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The Rat Cafe

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10/24/05 01:36 am - azhura_star - About Azhura_Star

My mother brought home a pair of rats when I was about 10 (I'm 22 now). I fell in love with her little babies, and have since never been without them. There was an Agouti Female and a Beige Dumbo Male, we named them Scooter and Skeeter.

Scooter and Skeeter never had babies, and we never got cage-mates for them. When they came home we knew little about rats, and I was too young to know that they should ideally have friends. After they passed on (about 2 years old) I learned more about them and found a petshop in the area (We recently moved to Chicago). I have always bought Agouti ratties, I just love the colouring and think it's absolutely gorgeous.

I've owned them on and off for years, and right now have 7 Agouti Females, and 3 Agouti Males. They are all in excellent health, except for my oldest Female, who is just getting older and older every day. She's blind now, and has survived an attack by my ex's cat who got into our bedroom one night while I left the girls out to play. She lost a hind leg, one of her ears, and most of her tail. Her balance isn't very good at all, but she's hanging on there. She visited our vet for about three months after her surgery to make sure she wasn't in pain and was healing well. Since then I haven't taken her back. She is getting older, but doesn't seem to be having any more problems beyond her age.

Her name is Gabrielle, and I'll be horribly sad when she's gone, she's my friend and I've been through so much with her. I wish there was some way to turn back time and have her as a baby again.

I do breed my babies, but I tend to have one litter every two years or so when I gather enough interest in the babies. I'm also hesitant to breed too many litters since, yes, my rats are from a petstore (gasp!!). I love my ratties so much, I'll try to take some pics and post them soon.

10/22/05 10:56 am - ikkleruby - This is somethin i wanted to discuss at the last place

When my Rat Draven got ill, I posted on the other place askin for advice. They all just said 'take him to the vet'.

more info about what happened with thatCollapse )

My point is - the only advice any of them offerred was to take him to a vet. This always SEEMS the way forward, but i was tryin to explain that i was lookin for a vet that specialised in small animals (which was very true - i'd found one through a friend & she was gonna take me next available time - but that was a couple of days too late). They said i should take him to any vet, as they're all trained. My thoughts are - there's alot of animals in the world. It doesnt matter how good a vet is - if they hardly ever see a rat, how can they be expected to know what to do with a sick one?

A few months later i got 2 new babies - Totoro & Pompoko. Pompoko got sick within a couple of wks, so i thought 'right! This time, i'm gonna take their advice, cos he's only a baby & there should be somethin that can be done!' So i toddled to the vet, who said 'erm, i dont get rats very often, so i can't really be certain, but i'll do my best to find out what's wrong.'
Pompoko had been walkin with his head tilted & falling over - so I suggested maybe it was an ear infection. She agreed, gave me the appropriate medicine, took my money (which i thought was cheeky anyway, considering she'd just agreed with what i said rather than checkin anywhere) & I was off.

I gave Pompoko his medication, his symptoms became more ellaborate, he died a few days later.
I checked on the internet - describing all of his symptoms & quickly found what my little one had, complete with instructions of the exact medication that he should've been given. Needless to say - it wasn't an ear infection. If she had been a specialist in small animals - she probably would've known. As a vet - she should've at least checked in the books or on the net. If I can find it - why couldn't she!?!!

My other thoughts on vets, is that you have to be sensible. If your cat or dog is ill - take them. They live a long time & most vets know what they're doing with them. But small animals dont often live much longer than 3 yrs (average) & I've heard that operations are often more likely to kill them than save them, simply because they're so small. So I believe, horrible though it seems, it's sometimes more sensible to just accept that there's little that can be done - which is what i decided with Draven & I would do the same if it happened again. I took pompoko, because he had an actual virus & he was so young that he could've been saved.

In a nutshell - not every case will be solved by a vet. They ARE expensive and they DO open silly hours (if you work full time) & if you dont have a car - they CAN be difficult to get to. & half the time they can't help.

If your pet IS sick & you feel they could be saved - i strongly recomend you check in books or on the net to try & establish all possible causes of the illness, then take what you have found and show it to your vet. I now know what killed Pompoko. & I also know that if the vet had given him the medication he needed (which i managed to find out within minutes)- he would still be alive today.

All done.

10/21/05 09:02 pm - azhura_star - A Message from your Community Administrator

Let's take a moment to talk about where we want to go with this community.  It's something that I didn't consider much when I began, being irritated with the last community I was a member of, my first thought was to just leave and make a comfortable and welcoming community.  Since you all are the "founders" of The Rat Cafe, I'm looking for input on where we should go from here.

I would like to be able to have this focus in part on our pets, obviously!  Our ratties are so wonderful and important (all of our other babies as well) and I would love to see pictures and stories down the road.  However, I would also like this community to takle some of the controversial and unusual topics that aren't brought up for fear of getting "slammed". 

Add any ideas or comments you have!


10/21/05 09:01 pm - azhura_star - Should we keep "exotic pets"??

Now days you are hearing about people owning animals like skunks, prairie dogs, badgers and sugar gliders. Do you guys think that these animals are a bit too exotic to be kept as pets?  How much do we really know about these animals dietary needs housing, social stature and etc?  At what point to you say an animal is "too exotic"?


10/19/05 05:12 pm - azhura_star - Do You Stay with your Pets When They're Euthanized?

Another controversial issue.  Not sure if any of you has ever had to put a pet down, wether at the vet or at home.  If you have, answer first hand.  If not, what do you think you would do?

When your pets are put down, do you choose to stay with them?  I've heard that some vets dont allow animals to be euthanized with their owners present, they will only bring you your baby after they pass on.  What do you think?  Would you stay and why?


10/18/05 02:36 pm - azhura_star - Feeder Rats

I've recently stumbled upon a link for a forum that has the same name as this new community.  I clicked on it thinking "How cute!".  Needless to say, I arrived in a forum for reptile breeders who decide to breed their own stock for feed.  A lot of the posts disturbed me, because I obviously have a love for these critters, and don't think I could own a snake simply for that purpose.  So I guess I have a question to get us started:

  • Could you own a reptile that needed to be fed rats, mice, or other small animals?
  • What are your thoughts on "feeder breeders"?  Do you think they are bad people for breeding rats, mice & other small animals just to feed reptiles? 

Let's get this community started!!!

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