Borlu, the new guy

After having only Dexter and Lundy for a long time, always worrying about illness, and finding out eventually that I was paranoid and my rats are in fact healthy… I was scrolling through the Mischief Rat Rescue Facebook page and I saw there was a litter needing homes in Port Elizabeth! This is a pretty rare occurrence. I admit it didn’t take me too long to decide I wanted to get more rats.

So I contacted the owner. I would have liked to take two little boys, but only one was left – a siamese. I named him Borlu*.

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Siamese 'receding hairline'

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The difficulties were: that Lundy and Dexter have lived with only each other for so long, that little Borlu was alone in facing two much bigger boys, and that perhaps I rushed thing a bit in the beginning trying to introduce them.

It took three weeks before they were living together. Which is not so long really, but it was a stressful three weeks. The first neutral area was surely not neutral enough. It took a couple of times in the shower and a coincidental trip to the vet to get them huddling together. 

Finally, the three are living for now in my third cage, which had been unused. When Borlu is big enough, they will move into the big cage that Lundy and Dexter were in before.

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First day in new cage - Lundy still gets puffy!

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Eating together happily at last!

*Borlu is named after a character from China Miéville’s novel “The City and the City”.

New boys

I have not written in a long time. So many things have changed. All the boys from my 6-pack have now passed on. The last one, Tyrion, died in my arms – a blessing in a way, as anyone who has rats would understand.

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To commemorate my lost “babies”, I had some mugs made with their pictures on. This is very much in my idiom because I like drinking my tea from beautiful mugs, and what could be more beautiful than all those precious memories of those adorable faces?

I have two new little guys, who I got when Tyrion, Thane and possibly even Godric were still around. The hope was to provide company for Tyrion/Thane since they didn’t get along. It didn’t work out so well. Tyrion was too sick and as it was I started to hear sounds in the new boys’ lungs. I have decided no more new rats until after these two have gone. Fresh start. I can’t keep having each new rat get infected.

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Their names are Dexter and Lundy. They are brothers from two different litters, one shortly after another. I got them from Mischief Rat Rescue. Both are supposedly “silverfawn”. Lundy has got some beautiful fawn flecks from the base of his tail, fading up his back. Dexter is more just the champagne colour you see. Lundy is the older, and he is quite the cuddler. Dexter is more playful,  curious, skittish.

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I recently took them out into the back yard for the first time, something I am not keen on because of the dogs. But it went well. They stayed in the cage, obviously. I think it was good for them and I will try to do it more often.

Birthdays come twice a year

The boys have been sick and they still are, but at the moment, it seems to be levelling out. They are not better, but better than they were a little while ago. I won’t go into detail, but it has been tiring. Garrus lost a lot of weight, and Godric seemed to have found it all and taken it for himself – he is such a pompom now! There is no more confusing him and Eric – the difference in weight is enormous. I am feeding Garrus extra and he doesn’t seem to be losing any more.

One bright note – we had another birthday party. Birthdays come twice a year in our home. Mordin, Garrus and Thane were born around the same time and they turned one in February this year.

Tyrion, Eric and Godric are all petshop rats and I guess their birthdays to be in July, with Eric and Godric turning two and Tyrion turning one. So they all got a little treat to celebrate. They were a little put out that mommy used it as a photo opportunity and made camera clacking sounds while they were trying to eat. The noms were worth it though.

Fighting… and making up

Ever since Tyrion got to be a ‘big boy’ (read: teenager) and started throwing his 300g of weight around (he is still the smallest of the pack), he and Thane have not seen eye to eye. Tyrion pins Thane, perhaps even  gets a bit puffy in doing so, and then moves on with his life, happy in the knowledge that he is king of the neighbourhood. Later, when it comes time to go to bed, Tyrion will happily climb into the same bed as his subject, Thane, but Thane is not interested in sleeping with the enemy.

Hiss!

Hiss! Gerrofit!

Lately it seems to have calmed down a bit, and they are not fighting as often. It is so much cuter when they cuddle:

Put aside their differences.

Put aside their differences.

Thane really is a character all his own. He is the most timid of my rat pack; the most likely to stay in his cage rather than come out, the quickest to go back to his cage when he is out, and the first to run and hide at the slightest noise. He does have his own ‘curiosity time’, though, and it doesn’t seem to be on the same schedule as everyone else. He can be very curious at times and it is so much fun to watch his curiosity battle it out with his inherent fear of everything. I will leave you with this final picture, which is one of my favourite ‘Thane moments’.

Um... hello?

Um… hello?

The cutest thing

Often the cutest moments with rats can be the most difficult to capture – due to their speed, low lighting indoors and my particular dislike for using flash.

This is one of those moments that I have never captured before because my hands are usually busy, but I tried it and managed to get some photos that show how cute they are when they are taking something they like from a syringe.

Yes please!

Yes please!

I've got it!

I’ve got it!

Come here!

Come here!

Time hurries on

I have not written in a while, I know. I have not felt there has been much to say lately. I keep on medicating, hoping my little guy will stop wheezing, continually being disappointed. Sometimes it is a psychological battle to get him to take it – he is too smart for his own good and not yet old enough to sagely accept the slightly funny-tasting porridge for the gift that it nevertheless is – something Godric came to do over time.

Apart from that, the boys are growing, their lives a microcosm; a couple of months pass, half a year, and we don’t even notice it. We say to each other, ‘wow, the year is passing quickly’ when we suddenly realise it’s April – just like we do every year.

And in that time passing unnoticed, Tyrion goes from baby to teenager, fighting with his brothers, though still the smallest of the group.  Garrus, Mordin and Thane turn one and I am so caught up in my thoughts, I only remember 3 weeks later – unforgiveable as two of them have pedigrees and I know their exact birth date. We have a small party of muffins.

It's MY birthday!

It’s MY birthday!

Time passes, and slowly the older boys can be convinced to cuddle from time to time. My identical black Berkshires – Eric and Godric – are now easier to tell apart from the front. Godric’s nose has gone brown, while Eric’s is more grey. Godric is also now about 100g heavier than Eric – as much a sign of Eric’s current illness as of Godric’s lifelong illness. Godric has been getting his medicine in a spoonful of porridge twice a day for most of his life. They will turn 2 in just a few months. Eric occasionally lets me cuddle him now, for a short while at a time – such precious moments.

The wheezing is an issue with the current group, something I don’t recall ever experiencing before with my previous rats. Perhaps once it goes around the group, you battle to get rid of it. We keep on keeping on, trying different medications, trying to keep the temperature steady, the cage clean… Some of them show improvement, others not so much.

Anyway, here are some more photos from the birthday party:

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