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.

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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?

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 Рunforgiveable 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:

IMG_1117 IMG_1120 IMG_1084 IMG_1093

Added sweetener

Some medicine for rats is awful. Baytril, for example, has to be hidden in some delicious treat.

Luckily, ViralGuard Junior is designed for human children. I give it to my rats to boost their immune system. A number of them have issues with wheezing and so on, so it’s an added boost to keep them healthy. And they love it!

I just had to take a video of how excited they get to take their ‘medicine’.

Foot fetish

I have a confession: I love the silky soft texture, the tiny pink perfection. I love how each one is unique. Sometimes, I even like to kiss them!

Rat footsies are adorable! They really are different, just like people’s feet are different. Different rats hold themselves in different ways, perhaps tending to place their weight on different parts of the foot. As they age, too, they hunker down more and run around on tippy-toes less.

And here, a small museum of rat feet for your amusement…

Thane’s feet are small and rounded, kind of like Cortez’s feet were.

Thane's feet remind me of Cortez's.

Thane’s feet remind me of Cortez’s.

Godric’s feet are long and pointed, and the nails point upward.

Godric's long feet

Godric’s long feet

And yet it’s always Eric who seems to have a problem with long nails.

Eric's feet with his long nails.

Eric’s feet. His nails don’t seem so long at the moment.

Mordin’s back legs are a bit awkward, with the legs and toes always splayed wide as if he is always struggling to balance.

Mordin's awkward back foot.

Mordin’s awkward back foot.

The best part of all, though, is rat feet in action, doing what they do best – distracting me from getting anything done, unless you count ‘taking photos of rats’ as getting things done.

Godric sleeps

Godric sleeps

Stretch!

Stretch!

And best of all, with his little foot in his mouth…

Toes!

Toes!

What part of your pet do you find just oh so cute?

Just enough to wet the toes

The water is just shallow enough for us not to notice our feet have that awful watery stuff on them.

The water is just shallow enough for us not to notice our feet have that awful watery stuff on them.

My boys are not water babies. None of my rats have been really. Mostly they view any body of water deep enough to touch their belly fur with a fair amount of suspicion (especially those that have experienced The Bath – I don’t think any of my current boys have, though).

Yesterday was a very hot day and so I decided to give them their first ‘swim’ of the season. I happened to choose a shallow tray which could not hold so much water, and was pleasantly surprised to see them walking about it in, completely unfazed. So yesterday evening and this evening the rats received their helping of peas and corn sort of submerged.

I was very chuffed with Thane, standing there so bravely, with both feet planted in the water.

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.