One big happy rat family!

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in by Cassi

I cleaned the big boys’ cage yesterday really well with vinegar and decided it was time to see if the little boys could handle living in the big ferret nation. First I put them in to explore and to see if they could get out through the bars. They poked their noses out but it seemed like they were pretty secure and couldn’t fit through. After about 30 mins of letting them play I put the big boys in with them. They had been playing together for about an hour every day for a few weeks and doing fine (not one fight), and they still did fine in the cage with each other. I can already tell Hue is going to try to move to the top of the rattie ranks. He’s already dominant over Pixel, but still a little scared of Pica. He’ll run up to Pica and poke him with his nose then run away. It’s so cute! Here are pictures from earlier today, as you can see they messy up the cage pretty quickly (this is one day after cleaning).

Pics of the FN:

ferret nation

ferret nation

Pixel at the water bottle, check out that tongue! :D

pixel at water bottle

Pica being shy:

Pica the shy rat guy

Hex - one “normal” picture and one “zombie” picture… I imagine him saying “BRAAAIIIIINS….”

hex in the ferret nation

hex rat zombie

And finally, two shots of Hue being super cute. He’s so photogenic! His poor little ear is disfigured from the first time he met Pixel and got groomed too hard. Plus it was part my fault, I saw him getting groomed aggressively and pulled him away - unfortunately I pulled away when Pixel’s teeth were on his ear. :( But I don’t think it hurt him too much, and it’s actually kind cute.

hue in ferret nation

hue on the igloo

Yesterday’s News to Papurr

Posted on January 31st, 2008 in by Cassi

I decided to switch litters again… I know, I really need to make up my mind! :P I’m trying Papurr now. It looks like a normal clay cat litter, but it’s made out of paper instead of clay. It doesn’t seem dusty at all and it has a nice fresh scent to it - like fresh clay cat litter. It seems softer to walk on than the YN too.

But the biggest reason I switched is because of the foreign objects I was finding in YN. Little bits of colored plastic mostly. I was worried my ratties might accidently eat it or get cut on it. It just didn’t seem safe. Here’s a link to another article that goes into the Yesterday’s News hazards in more detail. Luckily I never found metal, like the article talks about, but I didn’t want to take the chance that I might.

So we’ll see how they do on it. Hopefully it will absorb odor as well as the YN used to. It’ll be awesome if this stuff works because it’s cheaper than YN too - about $10/30lbs. at Petsmart.

I Gave Up

Posted on November 6th, 2007 in by Cassi

So the whole potty training thing lasted a long time didn’t it? I thought with the large blanket they wouldn’t be able to tunnel under it… yeah right. They chewed large holes in it after one day and were able to get under it again. Silly ratties. And even with the heavier dish as a litter pan, they still didn’t use it. At least they didn’t knock it over, but they still pooed everywhere but the dish. I just wasn’t able to stay on top of placing all the stray poos into the dish either.

So now they’re on Yesterday’s News. It’s recycled paper cat litter. It’s not expensive at all, and so far it’s absorbing smells really well. It’s only been one day on it, but it’s working better than Aspen already. The pellet shape makes it not stick to every cloth surface like the Aspen did.

I guess litter training isn’t for everyone! :P

Rattie Potty Training Update

Posted on November 3rd, 2007 in by Cassi

Well it’s only been a few days, but I now know this may be a longer road ahead than I thought. My first attempt at potty training isn’t going so well. They kept tipping over the litter box, and pulling up the edges of the fleece. And of course pooing everywhere except the box (not that they could poo in the box, since it was usually on its side). So I’ve made some changes. I got one big fleece blanket from Tuesday Mornings. Now they can’t tunnel under it. And I also picked up a large, heavy glass dish to use as the litter box. It’s much harder to tip over. Overall, it’s a much better set up, and I should have started out this way. I think I’ll need to go get another blanket or two for back ups. We’ll see how it goes…

Fleece instead of Aspen?

Posted on October 31st, 2007 in by Cassi

After that bad experience with the mites I decided it’s time to do something a little more practical for the rat’s cage lining. I was spending a lot of money and time lining the whole cage bottom with Aspen. Plus, there’s always a risk of reintroducing mites with future bags of Aspen. So I picked up 2 little fleece blankets at the dollar store and lined the bottom of the cage with them after cleaning tonight. I also added a towel under the fleece to absorb urine a little better. Hopefully the litter box is big enough for them and won’t get tipped over. I’m mostly worried about Pixel, though. He may have a harder time getting litter trained. So we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck! :D

New Rat Cage!

