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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Rat Lovers! This is Jeremy. He is 2 1/2 years old and he has severe HED (hind end degeneration), which means he doesn't have use of his back legs anymore and he must drag himself around. Because of this, he gets little exercise and is overweight (hard to believe he used to be the runt of the rescue group I adopted). You would not expect him to be the most photogenic rat or an obvious choice for the Ratropolis Christmas photo, but yet - behold - how beautiful he is underneath it all! Just a reminder to see the beauty in everything and everyone. Perfection is a myth. Beauty lies in the imperfections.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Meet Remi, Rex, and Blaze

Recently, we decided to adopt three new boys from a local rescue: Remi, Rex, and Blaze. They are all bonded boys, possibly brothers, about 7-8 months old. Their original family loved them very much but had no choice but to give them up when one of the family developed severe allergies. It was a difficult decision for their family, but I want to assure them that these boys have found a loving home and we will do everything in our power to ensure they lead happy lives.

Currently, the boys are housed in our quarantine cage (a Martins R695). Once they can join the existing mischief, we will try to integrate them into the quad Critter Nation, currently housing Hammie, Jeremy, Lilly, Max, Sam, and Gandalf. If need be, the quad can be separated into two DCNs (or the top and bottom levels can be closed off).


Remi is a gray-colored rex rat - my guess is he is a dark slate blue, but I am very bad with colors. He is darker than Gabe was (our only other blue rat), but I do not believe he is a Russian blue as he has one ruby eye (my understanding is that Russian blue only comes with black eyes). I believe he is a Berkshire, and like his two "brothers," appears to have high white markings (in Remi's case, a lightening blaze and odd eye) - although he is past the highest risk for megacolon at this age.

Remi has a head tilt. It was treated by the rescue but did not resolve after two courses of antibiotics. It is possible that there had been an ear infection and that the damage has not healed or may never heal. It is also possible that a tumor may be in play, although he is a bit young for a pituitary tumor (PT) in my experience. We will be watching him carefully for any other signs of PT and will have our vet check him out to make sure there isn't something else that should be done.

Aside from the head tilt, he acts and behaves fine and appears to be healthy.


Rex is a black Berkshire dumbo with a lightening blaze and straight (normal) coat. He loves to pose for pictures!


Blaze is a black Berkshire with a wedge blaze, normal coat, top ears. Blaze is the more timid of the three, but he is warming up to us nicely. He is a little camera shy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dual Critter Nation Convertible Top/Bottom Level Liner

Convertible Level Liners Used on the Left Side of the Cage

Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that the liner color you need is only available for the Top of the Critter Nation and you need it on the bottom? Or Vice Versa?

I am trying out a liner design that could be used on either the top or the bottom as needed. You basically cut the fabric like you would for the top, but only cut one edge of the ramp cutout (I will call this the "notch"), leaving the other edge attached. I cut the short edge, but you could cut the large edge if you prefer.

Sew the fleece to the U-Haul furniture pad like normal, sewing around the notch. Use a small 1/4" seam allowance along the notch (to minimize the notch gap).

Cut one side of the ramp opening, but leave the other side attached.
Sew around the notch using a small 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn the liner right side out and top stitch as desired. In the liners I did, I added top-stitching across the surface of the liners to try to discourage the rats from chewing their way in between the layers of the liner.

The finished liner should look something like mine, shown below:

Finished Top/Bottom Convertible Liner

You can now use this liner on the bottom, using a large binder clip to secure the notch closed:

The middle binder clip holds the notch closed.

Or you can use the liner on the top, folding the portion of the liner that covers the ramp opening underneath the liner and securing with a binder clip as shown:

The extra flap of liner is folded under and clipped in place.
You may not want to go this route if you move heaven and earth to keep your rats from burrowing under the liners, as they will likely be able to get under using the notch when placed on the bottom pan. My current rats have mellowed as they have aged and while they did a lot of liner diving when they were little, they are less inclined to do so now. Only time will tell if this design holds up to my current rats, although I believe it will work as well as the standard design.