Paw Talk - Pet Forums banner

1 - 20 of 142 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 6yo son and I were introduced to a very personable, well-socialized, and surprisingly calm (considering her environment) female rat at a local Petco yesterday. Needless to say, my son will be getting his (our) first pet rat this weekend. I'm hoping to have the bare necessities in order to pick her up on Saturday, and take care of the rest over the following few days.

I've got loads of questions. Duh.

We'll eventually get a second female, from the same location, and also hand-selected by the small animals manager (she socializes and spoils them while they're in the store) - hopefully within two weeks of bringing the first one home.

I know a need a roomy cage, preferably with more than one level, and no wire bar platforms if I can avoid it (I'd cover them regardless, because even the grids look uncomfortable to me although my research suggests they are not linked to bumblefoot the way the wire bar platforms are. I also know I need a good quality rat food for daily use and a decent water bottle.

Any advice on the cage, which will eventually house two female rats? If I end up needing to order something and have to wait for it to arrive I have a small aquarium I can use as a temporary home, but I'm not comfortable with the idea of using it as a permanent home, even with an appropriate topper.

How about the food? What should we supplement their food with, and are there any things we should not give them? Water's a no brainer, and I'm planning to occasionally provide a bowl of water for them to play in, although their primary source will be a gravity bottle.

I know to avoid cedar and pine shavings for litter, and was planning to avoid wood litter entirely. I read somewhere that some people use pads instead of litter, keeping several on hand to replace as needed and throwing them into the washing machine after shaking off any pellets, much the way you would a baby's cloth diaper. I wasn't able to find any additional information about this, so I'd love to know more. How well does it work? Should you provide a small box with litter for them to use or does it really not make much difference if you're using pads?

I know they'll need a nesting spot, and we're planning, at least for now, to let them use small cardboard boxes - they can have fun shredding them if they want, and we can just replace them as needed.

I was told we'd need a wheel, although I know some rats could care less. Not sure about our little lady, although the first time I saw her she was sitting in the wheel with her head tucked under her just outside the wheel, fast asleep.

Not sure what else to ask. This will be a first for everyone in the house. I've done some research (it's what I do), but so much of what's out there is contradictory and superficial. I'll be picking up some reference books as well, so I wouldn't mind recommendations if anyone has them.

She appears to be in very good health, her teeth look great, she's calm, playful, and inquisitive, but not, apparently, prone to dashing off when there's a willing lap or arm or shoulder to perch on.
 

·
Official Loofah Tester
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
Oh my, this post makes me smile.

Your post sounds just like some of my inquiries when I was first getting rats. So much to learn, so little time it feels like.

I can answer your questions as I know them, and other folks can fill in where I'm missing things or getting it wrong. :)

I'm part librarian part educator by profession, so I did loads of research on my first rats, and then created a series of blogs geared specifically towards helping a new rat owner get as much useful information in as short a time as possible. I posted many of my blogs right here on this site on my profile. Feel free to make use of them as needed. I'll even post links to you here as appropriate.

1) 2nd female: Depending on the age of the girls, you'll need to do proper introductions (intros) to get them accustomed to each other slowly. Rats are territorial by nature, but with sensitive help from their owners, can get along fine. You'll likely not want to put them in the same cage at first as this is where the highest level of territorial aggression occurs-it's the 'cage owner's' home after all. There's tons of introduction advice out there, which we and others will be happy to help you with, but just be aware that it's something you'll need to take into account. If they're juvenile females under 12 weeks old, intros should be fairly easy (2 adult males are the hardest kinds of intros).

2) Food: I've found the easiest thing to do is to order Native Earth lab block from Amazon and then supplement with fresh veggies. Even with the massive shipping fee, pound for pound it's consistently cheaper than other places I've looked, though I still poke around and do the math each time I need to buy. Native Earth is the commercial name of a extremely high quality 'all in one' laboratory block called Harlan Tekklad (sp?) which itself is not easily available to the public except in huge bulk amounts. There are other options depending on where you live. Even Native Earth comes in large 40 lb bags, but I usually divide it up into gallon baggies, and freeze the bulk of it to preserve nutritional value.

The lab block would represent the bulk staple of the rat's diet, and it should be supplemented with a variety of fresh veggies.

Many people swear by making their own rat food mix and have had great success with it. I know others will share theirs happily, and you'll find lots of variations online by researching, but I'm lazy and go for what's easiest. To me, the lab block guarantees they get all the nutrition in one bite instead of cherry picking the most tasty bits and leaving the rest.

