[death tw, animal death tw]
I dropped off some rodents for a cremation today. I had been putting it off for ages, I don’t know why it was bothering me so much, but I got really upset every time I thought about how I’d never see Bug again. I kept crying after I left, which was silly because he’s been dead for almost a year now & I know I can’t just indefinitely keep him in my freezer. Usually, they’re in my freezer as a matter of convenience (it’s easier to dig one big hole to put multiple bodies in, so I wait until I have a few), but I have to admit that with him it was more an issue of not wanting to let go. Darcy, Jameson, Stubbs, & Pie are all getting cremated together. At first, I was disturbed by the idea of the mice’s ashes being combined with the rats, but it seemed really silly to pay twice as much to have the mice done in one & the rats done in another. Gah, I feel sad about it, it feels like they are dying again.
I still have I think four in the freezer that need to be buried, plus a baby bird, I need to get on that soon. I don’t want to do it in my yard because the dirt is really crappy, so I’ve got to try to find a nice park to bury them in. I wish I had a house with a pretty garden so it was really easy to have a nice little graveyard.
I hate having to play favorites to the extreme of cremating some & not others, but it’d cost way too much to have everybody cremated, not to mention I don’t have the space for that many little urns. I still haven’t found an urn for Simon & Ivan, I’ve been keeping an eye out for over a year & I have yet to come across anything I liked!!
I WANT THEM ALL TAXIDERMIED & WE CAN ALL BE TOGETHER FOREVER.
Aww this was a super sweet message, thank you!! Sorry that it took a while to get back to you, I just finished up my grocery store job last night, so things have been really hectic! But I did/do appreciate your message & kindness! <3
I don’t have any experience with anywhere else, but I felt like my first one was a great value…I think I paid $40 for it & it held up through six months of continuous wear, almost every day, very active (grocery store stocking), even with me not really knowing how to care for it at first & touching it a lot.
I just got a second one in the other day & it is beautiful, it looks better than it does in the photos on the site. I am working a desk job now & won’t be moving around nearly as much, so I suspect I can get more than six months out of it if I’m careful.
Hi! Thanks! :)
As far as cages for four rats, gah, that’s a yucky size to try to find for. :( The problem with rat cages is that there are plenty of ones for under $100 for two rats, but once you get between 3-5, things get a little complicated!
I have a Ferret Nation & a Critter Nation right now & I absolutely love them! The Critter Nation is a better option because it has smaller bar spacing—I’d say it’s probably the most popular luxury cage on the market for rats. I know Prevue Hendryx has a line of ferret cages that are built similarly for considerably cheaper—I don’t have any personal experience with them, but you definitely want to check the bar spacing on them because 1” is usually too big for anything but adult males.
Martin’s Cages is a pretty popular company & they have a lot of different sizing options to choose from. They’re a pain to clean & in my experience don’t hold up as well as the Midwest cages, but animals do like them.
I haven’t shopped for cages in a while so I’m probably not the best person to ask, but I know this one is pretty popular. I haven’t heard the greatest things about its durability, but it is a lot cheaper than the Midwest cages.
If you’re able to afford it, I definitely recommend a Critter Nation (the single unit is a lot cheaper than the double that the link takes you to). I’ve had my Ferret Nation for five years & it’s survived several moves & many, many rats…they’re just very durable cages. It’s now on its last legs (quite literally, one of the wheels is gone & it just kinda leans on the wall), but I feel like I more than got my money’s worth & am looking to replace it with the same thing.
I have a Santa hat & a little Christmas hat they wear at Christmas for cards. I also have a sweater & a little safety vest, but they don’t tolerate them too well. Kara has lots of cute little costumes for hers & tons of adorable pictures of them in them, so it might be worth a shot, but I wouldn’t spend a ton of money or time on them just in case they do mess them up or refuse to wear them.
