Rat Slideshow (All of our photos)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Well had to have a bit of a revamp of things as we are getting far to large for the space allocated.

If you don't like to design blame a certain rodant he helped. Well he pushed lots of keys on the keyboard and this is what we end up with.

Mummy Rat will tell you about the latest edition, no not my fault this time as I came back empty yesterday, much to the upset of others I could only find mostly girls or boys who looked too old.

More soon

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

He’s out on his own…. Again

As DaddyRat told you, we’ve had some problems in the Rat household (excluding the rodent population who, as DaddyRat said, have been a constant source of support for us all) and so postings on this blog have become a luxury that we couldn’t afford, timewise.

Well, I’m now on holiday and have some time so here I am. I’m sat here quaking, because DaddyRat has sallied forth into the wild blue yonder in search of baby rats. Since our last post we’ve had a few sad times, losing our old man Fitzgerald (who fought death as he fought life, bless him), the poseur Tim (who loved having his photograph taken), lovely Nurse Delko (who was one of the kindest rats in the world), Carter (who wasn’t a people-person!), and Ross (who also wasn’t a people person). We now have 26 little residents but I’m convinced when DaddyRat returns we’ll be knocking on the door of 30 again although he’s been given strict instructions that No More Than Two should be purchased.

As DaddyRat said, the imports from April – Shovel, Splinter, Malone, Gibbs and Horatio – have all settled down and their own personalities have emerged. They’ve been joined by some new boys – Munch (who appears to be known now as Fake Shovel, for reasons which will become clear) and Ross (who appears to be known as Fake Woollie), and subsequently by Hotch and the new Fitzgerald. Shovel has usurped the title of World’s Favourite Rat from Colin (who is now the Grand Old Man of the cage) by sheer dint of personality – go to Rat Towers and There Is Shovel, at any time of the day or night. Shovel NEVER seems to sleep; he’s always on the go and is constantly in search of attention. He loves people and has such a sweet, tolerant nature – he’s quite happy being rolled and having his tummy blown on and being generally mistreated in the nicest possible way, just as long as he’s Getting Attention. As DaddyRat reported, Shovel loves to be inside the clothing of MummyRat – preferably next to skin… this is fine and dandy but Shovel comes equipped with a lethal set of talons on each hand and foot. MummyRat now resembles an extra from a Rambo movie, after suffering the loving attentions of Shovel. Fake Shovel looks very similar to Shovel himself and has ambitions in similar directions, which adds up to disaster for MummyRat’s person but is excellent for the local trade in TCP.

Another rat who has come to the fore as being especially affectionate is Simon – MummyRat remains to be convinced that this is out of sheer love of the human race and has an inkling that it might be due to his constant quest for anything Shiny. There was an unsavoury incident the other evening involving Simon and Gibbs working as a team to steal a crisp packet – Shovel acted as a decoy to get MummyRat’s attention while Simon and Gibbs spirited said crisp packet to the basement of Rat Towers. There was much scuffling and squeaking as MummyRat engaged in an ungainly bout of wrestling to retrieve the packet – the jury is still out as to whose language was the worst on that occasion.

There has been a further unseemly trend developing in Rat Towers too – this involves the molestation of Colin by three other rats, namely Kovac, Data and Fake Shovel. Colin is straight and is inclined to resent the attentions he apparently seems to attract from these rats who appear not to mind that the object of their desire is large and male and doesn’t return their love. Since Colin is the biggest rat in Rat Towers as well as the oldest and Fake Shovel is one of the smallest, it presents quite a spectacle when Fake Shovel has hold of Colin’s love handles, whilst Colin is doing a fine impression of Red Rum crossed with a bucking bronco around the cage, with Fake Shovel determinedly rogering away whilst maintaining a sprint that would put Ben Johnson to shame. As you can imagine, the long summer evenings just FLY by with such entertainment on offer.

Well, we’ll see how many babies DaddyRat comes home with. I’m sure Shovel is capable of keeping order, but I’m not sure I like the lascivious looks on the faces of Kovac, Data and Fake Shovel…

Friday, 7 August 2009

Been a while but we are still here

Hi again folks

I know we have not posted in a while but we have had some problems but the rats have helped us through. No doubt mummy rat will fill you all in on the NEW babies only 2 this time but we have had a few depart from us as well.

Sadly we did lose the favourite Tim he just curled up one day and didn't wake up.

What else is new well we now have a cage full of energy and all the rats seem to want to be on the outside of the cage and not the inside. Led by new number one boy Shovel, His antics are going to become the stuff legends are made of. For some reason he likes wearing mummy rats clothes though she is still wearing them at the time.

As for me I have Wolf or Woolie as he is commonly called, very smart and very muscular rat with a funny personality though very weak bowels. When we went to pick some new ones the cage was opened and he just strolled out and onto my arm so he was coming home with us no matter what.

Anyway more to follow - I will get mummy rat to post over the weekend.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Yes, we did

Get some little boys, that is. A trip was made to Pets at Home in Lincoln and the three little dumbo lads that were there were inspected, cuddled and brought home. One is a white and beige boy and is the new Tony (but BIGGER and with RATTITUDE), another is a little brown boy like the new Woollie and is the new Ross, and the final one (yes, I know we only went for two but you can’t leave one left in his cage all on his own in a shop can you?? It just isn’t cricket to do that) is a really dark grey boy who looks very similar to Shovel and is called Munch – or more often than not, Fake Shovel.

They’re still in the nursery cage so that they get friendly and to appreciate human company but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with this batch since they’re extremely people-friendly little boys. They also seem to like other rats too and are doing their level best to get out of the nursery and into Rat Towers to be with the Big Boys. The Big Boys themselves regularly visit the babies – some even deign to enter the nursery cage to have a look round to see if there’s anything there they want, like a particularly appealing receipt or maybe even a pizza menu – so all will be well when the babies make the transition to Rat Towers.

