Dora, Tangy, Mitzi, Maple & Kiki

October 2011 - December 2013

Our beautiful rats all piled up in their hammock

Three super cute Agouti rats

My very first rat, Crunchie, was an Agouti rat – a natural brown rattie – and a little while ago I made a joke to Derek how I was going to have three agouti boys and call them Crunchie, Crunchie and Crunchie! Well you know they say, be careful what you wish for…

Our new girls exploring their home

Our new girls exploring their home

I was wandering around the Internet one day – when I was supposed to be working – and happened upon a local breeders website that had some Agouti babies for sale. Unable to resist I got in touch and found she was just down the road from me, and had exactly three little Agouti babies left – it was meant to be!

Two of our baby agouti rats sitting on a shelf in their new homeOur new arrivals are super cute little girls, not boys, and they are absolutely beautiful. Obviously I have not named them all Crunchie either. These little girls have been named after characters from one of my favourite Nintendo games, Animal Crossing. In the game Dora is a cute little mouse and Tangy and Mitzi are funny cats and seeing as they have been some of my favourite villagers over the years I thought I would name my rats after them.

The little ones are being a bit shy at the moment, so Derek and I are winning them over with some yummy treats. We have some exciting things in store for our new little rats, including a fancy new cage. They are in a Savic Freddy at the moment, and while it is a great cage, my girls deserve better and bigger! More about that when they move into their new home.

Three baby agouti rats huddled up together

For now we are letting the girls take their time and settle in, though I can’t wait to play with them and let them run riot in our home office.

A Palace for my princesses

A palace fit for my princesses

A palace fit for my princesses

Like many rat lovers, I’ve always loved the Ferplast range of ferret cages. I bought a Furet Plus several years ago for my little girl, Petal, it has housed many rats since and I’m pleased to say that it is still going strong today. I really wanted to treat my new trio of girls to a nice new shiny home, and what better cage for three gorgeous little girls, who I intend to spoil rotten than a Furet XL.

Derek wasn’t sure at first, mainly because we have two cats, and it’s important that we can keep our cages up off the floor, away from their reach. Fortunately I tracked down a table that wasn’t too expensive, well not when you compared it to the price of the cage. So once we’d got the table, I ordered the cage from Zooplus, who dispatched it really quickly and we took delivery of a huge box a few days later.

Putting the cage together, as it comes flat pack, was really simple, but goodness me, filling it with all the hammocks and toys I’d got for the girls was hard work. We were quite tired by the end, but the girls were bouncing with energy and ready to check out their new home. Although they’d only been with us a week, the girls took really well to the move and seem to be enjoying all the extra space.

Our Agouti rats enjoying their large new home

I’m delighted with the cage, though I’m not so sure about all the work at cleaning out time, I can only hope it will get easier with more practice. Seeing the girls climbing and playing about in the cage makes all the effort worth while. It’s the biggest cage I’ve ever had, and I’m really looking forward to watching the girls grow up in it.

Birthday rats

As is the way, I wasn’t planning to add anymore rats to our family, but after several trips to the pet shop… Well I’m sure you know how it goes :-)

We had honestly only popped in for supplies as I needed to get some bits and pieces for the girls new cage. While on my hunt for what I needed I passed by where they keep their baby rats and saw some beautiful big husky rats. I love husky rats, almost as much as I love agouti rats! So I had a little peek in the tank at them, but I had promised Derek I wouldn’t get any more rats, so we left without them.

Some new arrivals

Some new arrivals

I did try to keep my promise about not getting anymore rats, but those husky rats were cute, and what better addition to my lovely agouti girls? There was only one snag, Derek was convinced they were male rats, and I had to agree. Though the tank they were in wasn’t labelled, they were rather large, and they had big wide heads – female rats tend to have narrower foreheads, not that you should sex a rat solely on it’s forehead. Even though I would have loved some big, cuddly male rats, I didn’t want to add another cage to our household, so I decided to forget about them – except I couldn’t.

After much deliberation, Derek agreed I could have some more female rats to live with the girls in their big, new cage. As the husky rats I had seen were obviously male, and that pet shop was on the other side of town from us, we decided to pop into a more local store – only to find they didn’t have any rats at all!! Again I tried to be strong, and put the thought of more rats our of my mind. I love my trio of agouti girls and was enjoying getting to know them, but that cage was so BIG, it cried out for some more rats.

