn-out and I knew I needed something other than my laptop to keep me entertained. I remembered the great times I had with my old rats and went out and bought Koko on the day I got laid off. Still no regrets. Most of the time…

Koko on the other hand; I think she is not as smart as her little sister. I really do compare the two to pinky and the brain most of the time. Koko was always more held back than Ruma, even in the beginning she didn’t like to sit still. Now obviously, her weight is causing her to be slower than Ruma, although she manages to escape when I try to grab her to go back into the cage more often than I like. Anyhow, she does not like to sit still and be cuddled. But, lately, she has been getting better about it. The other day, I picked her up and flipped her over on her back into my two hands (she can’t sit on one), because I just wanted to rub my check against her ADORABLE fat belly. It’s the softest EVER. She let me turn her over, she wasn’t too keen on the belly rubbing, but when I started massaging her little shoulders and ears, she quite complacently just laid there. Slowly her little eyes closed and her little mouth widened. I did my best not to burst out in laughter because the view of a rat on her back with her mouth open is hysterical I can tell you! (Alas, no hands left to take pictures) She seemed to thoroughly enjoy getting a little backrub and so I have found a way to cuddle my Kokomo! ❤

Trying to cuddle with Koko

Trying to cuddle with Koko

Hopefully we’ll have many more cuddles to come!

P.S. Sorry for the crappy quality pics. I guess we have established the cam on my phone is awful, but alass, no money for a good one…

What food to use?

Published January 25, 2013 by Kokomo

I have been experimenting with food for months. Obviously I want to give my babies the best, but they also have to ike to eat it. Otherwise the will only eat the extra’s and well, Koko already is overweight..

I started off with reggie rat, the food I had used previously with my older rats, which they never seem to completely eat. As it is a mixed food, they have a choice what to eat and they did choose. So very often I had to throw out half of the content of their feeding tray, because they simply didn’t like some parts.

The bag

The bag

As you can see, more than enough choice

As you can see, more than enough choice

I also thought the percentage of animal protein quite high in Reggie Rat (total protein 14,7%-looking back, not that much). Baby rats (rittens) need a lot of protein, but when they grow out of puberty they don’t need that much. In female rats, too much animal protein can cause tumors, mostly around the mikglands. Needless to say, I was not happy with this food, so I decided to switch.

I had heard of labfood, which contains all they need, all together mashed into blocks, cubes or whatever. They used these in the Petstore I got them from. This food doesn’t have different things they can choose from, so no selective eating and they will get everything they need. I chose Hope farms Rat/mouse super.

The bag

The bag

Tasty looking eh?

Tasty looking eh?

Not only did the food look disgusting, it smelled awful too. Kind of fishy! No wonder my ladies did NOT like this food. I used this over the summer, when I also went on a trip for 2,5 weeks and during that time they stayed with a friend of mine. I don’t know how she did it but she managed to feed them a bag (750 gr) of this in those 3 weeks. I guess she didn’t give them any extra’s or threw it out every day or maybe fed it to her guinea pig. I never asked because I didn’t want to be rude ;). Something I hadn’t noticed until now actually, the animal protein values in this product are 17,5%, which is even more then Reggie Rat.

Then, I started looking at other options. In the mean time I fed the cat food, wet and dry, some left over Reggie and a generic brand by my petstore, which only contained fibre and vegetables. I came across Beaphare Care+, which is considered a really good brand (and an expensive one). But then when I read more about this, it turns out this is mostly good for animals recovering from birth, bad illness or operations. Rats that need ‘fattening up’.  So no on that for Koko ;). Also total protein percentage is 22,5%. More, more more….

The bag

The bag

Seems to have some variation to choose from...

Seems to have some variation to choose from…

I didn’t give up though! I joined a forum, discussed the food I was currently giving them and learnt I was still feeding way too much animal protein and cat food holds too many salts. So gone with the cat food and I tried mixing the leftovers I had.

Then, when I went to the pet store to get new supplies (see this post), I stumbled across Supreme Science Selective for rats. I had heard about this food on the forum and was a little frightened of the price and the fact that again, they might not eat them, but so many people were positive about them, I decided it was time to try.

The bag

The bag

Again, not very appetizing...

Again, not very appetizing…

A little reluctant, I filled their food tray with these triangles, which, luckily, did NOT smell fishy. And to my surprise, the next day, the tray was almost empty!! Yes, they like this food, I know it’s unbelievable, but true! And a VERY big bonus with this food is that it is vegetarian and therefor does not contain any animal protein. The total protein content is only 14%, yay! So now I decide how much animal protein they get and I only give it as a treat. The blocks stay dry, do not smell and are apparently quite tasty. So call me a happy camper! Now I’ve heard they also have an apple-blue berry flavored one, so I am on the hunt for that one for next time. For now the box is still quite filled as they eat about 30 grams a day in total. I will update if I find the new one!

 

Update: apparently, the one I am feeding them IS the apple-blueberry flavored one xD

Birthdays!

Published January 17, 2013 by Kokomo

Yeah, it’s that time of the year. Or so I think. Since I got my cuties from the petstore, there is no saying when they were actually born. If they came from a good breeder, they were about 7-8 weeks old when I got them. if they came from a breeder who also breeds rats for snake-food, they could have easily been 4,5 -5 weeks old.

I am guessing Ruma was probably 4-5 weeks old when I got her, since she was SO small. Only 72 grams, which is officially 30 grams too light to be taken away from the nest.

Baby Ruma

Baby Ruma

And even Koko probably wasn’t the full 8 weeks, as she weighed 92 grams, also underweight.

Baby Koko

Baby Koko

(I have to say, looking at these pics makes me want rittens again, but that’s beside the point)

I got Koko on February 2nd and Ruma a week later on February 9th. So taking the 8 weeks into count, I decided their birthdays should be around Christmas. Thus, on december 26th (2nd day of Christmas over here in the Netherlands), I made them a birthdaycake and tried to love them juuuuuust a little bit more than usual ;). The cake was highly appreciated, Koko was schlepping pieces of avocado around in no time, and the whole thing was eaten within 6 hrs, but besides that, they weren’t more festive than other days. Nor was I as I was so tired of working the days before Christmas. But yeah, my ladies have turned one now! Yay! And here’s how they celebrated:

Whole wHeat rusk with goat's cheese, avocado, dried cranberries, almonds and honey. What a treat!!

Whole wHeat rusk with goat’s cheese, avocado, dried cranberries, almonds and honey. What a treat!!

Look at Koko focusing solely on the food and Ruma noticing the camera. I only managed to snap one pic with the both of them, after that Ruma took off into my sweater 😉

Well, let’s go for another year! ❤

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