Speaking of receipts and menus, it is the wont in our household to put any junk mail or unwanted bits of paper into Rat Towers, posting it through the bars so that it can be spirited off into the back and checked for codes and any other information that may be of use to the collective. The other day there was a pub menu posted in, along with a pizza home delivery menu – the latter was grabbed and duly consulted. Simon did his best to get access to my mobile phone so that they could order a deep pan 12 inch four cheese pizza with extra cheese and then even more cheese but sadly the plan backfired when he realised that the credit card he’s stolen a few weeks ago no longer held good. He tried haggling, offering the pizza company Fitzgerald and Shovel in exchange for the delivery but sadly that didn’t work either. They had to settle for rat nuggets, as usual.,,

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Do we, don’t we? Will we, won’t we?

The jury is still out on this vital and life-changing decision; life-changing for a pair of little rodents, that is. Since we lost Tony and Ross – he was one of our Friends batch of boys and was brother to the resident Raffles, Simon – we have a pair of vacancies for some new boys. It just so happened that on my way home from work today I called at Pets at Home to get our monthly three sacks of Rat Nuggets, and of course had a look at the rats they have in the shop there… sadly, two girls. When I brought this news home to DaddyRat he showed considerably less enthusiasm than the boys of Rat Towers – Simon had pinched my car keys and four of them had just reversed the car out of the garage and were piggy-backing me out into the driving seat before the sentence was fully out of my mouth – clearly THEY thought the installation of a pair of ladies in with them was a Very Good Idea. Clearly as a mother No Girl is Ever Going to be Good Enough for my boys, not even the two little black and white beauties they had in the shop, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint them on this occasion.

I’m sat on my little computer with Shovel giving me a hand – he said he’d like to browse Rat Porn when I’ve finished writing my post – admiring the criss-crossing of scratches currently adorning my chest, all complements of a very determined and enthusiastic climber – climber into ladies’ clothes, that is – who goes by the name of Shovel. On Monday he was out for his cuddles, fun and frolics and was showing what I considered to be far too close an interest in my cleavage; for some reason it became completely imperative to Shovel’s well-being that he gain access to the insides of my undergarments. I have no explanation of this; neither, apparently, does Shovel, although I believe he’s been coached rather too enthusiastically by DaddyRat. I believe they may be in cahoots on this matter, although I have no proof. Despite much wrestling and considerable jockeying for position Shovel managed to get himself inside my underwear – it’s amazing, give how tight said underwear is, how much squirming one small rodent can accomplish despite his eyes popping due to the nature of the industrial-strength elastic I sport on a daily basis…

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Little Tony

Poor little boy - he tried to live, but finally his tiny body couldn't carry on and he lost his battle yesterday at 10:20pm, dying in MummyRat's hands. Another sad funeral and heartbreak for loving "parents". The one good thing was that it was very peaceful - he curled up and went to sleep, and that was it. We only had his company for three weeks, but it was enough to ensure the tears.

His brothers are lively and healthy, however, as are New Woolie and New Grissom - the day before Tony died he was playing with his brother Splinter, with his nursery-cage-mates Shovel, Gibbs, Horatio and Malone, New Woolie and Grissom, and big boys Simon, Taylor and Joey and generally running riot and causing chaos and leaving mayhem in his wake.

This is the memory we'll hold of him - playing happily and enjoying his tiny life.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Nightmare on Roman Street (well, the A46, anyway)

Last week was a loving MummyRat’s week from hell; first of all there was a bug going around Rat Towers that appeared to affect most of the older rats in residence, and second there were sadly two fatalities as a result – first of all my lovely Nurse Grissom, and then the big, strong Woolie who went from being nearly 600g in weight to 350g in less than a week. Grissom left us on Friday 17th April, after Mummy and DaddyRat had taken a coach-full of students to the Gadget Show in Birmingham. Upon returning home, there was the sad little body of the loveliest rat in the world waiting to have his little funeral, with Woolie dying in MummyRat’s arms the day after. Two little bodies, two funerals. So sad. The good news is that the other boys appear to be recovered from the bugs they were host to; Delko spent Sunday curled up being a Poor Sick Rat on MummyRat’s knee, but perked up after a bit of spoiling.

The new batch of six boys are still in their little cage awaiting their transference into Rat Towers; all appear to be really friendly and extremely intelligent people, with Shovel (Spade is his Sunday name) consistently outsmarting both devoted parents with ease. Little Tony (beautiful white rat with pink eyes) isn’t doing too well, sadly – he’s still tiny and isn’t putting on any weight – but he seems happy enough. If he doesn’t improve within the week, he’s going for a Trip To See The Vet. He’ll love that.

Well…. It had to happen. After the loss of Grissom and Woolie we had two vacancies in Rat Towers to fill. A trip to Pets at Home was made yesterday… and two more boys were selected to join the throng. First of all a little brown and white boy was appointed to replace Grissom (a very hard job of work to do) but in this case he’s a dumbo and Nurse Grissom wasn’t. Second, a comparatively big boy was interviewed – he’s a big round brown dumbo and is the new Woolie. He spent an hour this morning on MummyRat’s knee, and managed to charm the entire household by being loving, friendly and extremely TIRED requiring a nap at frequent intervals. He is probably one of the sweetest natured little rodents to employ Mummy and DaddyRat as owners.