So, yesterday on my 40th birthday, I could bear it no more. I got one of my rattie carriers ready and we headed off across town in the hope that we would find some female rats in the tank next to the gorgeous husky boys. I’m pleased to say we were in luck.

Fortunately Derek and I could see the rats were probably female straight off, as the assistant who came to help us was convinced they were boys. Once she had opened the tank, Derek reached in a picked them up to check, but we were right and the two little ratties were female and so, on my 40th birthday they joined our family. How special is that?

Maple & Kiki

Maple & Kiki

As soon as we were out of the pet store, and safely in our car, I got the rats out of their cardboard pet boxes and put them straight in a pet carrier, with a nice soft towel to hide in. I don’t always do this, but we had quite a thirty minute journey home, and it would have been too much for the girls, plus they had been put in separate boxes, which would have made their journey doubly stressful.

Following on from my trio of girls, I also picked names from the video game Animal Crossing, so our new arrivals are called Maple and Kiki. The girls are in a separate cage at the moment, as this is always a sensible precaution, and I am a bit worried about Maple who is a bit sneezy. Hopefully she will settle down once she has got over the stress of all the moving, but until then we will keep a close eye on her.

Maple is feeling better

Our baby rat, Maple, sitting in my handsI’m sorry to say that Maple’s sneezing had started to cause us concern, so we put her straight on a course of Baytril. She was a very good girl and happily scoffed all her medicine, which we mixed in with baby food to make it more palatable for her. As she is so tiny, Maple was only on a small dose of Baytril once-a-day, so to make sure she was eating properly we made sure to give her several extra helpings of baby food throughout the day, some of which Kiki also enjoyed. Even when rats are fully grown they can lose weight and condition so easily, and we didn’t want anything to happen to Maple, or Kiki for that matter, so spoiling them seemed the best thing to do.

After a week, Maple’s condition had improved, and she was a lot brighter in herself. Both she and Kiki are mischievous little critters, and they love running around and seeing what kind of trouble they can get into. I am looking forward to putting them in with Dora, Tangy and Mitzi, not just because I’m sure they will love the big cage, but also the older girls are very quiet, and I hope that Maple and Kiki will help make them more adventurous.

Five happy rats

My five new girls are all happily living in their princess palace together. As soon as we felt Maple was well enough we moved her and Kiki in with Dora, Tangy and Mitzi and once all the intial excitement was over watched them all settle down happily together.

It was a nice and simple introduction. We were cleaning the big cage out, and Maple and Kiki really wanted to come out and play, so we let them. Of course once out they made a bee line for the big cage which was down on the floor! They played happily in the wire top while I changed the hammocks, and tried to wipe the shelves, with them trying to help and pinch the cloth all the time. By the time the cage was clean and put back together, all the girls were pooped and we just left them all together to sleep.

Derek and I kept a close eye on the girls just incase they woke up and realised what had happened, but I’m pleased to say there was no trouble at all. The girls have been sharing the cage for a few days now and they all look very happy and content.

The girls asleep in their hammock

The girls asleep in their hammock

No more Sputnik

Rats snoozing in their Savic 'Sputnik'I’m sure anyone who has rats knows what a Sputnik is. They are fantastic plastic beds, by Savic, and have been hugely popular with many of my rats. I got my first one when I bought a Savic ‘Freddy’ cage, it came with the cage, and I recently bought a second one when I got the Furet XL. These simple little beds have proved so popular with my girls I’ve had to confiscate them – twice.

When I first got the agouti girls – now lovingly known as the Twiglets – they had a sputnik and they never left it. They were quite a shy bunch anyway, and combined with a bed they wouldn’t leave I wasn’t getting to see much of them. The bed was also getting very smelly, with shed fur, food crumbs and goodness knows what else not making for a healthy sleeping environment. Seeing as they had lots of other beds and tunnells to sleep in I took the Sputnik away from them. This had a positive effect on the girls, I got to see more of them and they made better use of their other beds, which was more hygienic for them.

While in their quarantine cage, Maple and Kiki also had a Sputnik. Though they weren’t permanently stuck in theirs, they liked to sleep in other beds and readily came out to play. When Maple and Kiki decided to move in with the Twiglets, I let them take their Sputnik with them, so they would have something familiar.

Rats crammed into their Savic 'Sputnik'

'You don't all fit in there!' Rattie heads and feet hanging out of the 'Sputnik'

BIG MISTAKE!