Here is a page of nutritional info and safe/not safe foods for rats as shared by a rat breeder I know: http://www.pxrats.com/ratfood.html


3: Cage: Make sure the wires are 1/2 inch apart maximum. Most commercial cages have 1 inch spacing, which is just wide enough for some female rats to slip out of. Rats can escape anything they can wedge their head through. The footprint of the cage should be no less than 18 inches on its narrowest side, and ideally will provide multiple levels of climbing opportunity-the more and higher, the happier the rats.

Here is a cage calculator to determine minimum size for your cage. The calculator assumes the rats will spend lots of time out of their cage interacting with you like a dog or a cat. The more time they are expected to spend in the cage, the larger you'll want to get. Basically get the largest cage you can within your budget.

The cage will be the single biggest initial cost, so prepare for that.



Cage Calculator: http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml
My Blog on Cage Options: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=3943


Cage Bedding: You've got the right info on no pine etc. Aspen is the only safe wood bedding and a nice choice if you've got a deep pan in your cage.

There are other commercial options as well. Whatever you use, you'll want unscented/zero perfumes and as low a dust as you can manage. Rats have very weak respiratory systems and are extremely sensitive to perfumes and dust.

I use felt/flannel as my bedding. It has no knap or toenail tangling threads, it's non-messy, has zero dust and other lung irritants and is washable and recyclable into smaller scraps for them to play or snuggle with. I go to Joann's fabric store and get it by the half yard and yard @ half price or less in the remnants section. Since I wash them again and again this ends up being the cheapest and most hassle free bedding for me. You can also use towels cheap from walmart or some comparable place.

As for laying it down in the cage, it'll depend on how your cage is laid out. For my wire floor cages, I safety pinned them down. Some of my cages had a deep base that the wire walls set down in. In those, I'd just drape the floor, and then drop the cage on top of it to pin it into place.

I currently have a shallow basin Critter Nation. I bought a bunch of big bulldog clips. I cut the fabric to size so it is just big enough to overlap and then clip the bulldog clips on to hold them in place.

Optional info: Rats can be potty trained (for poo only). To start with, the first trick is using a different 'bedding' than they usually walk on. I use Unscented Yesterday's News (in the kitty litter aisle of Petsmart), and put it in ferret sized litter pans in corners, and in shallow boxes at the landings of ladders.

My "Bringing Home Baby" Blog: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=3941 with more info. It should answer a lot of your other questions too.

Other Helpful Blogs:

Rat proofing your house blog: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=3939

Expected Cost of Keeping Your Rat blog: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=3939&goto=prev


And though you've got someone doing this part for you, here's info on selecting a rat for you (including superficial ways to determine health):
http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=238&goto=next

And for any future rats you might purchase, here's my guide to where to get rats: http://www.paw-talk.net/forums/blog.php?b=239&goto=prev

Start looking around now for a good exotics vet who specializes in rats now. Chances are your babies will have to go to the vet at least once in their action packed lives, due to antibiotic treatable respiratory issues, or injury. Shop around. Vets vary widely in cost and skill...some of them are highly skilled with rats and don't charge much. Some are highly skilled and charge you your first born child. The same holds true for non-skilled vets.

Best of the best of luck on your new rat lady. Welcome aboard! Once your post count allows you, I can't wait to see pictures of your baby. :D

PS: Oh, if you want another good rat site, go to www.goosemoose.com. They are an active site who collectively has more rat knowledge in one place than any other North American site. They are passionate and love their rats and while I've found them to be rather sharp and quick to judge, they /will/ give you outstanding advice and info if you're willing to keep a thicker skin. :) I love the site.
 

·
Official Loofah Tester
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
Oh, I didn't mention the wheel:

If they've got lots of exploring places you won't need one. Everyone is correct in that rats will tend to use them less than other wheel riding rodents.

Females will use them a lot more, especially if they are introduced to them young.. Male rats may start on them while young, but they're such lazy squishes they'll most likely turn them into beds. The older your rat gets, the less they'll be active on one. There are rare exceptions to this. I have two high energy busy hairless boys who at 19 months old still occasionally run on the thing. Their lazy cage mates think they're crazy, but if you've got a busy hyper rat, go ahead and get one!

