Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Ralph and Norton Say “Ello!”

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 6:40 pm on Sunday, November 23, 2008

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a couple of days. On Wednesday this past week, I heard from Amanda and Kathleen, the women who adopted our boys Ralph and Norton. Amanda kindly gave me permission to share Ralph and Norton’s continuing story with you. Amanda, I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of borrowing a couple of your photos as well:


I just wanted to update you both on how Ralph and Norton have been doing this past month. When they first got home, they settled into a shoe box for a while and just slept on their blankets, but eventually they got adventurous and explored all around the cage. A small igloo came with their cage (we’re getting them a bigger one for Christmas, though shoe and tissue boxes seem to be wonderful substitutes) and it was actually quite comical to watch them both tussle over who could be in the igloo. They never actually fought over it, but the politics were definitely there. Norton would steal treats to eat them in the igloo and the second he’d leave for another treat, Ralph would sneak in his place and stay there. They tried for at least two weeks to fit both of them into the itty bitty igloo (even though OTHER, LARGER hiding spots were readily available) until they established that they were just too big and only one used it at a time from then on. It was hysterical for a time though. Now, they’ll sleep a tissue box together, or on one of their hammocks. Norton is a particularly big fan of the top hammock (it’s about 12in x 20in long) and he’ll stretch as much as possible to take up space so Ralph can’t fit when he wants it to himself.

Ralph and Norton
“Mom! Make Ralph share!”

As far as personalities go, they have really blossomed in the past few weeks since we’ve had them. Ralph has turned into a real lover. Ralph is usually the first to the door, the first to come out and the most tolerant of being molded around while I check them for injuries/tumors/etc. every day, though when it comes to cutting his claws, he squeaks like I’m killing him. He doesn’t struggle much, just complains. He is often clinging to the door the moment we make any indication of walking towards the cage, or is at least hovering near
it and watching us with his big ruby eyes. Whatever we’re doing, he wants to be there too. He’ll sit up on our shoulders for hours, or tuck himself under our hoodies/shirts just below our chins for a time while we do homework/play on the computer/watch tv. And it isn’t just us, either. He just seems like a real people-oriented rat. He loves visitors and is always interested in sniffing everything. His favorite treats are peas, oats, yogurt and baby corn. His rex fur has grown in to look all messy now, and it is quite endearing. Lately, he’s starting to become even more mushy. He’ll brux on our shoulders and in our laps and lavish our fingers with kisses.

Norton, on the other hand, is a very squishy, lazy boy. He doesn’t come to the door right away when we open it, but rather waits to see if it is worth moving first. Most of the time he’s curled up on the hammock napping when we come over and he’ll turn and extend his head to the side closest to us to acknowledge our presence. He LOVES head brushes and cheek scratches. The moment I reach in and start petting him, he’ll start to brux and boggle like mad. If I keep doing it, he’ll eventually roll on his side for us to pet his belly and fall asleep. It’s really cute. Usually after a few minutes though, he’ll get curious as to what Ralph is doing and will stretch/yawn and slink his way out of the cage. They popcorn all over for about 5-10 minutes before they actually commit to coming out of the cage again once Norton is up. Ralph gets really excited and will run in and out with him until they decide they want to explore. Norton is a little less thrilled about being restrained as I examine him, but he tolerates me. He’s also turning into quite the shoulder rat. Once he decides he wants to be out, he has no qualms about running up arms, legs and bellies to get to our shoulders. He’s even daring enough to scale thin ledges and to grip into my jeans when I’m standing if it means he can get there. He’ll super jealous and wants whatever Ralph has, but he’s good by himself and with his brother. He’s very easy to please, really. All it takes is a good rub and then he’ll melt onto your shoulders, bruxing and boggling your ear off. He particularly likes to be under my shirt/hoodie by my right hip or on my upper chest so he can just peak his head out while he naps.

Norton loves peas, oats, corn and pasta. It’s funny because you kept saying that they don’t particularly care for pasta, but on the first night here, the first piece of food Norton took from the bowl was an orange pasta, and then he proceeded to dig through the food dish until he had consumed every last piece.

Sleepie boys!
Sleepie boys!

Both boys adore food. We take them out in the evenings and feed them fresh produce on our laps and they already have the routine down, clinging to the doors around 6pm when we get back from dinner and sniffing around, waiting for what good stuff we’ll give them this time. They’re really funny with eggs and grape tomatoes. Norton will try to hoard the whole thing, tucking himself in the corner and using his body to block Ralph from getting any, but Ralph is really sneaky and will slip past him. Peas are their all time favorite. Interestingly, Norton won’t eat the shells, but Ralph will, so we always know who made the mess once they’ve finished digging through the bowl for the tastiest treats.

When we take them out for play time on the bed, they’ll hover around the cage or under blankets/bags/pillows/in boxes if we aren’t on the bed with them, but the moment we draw near, they’ll run to whatever side we are at. I’ve built a little gate so they can run directly from their cage to the bed freely for a few hours when we are watching tv/doing homework on the bed and they love to run around and wrestle in the open space. Their favorite thing to do is burrow under our computers or run between our bodies as if we’re human jungle gyms. Ralph doesn’t really stray far from us unless he’s following Norton somewhere, but Norton loves climbing on the bed post and up blanket mountains and digging through all the toys we spread around. They’re really good about not marking/peeing/pooping on the bed and know to go back into the cage or hold it if they can. We’ve been litter box training them and Ralph is pretty good with it, but Norton still doesn’t really understand the concept, but I’m confident he’ll learn, at least a little, in time. I don’t expect it to be 100%, but even 50% of the time is better than never.

If you’d like to see some pictures of them, I’ll be updating a bunch regularly to my photobucket for them, so you can see how they’re doing. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v635/petzisme/Fluffies/?start=0

I hope everything is well with you! Thanks again for raising our boys!

Amanda and Kathleen

Amanda and Kathleen, thank you so much for taking the time to write! It sounds like Ralph and Norton have found the most loving home possible. I’m so glad to hear how well they’re doing with the two of you! That’s so funny about the pasta, too – Gryphon swears that they didn’t really seem to touch it when they were with us! I’m glad they’re good eaters, and apparently very snuggly Ratties. My boys have gotten so big!

All photos taken by Amanda and/or Kathleen, and are their property.


Comment by Carol

November 23, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

say it with me, one , two, three,”AWWWWWW”

Comment by Valerie in San Diego

November 27, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

Yay! We all kind of fell in love with Norton and Ralph, so it’s great to hear how they are doing.

Big hugs to you and Gryphon too. I know this Thanksgiving must be a tough one for you, and I want you to know you’re in the thoughts and hearts of your readers. Hoping for a better tomorrow for y’all.

Comment by Liz

December 1, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

Glad to see the boys are doing well in their new home. Looks like they’ll be very happy!


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