In one of his masterful Discworld books, Terry Pratchett created the Death of Rats, and now he comes to lead little Peaches on her way over the rainbow bridge.
A few weeks ago Peaches had a stroke, resulting in left side paralysis and weakening. Since then, sadly she’s declined, struggling to move around and not eating or drinking. There have been a few tumbles and a case of lose bladder while having a cuddle.
Her sisters know something’s wrong, cuddling her and washing her face, while the boys are being a lot more gentle.
We’ve made the sad decision to aid her on her way at the vets’, wanting to put her beyond pain and suffering, rather than dragging it out.
I know this will be the best thing to do, but it is very sad. If you’d told me a year ago I’d care this much about small rodents, i’d have laughed. At least I know The Death of Rats will be there to gently take her little paw and lead her to her rest. SQUEAK.
You may remember my little ratties – Algernon and Justin. Well now they have three sisters.
We adopted three fluffy sisters, who needed to be re-homed ASAP. We’d been discussing getting some girls after having the boys neutered, rats are social creatures and need companionship.
We did rename them – Custard, Peaches and Cream (she’s camera shy) and they’ve been adjusting to each other.
Algernon is quite easy going and likes cuddling up with Peaches, while Justin seems unimpressed and would like them to stop eating ‘his’ food. Greedy chops.
Cream doesn’t like being handled and is a nervy thing, spends most of her time asleep or hiding. Peaches is more gregarious, and likes popping up to say hello. Custard is a bit bitey but I’m training her out of that. Unfortunately I’m not sure she’s completely healthy – she has a funny lump on her belly and makes an odd chuffing noise from time to time so I’ll be popping to the vet next week for a check up.
I keep trying to get a photo of them all together, but apart from Justin the poser, they all scatter when they see my phone!
If you want to see how they’re doing, I post pictures on instagram with the hash tag #fuzzyweirdos
This weekend we went to get a few things to make my new flatmates at home.
My new flatmates won’t be human though, instead they are rodents. I know some people (including my mum) hate rats but they’re cute, fluffy, smart and squeaky.
Mine are two brothers courtesy of the lovely Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust whose girl rat had some babies a few months ago.
I’m allergic to cats (which is a shame) and we can’t have a dog in the flat so small mammals it is.
My cousin used to have a rat as did a good friend of mine, so I’ve handled them before and have knowledgeable people on hand.
My boys will have better digs than me, their cage has three stories, toys, tunnels, a hammock, water bottles, food troughs, a litter box, ladders and soon, a wheel. They’ll also have lots of things to play with outside like a zorbing ball and the entire front room to explore when I come home to them.
They even have room service and a cleaner – me! Regular baths and new toys and treats.
Wish I was that lucky!
We have named them Justin and Algernon. Both are literary references. Justin was one of the super intelligent rats in Mrs Frisby & the rats of N.I.M.H and Algernon was the mouse in Flowers for Algernon (which is one of the OH’s favourite books).
Algie is brown and Justin hooded (a mix of colours, in his case brown and white), which makes telling them apart easy.
At the moment there are curled up in the corner sleeping, all wrapped up together, probably exhausted from their exciting day of moving and rampaging round their new home.
Pictures will appear on my Instagram. I can’t take any when they’re curled up in the corner.
Rats are very clean, intelligent animals, capable of learning their names, how to do tricks, they spend a lot of time grooming themselves and each other. They can be toilet trained (mine have a litter tray).
They’re affectionate, social animals who use social grooming to bond (and will apparently groom you too), they like hiding and have an abundance of tunnels to scoot through.
Rats didn’t spread the plague as was previously thought – it was gerbils! The gerbil PR machine must have gone into overdrive spinning that one.