Blossom & Maisy

November 2014 - August 2016

Blossom & Maisy

Blossom & Maisy

Two little girls

Blossom

Blossom

These two are all Derek’s fault he tricked me and then wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was still very upset after the passing of my two gorgeous husky boys, Bandit and Wombat, combined with the sudden loss of Whisper and Truffle all within the space of a month, I was feeling quite heartbroken and low. In my grief I’d made the comment that I didn’t think I could have anymore rats, but Derek decided otherwise. The day after loosing Bandit, we needed to pop to the pet shop for sawdust, which is conveniently – for Derek’s plan – located next to their adoption centre. And who should be watching us from inside a tank, but two little female rats.

Blossom and Maisy were ex-pets shop rats who had been taken ill while waiting for a home. They had been moved into the back of the store and treated for their respiratory problems, and after making a full recovery were now in the adoption area ready to find a new home – and Derek decided that home should be with us. I still wasn’t sure, so it was left to Derek to handle the girls and let them test his fingers for tastiness, as inquisitive little rats are prone to do.

Despite their difficult start to life, Blossom and Maisy are very confident and well handled little girls and I’m pleased to say they have not been fazed by their new home at all. We have been having lots of fun getting to know our new girls, who are so confident they were happy to be handled and cuddled almost as soon as we were home.

Maisy

Maisy

I still miss my boys terribly, but I have to admit I’m enjoying watching my new crazy girls as they explore their new home and I’m quite excited to get to know them.

Little nippers

Blossom and Lindsay

Blossom and Lindsay

We are having so much fun with our little girls. They are both amazingly confident rats, happy to explore, climb on us and generally get into all kinds of trouble. After only a few days with us they were leaving the office and exploring across the landing in our bedroom. So much so that every night, once our cats are in bed, they have the run of the upstairs while we get ready to turn in for the night. That’s something else amazing about them, during the day when we are there to play with them they are more than happy to stay in the office with us, but come night time off they go. Who knows where they are going to end up!

There is only one little problem with our girls, or more specifically Blossom. She nips our feet! Little monster. It started out as a curiosity thing, she was just testing us out, seeing who and what we were, unfortunately she has learnt it gets her attention. Now our cheeky little Blossom nips our feet when she wants something, usually to be put away – silly girl.

Its rather appealing really, she could just go back in her cage, but she prefers to get one of us to pick her up and get a cuddle first.

The girls at work

Or rather stopping me from working.

It’s been wonderful to see the girls settling into their new home. They have explored every square inch of the floor, and now turned their attention to climbing every piece of furniture they encounter, which has lead them to discover my rather messy desk.

I think I’m going to have to tidy up before something gets redesigned by little rattie chompers.

What a load of rubbish!!

Not to our girls though. The rubbish that now resides underneath Derek’s desk is a world of adventure to Blossom and Maisy. Both girls are wonderfully active and playful, and they love to play with us, each other and whatever toys they can get their little rattie hands on. Alongside their proper rat toys, there is lots of stuff on the floor, from boxes, paper shopping bags and bits of cardboard. The mess provides lots of fun places to hide, climb on, drag around and most importantly chew – hopefully removing the temptation to nibble on our computer wires. We’ve not always been successful in protecting our things from the rats, particularly Blossom, but I’m sure things would be a lot worse if it wasn’t for all the rubbish she has to amuse herself with!

The creature from the black bin!

I was in our home office with the girls running around when I heard a creepy rustling noise from the office bin. Mustering all my courage I went to investigate and this is what I found…

It was only naughty Blossom playing in plastic bags. Phew!

Too cute for words

How super cute is Blossom enjoying some rat food? It was cleaning out time, and the girls got hungry so I gave them some rat food and little Blossom disappeared underneath my legs to enjoy hers.

The rat stash

I was cleaning my girls out and Blossom had a real bee in her bonnet about pinching a piece of kitchen towel. This is a new thing for Blossom, normally when I clean them out they are too busy playing elsewhere to notice what I’m up to. Today though Blossom needed that kitchen towel, and who was I to deny her!

The rat stash

The rat stash

After the girls cage was all clean and the girls were tucked up safety in bed I went on a hunt for the stolen kitchen towel and this is what I found. My cheeky girls had a right old stash going on.

During the week I often eat my lunch with the rats, and of course they want to share it with me. Lately I had noticed them begging for more than their fare share, but hey I love them and can’t say no. Even if I do try and deny them my food they will just climb up me and help themselves anyway, which often ends in a right old mess :-). So, I have been spoiling the girls, I admit it, and obviously have been feeding them far too much!