The instant result was all five rats piling in that little plastic bed. I don’t know how they managed to breath squished in like that. The Sputnik soon got stinky and messy leaving me with no choice but to take it off them, again. I did replace it with an extra bed – not that they need anymore – which was simply an old jeans leg.

No one really seems to miss the Sputnik and all the girls tend to sleep a bit more split up, which is no bad thing. Sometimes I still find them all piled into one bed together, but mostly they are in two groups in different beds. It’s nice to see them making better use of their home, and I’m sure it will be healthier for them in the long term.

Kiki the miniature rat

Little Kiki next to her larger sister, Maple

Little Kiki next to her larger sister, Maple

Kiki is adorable in every way, she’s fun and bouncy, has a beautiful affectionate temperament, and is very healthy – she just forgot to grow!

When we got Maple and Kiki, they were both super cute little babies and exactly the same size. Maple had her breathing problems when we first got her, but after a week of Baytril she was fine, and despite her poorliness grew as normal, Kiki on the other hand did not.

I know it didn’t, but it all seemed to happen overnight. Maple and Kiki moved in with the Twiglets and the next thing I knew Maple was this stocky healthy rat and the biggest out of the five girls and Kiki hadn’t changed. Obviously she lost that baby rat shape and now looks like a proper rat, but compared to the other girls she is tiny. Not that we mind what size she is, as long as all the girls are all happy, healthy and bouncy we’re not worried, but it is funny to see her next to Maple. It’s hard to believe they were ever the same size!

Little Tangy has passed away

Our Sweet rat TangyAfter a short illness I’m sad to say Tangy has died. A couple of weeks ago she started acting a bit strangely, we’d not seen much of her at play time, but she was always sure to turn up at treat time! We didn’t think too much of it as she was drinking and eating and looked happy and healthy, then she appeared to have some sort of fit. I wanted to take her to the vet, but she wouldn’t let me near her. The girls have a very big cage, with lots of places to hide, and if I did get near Tangy she got very agitated, so I decided to leave her alone. The next day she seemed fine, a little weak, but she was happy to be held and was eating and drinking fine, so we wanted to see how she went on.

Tangy went from strength to strength over the following weeks, she still wasn’t that keen to come out and play, but all the girls can be like that from time-to-time. Then a couple of days ago she started to look quite thin and tired. Her appetite had tapered off slightly, though she’d eat the odd treat. We started her on Baytril, just in case, and kept her hydrated with sweetened water that she liked to drink out of our hands.

Then sadly today, after enjoying a nice red grape, she came to her cage door. I immediately picked her out and gave her a cuddle and within minutes she had passed away. Despite her illness it was still a shock, I really wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Though Tangy has gone, it feels good to know I was there for her. Rats are amazing creatures, so loving and sensitive, it really means a lot to me that Tangy made the effort to go to her cage door and get my attention. I’m going to miss her very much, and I’m going to take extra special care of her sisters for her, and maybe spoil them a little bit more.

More bad news

I’m really shocked and upset to say our little Mitzi has passed away. We not really sure what happened, it’s all been such a terrible shock.

Mitzi reaching for her cage

Our beautiful girl Mitzi

Looking back Mitzi had been a little glum during Tangy’s illness. We’d started giving her baby food to help her, but she’d seemed a bit spaced out and not really interested. Breaking food up into little bits helped a bit, and she’d take baby food off our fingers. By Sunday she was very distracted, we were feeding her very runny baby food, which was hard going as she kept trying to wander off rather than eat. She had also started spending all her time in the igloo on the bottom of her cage, rather than up in her hanging beds with her sisters.

Then yesterday when we got up Mitzi was in a terrible state. She was barely able to stand up straight and kept rolling onto her back. Derek called the vets and we got an appointment for that afternoon, but as the day progressed poor Mitzi just got worse and after consulting with our vet we made the terrible decision to put her to sleep.

It was a difficult day, and I am left feeling very numb. Both Mitzi and her sister were very young, only one and a half, so loosing them has been a terrible shock. Unfortunately our gorgeous girl Dora is taking the loss of her sisters very hard, and is hiding away in the igloo. She seems to be eating well, so I can only hope that the company of Maple and Kiki and of course mine and Derek’s attention will get her through this terrible time.

My two beautiful little princesses were so very special to me, and I had hoped to have many more happy months playing with them and spoiling them, but sadly that is not going to be. Right now I hope that little Dora will be alright and she can help keep the beautiful memory of her sisters alive.