Word of caution: Because they are bigger and heavier than mice and hamsters, they're very prone to getting their thick tails and fat feet tangled in a wheel and hurt themselves, so it's important to get the right kind. You'll pay between 15 - 20 dollars for an appropriate one.

Avoid the 'ladder' style wheel at all cost. They're cheap, but these are just dangerous: http://www.midlandpetsupplies.com.au/images/P/MPS%20Rat%20Wheel.jpg

This mesh style is a little better in that it can be used but only if mounted properly on the side of the cage. Here's a picture of a smaller one mounted properly with a baby rat running on it: http://www.evergreenrattery.com/BabyWheel.jpg

Next level up is the closed mesh style: http://laurenbastug.com/img/toys

I have this kind, which is a closed solid wheel I found at Petsmart-Co/Supplies Plus etc. (Get the giant 12 inch wheel) : http://www.newcastlepets.co.uk/images/comfort wheel 12.jpg

The best, fanciest, and safest for rats is the Wodent Wheel. If I end up switching to a female colony at some point I may invest in this: http://www.fancypetrats.com/pet-rats-images/pet-rats-wodent-wheel.jpg

There's also a flying saucer version of a wheel. I haven't tried it, but one person said her rat loved it. I don't know anything practical about it other than it looks cool: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qP6Q1SyaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
 

·
Official Loofah Tester
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
I know I'm blowing up this thread, but I'm off work and keep coming up with things to add. LOL


Mycoplasmosis. Aside from Tumors and Abscesses, Myco will be potentially the biggest health risk facing your ratty. This is the biggest reason rats in the United States have such bad respiratory problems.

Here's one article on it: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/myco.htm

In a nutshell, it's an organism that has managed to infect virtually the entire pet rat population in the United States and Canada. It lives in a rat's lungs and reproductive organs and continuously attacks those tissues. It's not transferable to humans, but it's super contagious between rats. A rat's immune system is constantly fighting this stuff. Most of the time it copes well, but if the immune system is compromised, then it will flare up and leave the rat open to an upper respiratory infection (URI) which can turn into pneumonia and death. Myco and URI's can only be treated with antibiotics perscribed by a vet, and some weaker immune rats may need to stay on an antibiotic regimen for months at a time.

It can't practically be eliminated, but things that can be done to minimize its effects. Most of this will be a no brainer for anyone who takes care of their animals properly:

1) Good ventilation in the cage to prevent ammonia etc. build up. Example: wire cages instead of tank cages.
2) Good air quality: Keeping a clean cage, use low or no dust bedding with no perfumes, don't smoke around your rat, keep a clean house.
3) Good Cage Placement. Here's advice from a rat breeder I know: Put the cage somewhere where the rats will get the max amount of attention and be a part of the family & goings on. The living is a good place as long as its not a drafty spot or a spot too close to a window. I generally recommend that people partially cover their cages anyways most of the time by placing a blanket over the top, back and sides but leaving the front open. You don't have to cover it any more than that and they'll be happy. Its mostly for comfort and keeping out drafts, non-direct light is fine for them for the most part.
3) Good temperature control: Rats are sensitive to extremes of temperatures and the stress of coping causes them to pop up w/ URI's quickly: Between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit is their range.
4) Minimizing Stress: Keep familiar surroundings and routines, give them lots of time to warm up to new things, keep them protected from rowdy four and two legged family members.
5) Good Nutrition: This is huge. Give them a good varied diet which covers all of their nutritional needs.

I'm not an expert, but here's something my breeder friend recommended for my boys when they were going through stressful times as an immunity boost. Keep Echinacea/Goldenseal complex in your supply kit: http://diaryofahollywoodstreetking....2/02/echinacea-and-goldenseal-dynamic-duo.jpg

What she recommended was to break up a capsule and pour out the powder. One capsule is good for 6 rats, so 1/3 of a capsule would be plenty for two.

Mix 1/3 capsule powder into pudding, babyfood, soy yogurt, something similar they love. Give it to them once a day for two weeks then lay off a month. Then repeat if needed.

I've heard others say they've given their rats echinacea and goldenseal, but feel free to ask around and see what your vet or other experts think and make your own decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,347 Posts
Hello and welcome! Storyseeker has given such amazing and helpful advice on this question so my only question I wanted to ask about is your girl rat: Is there a reason you are not bringing both of the girls home together at the same time? I was not sure why you were only bringing one home, then bringing her friend home 2 weeks after that? I ask because it will be a lonely and scary first two weeks if your first girl is put all by herself in a new home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,347 Posts
P.S.

