Toffee & Caramel

August 2006 - April 2008

Caramel & Toffee

Caramel & Toffee

Two cute little baby rats

Caramel & Toffee exploring their new home

Caramel & Toffee exploring their new home

Goodness, we have gone and done it again, two little boy ratties to get into all sorts of trouble while we’re not paying attention. Toffee and Caramel came from our local pet shop. We had been talking about getting some more rats for a couple of weeks. It had all started when we were in the pet shop getting some supplies, doesn’t it always? Derek had gone off to look at the baby bunnies, naughty Derek, and while over in the pets section I spotted a very handsome little rattie climbing up the side of the cage watching us. We managed to escape the pet shop without any additions to our family, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the cute rattie I had seen.

The following Saturday we were back at the pet shop for more supplies, we’re not very organised with our pet supplies ;-), and I wanted to see if the rat was still there. He wasn’t, but there were some different rats in his place. As we had gone to the pet shop on our bicycles there was no way we could take any rats home with us, so again we left without any new additions to the family. Later that afternoon after lots of talking and convincing from me, we decided to go back to the pet shop and get the rats we had seen, so we jumped in our car and popped round. By the time we got there all the ratties had been sold and we had to leave empty handed again. We had found out from a member of staff that they were expecting some baby rats in on Thursday. This time we were not going to miss out!

As soon as Derek got home from work on Thursday night we jumped in our car and headed out. When we got to the pet shop there was a bundle of girl rats asleep in one cage and a bundle of boys asleep in the other. They were all Champaign coloured rats, either Berkshire (all one colour with a white tummy) or hooded. There was one little chap who was up and about, he was the only black hooded rat and for me it was love at first sight. Derek then chose a Champaign Berkshire rattie and we headed off home with our new family members.

Of course the first night we left the little ratties alone in their new cage to settle in. The next day we opened up their cage, still expecting the baby rats to be a bit shy, but Toffee came spilling out as if he’d known us all along. Little Caramel took a bit more convincing, but he too spent some time out of his new home.

We hadn’t had baby rats since Biscuit, Badger and Willow back in 2002. All our rats since then had come to us fully grown, so we had kind of forgotten what a handful the little things could be. Toffee and Caramel have certainly reminded us. Toffee is a crazy little chap and he has wasted no time in bonding with both of us. Caramel is a little bit more timid than his brother, but Toffee is a force of nature and even a shy rat like Caramel has been swept up in his enthusiasm.

Caramel and Toffee

Caramel and Toffee

At the moment the baby rats are living in a large hamster cage as they are both small enough to fit through the bars of their giant ratty cage. The little rats don’t mind their temporary home, it is plenty high enough for them to practice their climbing and it’s full of things to play in and explore. And of course we are spending lots of time with them, getting to know them and letting them explore their new home. One of Toffee and Carmel’s favourite things is to play in their giant rattie home, even though they’re not big enough to live in it, this doesn’t stop them treating it like a giant activity centre. The little chaps also enjoy running around on our computer desks and playing with our computer wires, nothing has fallen victim to tiny rattie teeth yet, but there is plenty of time for chewing things they shouldn’t.

There's been some rattie mischief

Oh dear, after only a month we have had our first casualty of our little ratties and their mischief. You would think after ten years of living with rats and all their naughtiness we’d know better, but apparently not.

Naughty Toffee with Derek's phone

Naughty Toffee with Derek's phone

We normally let Toffee & Caramel run around on our desks. I know this is probably not the best of ideas, as it gives them access to all those lovely wires and expensive computer equipment. But, having them up on our desks means we can play with them and don’t have to worry about them getting underfoot on the floor, while they are so tiny. Up until now we have been pretty lucky, I guess with them being so young they are still happy to explore. I have caught them trying to make off with a couple of things they’ve found. Nothing serious just a small Post-it note and a rubber, but nothing terrible has happened. That is until now…

A USB stick with the a chewed cap

Derek was backing up his computer onto a data stick and he left the little, tempting, plastic cap of it sitting out in the open on his desk, while the rats were out. I had warned him about the perils of leaving plastic items around for the ratties to find, but he obviously forgot the advice until it was too late and the said item had mysteriously disappearedĀ from his desk.