Our beautiful girls together in happier times

Our beautiful girls together in happier times

Little Kiki has passed away

We have had to make the difficult decision to have our mischievous little girl, Kiki put to sleep. She had developed very severe breathing difficulties and even with a strong course of Baytril she was getting progressively worse, until we knew we had to let her go.Kiki enjoying a bran flake

Since we first knew her our sweet little Kiki has been a boisterous rat. Always on the go, she was always the first out the cage and to find trouble to get herself in. Over the past few days she was feeling so poorly she barely moved and was horribly cold to touch. She had taken to sitting cuddled up on me while I worked on my computer. Normally it would be such a lovely experience, but to see little Kiki like that was heart breaking.

Yesterday morning she had been with me and as the day progressed her condition was obviously deteriorating and though to weak to show it we could see she was suffering. With nothing but love in our hearts we called our vets and rushed her straight down to let her go peacefully.

Little Kiki was the smallest rat we’d ever known, but she was also an incredibly healthy and bouncy little creature, which made her sudden illness even more difficult to understand. We don’t know if it was somehow linked to how poorly her sister Maple was as a baby, or something completely random. Either way, we are missing our sweet little Kiki very much. The rattie palace is very quiet without her.

Maple's had an operation

Maple and Dora snuggled up in their hammock togetherBarely a month after we had to say goodbye to Kiki, we were horrified to find our beautiful Maple has a lump on her right shoulder. Fortunately its not that big and we instantly made the decision to have it removed. It is a relief to say that Maple has coped with her surgery very well, and is not playing with her stitches.

Since it is just the two of them now, Maple and Dora have been spending all their time together and Dora was quite upset while Maple was away at the vets. Now she’s home they are curled up together again and we are hopeful that the love of her sister will get Maple through this difficult time and help her make a full recovery.

A little update

All is well with our two little ratie girls. I’m thrilled to say Maple made a full recovery after her operation, and we have found no other lumps. Without the disruptive influence of our sweet girl, Kiki, Maple and Dora are enjoying a rather sedate life. They still like to come out to play and cuddle, but I’m pretty sure that while they miss Kiki, they don’t miss her bouncing around on them and treating the beds as trampolines.

Before Maple’s operation we had already downsized their home from the rattie palace to a Ferplast Furret. It is a much more manageable cage for me, but most importantly it is more suited to Dora and Maple’s activity levels. There is less chance of them falling and of course they have all their favourite beds. We all miss Mitzi, Tangy and pesky Kiki, but things are peaceful and our girls seem very content with their lives, which makes us very happy.

Maple and Dora in their favourite fluffy hammock

Sweet dreams to our darling Dora

Our beautiful rat, DoraOh dear, I’m afraid we had to rush our little girl Dora to the vets early yesterday evening. She suddenly took very poorly, struggling with her balance and coordinating her limbs. It was very similar to the symptoms her two sisters had suffered from earlier this year and while it was dreadful to see our beautiful Dora struggling like that we knew what we had to . We’re guessing all three girls suffered from some kind of neurological issue, which while upsetting we are grateful that Dora managed to live a long and happy life before being taken ill.

Our Twiglets were gorgeous girls and though they were slightly timid when we first had them they grew, with the disruptive influence of Maple and Kiki, into beautiful princesses. Showing us that while they were almost identical in appearance they had completely different and charming personalities.

Now Maple is on her own we shall be extra attentive to all her needs. She is a very gentle, patient and loving little rat, and having suffered through the loss of her four sisters we don’t know what the future will hold for her. One thing is for sure, she will be receiving lots of extra cuddles and rattie treats for the rest of her life.

Our beautiful rats, Dora, Maple and Tangy

Maple has passed away peacefully

Maple enjoying a bran flakeNot even a week after Dora passed away our sweet Maple has died in her sleep. We had been devoting lots of time to caring for her, keeping her company and making sure she was eating and she seemed happy enough. But today we found her curled up in her favourite hammock looking as peaceful as we could wish for.

We had wanted as long as possible with our little girl, but we are happy that she passed quietly, both for her and ourselves. Loosing Maple’s four sisters to illness like we did had been very painful and to know that Maple simply slipped away in her sleep is very comforting.

It’s hard to believe Maple had been so terribly poorly as a baby. I still remember her little body laying in my hand as she struggled to breath, but our little fighter pulled through and she blossomed into a beautiful, healthy and happy girl. We were very lucky to have known her and her gentle and patient ways, Derek and I are going to miss her and all her sisters very much.

Maple relaxing in her hammock