Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Folkcat & Gryphon, Plus Seven, Plus One

Filed under: Daily Life,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 7:06 pm on Friday, February 20, 2009

I seem to drift further and further between posts. Things have just been very hectic for us lately.

I’ve been meaning to get to the main subject of this post for almost a week now. But before I do, I should talk about today.

Today, February 20, is our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Gryphon and I talked this afternoon about how neither of us has ever managed to keep anything – a job, a friendship, anything – going as long as we’ve been together. I think I’m safe in saying that we love each other more with every passing day, that I am his reason for getting up in the morning, as much as he is mine.

We’re going to celebrate quietly at home. Going out takes more money than we can spend, and besides, these days we’re too worn out by excursions for it to seem like a happy thing to do for fun. No, we’ve bought a couple of gourmet chicken pies at the local supermarket, and a prettily decorated rum cake to have for dessert, and we’re going to bask in each other’s company and spend time with the rats.

Speaking of the Seven Little Ratties, I’ve taken some pictures this week that you might enjoy.

We have an exercise ball for the rats, but it’s never been a success. At least, as long as we tried to make them use it as an exercise ball.

Turn it into novelty bedding, however, and they pile in:

Only four rats are visible in the photo, but by my count there were six rats in the ball at this moment. It’s so tricky getting them to hold still for a photo I had to take what I could get!

Meanwhile, if you’ve wondered just how Lola works her magic on me and gets me to take her out for a snuggle anytime she desires, feast your eyes on this photo:

Believe me, it’s absolutely futile to attempt resisting that look!

Lola herself turned two years old on Wednesday, making her officially our oldest rat yet. She shows few signs of slowing down, although she is more inclined to desire time out of the cage without those young whippersnappers climbing all over and walking on her head.

At last, the big reveal!

And now, the news we’ve been sitting on for almost a week.

Hold on a sec.

Darlin’, could you turn around please?

That’s better! Everyone, this is Isabella. Isabella, these nice people are going to become your newest fans.

Here’s the story. Gryphon and I were so taken with Persephone, the little “going to be Siamese one day but now looks like a PEW” girl who was adopted along with our Perignon, that we started thinking. Pink-Eyed White rats (PEWs) have a hard time finding adoptive families. A lot of people find their color boring. Others think their pink eyes are creepy looking.

MRR deals with this by having a policy that PEWs in their care are always adopted out with a more colorful rat as a partner. They also occasionally offer specials on adoption fees for adopting rats with pink-eyes.

Gryphon and I decided we had room enough, and love enough, for another rat. We made up our minds that we would do our bit by always trying to include one PEW in our rat family.

I went looking at the available animals on the MRR site, and spotted Isabella.

Isabella’s story is special. She was rescued from a laboratory when she was only 21 days old. That’s only about a week after her eyes would have opened. She would have just started eating solid foods.

The young woman who rescued her is a college student. She clearly took good care of Isabella. ‘Bella lived in her human friend’s dorm room for the first part of her life, allowed to free roam. She became very attached to her person, and is very friendly with every human she meets.

Isabella explores her new home

Sadly, her human’s circumstances changed. As her person went to school in New York City, she wasn’t able to bring Isabella with her. Isabella learned to live in a cage, at her grand-persons’ house.

Her human came home whenever she could, and gave Isabella a lot of attention. But the grand-persons’, as much as they like her, weren’t able to give her as much socializing as she was used to. ‘Bella’s human decided the right thing to do was to let Isabella go to another home that could play with her as much as she deserved.

Isabella is an older rat (1-1/2 years), a pink-eyed white, and a solitary rat. She hasn’t even seen another rat since she left the laboratory, though I’m told she once met a pet rabbit and tried to play with its nose! All of these qualities make it harder to find a home for her.

Until Gryphon and I came along, wanting a pink-eyed rat to love.

We first saw her listing on Thursday. Saturday afternoon, Valentine’s Day, we met Isabella’s owner, and collected our new Rattie.

Grooming my fingers

All the photos you see of Isabella were taken within the first ten minutes we had her home. I played with her in my arms and on my shoulders while Gryphon set up her temporary cage. In no time at all, she was licking my fingers, and when I made little clicking noises with my tongue, she turned her head and gave me kisses on the lips.

It is our hope to have Isabella move into the main cage with the Seven Little Ratties. It’s a slower process than usual, however. As an older rat, she is considered a larger threat than a younger one would be. And as a rat raised in isolation from other rats, she has some social instincts, but no practice at inter-rattie social skills. She probably comes across as “odd” to the other rats.

So we’re taking the integration as a slow, steady process, trusting our instincts and making small improvements where we can. One day, they’ll all be together.

Of course, we’ll have to stop calling them the Seven Little Ratties then. How does Octo-Ratties sound?


Comment by Carol

February 20, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

you’re right. The pink eyes are kinda creepy. They don’t appear to have a pupil. Obviously they do, but it’s not visible. Hence,the creepy. But hopefully she will socialize in with the other Ratties and all will be well.

Happy Anniversary! Going out and spending money is over-rated anyway. The idea is to eliminate distractions and spend time with your loved one and give them the attention and affection they might not get on a ‘regular’ day. Which is sounds like you did!

Happy Anniversary!

Comment by Christina

February 20, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

Happy Anniversary to you and Gryphon!

The pink eyes don’t bother me much. I used to have a white gerbil with ruby red eyes. She looked sort of evil at first, lol, but was so lovable, she won us over. Unfortunately, I had to move to a place with a no pet policy, so she’s living with my mom now. My mom fell in love and treats her like “one of the kids.”

Comment by FemaleWriter

February 21, 2009 @ 6:10 am

So you’re the new “Octo-mom”? LOL! Couldn’t resist.

Isabella is beautiful. I love how the PEW look. I even find their “lightbulb” eyes fascinating. Unfortunately, my hubby thinks they’re too plain looking. I hope that might change if we were to foster a PEW. Otherwise, I feel the closest we’d get would be a Siamese.

And I love the picture of Lola. Who couldn’t resist those eyes? And a belated happy birthday to her…your oldest girl to date. 🙂

And in the picture above hers…who is the one with her eyes closed?

Anyway, a happy belated anniversary to you and Gryphon. Wow…16 years! A quiet evening at home sounds just as romantic as dining out, especially with how the economy is at the moment.

I hope all is well.

Take Care!


Comment by Valerie in San Diego

February 21, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

Aww… Hi Isabella! You lucked out and found a great new home!

Comment by Theresa

February 27, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

Hello! It’s me again – the new parent of Chardonnay, whose name is now Sophia.

I was just wondering if you had some tips for me on how to make Chardonnay more comfortable. The other little girl is adjusting just fine, while she’s still skittish and generally afraid she’s no where near as bad as Chardonnay. I’m wondering if she was always like this or maybe it’s something in our home? She never sits still and she flinches at literally every tiny noise and movement. She even backs right off from ledges, in fear, and I worry that she’s going to seriously hurt herself.

Any advice? I feel so bad.

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