Rat Slideshow (All of our photos)

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