Updates

Jul. 21st, 2008 12:21 pm
kadenza: (test pattern)
Stuff has been happening.

Peaches: Peaches passed on (of her own accord) at the vet's on Friday night, so as it turned out there was no dilemma about euthanasia etc. Emptying the water bottles, putting away the cage etc. was very sad. It's the end of an era. No more rats.

Now we have an entire dining room wall that is empty, where the cage used to be. I suggested to Marshie that maybe we could get a sideboard. He said, "Cyborg?" Actually, that might be kind of handy around the house.

Raccoons: They seem to have moved from under the deck into the garage. The door was standing open this morning and I initially thought maybe the bikes had been stolen. Have they learned how to open the garage door??

Dr. Horrible: I hope everyone who wanted to got a chance to see this before it was taken down. I deliberated for about 30 seconds this morning before deciding to buy it from iTunes. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do... Now I can watch it on the computer, in bed with my iPod or blast it from my iPod speaker contraption thingy.

Nattie: She has started saying a few real words, and her gibberish has gotten so complex it almost sounds like complete sentences that I didn't quite catch (I could have sworn she said "I wanna do it" this morning while reading a book together). Her favourite word is "baby" and she loves to look through her books and point out babies, and also says it when she's looking in the mirror. Cute stuff.
kadenza: (aaaaaah)
I just had another awkward conversation with the vet. He says her breathing is still very laboured and she's not eating. Now he's got her on oxygen and a second antibiotic, and wants to keep her for the rest of the day. I cringed when he told me that. Again I'm faced with this dilemma of not wanting to sound like a callous ass by asking how much all this is costing and whether it's even worth it. He went on to say that I may have to consider a transfer to the emergency clinic for overnight, and I *really* don't want to go there. She is a rat, she's over 2 years old, and I'm pretty sure it will be all for naught. I don't think I've ever had one pull through a situation like this. In the meantime, she's suffering needlessly.
kadenza: (rat-- speck)
Peaches is at the vet overnight for observation with breathing difficulties. I suppose I should have asked what this might be costing me, but I always feel kind of heartless for even wondering. She will probably die anyway. They always do. The rat that spent the night at the emergency clinic in an oxygen chamber for $600 died anyway. Of course I want her to receive the same veterinary care that any pet deserves, but there's a point where it's just prolonging the suffering for both of us. Maybe I'll bring her home tomorrow, force the most bitter antibiotic known to man down her throat for a week (it's called Baytril and yes, I've tried it) while sustaining bites and lacerations, and she'll die anyway.

Sigh.
kadenza: (rat-- speck)
All members of the household were startled awake this morning at around quarter to five by a horrible bout of frantic rat squealing. The cats and I bounded out of bed and ran out to the cage in the living room, to find seemingly nothing wrong. The last time I heard squealing like that, a rat of long ago (Mike, c. 2000) had got one of her fingers caught in the door hinge. I examined both rats by flashlight, and they were apparently free of injury. So, what a mystery. I gave both rats and both cats a treat to calm them all down, and then went back to bed.

Marshie asked if all 20 toes were accounted for, and I explained that actually they only have four toes on the front paws, plus a knob that is not quite a thumb. He sighed and asked if all 16 toes and four knobs were accounted for, which I confirmed. It took a long time to get back to sleep.

The latest

Jan. 9th, 2007 09:04 am
kadenza: (intermission)
So what's been going on besides zen and the art of vacuum cleaner repair?

Finally had my follow-up appointment with my family doctor re: the little emergency room visit last month, and he's sending me for yet another holter monitor test (this is when you have electrodes stuck on to you and wear a recording device for 24 hrs and you're not allowed to have a bath). I've had about a thousand of these already, so hopefully this will reveal something new. Apparently the technology has improved and they use flash memory instead of a giant clunky tape recorder these days, so it should at least be a little more compact. The last time I had one was 1998.