(also, I assume you know this, but just in case, never leave them unattended with any sort of clothing on, as there’s a possibility they could choke or get stuck)
I think most pet breeding is really irresponsible, like if people are doing it just to experience birth or try to make a profit or whatever. No matter how nice or intelligent or great they are, most pet store rats just shouldn’t be bred—their lineage hasn’t been tracked & you have NO idea what sort of health problems could run in their family, especially because a lot of issues don’t show up for a year or more & rats are more than capable of breeding at younger ages.
As far as breeding if you’re planning on keeping the babies yourself (or have friends who are willing to split the litter with you), I don’t have quite as much of an ethical problem with that assuming everyone involved knows there’s a possibility that they could be more likely to have respiratory issues or cancer due to their genetics than a random rat might be, but at the same time, I think it’s silly to take that risk with a rat that you own. If live feeder rats are available in your town, you can go to a pet store & buy a pregnant one & still experience birth & raising the babies & whatnot without having to risk losing one of your own. Rats are miraculous creatures of survival, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have issues with labor sometimes, & unfortunately, since they’re so small, they have very little chance of surviving if something goes wrong during birth. I have literally lost count of how many times I’ve had messages from people who had pregnant rats (either ones they intentionally bred or ones they got without realizing they were pregnant) that had issues during birth & either lost all of the babies or the mother. My friend Kaley experienced it with a beautiful little rat she got at a pet store last year—she took her to the emergency vet when something went wrong during the birth & there wasn’t anything that could be done. It’s not incredibly common, but it is more common than people think.
I had the lovely experience of raising a litter last summer from a pregnant female named Bree that Kaley had purchased, & it wasn’t any less meaningful to me that it wasn’t my rat. Obviously, I would’ve been upset if something had happened to her in labor, & I’m sure Kaley would have been saddened by her loss, but at the same time, it was a rat bought just a week or so prior, it’s not like it was a beloved pet that either one of us had owned for months & months. I can’t even imagine how terrible I’d feel if I had room for more rats & I decided to breed, say, Bonkers, & then she died during birth…I don’t think I’d ever be able to forgive myself.
Hi! I have that answered here.
(that’s not a bitchy “Y DIDN’T U CHECK MY FAQ/!?!??!?!?!” answer, it’s just a “I knew I had this typed elsewhere & it’s easier for me to post a link than type the same thing out again” answer, haha)
Best of luck with him! I’m in a bit of the same boat with some of my newer ones—the last group I got is great & are very well-adjusted, friendly rats, but Data & Worf are still working on being sociable. Worf thinks my fingers are chew toys!
I don’t know how to handle this, I feel like I need to talk to another rat owner but no where around where I live seems to appreciate rats and I feel belittled when I mention my problem. On Thursday I came home, and like I normally do, I always go to greet my ratties (I had three, all female, 2 adults, 1 5-week-old). I went in to greet them, and I went to my two adults and said hello, but as I turned to greet my baby, I couldn’t find her. At first, I thought she’d escaped again, but nothing seemed out of place so I looked at her cage again, and my heart sank. She was just laying there, like she’d laid down and sprawled out to take a nap. I quickly open her cage and picked her up and pet her and pet her as if she was going to wake up. I thought in my head, that maybe, just maybe, if I kept petting her and warmed her up, she’d be fine. I wasn’t crying till later, till the realization of her passing finally hit me. I just held her close and kept stroking her little dumbo head.
I’ve owned rats for a year and a half now, and she was the first rattie I’ve lost. I knew that one day, it would happen and I knew I’d have to cope with it, but I didn’t her passing would hurt me as much as it did. She was so young, I don’t know what could have happened. She seemed fine before I left. I’d always taken care of her as best as I could. I got her from a nice little place that took pride in their animals. She was just so young, I don’t know what happened. I feel like this is my fault. I know that rats are social little guys, and that’s why I have 3. She was too little to stay in the big rat cage, she’d squeeze out, but I’d let her stay with the big rats (who were fond of her) when I was around which is more than half of the day. I do everything to make sure that my babies have the best life. I just don’t know what happened. I don’t know if maybe she was stressed, I don’t know. I said my farewells, and I kissed her good-bye, and buried her in a nice spot with flowers. I just don’t know how to handle this loss. I can’t forget the way she looked, laying there. I can’t forget the way she looked in the box. Put the dirt back on it and sitting by her grave and crying. I feel so terrible. It’s amazing how much these little guys can effect your life. I don’t know what happened to cause her to pass, but I blame myself. I miss her so much. I just want to hold her again and pet her curly fur. I guess what I’m trying to ask is, how would you deal with the loss of a little friend? It’s been a few days and I’m not feeling a whole lot better, knowing that I’m still here, and she’s outside in the cold ground. I miss her so much.