While Derek searched his desk and the floor for the missing object, I had a look in the rats cage and there it was. Sadly the little plastic cap is barely recognisable and is definitely no longer fit for its purpose, though more importantly our rats are okay after their non recommended change in diet.

Lets hope that Derek has learned his lesson and is little more careful with yummy pieces of plastic.

A new brother for our boys

Minty

Minty

There has not been very much to say about Toffee and Caramel over the past year. They have both grown into rather large happy boys, who like to do nothing! Honestly we struggle to get them to play out of their cage. Even during cleaning out time the silly lumps just wait to go back in. Still if that is what makes them happy, I’m not going to force them out – even though I would love to play with them everyday.

We’d recently adopted an older pair of ratties from the RSPCA, Minty and Rummy. Sadly Rummy was very poorly and passed away, leaving his brother all alone. So it seemed only right, that our two big cuddly old guys would have room in their home and hearts for a very sweet and lonely guy called, Minty.

Both Toffee and Caramel are both extremely soft and good natured boys. This meant that we didn’t have any of the fights that can sometimes happen when you try to introduce fully grown male rats to each other. In fact no real introductions were made we just put the guys on the floor together, then into a freshly cleaned out cage. With the exception of keeping a close eye on them for signs of stress or fighting, we left them to it. While this is definitely not recommended for all rats, we know Toffee and Caramel very well, and Minty was a obviously a very sweet boy.

So far it seems everyone is happy with the new arrangement. Toffee and Caramel are happy that they are still getting lots of yummy treats and Minty is glad of the company of other rats.

No one wants to come our and play, but it is lovely to see the boys all cuddled up happily together.

Caramel has passed away

We’ve had a very sad start to the year as our beautiful baby Carmel had to be put to sleep. He started out with symptoms that looked like a respiratory infection and we got him some medicine from the vets. Sadly the very next day he started bleeding from his nose, which was very distressing for all of us. We rushed him straight back to the vets. Of course with little animals there is very little they can do by way of examination, and though our vet said there were some treatments they could try to help Caramel, if it was something serious, like a tumour, then he would only deteriorate.

our beautiful rat, Caramel

It was a very difficult decision for us, because Caramel was by no means old, but he was feeling very poorly. We both found it very hard to say goodbye to him, but in our hearts we knew it was the right thing to do. Caramel was far too beautiful and precious to us to be made to suffer on the off chance he might recover. It was a horrible shock to loose him so quickly, but we will always love him as our big cuddly ginger boy.

More sad news, our rat Minty has died

Having not long goodbye to Caramel, Minty’s condition started to deteriorate. Because Minty came from a homing centre we were never sure of his exact age, but we always thought he was a very old chap. He was also extremely thin when we got him and, not through lack of trying, he never managed to gain much weight. We started to notice that he was getting very unsteady on his feet and he seemed to be having difficulty eating normal rat food.

Caramel and Minty on a rare excursion out of their cage

Caramel and Minty on a rare excursion out of their cage

All ratties love baby food and Minty was no exception, even in his weakened state he enjoyed being hand fed large amounts of baby food. Unfortunately this was not enough to sustain him, as he had also stopped drinking. It became obvious to us that Minty was getting very confused and was not comfortable. So again we made the difficult decision to say goodbye to one of our little rattie friends, and took Minty to the vet to be put to sleep.

Toffee has handled the loss of his two brothers very bravely and he is enjoying extra attention, and food, from us. He is such a cuddly little chap and while we know we can never make up for proper rattie companionship, we are certainly doing our best.

Toffee's new brothers

After a few months of being on his own, it became obvious Toffee was not a happy boy. He wasn’t eating much, not like Toffee at all, and he didn’t want to get up and see us. It was breaking our hearts seeing him so unhappy. So we set about finding him some new brothers. As luck would have it our local RSPCA had two older male rats looking for a home, so we went along to meet them. We took one look at the two rats and knew it would be a match made in heaven.

Visit Toffee, Pickle & Tomato’s page to find out why.

Our rats, Caramel, Toffee and Minty