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Scabs in your pet rat's fur can indicate a mite infestation.

Scabs in your pet rat’s fur can indicate a mite infestation.

 

Most parasites you find in your pet’s fur are only there because of a weak immune system.

Mites for example are always around, in bedding, on skin, in hair. It is only when the natural defence mechanisms of your pet are not strong enough to fight them off that you need to step in.

A weak immune system due to illness, malnutrition or old age is an invitation for mites to multiply. Once they’re taking over, it becomes a hassle for your pet to get rid of them.

 

There is medicine you can administer that kills off all parasites in general:

Ivermectin, which mites could be resistant to however, and

Revolution, which is normally for cats.

 

I try to avoid medicine as far as possible, so here is an alternative method:

 

How to get rid of mice or lice in a natural way

 

  1. Groom your pet

The mites have taken over and your pet is struggling keeping these buggers at bay.

Help them by grooming them with a small comb. You will soon notice that you’re combing out small particles, each one of them is a relief to your pet.

 

  1. Douse the affected areas with olive oil

I use high quality extra virgin olive oil and don’t dilute it.

Whatever oil is in excess, your pet can lick off and it’s even good for them: Virgin oil has proven to have a life-extending effect in rats.

 

Depending on severity you can give a pet rat an olive oil bath.

According to this story that can end up very messy.

But it seems drenching your pet rat in olive oil really does the trick, as this comment confirms.

 

Pouring pure olive oil on the affected areas should suffocate the mites and at the same time heal the scabs. Together with an immune-boosting diet, your pet should be able to fend off the invaders.

 

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Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

 

This friendship forged already long before the #RattieSitting:

 

Apparently these two met at work!

Yes, some are lucky enough to take their pets to work, even when the pet turns out to be a rat. 😉

 

Obviously Yoshi was totally smitten by gorgeous Sybil and because they get along so well, they got to meet for playdates at work.

 

While #RatSitting they got 2 weeks of that, just play play play, adventure and mischief and all: Because it was these two who’d go roaming about.

 

If you let your pet rats roam freely it’s important you ratproof your home. But you can only do so much, best is to keep your ratties in an enclosed and safe space.

 

So while all the other ratoots were mostly content hanging about rat city alone, making me feel at ease managing 17 ratties, here we have two adolescents who venture further. That calls for trouble!

 

And of course Sybil managed to chomp a piece out of our monitor cable – just a tiny bit, nothing to worry about; but she did give it a try.

And of course Yoshi was already on the top of the stairs – greeting me friendly, what a lovely welcome; but he did go quite far.

 

Still the cuteness of these two is just heart melting, and it is so lovely to see how they care about each other.

Rats are so gentle, they have so much love to give.

And so much entertainment to offer, it never gets boring with these critters, because one thing is sure:

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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The dynamics of rat clans are very sophisticated and quite impressive. Impressive because if even little rodent animals like rats can learn to live together in unity, why can’t we.

 

When new recruits arrive, the previously settled roles within the rattie bunch are shaken up and maybe even up for grabs, so might some of the more opportunistic pet rats think.

 

Luckily, my ratties have gotten so used to visitors, they are super relaxed about sharing their territory. Somehow that makes their home a neutral zone: It is often their cage everybody flocks to and shares a meal or some cuddles.

 

But the visiting ratties are coming in their own cage, with their own smells, so they indeed have a home away from home.
Rats are super sensitive to smells, and they mark each other and everything in between to reconfirm belonging to one clan. I think it’s important for rats to be able to go back to their familiar home and not be completely uprooted when going for RattieSitting.

 

But of course that makes their cage equivalent to their territory.

 

My observation is that if there are many ratties, like for example Camilla’s 8, they are pretty relaxed about their space, as they are used to ratoots coming and going.
But if it’s only 2 pet rats, like Fendi and Cher, and they’re new to the whole ‘let’s meet other rats’ idea, they can turn a bit possessive over their space.

 

So when Mulan and Harley, two black hooded cutsie sisters, visited their lookalike Cher, she was not so impressed.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

 

Whenever they encountered each other, there was some huffing and puffing going on, a rat’s way to indicate they are ready to fight for their right. The right for what is not always that clear, so I just kept on separating them when they came to close for comfort.

 

Rats can be very persistent, and Mulan and Harley kept on going back to Cher, but yet again, it wouldn’t go well.
I sometimes had to lock Mulan and Harley in one of the other cages, because they wouldn’t leave Cher alone.
They even managed to sneak into Cher and Fendi’s cage every now and then, and that was really a no-go zone for them, also Fendi agreed on that one.

 

However, outside of this specific Fendi and Cher cage area, everything was totally fine. They could eat, sleep and cuddle together, no problem.

 

So maybe there was hope that they could transfer the friendship’s locale.

 

And indeed: On the very last day of the RattieSitting Cher and Harley were one heart and one soul in Fendi and Cher’s travel cage.
Where they had stood upright, confronting each other, swaying in the attempt to dominate, they now sat side by side like good old pals. Some stretching, and then some more relaxing.

