Apple, Bramble & Lime

August 2008 - June 2010

Apple, Lime and Bramble on top

Apple, Lime and Bramble on top

Oops we did it again! More rats join the family

A couple of weeks ago we adopted a young mum rat, Daisy, and her two daughters form the RSPCA. There were also three boy rats waiting to be rehomed, who were from Daisy’s litter. We didn’t really have room for them at the time we adopted the girls, but with our old rat Pickle moving out of his big cage and into what we call his retirement home, we had a spare cage. It had been our hope that someone else would come along and give the boys a new home, but that hadn’t happened and we couldn’t resist.

Lime (front), Bramble (behind) and Apple (right)

Lime (front), Bramble (behind) and Apple (right)

I was amazed how much they’d grown since we last saw them, they must be as big as Daisy now. When we first saw them they were only a bit bigger than their sisters. Here’s hoping they grow into huge big cuddly boys :-).

We were told that the boys were a bit skitty and had been given extra handling. All I can say is it must have worked, because they’ve been extremely affectionate with us and have got no problems being handled. In fact we were trying to leave them alone to settle in they just wanted to play. So, Derek stuck his hand in and was ambushed by three friendly boys who all wanted to tussle with him. Even though they were really excited they had no objections to being picked up. They were so excited their first night we let them out to explore our dinning room. I think we managed to wear them out a bit.

As they are Peach and Apricot’s brothers, we decided to go with more fruit names for them :-). So Taupe, Beige and Thorn are now Apple, Bramble and Lime.

The RSPCA very cleverly shaved bits of the rats so they could tell them apart. So, while we know Bramble is slightly darker than his brothers we can’t tell Apple or Lime apart, without their shaved patches. I’m hoping that their personalities will be more apparent before their bald bits grow back or we’ll have no clue which ones which.

Apple and Lime making themselves at home

Apple and Lime making themselves at home

I know Derek was a little unsure about more rats, but those guys have done a brilliant job of winning him over.

Babying Bramble

Our little rat, Bramble on his cargo netBramble is a little bit smaller than his brothers. It isn’t anything we need to worry about, he’s perfectly healthy and full of bounce, but I have noticed that he is a bit shy and tends to get left out at play time.

Apple and Lime – who are pretty much identical in size and colour – are much more confident. When we open the cage door they will come pouring out to play or be handled and Bramble tends to hang back and then go to bed rather than shove his brothers out the way and get noticed. When out of the cage his brothers very easily take all of our attention.

So, we have been making an extra effort to encourage him. Its nothing special, we’re just picking him up, giving him cuddle and putting him back in his cage. And when he’s out and about we make sure we take the time to play with him. He’s already much braver for it and he hangs around the door for longer giving us chance to get to him. When he’s out on the floor he doesn’t disappear under the furniture straight away either – and if he does curiosity soon gets him out again.

Two of the boys are poorly

Both Bramble and Lime are suffering from wheezy breathing. We have no idea what is wrong with them. Their sister, Apricot, started with the same symptoms as them two weeks before, and she seems to be coming though it now. We are hoping that both boys will do the same. They have been on Baytril, but it had no effect. It is quite scary as our boy and girl rats both live in separate rooms and we are very careful about hygene when it comes to our rats.

Bramble, Lime and Apple

Bramble, Lime and Apple

We have two more boy rats who live upstairs who are both fine and we wonder if the illness is something the little ones picked up at the rehoming centre.

Bramble and Lime are both pretty down at the moment, which is very difficult. Not just because we don’t like to see our rats unhappy, but also because Apple has no one to play with. Derek and I are trying very hard to be there for him, and play with him, but we can tell he misses his brothers.

All we can do is hope that they will get better soon.

Taking care of my poorly boys

Bramble cuddled underneath Lime and Apple

Bramble cuddled underneath Lime and Apple

Lime and particularly Bramble have been hit really hard by this horrible infection they have. They are both really struggling. having both lost weight and they are cold to the touch. Their energy levels are very low, though I’m please to say Lime’s becoming more active again. Bramble has always worried me as he is smaller than his brothers and comes across as more vulnerable. At the moment he is really feeling the cold and when out of his cage will find somewhere on us to snuggle up and share some body heat.

Neither of them are responding to Baytril, so I think we are going to stop giving it to them. Our vet talked to us about an infection called pasturella, and if this is what the rats have then there is no cure. All we will be able to do is take care of our ratties as best as possible and keep them stress free and happy.

We have been feeding them up on baby food, as this will help stop them loosing too much weight and it’s nice and warm for them, which is especially nice if they are feel chilly.