I had to take Baby, who was no longer a baby but a sick old rat, to the vet for her final appointment on Friday. Marshie was kind enough to skip off work for the morning and come with me. Anyway, when I got home and saw Speck and Peaches snuggled up together, I was *so* glad that I had got Peaches. M. and I had agreed that there would be no more rats, but poor Speck is not even a year old and it would have been a very lonely life for her.

Anyway, they weren't sure what to think about the absence of Baby for the first few days, but now they seem to realize that it's permanent, and a new struggle for dominance has emerged. Rat fights (non serious ones) are surprisingly cute. They stand up on their hind legs and kind of shove each other around, and sometimes flip each other on their backs and then groom their opponent's belly mercilessly.

New rat

Dec. 22nd, 2006 09:03 am
kadenza: (rat-- speck)
I think yesterday was the happiest day of Speck's life. I was at Petsmart on Wednesday and couldn't help but notice that they had two tanks full of rats that had obviously been there a long time-- they were all adult sized. I spoke to a store clerk who verified that yes, they had been there for almost 6 months. Poor creatures. Many of them were quite wild (and one bit me really hard), but a very pretty one with a white body and peachy-coloured head was very tame and sweet, and came over to my hand while the others cowered. I'm trying not to think what's going to happen to the rest, but "snake food" comes to mind.

Who wants a full-grown rat? I do. Trinity died several weeks ago, and Baby is no spring chicken, while little Speck is in the prime of her life.

Anyway, after a day of acclimatization in separate cages, I did a thorough cage cleaning and put them all together. Speck was so excited she was almost vibrating. Imagine being young and energetic, and the only people you know in the entire world are two old ladies who do nothing but sleep. Then one day, you meet someone your own age. The two of them frolicked and chased and played all afternoon and into the evening. Before going to bed, I peeked in at them and they were curled up together in an exhausted heap.

Here's a pic. We seem to be calling the new one Peaches.
Read more... )
kadenza: (rat-- peep)
I just tried to wake Baby up and give her a piece of noodle, and she lunged and bit me on the finger. I gave her the noodle with the other hand, and then looked back to see that a puddle of blood was forming on the table beneath my bitten finger. I'll occasionally get an accidental, I-thought-you-were-peanut-butter bite (an unfortunate combination of greed and bad vision), but after 17 rats have never been bitten in such a malicious manner.

I know that she's in a strange cage, probably in a fair amount of pain and still groggy from the anesthetic, but damn. If only she could see the vet bill.

At any rate, she's still very sleepy today but has so far taken her medicine, eaten an apple and several pieces of graham cracker.
kadenza: (rat-- speck)
Baby the rat went in to the vet this morning to have a very simple tumour removed from her chin. The vet said he could pop it right off with no problem, and it might not even require stitches. He called at 10:30 to say he was about to start, and I wished him luck.

Then he called back just after 11 to say that it was off, but they had found a second one that was not so simple around her nether regions. I gave him permission to do that one, too. That was an hour and 15 minutes ago, so, yeah. I'm worried now.

[edit] make that 2 hrs and 15 minutes, worried x4

[edit edit] Ok, now the vet just called and said she's out of surgery and gradually waking up, and should be ready to go home around 5. Alas, the poor thing will have to be isolated for 10 days to make sure the others don't pick at her stitches. That just sounds cruel & unusual. If I were an intelligent creature alone in a 1x1' quarantine cage, I might very well pick at my stitches just for something to do. We'll see how it goes. She will no doubt require a lot of supervision.

The vet said maybe I could try cutting up a sock and putting that on her to protect the stitches, "but she may not tolerate it." That's putting it mildly.
kadenza: (rat-- peep)
I'm working and Kirby is on his computer desk shelf, fast asleep and dreaming. His feet are jerking and his whiskers are twitching. His eyes are moving, but they're wide open. When I hold up a pencil and move it back and forth, his eyes actually follow the pencil in a glazed, zombie-like way. It's creeping me the hell out.

