I've had rats since 2009. I started with Possum and Cinder.
The Squash Sisters
So named because their mother's name was Acorn Squash. They were the only two females in a litter of nine, born on June 19, 2009.
About Possum: Possum had always been the more outgoing rat. When I first adopted her, despite her fear of a new environment, she was too curious, and we quickly got to know each other. Since then, we had a very special bond. She was notorious for being aggressive towards other rats, particularly the French Mistresses (See their section below). Possum was highly prone to mammary tumors and since her life began, she underwent three surgeries to remove them, getting through them very well, and stronger than ever. She had a determined walk, contrary to the whimsy that seems to haunt the French ladies. After the death of her sister, she lived alone, and we spent a lot of quality time together. Later in her life, she developed multiple tumors which, because of her advanced age, were determined to be inoperable. One of them produced fluids, and we had to periodically drain it to reduce the pressure on her organs. On November 26, 2012, she passed away in her sleep. That morning, she made a lot of noise, and insisted that I hold her before I went to work. I spent five minutes cuddling her and consoling her. When I came home from work that evening, she had already passed. She was always such a fighter, and even the night before she passed, she stole part of my sandwich, just to have a tasty bite. We miss her dearly.
Nicknames: Miss Possum, Possum-girl, Fatty, Stinky-butt, Pumpkin Pie, Awesome-Possum, Possum Rat
|Meet Miss Possum. She's about ten or so weeks old in this photograph.|
|Possum loves to get into trouble by doing dangerous things.|
|She wants treats. She always wants treats.|
|Spending time with momma|
|Towards the end of her life, she liked to sit on my chest, snuggled in my robe, and sleep for hours.|
Nicknames: Miss Cinder, Scared-y Rat
|Meet Cinder. She was so terrified of me for the first week that I rarely even saw her for all her hiding.|
|She loved to explore, once she came out of her shell|
|Just like her sister, she always wanted treats.|
|Sisters at Play|
|They always found time to sleep together.|
|Curled up in their igloo.|
|Every Day, Yummies Time Happens.|
|Nothing is Better than Cuddlesleep|
The French Mistresses
So named, because the older of the two, Bielle, has a French name. When I adopted her cagemate, I decided to match the theme, and named her French Toast, instead of just the regular kind. Bielle is now just over a year old, and French Toast will be a year late this month.
About Bielle: Bielle was adopted when she was just four weeks old. She was sold to a pet store from a breeder at two weeks old, and she and her littermates developed a respiratory infection a week later. Though all recovered just fine, it left poor Bielle with a scarred respiratory system, which causes her to have fits in which she makes chirping-type noises, and she is highly prone to other respiratory infections. Since her adoption, she has had one full-on infection (which left her with a permanent head tilt), two "flare-ups" (in which she was treated with antibiotics but did not need to be quarantined), and one case of pneumonia, from which she would have died if she had not been swiftly treated by the wonderful doctors at Liverpool Animal Health Centre in Liverpool, NY. She turned a year old on November 5th, and currently enjoys her life with her best friend, French Toast. Since I essentially raised her, she has a very strong attachment to me, and is hesitant to trust others fully, although she does make friends with everyone!
Bielle's favourite activity is hoarding food and bedding in various nests around the bedroom. Unfortunately, Bielle left us on June 12, 2012, as the result of a stroke that out her in a coma and made it very difficult for her to breathe. Because of her condition at the time, we had to made the hard decision to let her go.
Nicknames: Bielle-y-elle, Stinky, Miss Bielle
|When I first adopted her, Bielle was small enough to sleep on top of her water bottle. It was her favourite place to sleep.|
|She wants to know where the yummies are.|
|This is probably my favourite photo of Bielle. She was running around the bed, and just as I was snapping the shutter, she poked her head out.|
|"Is it safe to come out?"|
|Here she is, eating broccoli in momma's hand. She was really that small. Now she's so big!|
About French Toast: French Toast was adopted as a friend for Bielle, since the little white rat was hated by the older ladies. Adopted at six weeks old, she was nervous and unaccustomed to human touch. With lots of bonding, treats, and love, she has become my cuddliest rat. She loves to get full-body rubs, and enjoys being flipped on her back for belly rubs, tickles, and kisses. She will be a year old in the third full week of March. Since her adoption, she has grown so fast, getting even bigger than Bielle, and closer to the size of Possum, who recently weighed in at 400 grams. Unlike the other rats, French Toast trusts others very easily, and has bonding well with everyone who enters the house. She is also extremely acrobatic, and can jump onto and into anything she wants.