Update on our boys

Our vet is pretty much convinced the rats have pasturella. He explained that, over time, any bouts of illness will gradually wear the little guys down until they get too weak to recover. The best we can do is take care of them, and make sure they are happy. We don’t know what that means for their long-term health, but for now they appear to be through the worst of it, and for that we are grateful.

Lime and Bramble trying to sneak past me

Lime and Bramble trying to sneak past me

Lime has improved the most out of the boys. His breathing is silent now and he’s put the weight he lost back on, you wouldn’t know he’d been ill.

Apple up to no good

Apple up to no good

Bramble is still the smallest of the three boys, but he has put some weight back on, I guess he is just a little rat. Not that his brothers are particularly big rats, but then neither are their mum, Daisy, or their sisters. Unfortunately he still wheezes quite a lot, but it’s weird he’s not ill. He has no difficulty running around, fighting, climbing and jumping. He has gone back to being very active, if anything he is now the most mischievous one of the bunch. Nothing he does leaves him out of breath; he just has this squeaky wheezy breathing.

It’s great news for us, as we were really scared what was going to happen to our little family of rats. I know we still don’t know what is going to happen, but for now we can go back to enjoying our guys and making the most of whatever time we have with them

Our baby boy Lime has died

I really don’t know what to say. Lime had been very poorly even as a baby, along with his brothers Bramble and Apple and sisters, Peach and Apricot, and our vets were flummoxed at first. Though they all did recover from this initial illness when we first adopted them, they have been ill on and off over the time we have had them. We think all of the siblings may have an immune deficiency that leaves them open to infections.

Lime and Apple

Lime and Apple

Both Lime and his brother Apple were taken ill again a few months back. They both started loosing weight and energy. We immediately started giving them both baby food to help keep their weight up and while this helped at first, Lime’s appetite started to decline over the past week and he became very dehydrated. He didn’t want to take any fluids and even the amount of baby food he’d eat started to shrink. It was a difficult decision but we took Lime to the vets and had him put to sleep rather than let him waste away and suffer.

Apple is still struggling on and we can only hope that the loss of Lime won’t affect him and his brother Bramble too badly.

More sad news

This time it is our cuddly boy Apple. Like his brother, Lime, he’d been unwell for some time and he passed away quietly in the night. We found him laying in his hammock this morning looking like he was fast asleep. It was a terrible shock, especially after only just loosing Lime, but he really did look like he passed away peacefully.

Lime and Apple

Lime and Apple

We are going to make sure that his cheeky little brother Bramble gets lots of extra spoiling and of course he has his new friends Chestnut and Conker, who are lovely boys, to keep him company.

Goodbye to baby Bramble

I’ve been meaning to update about out sweet little guy Bramble for some time now. He has done us so proud over the last two years. Having been the poorliest of all his siblings, there were times when we thought he wouldn’t make it to adulthood, never mind old age. It has been a wonderful, but scary, journey looking after our wheezy little rat. But our Bramble was a fighter and he went on to outlive all of his siblings and matured into a beautiful, slightly cranky old age boy until he passed away peacefully.

Treat time

Treat time

Bramble had been on his own since his adopted brother Chestnut had passed away, and I’m pleased to say he had coped very well with this adjustment. Bramble has always been a bit of a cuddly rat and he loved nothing more than being curled up at the bottom of a pile of sleeping rats. But Bramble being a little fighter made the adjustment. Derek and I tried spent as much time with Bramble as we could, though as an old boy he liked to sleep a lot. He did still appreciate his meal times though, and made sure he was awake everyday to help us finish our dinners.

Cuddly Bramble

Cuddly Bramble

To keep Bramble safe, we had changed his cage to what we call our ‘rattie retirement cage’, which is a lower height rabbit cage. Bramble was getting quite wobbly and we could see that even though he wanted to get up to his ‘high up beds’ he was having difficulty. Moving him to a retirement cage meant he could keep his favourite beds and tunnels, but they could be placed at a lower height. Bramble was very happy with the change, and obviously found it much easier to climb up to his favourite bed.

Recently though we had started to see a decrease in Bramble’s appetite, so we introduced baby food into his diet. At first Bramble couldn’t resist, but even his interest in baby food started to tail off.

We are going to miss our little Bramble so much, he was such a naughty little character always finding mischief to get into and harassing his brothers in that cute baby of the family way :-). Though it hard to say goodbye, we are grateful for our time with Bramble, having been prepared to loose him a young age everyday day we had with him feels like a true gift. Even on his last day with us Bramble did us proud eating several teaspoons of baby food, and then wanting to be with us, so that both Derek and I were with him when he died peacefully in my hands last night.

Photos of my rattie boys on various adventures