Newbies!

IMG_2177_resizeWell, that’ll teach me to be an animal lover, won’t it.

So I answered a Preloved ad for a pair of year-old rats. Ideal, thought I, to fill the gap between my creaky old gents and the boisterous young Zephyrs who are driving them nuts simply with wanting to play. The owner of the rats in question seemed lovely; she was fretting about her rats’ wellbeing and obviously loved them very much. They were up for homing because the daughters they’d been bought for were a bit too young to find rats interesting long term. Mum also mentioned during our conversation that her neighbour had a separate two rats she wanted to get rid of because she was pregnant. I explained that I couldn’t house eight rats permanently due to lack of cage space, but would take them temporarily if the neighbour was desperate. Continue reading

Dear Fingermouse

IMG_1125Dear Fingermouse,

Yes, I know it’s a little bit scary when Adso and Uncle Pepper turn into a screeching ball of rage in the carrier on the way back from free range. I’m not quite sure why they did that either. But I would like you to know that you are¬†not allowed¬†to¬†give Daddy a minor heart attack by apparently disappearing from a completely bare cage on a night when every window in the house is open, nor indeed to consequently force me to run round the house calling your name and looking under things for most of an hour. Especially not in my stupidest pyjamas. And you are absolutely,¬†definitely not allowed to subsequently¬†reappear from behind the &$*%ing litter tray looking utterly bemused at why I’m in such a panic. As if that wasn’t bad enough I’d already set up a makeshift Fingermouse trap, so thanks to you my useful bucket now smells like Nutrical. You’re a pain.

We just clicked…

IMG_1509So after many delays and interruptions, I’ve finally started click training with the Zephyr boys. With Salt ill and only four rats in total my free range arrangements are complicated just now – I can’t let both Salt and Adso out together, or Adso tries to drive off the sickly risk-to-the-colony rat and beatings ensue. So I either let them out in two pairs separately, or put Pepper and Fingermouse in the bathroom and swap Salt and Adso in shifts. I’m trying to keep Pepper and the Zephyrs familiar with each other so that I can put him back in the big cage without issues as and when Salt passes on.

Today is a shift day, and I thought I’d start the training with Adso in the attempt to address his attitude problem with being caught again at the end of free range. Continue reading

Augh! Kids.

IMG_1197

All I wanted to do was get in a shower while the boys bounced about in the bathroom. It’s been a revolting, hot, sticky day and I’ve had a migraine.

Smokey the hamster: *in the lounge, frantically chewing her cage bars*
Fingermouse: Dad, why are you all wet? Why do you smell funny?
Adso: …dad? *sniff sniff* I’m *almost* sure that’s you… can I pee on your foot to make sure?
Me: NO – oh, for… just when I was clean.
Adso: Daaaaaad! Pepper’s hitting me!
Me: And whose fault is that, you belligerent little brat? Now Fingermouse, let go of Daddy’s towel –
Salt: Ow! Adso, get off me!
Me: YOU LEAVE MY POORLY BABY ALONE!
Adso: Ner ner, can’t catch mee – oh. You can. *hangs there looking silly*
Me: *dumps Adso back in cage with a cursory lump of watermelon*
Smokey: *is still frantically chewing her bars*

Oh dear…

IMG_1048Well it’s been a stressful week or two here at Ratbag Towers. Not only have I got a bunch of impressively scary stuff to deal with in my personal life, but poor old Salt went whiter than his own belly fur last Wednesday, and on Friday was diagnosed with a lymphatic tumour. I’ve been in a whirlwind of medications and cage rearrangements and supervised free-range and breaking up who’s-the-alpha-now arguments, and it’s only just beginning to settle into a routine.

As things stand, I’ve split the boys two and two for the sake of giving Salt some peace. Salt and Pepper are in the old cage but have been relocated to the floor, and the Zephyrs are having a great time ricocheting around the slightly larger and far stronger new cage I’d been planning to replace it with anyway. (The weight of the hamster cage on top was making their 100cm Mamble buckle, so I’ve retired it as a hospital and holiday cage.) Continue reading

Dear Fingermouse

IMG_1676_cropDear FIngermouse,

The reason it is raining poo on your head is that you are standing in the litter tray while I’m trying to clean it.

Dear Fingermouse,

The reason I am now shouting at you is that it is raining poo on my carpet. The reason it is raining poo on my carpet is that you knocked the litter tray off the cage while I was trying to clean it because you decided it would be fun to go for a climb.

Dear Fingermouse,

The reason the Howling Death Beast has come out to terrify all four of you is that you knocked the litter tray all over the carpet and I am now having to hoover up litter. And poo. I am increasingly of the opinion that I am never having children.

Yours,

Daddy