Milkshake madness

Our girls are such sweet natured little rats, that is until they have to share something yummy!

While the cats away...

Actually our rats don’t mind if Inkie is around or not, though we’d prefer she wasn’t :-0. Still there is nothing more our little rats like at play time than to head off into the cats’ room. Why our cats have their own room is a long story, but it is full of cat toys which also make great rat toys.

Cuddle time

Both my girls are very independent and like to go off and do their own thing at playtime. Every now and again though little Blossom will come and find me, even sit on my foot to get my attention if I’m using my computer, and want a cuddle. And boy does she like her cuddle time.

Blossom's drama

It seems like a long time ago now, but it was only a few months that we discovered two small lumps on both the girls. They were both quite small and soft, so we were weren’t unduly worried, until after only two weeks Blossom’s lump was huge. We have never seen a tumour on our rats grow so quickly, and were very shocked how it had gotten away from us. It is best to get lumps removed while they are as small as possible, but this had grown from a small soft fatty lump into a large hard ball.

We took Blossom straight to the vet and got her booked in for an operation the very next day. Everything went smoothly for our little rat, although we were shocked to discover the lump was a fifth of Blossom’s body weight! Blossom was allowed home the same day, but because her lump was on her right thigh, we had to try to keep her as immobile as possible.

Blossom and Maisy reunited after Blossom's surgery

Blossom and Maisy reunited after Blossom's surgery

It was only the day after her surgery the strain on Blossom’s wound was starting to show. Blossom is a very slim rat, and she had lost some surrounding tissue from the tumour being removed. This combined with the location of her wound, the fact it is impossible to keep a rat immobile and she wouldn’t stop playing with them, Blossom’s stitches were struggling to hold. And after a very difficult weekend we had to take Blossom back to the vet to have her wound stitched back up.

Our vet is a lovely lady and she tried a different technique of stitching Blossom’s wound. We were also given some bandages and tape, not to dress Blossom’s wound but to try and distract her from playing with it. Sadly this still didn’t work and by the end of the week Blossom had a horrible, smelly and slightly damp open wound. We took her to the vet first thing Saturday morning, just to get her checked out and make sure she’d done no more damage than was visible. As expected there was nothing more to be done surgically for Blossom and we were faced with the prospect of letting the wound heal on its own. With how fidgety and naughty Blossom is, we are expecting the wound to take two weeks to heal. I’m not normally a squeamish person, but the thought of Blossom having a smelly, damp hole in her side for two weeks is not something we are looking forward to.

For those of you who are interested, and have a strong stomach, you can find a photograph of Blossom’s open wound here. Please be warned though it is rather disgusting.

Blossom is on a course of Baytril, to help fight infection and Metacam to give her pain relief. All we can do now is wait and make sure she takes her medicine. I would also like to say we are keeping her calm and still, but we are not – Blossom is running around everywhere like nothing is wrong, it is terrifying!

An amazing recovery

Our rats, open wound healing nicely after 8 daysI am thrilled to say Blossom is making a full recovery from all her surgery troubles. Her open wound is healing up amazingly quickly and we are so relieved, happy and proud of our naughty little rat.

It has not been a easy time, Blossom has been carrying on as if nothing has happened, wanting to climb on everything and get in as much trouble as possible. She also wants lots of cuddles, but Derek and I have been a bit wary of handling her. Our main concern was touching the wound, it has not been pleasant. I really don’t think Blossom cares, or is in any pain at all, but we both have a fear of poking our fingers in the wound, especially as Blossom is so wriggly.

There have been a few complications, though nothing serious, but Blossom has developed a few abscesses. So far they have been very small and have come and burst very quickly, leaving no serious wound. We’re not too concerned and are not bathing the area as everything seems to be going well without our intervention.

For Blossom though she is just happy to be at home, with her sister and not having to go back to the vet. Not wanting to speak to soon, but everything is healing so incredibly well. It is hard to believe that just eight days ago she had a hole in her side and now the wound looks almost healed. We have been warned she will probably have a scar, and a bald bit of skin, but who cares, Blossom has survived what looked to us like a horrific experience and she is as happy as ever.

This has been the worst experience we have ever had with having tumours removed from our rats, and I am desperately hoping it will be a one-off as Maisy is, unfortunately, due to have her tumour removed soon.