I couldn't believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher's travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher’s travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

 

Even with 17 ratties from 4 different clans, they manage to achieve harmony eventually.

 

To me, this is the bliss of RattieSitting. I love watching these clever little munchkins, it’s better entertainment than TV.

 

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Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

 

Looking after 17 ratties!

 

Rat City is taking over our bedroom with 4 medium sized rat cages, 1 small cage, and 3 travel cages:

Across the south wall, all blocked up so no chance of draft, the cages continue onto the desk. Which is where the rattie exploration must stop, with office cables on the far end.

Same below the desk: 2 travel cages give the opportunity to play and settle, as the ratoots are not allowed further.

Instead, why not give Agatha and Eleanor a visit, who have their cage in my original rattie cage location. Because they don’t react well to stress, they sit a bit apart from rat city, only connected by the bridge, which can be removed if they need a bit more quiet time.

 

I thought it’d be a big job.

 

But besides having to do some more cleaning, all the ratties are well behaved. You hardly notice it’s so many, because all they do is cuddle in bigger packs.

The variety of cages and rattie friends is enough entertainment for them to stay put. Most of the ratoots only interact within the boundaries of rat city.

The few curious culprits who roam the entire room are noted and easy to watch out for. Especially when they actually come to greet you, like Yoshi does when he’s on top of the staircase. What a nice way to be welcomed into your own bedroom. 🙂

 

It is inspiring to see how all these different characters manage to find harmony.

Because not all of them get along: There is quite a bit of rivalry and territorial protection going on.

 

A rat who’s boss in one clan might clash with a rat who’s boss in another clan.

And rat who is used to only one other rat messing about in their cage might get a tad irritated when another rat comes not only to visit, but actually to stay and set up camp.

 

There are a few odd squeaks of protest, but rats have the most funniest and actually impressive way to solve conflict: Through cuddles.

A rat’s way of showing their domination is through vigorous grooming of the inferior rat. So there might be a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but it always gets resolved through devoted preening.

 

Rat City offers enough space for the ratties to avoid each other and sort any conflicts in their own time. And because I leave the cages open, they can choose who to hang with.

Sometimes with surprising results: Rats who might have not gotten along so well in their own clan all of the sudden team up, with so many other ratties around. New pet rats meet and make friends. Odd pairs match up in their quest to explore.

 

The dynamics and interactions are more entertaining than the best soap opera.

Maybe that’s because as soon as you, the spectator, come forward you’re totally engulfed in rattie attention. And when it’s 17 of them, that’s a lot of rattie love! ❤

 

Rats are so tender, timid and sweet, it’s the most humbling experience: For these little skittish critters to trust you, come to you, and shower you in rattie kisses, to be acknowledged, inspected and not only welcomed into their clan, but actively sought out to be part of it, I can only ever conclude:

 

Rats make great pets!

 

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Step 1: Insert rat into flowerpot

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

 

Step 2: Adjust flowerpot to rat’s liking

 

Step 3: Let rat settle

 

Voila! Rat has grown a little – maybe 😉

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

 

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Painting the Ranzani Design Salt & Pepper Grinders is very meditative work. The focus lies on getting the colour contrasts neat.

A calm and collected environment is established by bringing order and discipline to the paint job.

Unless you’ve got pet rats! Their curiosity knows no boundaries.

Even the paint – non-toxic of course – gets examined with some funny results:

Blue rattie paw prints everywhere! 😮

 

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Rattie Yoshi cannot believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

Rattie Yoshi can’t believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

 

Most breakfast cereals are unhealthy

Generally most breakfast cereals are not actually healthy, not for us and not for pet rats either.

They contain too much sugar, salt and fat: Those crunchy mueslis are baked in oil, those great flakes are sugar coated, those crispy pops get their taste from salt.

You might as well eat a dessert for breakfast. So don’t give this unhealthy, non-complex carbs, loaded with artificial flavourings and other additives, ‘breakfast’ to your pet rats.

 

Read the labels!

If you don’t read labels already, do it for your rattie’s sake:

Pet rats should only eat cereals which contain less than 5% sugar, or 5 to 10% sugar if it’s entirely from fruit.

On the food label find the row for carbohydrates and take a look at the amount of total sugar per 100g: It should not exceed 5g.

 

Tip: Only as a treat

Because of their high sugar content, breakfast cereals should be regarded as a #Rattie #Treat, like a dessert for your pet rats.

If your pet rat is old / ill / underweight, breakfast cereals can provide extra energy, in addition their sweet taste cover any medicine you might need to administer to your rattie.

 

Bonus Tip: Add yoghurt

Pet rats need animal protein. If you give them breakfast cereal high in carbohydrate countermeasure it by adding plain additive-free yoghurt. I use amasi, as most yoghurts in South Africa contain preservatives.

This can also help to keep your pet rat’s weight in check: The yoghurt fills them quicker and they consume less carbs.

 

 

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