Posted on September 16th, 2007 in by Cassi

I got a new cage for my boys yesterday. It’s a Marchioro Tommy K 102. I know I said I was building one, but it just wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. And when I found the Tommy cage it had everything I wanted. The base is really deep, so they can’t kick litter out. And it’s much longer and wider than the old cage. I think the dimensions are 40″x20″x20.5″high. So it’s about 4 inchces shorter than the old one, but the length and width more than make up for it. The cage calculator says it can hold 4 rats. Sometime in the future I may get 1 or 2 more, but not for a while. The two of them are enough work for now. ;) I think it’s supposed to be a guinea pig cage because it came with a hay dispenser, which I laid flat in the cage as a little “house” for them to sleep under. It’s the clearish-blue thing over to the left. I also added the shelves from their old cage, the hammock, a large food dish they use as a shelf to sit on, and I got one of those half logs for them to play on and under. The towel pinned to the cage creates kind of a teepee over one of the shelves for them to sleep under. Here are the pictures:

New rat cage

rat cage from the front

Gerbil Picture

Posted on September 11th, 2007 in , by Cassi

Here’s a cute pic of the gerbils sleeping cuddled up together from earlier this evening.

sleeping gerbil picture

I was hoping to have the new rat cage built by now, but it’s taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m sure by the end of this weekend it’ll be ready for the boys to move in. The real advantage to the new one is that it’s a whole foot taller. I’ll have more room to add things like bird toys and ropes and other fun stuff. And the advantage for me will be that it’ll be a lot easier to clean and they won’t be able to kick litter out the sides of it. :D I’ll have lots of pics and a “how-to” on how i built it once it’s done.

The Big Boy Rat Cage

Posted on July 28th, 2007 in by Cassi

Last night I was able to upgrade the ratties into their “Big Boy” cage! It took a lot less time than I thought it would. I can’t believe how fast they grow! After only 2 weeks they’ve grown about 1.5 times their size. I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re big squishy lazy rats. :D

It seems like they’re really enjoying the new cage. They’ve been spending most of their time in the bottom of the cage where the litter is, but that’s okay. They’re used to mostly being on the litter. I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to climb to the top levels of the cage, but it wasn’t long before they were chasing each other from top to bottom. Hopefully they’ll get the hang of their hammock soon. It doesn’t seem like they understand what it is yet. Maybe I’ll get some pictures up soon!


Posted on July 26th, 2007 in by Cassi

Last weekend I went on vacation to Michigan to visit my grandparents. I felt so bad for leaving my rats so soon after I got them, but fortunately my sister was a wonderful ratsitter and I was only gone for 3 days. There were a few things I had to think about before I left, and these are things any rat owner should think about before leaving their rats with someone else.

1. Food - Make sure to leave enough food to last the duration of your trip. Also give detailed instructions on how much to feed, when to feed, and what not to feed.

2. Water - Let the rat sitter know how often to check the water bottle/bowl and how full to fill it. Since my ratties are in a temporary cage and I can’t use a real water bottle with it, I had to make sure Ronnie checked the water bowl twice a day because the ratties kick litter into it.

3. Litter - If you are going to be gone long enough that the litter needs to be changed, leave instructions on how to do it. You may need to write them out.

4. Play time - If your ratsitter is comfortable with your ratties and vice-versa, let her know what is acceptable play and what toys the rats like to play with. Also make sure she knows what items might not make good play toys.

5. Other Animals - Find out if there are other animals in the house that your rats will be staying at. Ronnie has 3 cats, so we had to pick a cat-free room to put the cage in. Animals like dogs and cats that aren’t used to rats should be kept away from them.

Hopefully this list gets you thinking about what to do if you have to leave your babies with a sitter. Don’t forget to call and check-in!

Cage Set-up

Posted on July 8th, 2007 in by Cassi

I worked on setting up the rat cage today. The rat cage calculator says it will hold 2 rats, and since I’m getting 2, it should be okay for now. Maybe as they grow older and bigger I can afford to get them a bigger cage (especially if I decide to get more rats… shhh… don’t tell Kevin I just said that.) Here’s a pic of what the cage looks like right now:

Rat Cage

I took this pic yesterday, and since then I added a hammock near the top. I also plan on somehow covering those wire shelves. For now I might fasten towels over them, but I’d like to find linoleum or something that’s easier to clean. The big dish near the top will also be lined with a towel to make it a cozy place to sleep. And you can’t see the bottom of the cage very well, but there’s a layer of Carefresh down there.