On consideration, probably the reason that Woolie was so Tired was due to the journey home from Lincoln to Grantham – thirty hectic miles in which Woolie managed to eat his way out of the box in which he was inserted with considerable lack of dignity in the Lincoln store, and after incorporation into Grissom’s box was a good way through snicking his way out of that too. MummyRat had to blow into his nostrils in order to get him to behave in an orderly fashion – that gave him cause to think for a nano-second before normal service was resumed and chewing recommenced. By the end of the journey both new boys were sitting on a piece of box the size of a postage stamp surrounded by chewed pap and MummyRat was blue through lack of oxygen.

Interestingly, when we were introducing the new boys to some of the older boys, New Woolie and Simon went shuffling off into a corner and were whispering together, clearly hatching some devious plot. Five minutes later, Simon – who is the Rat Towers Raffles in that anything that is shiny is INSTANTLY desirable to Simon and therefore must become his property (there was an unsavoury occurrence where Simon and DaddyRat had a tug of war over an empty crisp packet that Simon was determined to own and DaddyRat was equally determined that he himself would keep) and the cunning Simon had clearly made a snap assessment in that New Woolie would be a worthy ally in his quest to denude MummyRat of all her jewellery; New Woolie is the Ideal Straight-Man to Simon’s Stand-Up. Ten minutes later, MummyRat noticed that she’d lost two bracelets, three earrings, one ring and a necklace and Simon was peering through his magnifying glass at the hallmarks on his plunder.

MummyRat has the feeling that she’s going to be shopping at Accessorize rather than Goldsmiths in future…

Friday, 10 April 2009

Toothpick, anyone?

I'd forgotten how lively baby rats are..... Not that I should since I appear to be nanny to a new clutch of chicks every three months or so, but each time we get new boys they seem smaller and livelier than the last lot. DaddyRat and myself will marvel at how tiny and how perfect the babies are, and each time we say "these must be the smallest yet!" whilst being aware that this can't realistically be the case because if it were we'd be nurturing baby rats the size of microbes by now.

The new six are EXTREMELY lively - I've just been refereeing a bout of fisticuffs between Splinter and Gibbs II, then between Splinter and Shovel (Spade - poor little boy was destined never to be known by his given name) and then between Splinter and Horatio III. Spot the common denominator? Splinter is a bundle of laughs without a shy bone in his body. We should have realised what he was like when he arrived and unpacked his "Rocky" dressing gown.

Speaking of Not Shy... there was an unsavoury incident two nights ago involving Simon and DaddyRat. DaddyRat had been eating some really potent-smelling Pringles with some disgustingly red dip and had stunk out the living room with it - and remember that the living room plays house to three cages of rats so MummyRat's tolerance of smells in the living room is pretty high - to the extent that the rat population were sending texts and emails asking for goodness' sake PLEASE open a window Before We All Die From the Noxious Odours. Simon started doing his usual trick of running his metal cup along the bars of his cell to alert the warders' attention to the fact that he was Ready To Come Out NOW. DaddyRat rushed to open the door for Sir Simon, allowing him to effect his egress. All fine, one would think. However, when DaddyRat and Sir Simon sat down there was a determined progress on the part of Sir Simon towards DaddyRat's mouth, followed by insistent and exceptionally strong little pink fingers prising open said mouth. Next thing was Sir Simon vanishing up to his shoulders into DaddyRat's mouth, picking out the bits of dead Pringle from between DaddyRat's teeth - as MummyRat said at the time, she didn't know what was the most disgusting - Sir Simon for wanting to actually DO that or for DaddyRat to LET him. Whichever, the net result was one MummyRat lying on the floor in the shape of a disgusted swastika pleading for them to Stop That NOW and Sir Simon having a free second-hand meal. Rat Towers' inhabitants didn't seem to see a problem.... They suggested that the next time DaddyRat feels the need for a scale and polish then he should Let One Of Them Do It because it would be Cheaper. Especially if he'd been eating something particularly savoury, since rats love a savoury snack... they don't seem to mind if it is a pre-chewed snack....

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Malone and his posse

Prior to his death he made some new babies feel welcome and tried to keep some form of order.

New babies video

Well 2 out of 6 anyway as I think Mummy Rat would have a nervous breakdown if all 6 came out at once. And now we don't have Malone to baby sit we are having to interview for a replacement.

Pulp Fiction...

Yes, DaddyRat is full of the stories about how I (and I stress here,"I") am apparently pining away for wants of a good clutch of new little chicks to look after....

I admit that I was extremely upset about the passing of two of our boys last week - first of all Horatio who looked to have died during the night of April 1st (either that or it was a REALLY poor April Fools joke) so we had to have a little funeral for him after he'd laid in state for the day while we were at work, then for my poor old man Malone, who was dead when I went to look in Rat Towers after the Horatio funeral. Both boys looked to have had really peaceful deaths because they were both curled up as if asleep, and it was hard to realise that they were actually dead. This makes Fitzgerald the official "Grand Old Man" now, after the loss of his twin Taylor and now Malone. Mind you, I don't think anybody has actually took the trouble to explain to Fitz that he is now Old and should behave in a Respectable Manner. Last seen he was shinning up the bars of Rat Towers ready to knock seven bells out of somebody who had offered him the Loan of a Walking Stick, or to apply some Ralgex in places where he has rheumatism. Hm. He could get old age a bad name if he carries on behaving like the cage Don Corleone.