Ahh, I just re-read your original post and it may have answered my earlier question about why you are not bringing both girls home together at the same time. They are from different litters at the pet store I gather? Was your first girl all by herself in her tank at the store with no sisters with her? That might be why you need to do intros and not bring both girls home together at the same time?

By the way, BRAVO to you for being intelligent and trying to do as much research as you can before bringing home your ratties. That is SO wonderful to hear. I wish all prospective rat owners did this before jumping into this with little to no information or research. Super! Just based on your post, I can easily tell you have already learned so much about the basics regarding bedding, housing, litter, etc. Good for you!

I did have a tip on a great way to get the Harlan Tekklad that Storyseeker mentioned. Breyer, another regular poster on this forum and myself have both ordered our Harlan Teklad lab blocks from The Rat Shop (www.theratshop.com) and I highly recommend it as a thrifty and easy way to get your lab blocks. The prices are very reasonable (4.00 for a two pound bag for instance) and the shipping is not out of control expensive. They have a very decent variety of HT blocks and they are reliable.


Just as a side note too, in case you are ever tempted...those roller exercise balls that you see hamsters in sometimes? A big no-no for rats. I cannot believe they actually make those big enough for rats but rats do not like being in enclosed spaces and the ventilation in those roller balls is very poor. A rat will basically not only be scared and claustrophic in one of those, but he/she can overheat very easily. It didn't sound like you had any plans for a roller ball, just an exercise wheel possibly, so that is good. :)


I am very excited for you! You are going to love having ratties. They are simply the most wonderful, loving creatures. I have never had girl rats, just boys, but girls seem to be much more active and rambuctious than boys, for the most part. I know you will enjoy them, and Storyseeker has given you such excellent information, so make good use of it and it will help tremendously! :wavey:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,347 Posts
Here I go again...I had one more tip, on bedding. I use fleece and flannel for my boys' house. Zero dust, soft for their footies, and I just do a load of ratty laundry every week. But I do put litter pellets in their potty tray for them, of course. A lot of ratty owners use things like Yesterday's News pellet litter, Aspen Supreme, things like that, for their rats' potty tray.



Also, if you do decide to go the route of fabric bedding, make sure to use a detergent that has no dyes or perfumes since ratties have such delicate respiratory systems. I also use smaller pieces of cut up squares of flannel/fleece to put on some of their cage platforms or in their hidey huts, for extra comfort for them so they have soft places to nap or relax.



Another GREAT thing to have on hand that will be priceless: Non-scented/no perfume baby wipes, from the baby supply section of your local grocery store or drugstore. I always have a little tub of those around and they are perfect for wiping down their toys, platforms, ladders, just any of their ratty furniture in general, so they are a great all purpose ratty house cleaner. :yes:



And another thing...(oh there are always more things to post when it comes to ratties, eh?) I love using old pillowcases for my ratty kids. I toss a pillow case on one of their platforms in a big messy tumble and they love to snuggle right down in the middle of it. Or dig under it for fun. Old cotton t-shirts are great too. Ratties LOVE cloth, for napping, playing, booshing under or just relaxing on. And cotton is of course so soft and cool. Okay, enough said. For now. Wait until the forum members think of 2,389 other things we forget to mention. Ha!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Just posting to say ditto to everything Storyseeker and Vladina said! :) Good luck starting out, and I can't wait to see photos once you've got them home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
It seems like fabric bedding is a great option. The laundry issue won't be a problem because we're already on a strict perfume-free regimen because of me. I'll check my fabric stash for appropriate bedding materials and head to Joanne's if I need any more.

The reason we're only bringing home one is I wasn't intending on getting the rats right away when we went over there - I was wanting to see how my son behaved with a properly socialized rat (most of the Petcos and Petsmarts here don't make the effort the one closest to us does - their small animals manager is a real treasure). I never expected to run into one that just begged to come home home with us. Originally I wanted to adopt from All Rats Rescue, a rat rescue organization. I'm still wanting to do that for the second rat, unless they don't have a female who would be a good match for us. Who knows - if I get a decent-sized cage I might even end up with three.

Thanks for the info on the ball - I wasn't planning on getting one any time soon, but it had been mentioned as a possible purchase. Now I'll skip the idea entirely. It would probably scare the fur off one of my cats anyway - she's old and skittish.