Last week, I knitted the rats a blanket out of my leftover alpaca yarn. I laid it out on the floor of their basement lodge like a soft, fluffy carpet. They immediately ejected it. I thought it might have been an accident, so stuck it back in. They threw it back out. This went on until the next time I walked by their cage and found the three of them crammed into their third-floor cabin. The poor creatures figured their only way to escape the intruder was to move house. Message received.
kadenza: (swallows)
I just downloaded and deleted some crap from my camera, and here are some highlights.
Subjects include cherry blossoms, cats, rats and my latest knitting project.
clicks for pics )
kadenza: (Default)
Niagara Falls was a bit of a bust. It was so foggy, we could barely see well enough to drive down Niagara Parkway. I pitied the poor tourists who were wandering around in their rain ponchos at Table Rock, not sure what they were supposed to be looking at. We've seen the falls from the top, bottom, both sides, liquid and frozen, but this was their only opportunity.

The casino was also a bit of a bust. Marshie was keen to take me to the new-ish Fallsview casino, but was reluctant to pay for parking. We finally decided to just skip the town all together and head for Niagara-on-the-Lake. Charging for parking at a casino is just adding insult to injury. They're going to take all your money anyway, so why bother? Parking should be free, drinks should be free, and there should most definitely be a giant buffet. Please.

The rattie pickup in nearby Virgil was more successful. This girl I met via mailing list had bought a rat from a pet store, only to discover it was pregnant. Suddenly she had 15 when she had really only wanted one. The baby spent the night in her own tiny cage, but made it clear to me this morning that she wasn't willing to stay in there one more minute. She spent most of her time with her nose between the bars, staring longingly into the big cage and practically jumping up and down with excitement whenever Trinny or Baby happened by. I released her into their care this morning, and after a brief sniffing and grooming session, they're all lying together peacefully in a large heap.
kadenza: (Default)
Heading to Niagara Falls tommorow, picking up this on the way back:

A little baby ratty who has no home (yet).
She's 5 weeks old.

RIP Petra

Mar. 8th, 2006 01:56 pm
kadenza: (Default)
I'm sorry to report that I had Petra put to sleep yesterday. She had been gradually going downhill for the past couple of weeks, but yesterday it was clear she was no longer enjoying life. I'm grateful for the extra few weeks, as I figured she was done for back on Feb 19th. I made sure she had everything she could possibly wish for since then, including nightly pigouts on Devon custard, rice pudding and of course, pancakes. She was three years, three months old.

Join me now in a little something I'd like to call a ratrospective: )
kadenza: (Default)
Apart from yesterday's trip to the animal emergency room, a fairly unremarkable weekend. Friday was [livejournal.com profile] zero_gravity's very cool b-day party. We were loving the Paul Anka back there, C! We must get together again soon.

Yesterday morning, we looked out the window and noticed a great many Smart cars driving west on Front. In all, we counted 29. Was it a publicity stunt, or a car club of some kind? In any case, they looked awfully cute all together like that. My dad used to belong to a Miata club and they'd all get together and drive around en masse, making a spectacle of themselves.

Petra seems to be a bit better today. I think maybe she has some type of cold, which would be doubly hard on her considering her advanced age (105 in human years?) I've been monitoring her breathing for signs of pneumonia or other bacterial infection, but so far she sounds ok. She hid in the box all yesterday, but was still eating. This morning she was out with the others demanding breakfast, which was heartening to see. This morning I expected her to be either dead or improving, so I was greatly relieved to see it was the latter. I'm guardedly optimistic that she may very well make a full recovery.
kadenza: (Default)
So we packed poor Petra into her carrying case and took her to the emergency clinic. After an hour or so in the waiting room, we were called into an exam room where I opened the case and she came strolling out, looking fine. Well, a little more wobbly than usual, but all her arms and legs seemed to be working and she squirmed and fought the vet with surprising spirit. He said he couldn't really see anything wrong with her, other than the head tilt which she's lived with for over a year. They didn't charge for the visit or the exam.

So we brought her home, she had a snack, a drink and a bit of a groom, and is now back in the cabin with her sisters. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens. Thank you for all your good wishes-- I think it worked.