So yes, ok - new rats were in order since we'd got down to 20 in Rat Towers (and LB still Doing Time in Solitary and Considering the Error of His Ways) which isn't enough when you've a rodent addiction to feed. We went yesterday to the local Pets at Home to get some more rat nuggets and carpet sweepings for the bottom of the cage (I don't think they're REAL carpet sweepings but that's what they're called in our household) and I just happened to see a lady who works there and the question "do you have any dumbo baby boys?" was out of my mouth before I had time to think what I was doing. She (very reluctantly to give her credit) fetched the ones that were In The Back because they were New for us to have a look at. Big mistake - two little black and white dumbos with one being the runt of the litter - I always love the runt of the litter - one little black boy (just like old Taylor!) and a lovely creamy siamese boy looked back at me. Big BIG mistake. They were ordered for collection by us at 9am tomorrow (i.e. today) when the shop opened and the boys had served their time in quarantine.... and I made the horrendous mistake of allowing DaddyRat to go to the shop On His Own because I had to wait for the gas man to come and service the boiler. A rather shame-faced DaddyRat appeared half an hour later with a box large enough to house an obese Rottweiller being hauled in from the car. I suppose I was lucky that he'd only brought back SIX new boys - had they had two HUNDRED and six in the shop he'd probably have had to have hired a pantechnican to bring the load back.

So now the nursery cage is all set up and there are six little noses peering out between the bars at me... the big boys have all been to have a look but appear as yet to be unimpressed by their new comrades-to-be.

Word on the street is that Fitz has got a contract out on DaddyRat....

Daddy Rat in trouble

Well................... Mummy Rat has been a bit down recently with the sad passing of several of her little bundles of joy. So it was decided that we needed to get some new babies, simple solution yes, no, it was decide that yesterday we needed supplies from the pet shop so we went and spoke to one of the assistants asking about little fur balls and she said we do have some but you can't have them until tomorrow.

After much begging from Mummy Rat (and that is a sight to see) the lady assistant brought out 4 little budles of fur which were immediately sold to Mummy Rat.

So today comes and I find that I am going on my own to pick up the 4 little fur balls, Upon being let into the shop having arrived 20 minutes early I found that not only did they have the 4 I went to pick up but 2 others that just begged to be given a home at Rat Towers.

What could I do? what should I do? If I had left them I would have been in trouble but bringing them was also a problem as we now have 26.

Photographs and video will follow later this week, but you tell me I did wrong when you see how cute they are.

More soon

Daddy Rat

Sunday, 22 March 2009

MORE Hospital Visiting....

This time he's REALLY not well, not just Pretend Not Well.

Poor old Nurse Grissom is in hospital himself, all alone and in glorious isolation. There was an unsavoury incident involving a Clearance Event in Grissom's Basement Department and Other People's Fur.... said Other People were distinctly Unhappy About Being Newly BROWN, thank you very much. Simon organised a petition and the result of it was Grissom and his smelly belly was banished to the Hospital Cage, with Malone being reinstated amongst the ranks of the healthy in Rat Towers. This was the first time he properly met the four new boys - Malone was always good with babies, and this batch proved to be no different. He greated them with wiffly nose and good humoured tolerance - he allowed one of them to ride him across the cage... even with his bad legs, bless him. It was like seeing an old donkey with a well-fed adolescent human male sat astride his back - but the spirit was willing, even if the flesh was weak. Baby was given his piggy-back and deposited gently at the other end of the cage, with Malone rubbing embrocation ointment on his sore hip and baby yelling "Again, again!!!". Bless him, good old Malone.

So back to poor old Grissom and his shares in Andrex.... Friday night (his first night in Intensive Care) saw him lying very sorry for himself In The Ball, Too Ill to Come Out. Boy did he manage to generate a strong and PUNGENT odour... Saturday was much the same, unless he heard the russle of the Treat Bag, in which case he managed to limp as far as the bars to claim his share of any treat to be issued. MummyRat got him out to love him better, and ended up having to put all her clothing into the washing machine along with every cleaning product she could get her hands on (including Harpic, just to be on the safe side) and herself into a very long and hot shower. Sunday saw MummyRat, peg firmly in position on the end of her nose, cleaning out Grissom's cage while Grissom himself sat on DaddyRat's knee, firmly on a Morrison's carrier bag and 18 rolls of kitchen towel.

Sunday evening - the time is currently just after 8pm - the Patient appears to be feeling much better and is eating his way through a kitchen towel MummyRat placed in Hospital with him just in case he felt the urge to .. wipe .. Let it also be stated, for the record, that there is also a plentiful supply of food in the cage - however, the kitchen towel is clearly more palatable.

If only there were rat-sized Pampers....

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Prison Visiting...

Nigh on three weeks have passed since my last posting – three weeks which included a day of wearing black (and not in a GOOD way) to “celebrate” the dreaded day when MummyRat turned 50 years of age. One good thing – none of the rats appear to mind that they are now being tended by a person of considerably advanced years, and who can now officially wear a purple skirt twinned with an orange blouse and a red knitted hat and nobody will think any the less of her since such colour schemes are clearly expected.

These three weeks have seen the introduction of Data, Worf, Flack and Hawkes into Rat Towers, the re-introduction of Colin back into the fold (still with a sore hand but bored out of what few wits he had in the hospital cage) and the imprisonment of LB into a cage on his own. Malone spent two nights in Rat Towers before MummyRat decided that he was Looking Frail and needed to be spoiled and made much of in the hospital cage, so he’s now being nursed and given lots of lovely tit-bits by his ever-loving Mummy. He really doesn’t seem to mind being alone so nobody is suffering from his being on his own in hospital – for approximately six nano-seconds I considered putting Nurse Grissom into hospital with Malone as a Carer but Grissom (who is very well-attuned to his adopted female parent’s thoughts) took to the hills and is still in hiding somewhere, holed up and being smuggled supplies by the four babies. The only time he deigns to appear in public is when I’m giving out treats, and when he wants a cuddle – Grissom is an extremely cuddly rat, and appears to trust me now not to put him into hospital. Malone is happy, so I’m leaving the status quo alone.

