cuddling

All posts tagged cuddling

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!

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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…

Picture time!

Published December 30, 2012 by Kokomo

Because my phone is overloaded with silly, sweet and mostly blurry pictures of my two little cuddles, I decided I wanted to treat y’all to a little gallery! Here goes nothing, a few of my favorites:

Big nosed curious Koko

Big nosed curious Koko

My dumbo girl <3

My dumbo girl ❤

This is tasty! Can I eat this?

This is tasty! Can I eat this?

Yummy fresh mint. nommerenomnom

Yummy fresh mint. nommerenomnom

Were doing our door-dance, what do you think?

Were doing our door-dance, what do you think?

Wazzup? Y u wake me?

Wazzup? Y u wake me?

Is this new? Not sure I like this....

Is this new? Not sure I like this….

 

Nice view from up here!

Nice view from up here!

Snoozing

Snoozing

Squeezin' about....

Squeezin’ about….

I'm pretending to be a possum, can you see?

I’m pretending to be a possum, can you see?

I MUST eat this!

I MUST eat this!

noms together :)

noms together 🙂

 

 

Allright, eough with the nonsense. More for later! Thnx for viewing!

Rats vs kids

Published November 17, 2012 by Kokomo

Are pet rats just like kids? In some aspects, YES THEY ARE!

1. All candy will be stolen and eaten or hidden away.

2. Any wet surface can and MUST be licked.

3. Things aren’t hot until they burn themselves on it.

4. No glass with a drink in it can be left untouched.

We can ALL share

5. Rubber duckies are the best thing ever, especially for putting in your mouth.

6. They never see danger coming.

7. When they fall, they always double over and it looks like they are breaking their necks. 😦

8. They eat, poop, sleep and get into trouble basically.

9. Flinging poop can be SO MUCH fun.

10. Anything breakable must be tested.

11. If it smells like chocolate, it is chocolate and they will eat it.

Tomato? what tomato? I smell chocolate!

12. If it’s quiet for longer then 5 minutes, you KNOW they are up to something.

13. Plastic makes the best sound in the world.

14. EVERYTHING must be tasted.

15. Whatever part of the house you just cleaned, they find it and mess it up.

16. Smartphones are a whole world of fun.

17. Sitting still for a picture is the hardest thing in the world.

Nice and blurry

18. If they can see through it, they can squeeze themselves stuck in it.

19. If they can’t see on top of it, they must climb on top of it.

20. Medicine and chemicals are candy, right?

21. Bath time is fun time.

22. New toys are the best to destroy.

But, we can’t deny it, we love them like crazy! ❤

A new addition, or not?

Published November 17, 2012 by Kokomo

So as you have read from my last post, I am considering getting a new addition to the family. Preferably two because I feel with three pets in one cage, one of them can become the third wheel and I wouldn’t want that for any animal. The point is to make their lives better, not worse. I have several reasons to consider getting 2 more ladies into the mix.

I got this pic from google, I think these are males, but aren’t they cute?

1. I am away from home more and more lately, as I took on a second job and will also be starting school in a few months, so less playtime for Koko and Ruma.

2. I have a GINORMOUS cage that would easily house up to 8 rats, why not use the space to it’s full extent?

3. There are so many poor ratties stuck in either bad situations or shelters because people didn’t know how to care for them or didn’t want them anymore.

But before I can actually go out and get me some new ladies, there are so many factors to consider, even more than I thought of at first.

1. Space; do I have enough space for 4 rats? (Yes, I do). It’s very important that you keep rats in a BIG cage, they need a lot of space to run around, explore and keep themselves busy. Also they need to be able to avoid each other now and again. The cage needs to be in a place where they can see what is going on, it can’t be in a draft or too hot and never in direct sunlight for the whole day (a few rays now and then are fine, they love to sleep in the warm sun).  I will do a whole topic on proper cage set-up soon!

Also from Google, since my pics are either to dark or too light 😦

2. Cleaning; cleaning a rat cage is QUITE a project. First you have to take the whole thing apart, take out all the loose (and tied up) elements, clean everything separately, clean the top (bars) part ( I usually just put it in the shower), throw away the used litter and clean the bottom thoroughly. Then, once everything is dry, you have to re-assemble the cage and try and mix it up every 2-3 weeks so the rats stay challenged. With two rats I can clean every 7-10 days ( but I take out the litter every 4-5 days), with 4 rats I’d have to clean every 4-7 days. Cleaning the whole cage takes me about 1,5-2 hrs.

yeah, another google image 🙂

3. Food; Rats eat. Rats eat ALOT. You have to make sure you have the time to feed them everyday, feed them properly and that you can buy their food as well. I feed my rats a mix of veggie/fiber blocks, with dry catfood and fresh veggies/fruit on a daily basis. As treats I give them millet, yoghurt treats, or small dog treats. Besides that they often get some fresh wood in the cage to gnaw on. Fresh water everyday and during the summer I give them icecubes and frozen fruits (and sometimes shrimp) to keep them cool.

