The rat pack

This morning I did not expect to wake up to a medical emergency in the shape of a rat emergency. To explain this, we have 6 rats, all females. Pacha, Artemis, Astrid, Ponyo, Gigi and Polly. Pacha is a blue dumbo, Artemis is a black and white hooded, Astrid is an albino, Gigi and Ponyo are hairless rexes and Polly looks like Artemis. The emergency was Polly. Apparently Ponyo decided she was going to show Polly that she is queen of the cage, naked and all. Poor Polly….Polly doesn’t have a mean bone in her and prefers to just snuggle and be quiet while happily diving into a bowl of yogurt. Needless to say I noticed her injured foot and immediately called for Mr. Mustard and then notified the vet. This afternoon she has an appointment. However I did take her to in to see my amazing friends Mr. And Mrs. Doolittle to make sure she did indeed need to see the vet. That is when we noticed she may have an ear infection. Yup off to the vet we will go. Right now she is wandering around their massive cage like a drunk sailor, I want to laugh a little but I want to cry more, she is so small and vulnerable. Pacha is keeping watch over her however, Pacha is mine and is our ambassador rat. She greets everybody and will happily jump onto your shoulder if given the chance. From the day we brought her home I have had her out of the cage and on my shoulder, we trained each other.

Ponyo and Gigi are absolute terrors. They are small and naked. In fact Ponyo resembles Wilpert Grimbley with her whiskers all curled. They look like bats when they hang by their hind legs off the bars or random toys and I won’t even say what they feel like when you hold them. Let’s just say my husband wanted to call them Scrotum and I said absolutely not while laughing hysterically in my head. However as freaky as they look they are absolutely adorable in their own way and have huge personalities and I love them. Ponyo will run to greet you at the door when you open it and is quite quick to give you kisses. Gigi is more shy and sneezes all the time, she is also the food hoarder. I have to check their ball pit daily for fruit because that is where the little booger stashes it.

Astrid is my special case. She is albino and partially blind as albinos typically are. She has pink eyes and does the head sway. If you don’t tell her you are going to pick her up she starts to squeak and freak out, so we say “UP” when we lift her up and let her sniff our hand first and talk to her as we do it. Astrid surprised me when we introduced Ponyo and Gigi, I fully expected some kind of aggression from her, instead she became sort of a mother rat to them. She snuggles the younger rats and teaches them manners. Pacha teaches the litter training. I have a soft spot for Astrid, she and I have a special understanding and respect for each other.

Artemis belongs to Mr. Mustard. They are best buds and it’s quite obvious. I had to give her a bath shortly after we got her and she absolutely hated it. He was baby talking her after telling her she could be as stinky as she wanted and that she never had to have another bath again and that I was a big meanie. His tune changed when they all peed on each other to mark each other as family. Of course I was the bad guy who did the bathing and he was the hero with the warm towel, but he didn’t baby talk her this time. She smelled horrible and he didn’t want to touch her.

Now Polly, Polly was not supposed to be here. I promised him I wouldn’t buy anymore rats….but then I saw her. She was in the feeder tank and there was something about Polly that I couldn’t get past. I walked into the Doolittle’s store for bedding and I walked out with Polly. When I lifted her out of the tank She didn’t fight me, I held her up and asked if she wanted to come with me and I could feel her say yes. When I pulled into our garage I started to come up with a plan to sneak her in without being noticed. She looks exactly like Artemis except for she’s much smaller. Well maybe I can distract Mr. Mustard long enough to pop her in the cage and he won’t notice for a few days or maybe even a few weeks! GOOD PLAN! So I took her out of her little box, informed her of my plans and then popped her into my jacket pocket. I walked into the house and said I needed help with the groceries in the car and just as Mr. Mustard was about to go out and get them Polly poked her head out of my pocket. He froze and said “What is THAT”……I just froze and said “…What is what?” and he pointed at my pocket and said “Let me rephrase the question. Who is that?” I tried to say it was Artemis, but he stared at me and then reached into my pocket, took her out and asked me again who she was. So I sighed and said “Polly”. Needless to say Polly got to stay because she is so stinking adorable. But I was threatened with a python if I bring anymore home.

Hopefully today at the vet I hear she just has an ear infection and nothing else. She is only 8 weeks old and we just brought her home this past weekend. I’ll be heart broken if it’s something more serious that can’t be remedied. My kids love her, we love her and my girls love her…except for Ponyo the naked heathen. Even my two cats love her. There is just something about Polly.

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