The Imprisoned One, however – now this is a different story altogether. I was labouring under the mis-illusion that once I managed to get LB on his own I’d be able to spoil him into becoming a friendly, sunny-personalitied rodent. I held this opinion for at least four days – four days that saw me daily putting my hand into the cage and stroking LB carefully and gently.. three of these days this worked very well and I was convinced that LB could be saved for the population of Rat Towers. However, day four was a totally different story; hand went into cage, as usual – LB allowed approximately three strokes before turning on me and giving me several really nasty bites. I should have known what to expect when I saw a bottle of nice Chianti opened and breathing in the cage and the book “Hannibal’s top 100 recipes” open to page 4 – “Human Finger Food”. That was the last time I stroked LB, and the last time I ever really want to have contact with him since there was absolutely no reason for such vicious behaviour – when he’s cleaned out he’s placed in his cage into the big “cleaning out” cage, with the roof taken off and allowed to effect his own egress – cage is then removed, cleaned and replaced and LB goes back in in his own time. Feeding him is now a matter of never letting the hand come between teeth and Thomas the Tank Engine cup containing the food. Maybe it’s Thomas that he has an aversion to – I’ll never know since I’m not a rat psychiatrist and LB himself doesn’t appear to want to share.

However, during the three days when LB was actually being nice (such lovely days) there was in Interesting Incident where LB won some definite brownie points. I got up (early, as always) and went to look at my boys – spotted that LB’s cage (on the bottom of the stack of two with Malone in the Hospital cage on top) had its front door wide open and no LB present. Furniture removal, frantic search and much sweating and swearing ensued. I moved the settee twice – no mean feat since it’s a large leather four-seater job – but no LB behind it… however, the movement of said settee maybe disturbed him from his hiding place because I spotted him strutting determinedly across the room towards his cage, tail stiff and nose a-quiver. He entered the cage, practically closed the door behind himself and sat and ate some food since he was Starving After Having His Adventure.

LB’s cell is now held close with a nappy pin…..

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Hospital visiting

It's a good job I don't have to take a bunch of grapes each time I hospital visit these days...

Since my last posting where I told you about the death of two of our little boys I've been scrutinising the surviving rodent population like a woman possessed, convinced that each of my lads, one after the other, is going to leave me. Last week after the demise of Gibbs I decided that Malone Wasn't Well so I took him out of Rat Towers and installed him in the hospital cage along with an indignant Tim. Tim lasted in hospital for about 10 minutes before I realised that it wasn't a good idea to put a 500g rat in good health in a small cage with a 350g rat who appeared to be ailing despite the good natures of both parties concerned. Exit Tim, enter Nurse Grissom. I'm not sure whether Grissom said something to offend Malone, but even THAT combination wasn't working because a mere five minutes had passed before Grissom was sat, arms folded, Outside The Bedroom Ball in hospital stating in no uncertain terms that This Situation Was Untenable since he had Nowhere To Sleep due to Malone Taking Up All Of The Ball. Exit Grissom - he left his nurse's uniform behind and entered Rat Towers in time to stalk off to Find Somewhere To Sleep since he was Exhausted after spending All That Time Out In The Cold.

For five days Malone was on his own in hospital, being cuddled, fed titbits and generally being made much of and receiving twice daily doses of antibiotics fed to him by his loving mummy on a piece of digestive biscuit. Said mummy was still obsessively monitoring her little boys for signs of ill health, expecting to find cold little bodies every time she looked into Rat Towers - luckily this vigilance paid off because I spotted that the World's Favourite Rat (Colin) appeared to be nursing a poorly left hand, and was sporting a red nose. Fingers were immediately pointed at LB since he's usually the guilty party when it comes to Biting Other People and Colin was tenderly removed from Rat Towers by a worried Mummy Rat. His arm appeared to be swollen and a touch warm, so Malone's feelings had to be put to one side and Colin was placed in hospital as his ward-mate. More antibiotics and digestive biscuits. Colin is a very laid-back boy even when the owner of a poorly hand, so it wasn't too much of a challenge to get the two patients happily installed together. However, the hospital cage isn't very big and Colin is a very big boy - around 650g would be my best guess - so he does tend to more wear the cage than live in it.

After maintaining a round-the-clock vigil on my poor, sick rodents I've decided, in consultation with Daddy Rat, that we'll put the fully-medicated Malone back into Rat Towers tomorrow AFTER we've cut his nails - these appear to resemble the talons of an old crone rather than the little pink fingernails of a rat. I'm very squeamish when it comes to nails - human, rat, feet, toe; I hate them all - so I'll do the holding of Malone while Daddy Rat does the cutting. Colin can then have the hospital ward to himself and won't have to Sleep Outside as he is doing now since Malone has taken up permanent residence in the ball. We've also decided that the four little babies - Worf, Data, Hawkes and Flack - are big enough now not to escape from Rat Towers so they're being introduced to the collective tomorrow too. That'll be fun for everybody since they're like greased lightening and appear to be forty rats rather than four.

Another thought that is being considered is the removal of LB from Rat Towers.... I hate the thought of isolating him but he really is incredibly nasty - Daddy Rat has bites on his hands and arms from where LB went for him as he was trying to find Simon, who had gone missing. LB has caused Delko, Tim, Malone and now Colin to have injuries (in Tim's case the injury turned into an abscess and cost him a month of pain) so I think the time has come to act.

I'll keep you informed. The ironic thing is that there isn't a nicer rat than LB when he is out of the cage - it's GETTING him out that causes the problems. Full body armour with additional gauntlets aren't sufficient protection when LB decides that he's in a Bad Mood. I'm not looking forward to explaining to him why he's now going to be residing in the Nursery Cage On His Own....