Oh gosh, I got really sad reading your message & I feel awful that it took a few days to get back to you—I’ve been working pretty much nonstop the last few days & wanted to make sure I had time to write out a thoughtful reply.
Please don’t feel at all like it’s your fault. Unfortunately, rodents sometimes die shortly after coming home—I’ve experienced it with a rat who showed no symptoms whatsoever & seemed perfectly fine, & a mouse who was an absolute heartbreaker & seemed sick, then cleared up, then died suddenly. Being in a pet store is stressful & then coming to a new house & getting adjusted to a new home is stressful & some sick rats are very, very prone to hiding any sign of illness at all. There’s also certain strains of pneumonia that can literally kill overnight, & there’s a chance she had some sort of heart or brain issue that comes on practically out of nowhere—I’ve seen that firsthand with neurological issues in a young rat I had bought just a few months before.
A lot of times, when it’s something that maybe could have been preventable in hindsight (which I don’t think was the case with your rat, just saying), I know it is really hard not to feel like it’s your fault. One of my favorite rats, Darcy, my little Bug, had to be euthanized late last year. He had always had respiratory problems ever since he was a little baby. One day, he squeaked when my friend picked him up (he was not normally a vocal rat). It didn’t seem that weird at the time, but a few days later, he started having severe breathing problems & by the time I got him to the vet in the morning, it was too late. Looking at it now, I wonder if I had brought him to the vet that first time he squeaked, if he could have been put on antibiotics & maybe lived. Squeaking CAN be a sign of early respiratory issues, but it’s also a noise that plenty of rats make on a regular basis—I can hear squeaking right this second because Jean Luc is apparently grooming Turnip’s face off, so I know realistically that it is not something I can beat myself up over, but it’s still upsetting to think that maybe he’d still be here today if I hadn’t ignored that one little warning sign. But I can’t focus on that because even if I had a time machine, maybe he still would’ve died if I had gotten him on the strongest antibiotics that very day, maybe he would’ve lingered for a miserable week or two & still had to be euthanized, hell, maybe I would’ve gotten in a car crash & we both died on the way to the vet. There’s really not any way to say what would have happened & it just makes you feel worse to think about what ifs like that. I just try to focus on the fact that I gave him the best life I could while he was here. I miss him every day, I still can’t think about him without crying, but I made his life better & he made my life better, even if it had to all end on a sad note. I know that you miss your little girl & I’m not going to say something cliche like “she’s in a better place now,” because I don’t know where she is, I hope it is a good place with Bug, but I don’t know. I do know that you gave her a nice place to live her life, even if it wasn’t for very long. Rats can understand love & I am sure she knew that you loved her & did all you could for her. ::hugs::
Here are my favorite rat photos from 2013. I don’t know that “favorite” is really the right word, as I have some that I like much more, but these are the ones that passed my “good photo” standard & also my “hey, I really like this” standard.
Santa baby, slip a Darcy under the tree for me.
reblogging because I miss my Buggy very much.
I can watch the ones of rats that died a few years ago, like Ivan & Wyatt, & just feel normal-sad. I miss them immensely, but I’ve grown accustomed to them being gone & it’s not like I’m going to start bawling at the thought of them. but I cannot watch the ones of Bug, I tried playing one & video-me opened up the cage door & video-Bug came lunging for my hand like he was gonna bite it & then he just gave me his evil Bug glare & it hurt too much to go any further.
