pet rats

All posts tagged pet rats

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! πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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!

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜›

 

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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ˜‰

 

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

Ruma, first time in the cube-hammock (she lost her nose πŸ˜› )

 

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 XD

 

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!

 

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..)

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! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! πŸ™‚

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