Petra

Feb. 19th, 2006 08:52 am
kadenza: (Default)
Petra is not well this morning. I think she has suffered a stroke. Though she's been living on borrowed time for 14 months, it just seems really shitty that she should be taken down like this. Yesterday she was running up and down the stairs, and today she can't walk.

Misc.

Feb. 15th, 2006 08:11 am
kadenza: (Default)
We had a perfect Valentine's day-- did nothing, bought nothing, and didn't utter a word about it. Bliss.

My cello comes back from the hospital today. I wonder if I'll be able to practice with the required zeal with the knowledge that it could fly apart at any moment. It's just like when I found out about my cyst last summer, and suddenly felt paranoid that even treading too heavily was going to rupture it. In the meantime, I've been channeling my musical impulses into my guitar. My fingers are killing me, but they'll toughen up soon.

I've started a scarf with my leftover balls of Noro, so it will match my handwarmers and hat.

I gave the rats an entire carrot, complete with leaves, for breakfast this morning. I pictured them sitting around it gnawing together in harmony, but forgot to take greed into account. Baby took a few nibbles of the greenery and then seized the carrot (which was longer than her entire body, including tail) and started stuffing it down the stairwell. It got stuck at several points along the way, and her sisters took the opportunity to sample the carrot during these interludes, which only heightened her urgency to HIDE FOOD. Baby managed to wrestle the carrot all the way to her top-secret food stash behind the log cabin in the basement of the cage, and then discovered that it's only the worst-kept secret in rattyland. Even frail, blind and deaf Petra raids it regularly.
kadenza: (Default)
Hard at work today. I think I'll take a bit of a break, though, because I'm developing a headache from too much staring at the screen. I could also use a nap, because Kirby woke me up at around 4 and I never really got back to sleep.

He was digging around in the books and papers beside the bed, and generally causing a commotion that could not be ignored. I got out my flashlight and helped him move my piles of stuff, as he was clearly looking for something. It turned out to be a small brown spider, which he promptly ate. I was very impressed that he then jumped back up on the bed and went to sleep, because many cats I have known are too dumb to realize that you can't eat your spider and have it too-- they continue to search for their prey long after said critter has been chewed and swallowed. Note that I would have rescued the spider, but it was already on its last legs (so to speak).

I didn't really intend this entry to be all about pets, but it seems to be turning out that way. On Monday night I was feeding the rats and noticed that Baby had something wrong with her head. It turned out that the top of her head was covered in gobs of blood in varying states of coagulation. I had not heard a single squeak out of them all evening, so it came as quite a shock. I took her out and tried to clean her off with a wet washcloth, but only succeeded in getting her wet and even more agitated. There was no point taking her to the vet as it didn't appear too serious, so I put her in the small quarantine cage for the night just to keep her away from the others. In the morning the blood had dried to an extremely unattractive (and no doubt itchy and/or painful) mat of gore and fur, but she seemed fine. Over the past day and a half, her sisters have groomed most of the mess away, leaving her almost completely bald. I still can't tell where the wound is, exactly, but she seems to be fine.

A final word in ratty news-- Petra is now three years old and still with us. The normal lifespan of a rat is approximately two years. She has outlived her sister Peep by 14 months (and counting). Truly, she is SuperRat. Go Petra!
kadenza: (rat-- peep)
Whenever we eat, I like to give the ratties a little something from our meal. After all, they're right next to the kitchen and know what's cooking, so it seems unfair not to. This morning I made them some teensy pancakes for their breakfast, which went over quite well, I think.

Pancakeage )
kadenza: (Default)
I proudly present my second movie, shot entirely in HeatherVision. It stars the currently nameless baby rat and her tolerant big sister, Petra. Petra was hoping I had a snack, wheras the baby has yet to learn about snacks, and just wanted to get in the way. Note her adorable lightning-bolt marking.

Baby: the new rat (3.4 Mb)

Once again, if you don't have Windows Media Player, I assume you're out of luck.

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