I miss him very much.
August 2011 - September 12, 2013
Rest in peace.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always liked animals that other people didn’t. I don’t know if it’s a rescue complex related to my low self confidence or special snowflake syndrome or what, but the list of pets I’ve had that were defective in some way is a mile long….the mentally challenged rat terrier who had been abused by his previous owners and would attack with little warning, the lab/chow mix that obsessively chewed on the side of my mom’s house, countless betta fish that couldn’t swim straight or were just plain ugly, Wyatt, the rat that had psychoses so severe that the offense of petting him without looking at him resulted in a bite that literally hit the bone and left me with permanent nerve damage, Stubbs, my little half-tailed mouse that I only had for a week but still cry over if I think about…and then there was my sickly little Bug, who turned into my not-so-little Bug, who attacked his cagemates and had to be separated at mealtimes to keep from killing everyone.
Rewind to almost exactly two years ago—September 17, 2011. The aforementioned Wyatt had recently died and it was a few months after a bad breakup; I was too depressed to feel much interest in my remaining rats and knew I needed a distraction. Nothing is as good of a distraction as baby rats, so I merrily made my way to the notoriously awful pet store on the other side of town a week after tragedy struck in the form of staying up all night with a dying rat as he suffered seizures and strokes. I obtained five babies from the snake food bin. Of particular interest to me at first was a handsome black hooded with a lightning-shaped blaze, to be named Badger Potter, but the little agouti hooded soon stole my heart over his flashier cagemate. He was very small, much smaller than the other four, and it took me a few days to give him a name…I couldn’t decide between Thomas and Darwin, but in the end, I opted for Darcy, feeling that he was was perhaps not dashingly handsome like Mrs. Austen’s romantic hero, but I liked him enough already to feel he deserved a dashingly handsome name. Things quickly went downhill for my little quintet—Badger became quite ill with pneumonia, Spoticus passed away overnight from unknown causes, and my little “Darcedarce” appeared to be dying. He was so small, probably too young to be away from his mother, and had a severe case of pneumonia. The vet I was seeing at the time didn’t feel comfortable treating him because his condition was so bad and he was so tiny, and he recommended me to an exotics specialist that I still see (and love) today. I remember my family and even people on Tumblr recommended that I should just return him to the pet store, that I hadn’t had him long and was in for nothing but heartbreak and money thrown down the drain, but I loved him. He licked my fingers and his chest was barely bigger than my index finger, and he wanted to live, I know that’s stupid to say because of course it’s an animal’s instinct to live, but Spot died overnight and Badger was a pain in the ass about taking his medicine, they were not like my precious little Bug. He took his medicines like a champ, he’d beg for them, and he didn’t mind having to live in isolation from the others, he was always sweet and always licky, and I didn’t mind having to wake up every few hours to make sure he stayed hydrated, or having to take two or three breaks at work to rush home to get antibiotics in him.
He got healthy and stronger, and slowly, he grew into a decent-sized rat…the little three ounce Bug I had would eventually be a big 1.5 pound tank of testosterone, and the name didn’t fit any more, but it had stuck. He was not an easy rat to deal with: he had severe food aggression problems, and at times, during puberty, I worried he’d have to permanently live alone. We eventually reached a compromise, me and Bug, where he had to go in a small “bad Bug” cage at mealtimes and occasionally when he felt pissy for no reason, but otherwise, he (mostly) lived with his friends in harmony. He had a bad habit of lunging for fingers when he was hungry, and I probably should have stopped that when he was young since it resulted in a lot of bleeding hands later, but I put up with a lot from Bug, because I loved him. He was never a very good-looking rat, if I’m being honest. He had squinty eyes and he always looked angry, even when he was licking you, and his nose was shaped like a hook. He had a funny way of walking, even when he was at the age where most rats have a tendency to drag their back end a little bit, he held his tail up high like a flag, with the tip curled up into a question mark. He loved to clean my ears, and my eyebrows, and he’d groom at my hairline until my scalp was bleeding and I was overcome with giggles because it tickled and was just such a weird hobby for him to engage him. He was a funny rat.