All different kinds of rat-food

4. Vet money; You need to make sure you have enough money to cover the vet costs in case all of your rats get sick at the same time. In case of an infection, costs won’t be that high since you can give all of them the same antibiotics, but the costs of operations can run quite high! You need to know before you begin what you are willing to spend. My policy is that if they need operations that will cost more than eight times what I paid to get them, I am not willing to invest, Operations often  have such a major impact on rats. When they return, if they return, you have to keep them separate from the others for a while so they can recover and the wound can heal. This also means cleaning their recovery cage every day! I love my rats very much but if it comes to that point, I might choose to let them go easily.

5. Attention (time); rats need playtime everyday if you want to keep them tame. You need to handle them everyday, make sure they know your smell and the sound of your voice. Start doing this the first day you get them and they will become very tame. They also need free ranging time every day, depending on how much cage-space they have this varies from 45 minutes to 2 hours. You have to not only have the space to free range but it has to be rat-proof and you have to stay with them. My ladies run around my single room apt for at least an hour a day and thank heavens do not seem to have that much interest in power-chords (unless it’s my laptop), but they manage to get into trouble every single day, so I have to be there when they run free.

Runnig around freely is da bomb!

6. Toys; rats are very intelligent creatures and they need to be challenged one way or the other. Most rats like wheels for exercise (not my Koko though), they like wooden toys to gnaw on and sometimes you can train them to play fetch. If you really have a lot of time, you can train them to do all sorts of neat tricks, just like dogs. If you don’t have that much time or patience, you need to keep them entertained. Toys can be: gnawing toys or wooden toys for birds, balls, tubes to run around in, ladders and other climbing gear. I’ve tried a ‘hamster-ball’, that worked so well it is being used as their current nest (and has been for several months).

Rats like to play too!

7. Where to get them; Koko and Ruma both come form a pet-store. NEVER AGAIN! Both girls were so poorly when I got them and I had to put them on antibiotics when they were still so small, not even 2 months old. This was very stressful for them and not contributing to making them tame. If you get rats from ebay or something, from people who want to get rid of them, you never know what you’re gonna get. Even though I may feel bad for the little critters, they might be sick and infect my other girls. The best places to get new rats would be either a shelter (where they make sure the rats are very healthy before they are adopted) or a well-known rattery. But this usually also brings quite a few expenses along as well.

Poor thing!

8. Socializing; when you already have rats and you add more to them, you need to take time to socialize them. With Ruma and Koko this was dead-easy as they were very young and Koko was still alone (only for a week), so very happy to get a companion. But now, they have their own hierarchy and if I add new ones, this needs to be settled again. This can often be accompanied by a lot of squeeling, some fighting and in some cases even biting. So you have to be there to monitor the process. First put them in a small cage together so they can’t avoid each other. Once peace seems to be restored, they can be put in the bigger cage which needs to be cleaned first, so no dominant smells will be present. But what if they don’t get along? Then the two sets will have to live separately in different cages. I don’t have the budget or space to get another one of those monster cages, so I’d have to divide this one up into to smaller cages, still more than enough room, but completely past the whole point of why I wanted two new ones in the first place.

Very common behavior to see who is dominant.

So all-in-all a LOT to think about. What do you think, did I forget other things I should consider?

Why everyone should get pet rats!

Published November 10, 2012 by Kokomo

Giving my human kisses!

 

Following up on my post about bad habits, this post will be about how wonderful and funny and smart and sweet my ratties can be and why they make great pets. I could write on and on and on and on and well, on about it forever, but

Sweet Ruma grooming herself.

instead I have decided to give you a top 5. Sorry, couldn’t stick to just 3, I had to make it 5. Enjoy!

5. Grooming 

Studies have shown that rats spend 1/3 of their day grooming themselves. That is twice as much a cats do! To that time you can add the time they spend grooming each other. Depending on the size of your pack, that time can vary. My Ruma also likes to spend time grooming me and on a lucky day, Koko will start fishing around in my hair. Rats are clean. Cleaner than cats, WAY cleaner than dogs. If your rat smells, you need to clean the cage, simple as that. They smell bad, because the cage smells bad.

4. Tail wagging

I am sure most of you have never heard of this behavior, but it exists and it is damn cute! This site has dedicated a well 2 lines to this behavior as it is not well researched and no one knows for sure why they do it. I have caught both my ladies doing it and strangly, they were both sitting in nearly the same spot, facing in the same direction. Ruma does it more often, but I have also spotted Koko doing it. Now it’s nothing to be compared to dogs or cats wagging their tales. It’s a quick, almost nervous movement that makes the tail wag quickly and shortly. It’s just so darn cute.