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The new and the old

Daddy Rat reported yesterday that we have four new boys - really tiny, really fast and all feet and ears - but didn't explain why we have them. Sadly on Tuesday I noticed that my little boy Munch - one of the new pair we got to replace Old Taylor - was very listless: very unusual for a baby rat, as rat lovers will testify. I made up the hospital cage and installed Nurse Grissom with baby Munch and took up vigil on the settee next to them. Baby Munch appeared to be looking at me, so I took him from the cage - Grissom was failing in his duty and was snoring loudly from the other side of the hospital - and he spent the afternoon wrapped up in my hands and lying on my tummy. He didn't sleep - just sat quietly. After around 3 hours I put him back into the cage because I couldn't get him to drink - normally a rat will lick water from my fingertip - and I was worrying about him becoming dehydrated. He had a tiny drink and then curled up with Nurse Grissom, so I left him there in the cage and stayed up with him. I fell asleep on the settee - when I woke up at 5am, he'd left us. I put Grissom back in Rat Towers and left Munch's body curled up in the cage. We had a little funeral for him, and I put some winter flowering jasmine on his grave.

That was sad enough, but THIS morning we got up and one of our little ginger and white boys Gibbs appeared to be ailing. I got him out of the cage and had him curled up on my tummy when he died at 10:30am. Another funeral, another grave, more winter flowering jasmine. The good thing about Gibbs' death is that he didn't appear to be ill right up to an hour before he appeared to ail. What's REALLY worrying me (and I'm a horrible Mummy Rat for saying this) is that he's twin to Grissom - Nurse Grissom - who is probably the loveliest rat on the planet and who will leave at least as big a hole as Taylor.

While I was shopping in Lincoln today (in Pets At Home, obviously) I found three lovely little dumbo boys - dark brown, like wild rats - and I had the strength of mind to leave them in the shop. Probably the hardest thing I've done! In view of the fact that we have four little babies in the hospital cage (cleaned!) because they're that small we're worried they'll escape from Rat Towers until they've grown a bit, I felt that it was probably going to be too much for the current Rodent Contingent to absorb SEVEN trouble-makers into the collective.... they're eyeing the hospital cage already and issuing threats about what they'll do to us if we put Those Trouble-Makers In With Them.....

I can feel a prescription for rat Valium coming on.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

FOUR more

And they are really small - just got them, they are dumbo rats and only left their mother this morning. Talk about small and talk about fast. But like all young children they are just trying to get into as much trouble as possible.

They are currently in one of our smaller cages due to their size - not for the fact the others would attack them as this would not happen but the fact we don't want them finding out that they can get through the bars by the food bowls as this would create a flapping woman known as Mummy Rat.

I will take their pictures and post here by the weekend

Daddy Rat

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Yoo-ooo Heeeeeeave Hoooooo!

Well, it happened like this.

I came into the living room and approached Rat Towers to say good morning to my boys - I was as usual beautifully gowned in a long tee-shirt nightie (red and white striped) and an antique chenille jumper (purple, black, red and cream striped - yes, it is as lovely as it sounds) with my hair styled by a night's sleep which included some enthusiastic tossing and turning. I looked as alluring as I always look first thing in the morning - my son slept through the night from a very early age, having realised that generating any noise likely to waken the beast from its slumber would result in ME arriving at his bedside, bearing a striking resemblence to a sleep-deprived Klingon with ingrowing toenails and abscessed teeth... enough said..... my son slept through the night from being about 10 minutes old.

But I digress. Going back to the original tale, remember that I'd arrived to greet my boys and to wish them good morning, whilst being dressed in immaculate style... (by the way, I refuse to pay for counselling for anybody who has recurring mental images of my morning attire). I approached Rat Towers, opened the door (very large - I actually climbed into the cage before the floor was installed and my ass is (to put it mildly) WIDE) and put in my arm to stroke my New Favourite Rat Colin who was a member of the rat pile in the top hammock. Colin greeted my affection with the normal squeezing shut of his eyes in an attempt to pretend that I wasn't really there, but I persisted. I harbour the hope that one day - one Wonderful Day - Colin my actually decide that he welcomes my attentions. Such a day wasn't to be this one, however. The stroking moved from Colin to the other boys - about six of them in a two-rat hammock - when I began to realise that it was getting a tad chilly in the basement area. Looking down I could see that the remaining rats - fifteen of them - were working as a team and dragging my nightie into the cage. Simon was at the front, acting as Fore-Rat and directing proceedings, enthusiasticaly scooping up fresh acres of my beautiful robes. By the time I'd managed to extract rats from clothing, my wobbly nether-regions were exposed to chilly morning air and several extra holes had been chewed in my precious garment.

Team work? Working with others? Rats have that taped; my ass can testify to that.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Two new boys!

We did remarkably well, given our track records. We managed to last for over a week before going out and getting a new baby or two to replace the boy we lost on January 17th - this must be some sort of record. Today we've invited two new little dumbo boys to join our rat family - a lovely little grey hooded who is our new Taylor, and a black hooded called Munch. They're installed in Rat Towers, having met the rest of the crew - they're extremely busy investigating their new environment, and teaching us new tricks. Well, new to them, that is. To us they're old tricks - a flutter of a rodent eyelash or a whimsical rodent smile and we're there to do the bidding of the boys. To the new boys, it's a great new game - see how fast those humans can cross a room if we let out a really loud squeak!!! Yay!

It's exactly a year today since we had our old Taylor, Fitzgerald and Malone (those of you who watch Without a Trace will recognise the names!) so it seemed fitting to name the new boy after my lovely grand old man. The other new boy, Munch, is named after my old darling Munch (known to all as Mummy's Munch - he was the first rat I really adored, who used to rattle the cage door and chew at the bars whenever he saw me come into a room so that he could come out for a cuddle and would spend every evening curled up on my knee) who died a year ago yesterday (Burns Night). So it's all very fitting!