Maisy's turn

Maisy looking snazzy in her custom made t-shirt

Maisy looking snazzy in her custom made t-shirt

After the drama of Blossom’s surgery plus her dramatic and lengthy recovery, we were hoping for a simpler time with Maisy. Sadly Maisy made it quite clear this isn’t going to happen.

Our lovely vet sending Maisy home with a rather fetching custom made t-shirt, to prevent her playing with her wound. Things started to go amiss almost as soon as she was home. Still heavily under the effects of her anesthtic, a very woozy Maisy got a bit excited when she realised she was back home. This resulted in a combination of things; she got very wriggly, her little back legs were flailing all over the place and she launched for the cage where Blossom was waiting. All this activity resulted in her fancy t-shirt getting caught in her feet and ultimately pulled down slightly. As rats have no shoulders there wasn’t much hope of the t-shirt staying on, but it not even lasting until she was fully recovered from the anaesthetic was a little disappointing. With the t-shirt tangled around Maisy’s back legs and putting pressure on her wound I had no choice but to remove it. Maisy did not cooperate, being as wiggly and grumpy as she could, while I had to cut it to get it down her body. Still, we both survived that and she slept peacefully the rest of the day cuddled up to Blossom.

Things seemed to be going well, but they weren’t! It took Maisy only two days to remove most of her stitches. Luckily we had a follow-up appointment booked already and we had to turn up and confess what had happened. After Blossom’s antics it seemed like the whole veterinary surgery knew Blossom and what a madam she was, so they were all very interested and amused to hear her sister was just as uncooperative.

Our vet was not surprised to hear of Maisy’s indiscretion and had already planned on metal staples being the next line of defence. Surely she couldn’t removed them…

To be honest it was slower going for Maisy to remove the staples, as she couldn’t chew them, bend them or generally yank them out. No, these had to be worked out slowly and Maisy did figure out how to do it. She’d removed one of the two staples and had started work on the second when she had it removed ten days later.

None of this mattered when the remaining staple was removed and Maisy got a clean bill of health. Her wound had healed up perfectly, although Derek and I were still feeling the aftermath of all the stress those two pesky girls had put us through.

Now the girls are all healed all we can do is hope that none of the tumours return. We have a one operation rule for our rats, so if they do return we won’t get them removed. Despite all the drama of the past few months I feel we have done the right thing for our girls. With the rate the lumps were growing I don’t know how much longer they’d have survived, or if they’d still be here with us now. The trauma of gaping wounds, missing stitches and staple removal is a funny memory to us now. Oddly the staple Maisy removed turned up in my washing machine after washing the rats bedding, so we disposed of it safely, happy to know it can’t cause any injury to any of our pets.

Always together

Our sweet rats, side by side in a cardboard cat houseOur beautiful little girls were partners in crime, always together getting into mischief, snuggled up asleep, even going through surgery at the same time and I’m very sad to say they have passed away together.

After their initial surgery things looked really good for our girls, they had healed up and were back to their naughty selves. Unfortunately after a month or so we noticed Maisy had a lump growing. We have a one surgery rule with our little rats, as it is so much for them to go through. This was especially true with the problems we had with both Blossom and Maisy. With this in mind we were sad, but wanted to give our beautiful girl the best time possible, spoiling her and making sure she was as happy and healthy as possible.

Things were going well with Maisy, although her lump was pretty fast growing she was coping and having fun. Then about a week ago, we found a hole on Blossom’s tummy. We’d been keeping a very close eye on both the girls after their tumours, so we were sure Blossom’s wound wasn’t an abscess. It was a terrible wound that appeared to have come from nowhere, so we rushed her straight to the vet. Our vet thought it may have been a urine infection, as the wound was located around Blossom’s urethra. Her thinking was Blossom may have caused the wound herself playing with the area. Blossom was prescribed babytril, metacam and we were given some ointment to treat the wound.

Our two rats snuggled in bed

At first Blossom seemed to be doing fairly well and over the next few days the wound seemed to improve, but then it started to get worse again. Blossom went back to the vet for a check up, and our vet decided to call around for some advice as to what to do next. Sadly that night her condition deteriorated further. She became very subdued as the pain caught up with her.

Both Blossom and Maisy had coped so well with their surgeries and Blossom’s hideous open wound, so we knew she was really suffering to be so lethargic. The next day we took her back to the vets and considered all our options and the possibility her wound may have been caused by a very nasty and aggressive tumour. This combined with the rapidly growing tumour Maisy had was starting to affect her walking, we made the incredibly painful decision to put both our beautiful girls to sleep.

It was a terrible day for us, and one I don’t think we will get over for some time.