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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The result of terror is… kinda cute

Eating in defensive formation.

Eating in defensive formation.

It was just one of those evenings. One of those weeks actually, as it turned out. Perhaps it was because my afternoon work for that week was at a house with dogs and cats. It’s not like I went there and rolled in dogs and cats, but nevertheless – the rats could smell it on me. Or at least that is the only explanation I can come up with.

I must say, it is pretty insulting to come home and your rats want nothing to do with you. I mean, are these not the hands that feed them? And while we are on the topic of things the rats were still open to…

I decided to try the old faithful – a snack to help them to feel more comfortable (food usually has that effect) – so I got them each half a grape. This was quite welcome but, as you can see, not terribly reassuring.

Each rat took his little grape half and went off to hide somewhere and eat it, far away from the big bad mom. Garrus, Mordin and Godric were taking cover in the gap between the cages, and they stayed right there, huddled as far back as possible so they could eat their little snack while still keeping a watchful eye out.

Critical mass reached. Vet trip triggered.

Four of the boys got bundled off to the vet on Saturday. Godric has been on Baytril for most of his life now as he wheezes every day. Mordin and Garrus have also been wheezing and they have been on Baytril for about a month now, which doesn’t seem to have made much difference. So I have been thinking of taking them to the vet to ask about the possibility of using antihistamines.

On Friday night Eric’s  cheek suddenly swelled up and, while I suspected it was just a result of an overzealous scuffle, it seemed like I had reached a critical mass of rat health problems and it was time to take them.

As expected, the vet figured Eric would be fine, and the swelling has gone down pretty quickly, so no problem there. Most likely Garrus is too blame. He can be quite nasty sometimes.

For the wheezers,  I asked about the antihistamines and he gave me a dosage to give them of Allegex Elixir – the children’s syrup – and we will see how that goes. The vet also said if they had an ongoing respiratory infection, he would expect them not to be quite so healthy in all other respects. So it is possible they are having allergy problems. Like their mommy.

I hope that it sorts them out because allegies would be infinitely better than respiratory infections. I will post updates on whether it works.

Sharpshooting photoshooter

A photoshoot with rats should never be undertaken lightly.

Garrus escapes from the set.

I will never pose for you! Never!

It’s been some time since I have tried it, and so I was quite excited to do another photoshoot with my dear fuzzbutts, unaware of what awaited me.

I went out to get some batteries for my camera, and I picked up a small pack of mini-marie biscuits at the same time – a little bit of bribery.

I set up the ‘stage’ on my bed: a cream blanket covering a section I partitioned with boxes, with as much light as I could manage from bedside lamp, the light of the room and an extra light I found.  I hate using flash and since I have an automatic camera, a lot of light is necessary to prevent motion blur.

Well, by the time I was set up and ready, all of my rats were convinced that whatever I was doing in the room was a trap to be avoided at all costs (where is the trust, rats?).

Well, the moment the first rat’s little legs touched the blanket on the ‘stage’, he was off.  Not one of those rats was willing to stay on that stage for long enough for me to lift my camera to my eye.

“Try a biscuit,” I thought. Hah!

“Great! Thanks mom, I’m just gonna go eat it round the corner in the box, ‘kay?”

Well, I managed to get a few only slightly blurry action shots and then, eventually, I had to bring out the big guns – porridge. See, porridge is one thing I know will get them to stay in place and eat, because they can’t pick it up and run away with it! Problem solved! Sort of.  So I don’t quite have the photos I wanted, but I have photos.

Oh alright mom, if you insist, I guess I'll sit still for you.

Oh alright mom, if you insist, I guess I’ll sit still for you.

Oh hey - what's this?

Oh hey – what’s this?

What? You expect me to pose with this thing?

What? You expect me to pose with this thing?

Quit shoving!

Quit shoving!

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm.

Instagram? More like Ratstagram

My almost complete failure to photograph anything other than rats.

My almost complete failure to photograph anything other than rats.

As soon as I got my new Android phone, I started an Instagram account. The intention was to post rat photos AND OTHER THINGS. I have mostly failed at the other things. The account is about 98% rats.

The worst time is cage cleaning time. It takes me twice as long as it should to clean cages because I put them all in one cage while I clean the other. So, of course, there are SO MANY cute moments of them all getting comfy together.

Oh look – they changed position and are now even cuter than the last photo I took… And so it goes…