In this cold February weather, we have had some intense ups and downs with Toasty, recently. In December, around Christmas-time, she developed a uterine infection, which caused her to bleed from her vulva. She was on an intense regimen of antibiotics for two weeks, which stopped the bleeding, but she soon began to have trouble eating. After several vet visits, we have come to the determination that she has either cancer, or a pituitary tumor. Her symptoms are fairly consistent with either. She has since been put on painkillers, and she is doing much better, with an altered diet of crushed grains soaked in Silk soy milk. At her highest weight before illness, she weighed 515 grams, or 1.1 pounds, giving her the temporary nickname of Texas Toast.
On Sunday, 17 February 2013, we lost our dear Toasty to her illness. She was going to turn two a month from today.
Nicknames: Toast, Miss Toast, Toasty-Toast, Toast-Toast, Fat-Rat, Toasty, Fat Toast, Texas Toast
|Getting some rest on the second floor of the cage.|
|Cuddling with momma makes Toasty sleepy.|
|Squishy nap time|
|Snuggles with her pal, Bielle|
The Big Boys
In June 2012, I adopted two three-month old dumbo males. They have since grown into monsters, just under a year old.
About Ares: Ares has the sort of face that makes you just want to cuddle him. He is clumsy, energetic, and squishy. He loves to get scritched in between his shoulders, on his belly, and all down his back. His favourite thing to do during playtime is tackle and wrestle his brother, Loki. So far, he has learned to climb up into Richard's dresser drawers if they are open just a little bit. It's hard to get upset with him because he's just so darn cute. When he wants attention, he opens his eyes very wide, and administers what we call "The Bear Face."
Nicknames: Big Bear, The Bear
|Ares, the Bear|
|The "Emperor Ares Sleep Face"|
|His butt's in the air. It must be playtime.|
|I took this photo the day after I adopted the boys. Ares wanted nothing to do with me until he realized I had papaya and other yummies|
|All tuckered out after running around the room|
The Young Boys
In November, I went to Petsmart to buy bedding, food, and treats. What I ended up with was food, bedding, treats, and two young male rats.
About Hamlet: Hamlet is a skittish, skinny, massively cute dumbo boy. We adopted him as a friend for younger Scraps, and we placed them in the same cage at Petsmart initially, to determine if they would get along. We were so nervous, because all of our previous introduction attempts (that is, between the older and younger ladies), had failed. Luckily, they became such fast friends. Hamlet has brought us such joy, being playful, curious, and very much like our little Bielle. He has the same trot she used to, and cleans everyone as soon as he walks up to them. So far, he hasn't hit his growth spurt, but at just under five months old, he has a lot of time to grow! He was named Hamlet because he's a very dramatic little boy.
Nicknames: Hammy, Ham-Ham, The Ham, Hammy-Ham, Little Ham
About Scraps: When we spotted little Scraps, barely four weeks old and just about the length of the palm of my hand, we fell in love with him. We picked him up, fussed with him, and became convinced by the minute we just had to take him home. He was feisty, cute, and tiny; all he needed was a new friend. He was living alone in the Petsmart cage, so we went to where the dumbos we kept, found Hamlet, and put them together for a test run. After we brought them home, their bond became deep and loving, and they are great friends. At just around four months old, now, he has ballooned in size, getting long and fat very quickly. We often wonder how he got to be so big! Now, he loves to wrestle, chew cardboard, and sleep in all the weirdest ways.
Nickname: Scrappy Doo
|Tiny Baby Scraps could fit inside of a little mouse house when we first brought him home|
|There's a baby rattie in there, really!|
|How could you not love that face?|
|Scraps often sleeps like this. His our first rattie with this tendency.|
|Such good friends!|