I wish my new babies luck - they're currently being sniffed and shown around their new environment and have better things to do than to talk to us. Tomorrow we're having lots of new shelving and hammocks and toys being delivered so I think they're getting their chewing tackle revved up in preparation....

Another night spend tending the rodents is coming on, I can feel it ....

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Rat wicket-keeping

So, today is Saturday - exactly a week since we lost our Taylor. I awoke this morning (late - hey, it's a Saturday!) and ran to do an audit of Rat Towers to ensure that we still had a full complement of breathing rodents. Luckily all seemed to be present and correct, although it was difficult to do a full head-count since most of the 19 inhabitants seemed to be piled up in just the one of their several hammocks. Colin (recently-appointed Favourite Rat) appeared to be at the bottom of the pile - slight eye bulge and, I'm sure, acute pins and needles in his hand which was sticking out of the cage in what appeared to be a small rodent plea for salvation but seemed to be otherwise in fine fettle. There was a mass snoring session in full throttle and some determined clenching of eyelids as rats refused to wake up to be made much of. All except for the one rat. Simon.

The title of this missive "Rat wicket-keeping" may appear to be a tad mysterious, but all will become clear as I go on to explain Simon's latest little party-trick. Daddy Rat isn't the favourite human of the occupants of Rat Towers - I hold that position since I'm the one that does the feeding and the cuddling and am generally the hand-maiden to the masses - but he has struck up a relationship with young Simon. Simon is our one and only dumbo rat, and called "Simon" after my son because of the big feet and big ears belonging to the human holder of the name (it's a long story... involves lots of gouging and scratching and name-calling) and is probably the most affectionate person in Rat Towers. He's also a great wag - a natural entertainer (the rat Simon, not the human Simon or Daddy Rat) who will do much to draw attention to himself, including climbing up the clothing of anybody who comes in range and subsequently entering said clothing via sleeves, neck-lines or in the absence of both of these by chewing a Simon-sized hole to effect his entry. His latest trick when anybody opens the cage door is to go to the back of Rat Towers and then to burst into a sprint towards said door and to launch himself at terrific speed at whoever happens to be standing there. He doesn't appear to be concerned with risk-assessing his landing before engaging in the jump - he has great faith in his ability to defeat gravity - and so far hasn't actually been proved wrong. This isn't in fact due to Isaac Newton's theory being incorrect all along, but owes more to the fact that myself and Daddy Rat have developed an inspiring array of atheletic and graceful diving techniques to ensure Simon doesn't plummet earth-wards.

Hence the new skill I've included on my CV: Rat wicket-keeping.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Mummy Rat's vacancy

After the loss of my lovely boy Taylor on Saturday, I decided that Sunday would be best spent auditioning for the position of "Mummy Rat's Favourite", enabling an appointment to the job to be made as quickly as possible. It isn't that you have a Favourite Rat per se; you love them all (except LB, who has teeth and isn't afraid to use them) but I need to have one particular one to whom I pledge my allegiance. The essential characteristics on the job specification includes "lazy, loves being cuddled, is potty-trained and likes Mummy". Desirable characteristic include "having fur (the Great Mite Outbreak of 2008), not having a bad attitude to being cuddled and a lack of shyness".

Initially I had two applicants - little Simon (our one and only dumbo rat, and about 4 months old) and Big Colin. Big Colin is as laid back as they come - the only time he wakes up is to eat, drink and poo. Simon is extremely friendly - loves the entire human race, whereas Colin will be cuddled as long as it doesn't involve any exercise on his part. He sat on my knee for 45 minutes being generally cuddled and made much of, chumbling away to himself and retaining control of his bladder. Simon on the other hand is a rodent dynamo and was a blur while he was being cuddled - when I say cuddled I mean being stroked in passing when I managed to coordinate hand and rodent to be in a similar vicinity. He'll make a good Favourite Rat, but not yet...

So eventually Colin was offered the job of Favourite Rat - I had to offer it several times before he woke up sufficiently to accept the role. I don't think he's fully embraced his new duties, however, since when I returned home from work this evening Colin was asleep in a hammock. He deigned to accept a rat treat from me and allowed me to stroke him, but that was it. I see that I shall have to offer training....

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Goodbye, grand old man

Today we said goodbye to Taylor, the grand old man of Rat Towers. He was one of my best friends - he never minded when I was tired or tatty or generally disgruntled and was always happy to come out to see me and chumble with me. He had the ability to boggle his eyes more enthusiastically than any other rat I've ever seen, and I shall miss him more than I can put into words.

Some may say, "but he was just a rat!" but those of us who are lucky enough to share our lives with these lovely little creatures will know otherwise, and will know what the family is feeling right about now.

Bless you, Taylor, and thank you for sharing your life with me, and also sharing your death with me.

Mummy Rat xxxxx

From Daddy Rat - Taylor will be missed by everyone he was just one of those that loved everyone. Here is a picture I took of him a day before he left us.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

More on medicating a rat

I see that Daddy Rat has made a post about medicating a rat... yes - he's Watched Me Do It LOADS of times!!!! When we first started keeping rats and Grissom (my first baby boy) had something wrong with him - I can't remember what it was, since it's quite a few rats ago - we asked the vet the best way to give medication to a reluctant rodent. He went to a lot of trouble showing us - calling in his four nurses, two assistant vets and a partridge in a pear tree - to demonstrate how one person could hold the rat (while the other three assisted in holding said rat), two more could hold the rat's mouth open and the final one could use the pipette to drop the medicine into the enraged rodent's mouth. So we went home and tried it. We used up half the phial of medication, ruined two sets of human clothing and had an indignant (and non-medicated) rat. Conclusion: in the absence of a full medical team (and a partridge) and after seeking medical attention myself to have two of my fingers sewn back on, there had to be an easier way.