3. Companionship

Rats are, like cats, very independent, they will decide what they do, when they do it and no human can change that. Like dogs, they can learn quickly and if you reward them, but also very much on their own. But they differ from dogs and cats in that they like to be together. I mean, sure, lot’s of people have 2 or more dogs or cats, but those animals do fine when they are alone in the family.

Sharing my drink together

Keeping a rat alone, not such a good idea. Rats live in packs in the wild and even though the domesticated rat is hardly to be compared to the wild one, they still like to be in a pack. A pack can be two, if, like me, you don’t like cleaning the cage every 3 days and don’t have a fortune to spend on food. It’s so adorable to see them together, grooming, playing, sleeping.

I am going to help you type this, so you don’t make any mistakes.

2. Playfulness

Rats are nocturnal by nature but very adaptable in this rythm. They don’t need as much sleep as hamsters for instance, so they will wake up during the day, according to your rythm and are ready to play whenever you like. I’ve played with my girls during all times of the day. It doesn’t really matter what time I get up, as soon as they hear me scurrying about, they come out of their sleeping mode and greet

I’m up, I’m up!

me warmly. Day and night, they are ready to come out, play, cuddle and explore.

1. Bruxing and Boggling

To some people this may seem scary, because of the eyes bulging out of their sockets (see a video here) but to a true ratlover, there is nothing better. It can be compared to a cat purring and it means the rat is very relaxed, and very happy. It’s not behavior they show everyday, so when I do catch them doing it, it makes me so happy because it means I am taking good care of my ladies.

So there you have it. Now if this hasn’t convinced you to buy rats, perhaps you should see some adorable pictures here.

Like birds of a feather…

Jus’ chillin’

Olemme niin söpö

Napping close to my human.

A trip down memory lane

Published October 22, 2012 by Kokomo

As I was cleaning my house this weekend, sorting through boxes and making more room for all my rat-related-shit to be put away, I found my old micro-sd reader, complete with an sd card from an old phone. Oh joy, I LOOOOOOVE discovering things I thought I had lost. This time, I got to discover pictures of  my second set of rat ladies; Bear and Tiger. I got them in 2007, whilst still living in my dorm, but had to give them away to a friend’s aunt when I moved to the US in July 2008. I never got to see them grow old (nor did I see the 1st pair grow old as my dorm-landlord had banned all pets and I had to find another home for them), but then again, I never had to endure the heartache of seeing them die.

I remember I got Bear first. She was white and very docile. She would sleep between my pillows on my bed or under a blanket with me when I would take my study-naps. All of that changed when I added Tiger to the mix. They were at least 4 months apart. (Yes I had Bear alone for a while, but all the nests I had looked at in the mean time had sick rats). Tiger was not even half the size of Bear (I wish I still had pics of that time), and had a black hood on her head, with a stripe going all the way down her back. Sadly, Tiger was sick when I brought her home (I had looked so good, never heard a sneeze in the pet-store) and so she infected Bear.

Tiger on my shoulder, young me 😉

Back then, I hadn’t done much research on rats. The first pair were given to me by a roommate who had bought them for her boyfriend who didn’t like them. The two had started fighting each other (looking back this must have been a consequence of too little space), and she wanted to get rid of them. I separated them in two cages, gave them lot’s of love and taught them to be nice to each other. All was fine within a few weeks. But then they had to go. About a year later I got Bear. I didn’t have an internet connection in my dormroom, nor easy access and, to be honest, no idea there actually was any research. But the first pair ( called Star -first Cruella and Scabbers) had made me fall in love with the species. Can you believe I actually wanted hamsters first?

Bear, peeking out the cage. She used to ‘center’ a lot.

It took me a while to notice that Bear and Tiger were getting worse. Bear actually developed an abscess, or so it looked. So after two weeks, I took them to the vet. The vet wasn’t very hopeful. He told me rats are very viable to cancers and tumors and Bear’s days (by then probably 6 months old) were counted. He gave me antibiotics for both (the same as I got for Koko and Ruma) and told me to hope for the best. Just 5 days into giving them their cure, Bear’s abscess started disappearing. Soon, she was back to normal eating, and playing with Tiger.

 

The girls cuddled together. Bear in the front. 

Tiger was way more active and feisty than Bear. She was always running around, playing, trying to go places she shouldn’t, stealing things and gnawing through EVERY thing. Always pulling things into the cage too. Weirdly, as she grew into adulthood, her hood turned white, with an odd dark hair here and there.

Eventually, this was left of Tiger’s black hood…

I have to admit, besides this, I don’t remember much of the bunch. It was quite a while ago and I didn’t know half as much as I know now about keeping rats. (Their caging was actually quite proper – the straw was only temporary, I was experimenting). So, just enjoy the (very blurry) pictures below. It makes me reminisce.

 

Lazying about

 

Tiger again.

 

Sleeping in a self-made nest.

 

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