Storyseeker, it sounds like you and I have a lot in common already - I'm a part-time biology professor and homeschool mom. I live for research, a fact which my students appreciate when they benefit from my research and hate when I expect them to do it themselves. Where rats are concerned, I've found so much contradictory information that I gave up and decided the best place to start was with people who have rats and are passionate about them. Thank you so much for all the information - it will take me a few hours to go through it all, but I'm sure I'll have more questions when I'm done.

Vladina, I'm not sure what I'll do yet about the 2nd rat. I don't want the first to be lonely or frightened, but the second female we were shown (the Petco near the house only carries females) just didn't grab me. She was very sweet, after a brief exploration she snuggled into the crook of my arm and decided to take a nap. She may just be extremely calm for a pet store rat, or that might be an indication that she's not as healthy as her more curious and alert littermate. I'll have to interact with her again. Plus, I really wanted to adopt rescue rats, as I mentioned above. Every non-aquatic animal I've ever owned (except for my Siamese who was a gift from my mother and grandfather because I love the breed) has been a rescue animal - I'm big on giving animals a second chance. I haven't had a chance to talk to the director of Any Rats Rescue, yet - we've been playing phone tag today - but I'll have a better idea how I should proceed once I do. I did get an email from her communications coordinator advising that they have cages and the like "for purchase at prices that are well below retail," so I think my cage options just went up considerably - perhaps enough to have room for additional rats.

I will have to stick to a single cage however, as my rat-sitter arrangements (the small animals manager at the pet store) will make multiple cages very difficult. I would like to have a small cage for transport to the vet as well as housing a new rat temporarily when I need to make introductions. I need to figure out what would work best for that as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Forgot to mention that a second rat from the same location (as mentioned in my original post) would be one of her littermates. If we go that route, the primary issue is I'm waiting for one of them to grab me. If we end up getting one from the same litter I imagine introductions will be brief.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,347 Posts
Ahh, it sounds like that second girl rat took to you very well, if she was comfortable enough to see you as a safe haven for curling up for a nap. Of course if she doesn't look healthy, that would be a different story. But it sounds like she took to you marvelously.

I agree about rescue ratties too, it is a great thing to do. Our second pair of boy rats we adopted from a local rat rescue and it is a great feeling to give otherwise unwanted ratties a second chance, so good for you.

But, yes, if that second girl is from the same litter, you should give her another chance and take a look at her. She would be your first rat's sister and their bond would be wonderful.
 

·
Official Loofah Tester
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
I'm with Vlad on checking her again. If there's still not a bond, then you'll know you did your best. And look her over again with an eye for medical issues. Does she sit puffy? Is her fur scraggly or ungroomed looking? Does she have red goop in her eyes or nose? Hold her up to your ear on both sides: Is her breathing clear, or does it sound poppy/rumbly/clicky/etc. Does she sneeze a whole lot? Etc. It may be however, that you lucked with a mello girl who'd be a wonderful lap pudge. A pair of rats to suit your every mood as it were.

I know I vomited an amateur rat encyclopedia onto your screen. Oopsie. I get excited when folks show genuine interest in doing right by these little guys. Ignore or use whatever you like. :D

Please keep us updated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I will definitely give her a second look - she may have been comforted by the smell of her sister all over me, too. She seemed otherwise healthy to me, and everything looked clean and bright.

I picked up a small cage which will serve as a temporary home until I see what the rescue group has available. It will also make a good transport cage if/when one or both rats ever need to see a vet, or if I need to gently introduce new cage-mates. It's far from an ideal rat cage, but it's about the same size as the cage they currently share with at least a half dozen other rats at the pet store.

I picked up a small litter pan that will stay with the small cage and some paper litter. I picked up a good-sized chew-proof water bottle, and will grab a couple ceramic dishes when I pick up Trixie tomorrow (that's what my son chose for a name). I grabbed a bag of the chunk-style rat food Petco and Petsmart both carry to hold us over until I can get an order of the blocks everyone recommended, and we may pick up a small bag of treats tomorrow to supplement the fruit and vegetables we can give her. Oh, and I grabbed two different types of twigs (one is definitely apple twigs, but I'm not sure about the other one) for her to chew on.

I also picked up a cardboard tube with some nest material in it to give her something to play with, and I'll put a small cardboard box in there as well.