First of all, calling into play my forty years of cat ownership experience (or is that ownership by cat experience?) I decided I'd mix the medicine with some fish paste. Rats don't, it seems, like fish paste. Unless the fish paste is unmedicated, of course - in which case, rats LOVE fish paste. So we moved on to something else: let's put it on a rat sweetie. After months of frantic pleadings for rat sweeties to be issued at five minute intervals, all of a sudden Rats Don't Like Rat Sweeties. After I'd come out of my month-long stay at the asylum and the electric shock treatments had taken effect, I hit upon another idea: how about using something that rats LOVE but that rats don't get?? HA!!! Thus the idea of putting the medication onto a piece of digestive biscuit was born.... rats will walk over hot coals for a square of digestive biscuit, so they're not going to reject such a treat just because it tastes absolutely foul... especially if they think the OTHER rat is after it...! That was my life's ultimate Eureka moment. I've refined my technique now - you put the medication on the broken edge of the digestive biscuit (because it absorbs better there than on a 'cooked' surface) and you make sure that the rat needing the medication is the last to get his bit of biscuit. That way by the time he manages to wrestle it out of your reluctant fingers he feels he's earned it and will not under ANY circumstances leave any! As Daddy Rat said, some of the faces they pull while they're chewing can be comical, and sometimes I think they may doubt their own cravings once ownership of digestive has occurred, but hey! Rat + (Medication + Biscuit) = Medicated Rat (Happy Mummy Rat).

All this said, I couldn't consider life without being owned by a rat!!!

Here'ssssssssss Simon

Named after son with big ears and huge feet. Sorry about the way the video was shot but had a few tiny helpers who have never used this type of video equipment before. And Simon could not decide which is his best side.

It should also be stated that no humans were harmed during the making of this video.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Medicating a Rat

The best way we have found is to give them any liquid based medication on a biscuit (anything they really like) making sure that you give all Rats similar things then the card is played where no matter how bad it tastes the Rat will never leave it until they have consumed all the medication. In a weird way it can be very funny looking at the child like faces all screwed up with disgust.

More videos and pictures to come this weekend

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Return of the Mummy Rat...

When I said at the end of my last post, "more soon...." I really thought it might be a litle sooner than this! I had a nice little early Christmas present arrive on Christmas Eve - a lovely dose of German measles; excellent - impending senility together with a childhood ailment. Only to Mummy Rat could this happen.

Still, I've spent the majority of my week-and-a-bit holiday laid out in glorious state on the sofa with Tim and Grissom (two of my little boys) in their 'hospital' cage next to me. I've been able to just put my hand down and have two little rats to stroke - Tim in hospital with his lump (his bad leg is now better, thank goodness - twisted, but usable and still attached to Tim, which is the main thing) and Grissom as his companion. Grissom was the runt of his litter, is tiny and incredibly good natured, but with a will of iron. He is the best companion for the poor sick Tim - the least likely to get stroppy because of the smallness of the hospital cage. Another rat, Del, had spent a week or so in the hospital cage before Christmas due to the fact that he had a sore on his back (the dreaded Mite Outbreak of 2008 - several vet visits and many capsules of Ivermectin later, now thankfully contained) but was getting more stroppy by the moment by being constrained. It got to the point where you only had to look at him sideways and he was there, issuing threats.... and Del is one of the most laid-back people I know. Exit Del, enter Grissom.

We had a brief attempt at putting the ancient Taylor (the grandfather of the family and in my eyes, needing some TLC) in the hospital cage but I woke up in the middle of his first night in there (from my bed on the settee where worried Mummy Rat was maintaining vigil on the Poor Sick Tim - at that point with a very bad break of his hind left leg) with a burning need to check the hospital cage. I feared the worst - fate had woken me up to be with Tim for his last few moments on earth ... - when it turned out that what I'd ACTUALLY been woken for was to realise that we were a man down in the hospital cage. Frantic search ensued - furniture removal, lights blazing, bad language and much sweating on the part of Mummy Rat - only to find that the ancient and infirm Taylor had opened the door of the hospital cage (how? I have no clue and he's sure not telling) and had made the 18-inch leap from the roof of the hospital onto the lip of the main cage (a massive parrot cage that goes by the name of Rat Towers). The lip does the round of the bottom of the cage - to catch seed, I would imagine, but in our case to catch any donations the rats wish to make to us - and Taylor was lapping it like Damon Hill on a good day, looking for entrance to his rightful home. The others were there, cheering him on - Tim giving the slow hand-clap from the roof of the hospital cage, unable to make the leap himself being a leg short - so I didn't have the heart to put Taylor (pet name of "T-Bag" - no wonder he didn't seek closer proximity to his human fan-club) back in hospital. Poor Tim - the first potential "companion" rat I managed to grab after I'd captured everybody who was where he shouldn't be was our little energy capsule Bing. Bing in a small cage is a recipe for disaster but when it's 2:20am and you have a room to reassemble before you can get back to fake-bed to resume vigil over the Poor Sick Tim, it was all I was prepared to consider.

And I got sick, why...? To quote Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, "It's amazing I'm sane...."

Tim making a break for it

It was supposed to be a video of Grissom but Tim had other ideas and he then took over to star in his own movie.

Happy New Year

Happy New year one and all and welcome back to our blog. Not much has changed since we last updated all rats still in good condition. We did have a worry with Rat (Tim) he had rather a large lump on his right upper leg which was soft to the touch and moved around. After speaking to Dr Rat (Vet) he said he would have to stick a needle in Tim to find out the problem.

Tim did not like the thought of this so performed his own lumpectomy using his teeth and that of his friend Grissom - well we are pleased to say the lump has now gone and apart from a small wound which we are treating with Baytril he is up and around and causing trouble again.