Long story short: the vet I chose to possibly do the espay--one of the highest rated rat vets in Chicagoland--got the flu and had to cancel our appointment last Monday. We rescheduled for tomorrow, and I just got a call that she's still sick and our appointment has now been pushed back until next Tuesday.
I'm positive it will be too late for the espay by then and, to be honest, it probably would've been too late (or Pancake would've been too small) this week.
So, here's where we're at: I temporarily separated Mooshoo and Pancake in the rare case she wasn't pregnant. They both became very stressed at being alone and, when it became clear that she IS (she's not growing in the belly each day), I put them back together. They are MUCH happier.
If I had to guess, I'd say she's got 8-10 days left, and then she's going to give birth. I've been watching for hair loss around her nipples and for nesting behaviors. Nothing yet. Though, she has grown MUCH more timid, and she doesn't want to play as much. She was SO social and playful before. Is that normal?
I've been doing as much research as I can, and I understand that, in a few more days, I'll need to separate them and create a birthing habitat. I do have some questions, listed below. I really do appreciate all of the feedback.
1. Will Mooshoo (the male) be okay being alone for 5-6 weeks? I plan on putting the cages side-by-side.
2. Pancake will likely be 7-8 weeks old when she gives birth. Is that too young? Anyone had experience with mothers that young?
3. We will want to have her spayed as soon as we can after the birth. We'll likely need to wait until the pups are weaned, right? We want to do it ASAP so that we can get her and Mooshoo back together ASAP.
4. Since they will likely be in separate cage for 5-6 weeks, will Mooshoo and Pancake be able to re-bond once they are back together?
5. We won't be able to keep all of the babies. We will do our best to get them adopted into loving homes, and we will take the rest back to the pet store. Will Pancake resent us for taking her pups? As I said before, she is the sweetest rat. Will she stay sweet after the pups are gone?
6. Anyone in Chicagoland interested in adopting some blue dumbo pups?
Thanks, again, for all of the input!