The cage doesn't come with a second level, but my husband thinks he can make one out of wood (he knows to avoid pine, cedar and other softwoods - we have some poplar left over from my son's closet shelves), and I'll have him add a ramp/ladder for her as well. I know wood isn't ideal, but it's what we can accomplish quickly for a cage that's only meant to be a temporary home in the first place.

We picked up some flannel at Joanne's today, as well as a large piece of felt. I also have a decent supply of fleece in my fabric stash. I'll wash up a bunch of that tonight and cut some into smaller pieces for nesting and leave the rest in larger pieces to use as pads at the cage bottom.

I think that covers what we've been up to today. I still haven't heard back from the rescue lady, but she works evenings, so I'm not expecting to until late tonight or sometime tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Hmm...I might need to rethink the food I picked up - it's not recommended on the link Storyteller gave me. There's another one that's apparently available at Petsmart, so I'll have to take another look tomorrow before we go pick up Trixie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Trixie and Gracie have been exploring their new digs (the temporary cage) for about half an hour. They've devoured most of two large organic blueberries they were offered as welcome home treats, have explored the water bottle, fished through the food, chewed on the twigs, scaled the sides of the cage, climbed over, around, and into the hammocks, and stared down the curious cat.

I'm not completely sure, but I think I might have heard Gracie sneeze. I'll keep an ear out to be sure, but already have help lined up if she turns out to have a URI.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Congratulations!!! And just so you know, sneezing is very normal for the first few days in a new home. When you handle them every day, get into the routine of listening to their lungs on both sides (put their sides to your ear) so that you can tell the difference between normal breathing and labored breathing. That will help tremendously throughout their lives in order to catch respiratory problems early on. :) (Other signs to watch for are lethargy, of course, and also increased amounts of porphyrin around their nose and eyes. A small amount after waking up from a nap is normal, but if they do not wash it off consistently, then you should keep an eye on them.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
She seems pretty normal otherwise. Her sister is more adventurous, having been the first to scale the side of the cage and most other things, but she has also done so. I'm trying to give them some quiet time to snooze and explore, but will cuddle each of them later tonight after my son is in bed and the house is calmer.
 

·
Official Loofah Tester
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
I'm happy you brought them both home! I'm happy for you! Odds are even if Gracie is sick, early AB (antibiotic) treatment will knock it out and with proper nutrition and care (which a place like Petsmart and its suppliers can't provide, will probably do wonders for both of them. Congratulations on your new kids. It sounds like you're off to a good start with these girls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I met up with the director of the rat rescue today to pick up a few needed items I hadn't located yesterday and look at the two cages she can provide. The one she had in stock, of course, isn't the one I want, so I'll have to wait until the ones they've ordered are completed by the builder. It could be a few weeks.

I also got some food from her (a modification of Suebee's, apparently) since I wasn't happy with what I had picked up after looking over the recommendations from the link Storyseeker provided. I've got more than enough to hold us until the lab blocks arrive.

She gave me some crushed walnut, which is what she uses for litter and told me where I can get more when I need it.

I picked up two hammocks and a little bed - all made by volunteers. The bed's sides are a little too floppy, but I know how I can fix that and told her when I made my revised version (using the original as a pattern) I would make a couple for her as well. I may also offer to teach her how to make them - she has a sewing machine, but says she just sews straight lines back and forth. I can work with that.

She pretty much told me the same thing about early antibiotic treatment and offered to help with that if it was needed. I'm sure she's been through that a few times running a rat rescue.

Does anyone remember that episode of hoarders about the rat hoarding situation in CA last year? One of her own pets came from that house. Apparently the guy is still doing well over a year later - she keeps in touch with the rescue that was directly involved because of their involvement in helping rehome the rats.

Our younger cat is still entranced by the rats - not obsessed, because she walks away and then comes back to see if they're doing anything interesting, and went upstairs with us at my son's bedtime which is part of both cats' routines - she's never seen anything like them before, and her curiosity is funny to watch. The rats don't appear to be bothered by her. They just keep doing what they're doing.

I'll probably give them another half hour before I check to see if they've perked up from the most recent naps and want to come out and play a little.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I'm definitely going to need to keep an eye on Gracie. I had her out of the cage for a while and she dropped several normal turds and then a larger loose one that had a strong odor to it (my nose is highly sensitive, so strong is definitely a relative term here). I hope it's just nerves. She's had a big day.
 
1 - 20 of 142 Posts
Top