Tuesday, October 1, 2013


the rattie boys are celebrating a birthday.

remember when they came home with us, just over a month ago?  how tiny and adorable their little faces were?  they were happiest inside their new cage, which looked so very big and imposing.  they had difficulty holding grapes and ate only the insides.


prince ivan

and then they got a little bigger.  already adept at climbing the walls of their cage, we brought one at a time to sit with us on the couch and explore the cushions and blankets and squeeze in between people and try climbing on fabric surfaces.  their nails got sharper. 


baby carrots, sugar snap peas, bananas, and peaches were eagerly considered very tasty additions to their diet.  when offered treats within their cage, each rat would take off for a particular happy place to eat; ivan up above in the box, sheldon down below behind the curtain.


ivan is a fastidious groomer, even stopping while he is eating in order to wipe the juice from his muzzle.

life's a peach for this little guy

ivan has been the easier to train so far.  he is more adventurous than his brother, willing to seek out new spaces and try new challenges.  diana has been able to prompt ivan to do a little leap from her lap to the cage's lower entrance door, where he promptly scrambles up and over the top and then squeezes between the cage and the wall, much to sheldon's interest.

c'mon, sheldon, this is so easy! watch me go!

really, brother, it's quite interesting out here.

well, ivan, if you say so...
sheldon is pretty smart, too.  he has figured out a way to get a treat without working for it.  he just waits until ivan gets the treat, then steals it away.

diana handles both of them capably, despite the many scratches they have delivered by climbing on her with needle-sharp nails.  she wears ivan on her shoulder, where he nuzzles into her hair and sniffs her ear and lets his tail rest down her front for balance.  she thinks of him as a furry neckwarmer.  sheldon is a little antsy about being up high but will peek out of a bathrobe pocket.

can you see how they have grown so much over the month?  we can see beautiful color variations in ivan's fur, with some streaks of silver and grey, making him look even more regal.  and sheldon's squiggly whiskers seem to coordinate well with his curly agouti fur.  he always looks a bit blurry to me, even when he is still.

ivan with orange slice
sadly and unexpectedly, prince ivan suffered an injury this very morning that led to the loss of his right eye.  we were very relieved to learn during the emergency veterinarian visit that it should only affect his depth perception.  he needs that, of course, for accurately judging distance when jumping, but his youth and agility, along with his other excellent senses, will hopefully allow him to recover and learn a way to compensate for that.  (i am keenly aware of that ability.  having had problems with my eyes since birth, i have only monocular vision - seeing with just one eye at a time - not ever using both simultaneously.  my opthamologists have all said that my depth perception is a little different from others but my brain must have learned how to process my sensory input in a different manner.)  after the initial shock and as the day wore on, we have been able to calm ourselves from high alert status and can even make macabre jokes about the "sweet little demon rat" (since his eye socket looks a shade red) or diana's "cycloptic colleague" or the possibility of getting him a magical replacement similar to mad-eye moody's.   she thinks that it probably seals the deal on his hallowe'en costume - he'll be a pi(rat)e, of course, complete with eye patch.  not to worry, he is still very much adored in our family and still asserts his superiority over his brother by wrestling with him, pinning him to the floor, and grooming him with fervor.


  1. Poor Prince Ivan! It sounds like the ratties had a good time on their birthday though. I love the pic of Ivan eating the peach slice.