He caused a lot of problems I won’t go into other than to say that he led to some pretty extensive vet bills after attacks on his cagemates. People always asked why I kept him or why I never got mad at him, but I think he was a genuinely good rat. I don’t know, I guess I had a soft spot for him because he was so sick when he was young and I practically hand-raised him, but rats are like people, and some are better than others. I’ve been around enough to know when a rat is good and has personality and I don’t know the word for it, but MUCHNESS, when they are special and I’ll remember them forever and ever, I won’t ever have to stop and think “what was that agouti hooded with the hook nose’s name?” no matter how many years it has been and how many rats I’ve had. I’ve got nineteen right now and fifteen more deceased and countless others that I’ve known and will know, but (Jesus, this is cliche), none of them are or were or will be my Bug.
He got sick suddenly and I had very little warning that he was going to pass away. I always tell people that’s the way for them to go, that it’s better to not watch them waste away or suffer, and I know, if I’m being logical, that that is the way I would have preferred it, but it’s a lot harder on the person left behind when it happens that way. I fed the rats this morning and no one tried to bite me, I just handed them their lab blocks and they gently took them out of my hands. I cried very hard.
There’s this weird feeling that’s difficult to describe that you get when your pets achieve relative fame on the internet, or at least I have that feeling. It’s like I share them with people, like they’re not fully mine. I don’t mind, I find it to be gratifying and it makes me feel like I have purpose and like their short lives have more meaning, but it’s also a little strange, knowing that when a really popular rat dies, I’m not the only one crying. I don’t think Darcy’s magnetism came across very well in photos because he was not very photogenic and he never really did anything spectacular that made for nice stories, so he usually didn’t get a ton of notes and I never thought of him as particularly well-liked. This gave me this weird possessiveness over him, like he wasn’t as beloved as Ears or Jameson or Courage, so he felt more like he was *mine* instead of everybody’s. He was a special rat.
There was a little fire in a tiny blue cage that got snuffed out suddenly yesterday. Now I feel cold.
I love Bug. I wasn’t able to be at the vet due to car issues & my boyfriend took him. I had to be at work, it is a convoluted situation. I thought that maybe he could be saved if I got him there in time. Maybe he just needed oxygen & fluids. But the vet said he was too far gone. I feel really bad for not being there. She told me that she would pet him for me since I couldn’t be there, but she didn’t know he was called Bug, so I am sure she called him Darcy and he doesn’t know that name very well. He liked Bug better. She made me some paw prints of him and they left it wet so I could write his name, so I wrote BUG. it’s not very good because I used my fingernails. He got sick really fast. It was pneumonia. I shut his eyes. I wrapped him up in his hammock because he loved his hammock and now he will have to go in the freezer. I am not sure what I will do. I have other rats in my freezer and most of them I want to bury but I’m not sure about Jamie and Bug. I will have to get some money saved up to get them cremated, maybe. I am really very sad, I think maybe if I type a lot I’ll feel better and not cry, but I don’t think that works. I will watch some cartoons and maybe I’ll feel better. Carter is very sad too. Rats don’t understand some things and he doesn’t know why he is alone. I guess I should let him out but I don’t feel like handling any rats right now because Bug died. Sometimes, he was not a very good rat. He bit Jamie and Edgar and he ate Badger Potter after Badger died. And he would try to bite people that opened the cage door. But I liked him a lot. He was nice to me and he had a lot of spirit. He had a ugly hook nose but he was pretty sometimes and he was a very nice color. I liked Bug a lot, better than I like most rats. Probably my third favorite rat I had ever had.
It was really nice of him to offer to take him to the vet. I think he is a nice guy, maybe I should trust him. Sometimes I have trouble trusting people because it is a lot easier to trust rats or dogs or cats, but I think some people are nice and maybe they don’t want to hurt you. It seems like Bug should open his eyes and wake up but he won’t.
i will try to make a post later. very sad now.