March 2009 - August 2009

Our precious little rat, Tulip

A shy little girl has joined the family

The RSPCA called us last week to see if we had room for a female rat that had been brought in who needed an experienced home. She was a little bit nervy, with a tenancy to nip and seeing as we had adopted a problem rat from them before, they thought they’d give us a try.

We thought long and hard about it and decided that because she was alone we could squeeze in another girl and so we went to meet her. She was called Venus and when we saw here we were happily surprised to see she looked very much like our sweet girl Petal. Venus had been brought in by an RSPCA inspector. Her previous owner had been keeping her in a hamster cage and judging by her timid nature she hasn’t been played with very much at all.

As expected she is very nervous, but she looks surprisingly healthy and inquisitive. From her shape and size we think she is still quite a young rat, probably between six months to a year in age. When we first decided to adopt her I wanted to call her Raspberry, but after seeing how much she looked like Petal we had to give her a flower related name. So, we have named her Tulip.

For now we are giving her lots of time, space and treats to help her settle in and find her confidence. We may have to wait a while to take pictures of her too, we don’t want to scare her, as she can be a bit jumpy when we move about. Hopefully given time she is going to become another fun loving member of the family, and I’ll have lots of stories to tell about the trouble she and her new sisters get into.

Tulip's moved home

It was always planned that Tulip was going to move into Sugar, Pearl, Smudge and Muffin’s cage, but we wanted to wait a few weeks to be on the safe side. Not only would this be quarantine time, but also it was also meant to give us time to get to know her.

However, Tulip had other ideas and she managed to chew a hole in her water bottle. The bottle was on the outside of the cage, but Tulip is fairly small and the bars were obviously wide enough for her to get her nose out. She chewed quite a large hole in the bottom of the bottle, causing it to leak in her cage. I was already quite frazzled with all the worry about one of my rat boys, Pepper. So, rather than just clean her wet cage out and give her a new bottle, I picked her up and plopped her in with the other girls. There was a bit of scuffling at first, but then it all settled down and everyone found their own place to sleep. Tupil’s was high up in a plastic tunnel.

It is obvious Tulip hasn’t been handled, or let out to run around, very much at all before she joined our family. She isn’t very good at jumping and her run is more of a waddle. I’m hoping that having a new rattie family will encourage her to explore and build up some confidence when out and about.

She does nip us and squeak when we pick her up, but that is more warning than aggression. We feel very positive that she is going to settle in well and have, and be, lots of rattie fun.

There are no photos of our new little girl just yet, she is so jumpy and gets very nervous when we try to hold the camera near her. We will keep trying and fingers crossed we’ll get some lovely pictures of our pretty little girl soon.

A sneaky picture of Tulip

We finally got a photo of our shy little rat. Here’s little Tulip in bed with two of her sisters, Muffin and Smudge. She’s not very impressed with the intrusion, but its playtime so they’re all getting up anyway.

Little Tulip

Little Tulip

She is much more relaxed in the presence of other rats and we’re hopeful she’ll want to get to know us a bit more now.

Our timid little girl has passed away

Little Tulip enjoying a bran flakeWe are very sad to say we had to have our sweet girl Tulip put to sleep this morning. She had been unwell for awhile, and we were forced to come to the difficult conclusion that it was best to say goodbye to her.

Just over a month ago we noticed that Tulip was looking a little round, at first we thought maybe she was getting a bit fat, though deep down we knew it wasn’t true. As the weeks passed the roundness in her tummy kept getting worse, it didn’t stop her getting about and enjoying her play time, though it she did begin to alter her walk to compensate for her roundness. A few times she showed real signs that something was wrong and we’d find her laying flat out in a plastic tube, with her feet behind her not responding to us. These bouts usually passed very quickly and she’d be back to her old self again.

Then three weeks ago she started with very bad diarrhea, at first it didn’t seem to bother her, though it did make the cage a little smelly. We got her some baytril and some pro-biotic to try and help settle her tummy, but unfortunately this didn’t help. Eventually it became obvious that Tulip was havening more and more difficulty going to the toilet and she would often just collapse on the floor obviously very uncomfortable. Her energy levels were also beginning to drop and she would get very tired while out playing, and because of her round tummy the other rats would find it very easy to roll her over, and while they didn’t mean any harm it wasn’t very nice for Tulip.

Tulip only had five short months with us, and it all seems horribly unfair. While we don’t know exactly how old Tulip was, we do know that she was kept on her own, in too small a cage and not handled enough, if at all, by her first owner. She was always very nervous of us, though she loved living and playing with her sisters. In the time she was with us she learned to jump up things and get into all sorts of mischief, but we always struggled to get her to interact with us, even if it was to take a treat from us. Her timidness also meant that we struggled to take photographs of her, which is a bit sad for us as we love looking at pictures of our babies and remembering our time with them.

Our little girl will always be very special to us and we know that Tulip was as happy as she could be given the circumstances, but still we are going to miss her very much and I can’t help but wish that we’d had more time with her.

Tulip enjoying a drink at playtime and eating with one of her sisters

Tulip enjoying a drink at playtime and eating with one of her sisters