Ratty Fun Times!

  • Apr. 29th, 2012 at 3:09 PM
kelzadiddle: (Default)
I haven't eaten at all today!

As soon as I got up, I headed into Earlestown with Dad to do some shopping for the rats - they needed more food and I also wanted to see if I could pick up some rodent shampoo, but Wilkinson's doesn't sell any. I'll have to pick some up on Tuesday instead, when I go to St Helens.

When I got back, I cleaned out both cages, which took me a little while. Boffin and Barnaby were easy enough; I just had to hand-wash their quilt because we're low on electric, and then put in some of the usual bedding in the meantime. Thelma took a little while longer because her cage is bigger and she has this annoying habit of winding strands of bedding around the bars of her cage. They hang down like shredded drapes; like some scene from a horror film. I don't know how the hell she manages it.

So I had to rat-proof the kitchen and let her scurry about on the floor while I handpicked these strands and scrubbed her cage clean - a fidgety task when you have to navigate your wrists around two tiers and a couple of ramps. But she was surprisingly well-behaved about the whole thing! Seriously, she just wandered about, in and out of her rustle tunnel, standing on my feet... I was quite chuffed. Normally I'm really paranoid that they'll get into some crevice somewhere and never come out but Thelma put me right at ease.

I think she confuses housekeeping times with cuddle times though. When I was knelt on the kitchen floor, picking the strands from her cage, she was sniffing at my face, licking me, climbing all over me. It was adorable C: She's such a good girl. And Boffin and Barnaby have gotten much better since I first got them!

So I may be starving because I've been 100% focused on my babies today, but it's totally worth it! Now, I shall go eat. Afterwards, I'll tidy up the living room and get Boffin and Barnaby out.

Thelma <3

  • Mar. 20th, 2012 at 1:21 PM
kelzadiddle: (Default)

She's so cuuuuteee~

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

kelzadiddle: (Write Like a Mofo)
Yesterday was awesome. Towards the end of the day I found myself suddenly quite busy so the hours rushed by. I found myself tasked with yet another interesting story about a bunch of medals, old photos and badges discovered in the shed behind the Kirkfield Hotel in Newton; this morning I went down there before work to have a look at them and get an idea of who they'd belonged to and where they were from so I could do a good write-up. I finished the piece this morning and I'll post it up as soon as it's out in the newspaper.

Anyway. Yesterday. I met Jason as usual in the reception of the Star office and then we went to - can you guess where we went? - The Glass House. It's a regular haunt of ours now, but it's such a nice place - not too loud, you can hear yourself think and make conversation, trips to the bar aren't suicide missions from which you never return... and the food and drink is pretty good!

And so another awesome Monday continues... )

Thelma and the Human Climbing Frame

  • Apr. 7th, 2011 at 11:04 AM
kelzadiddle: (Write Like a Mofo)
Pub quiz the second today! But first, a more immediate matter: my epic quest to socialise with Thelma.

I awoke to the becoming-usual sight of her clinging to the bars of her cage, watching me intently with her ruby eyes. I decided we'd have a session immediately, while she was so active.

We socialised for about half an hour, twenty minutes of which she was in my hands, down my top (she seems to like it in there...) or, at one point, on my shoulder.

I'm really happy with how she's coming along. I'm starting to feel a lot more confident about picking her up, and about letting her explore - though I still feel a little awkward when she gets to the edge of my bed, in case she disappears under it and never comes out. I'll need to think of a foolproof way of preventing this.

As for Thelma herself, she's a lot more confident now. She doesn't freak out as much when I scoop her up and it takes her a lot less time to pluck the courage up to leave her cage in the first place. When I hold her she uses me as a climbing frame, going up and down my sleeves, all over my chest and back - it stings because of her claws but it's so worth it to see her be a little more outgoing.

She's still very skittish but I think (and hope) that in coming weeks she'll settle down. Same goes for me - she may be small but she's not daft; I think I need to unwind and let her explore my room a little more. If I can trust her, then she'll be able to trust me.
kelzadiddle: (English is a Mugger)
More news of ratty fun times from Planet Thelma! I had her out earlier and she sat in my hands for a full 20 minutes! Progress or what? I held her last night, as my last Thelma post details, but she kept getting back into her cage and I had to keep coaxing her out. This time, she stayed in my hands for ages! She crawled around a bit but I think she was exploring, getting used to me. I made sure I talked to her as well; I basically just babbled to her about how my day was and how I didn't want her to feel uncomfortable! Doesn't matter what words you choose, so long as you sound friendly and the rat hears your voice.

I'm really proud of how much she's improved today. I mean really proud. When I picked her up and she didn't struggle - just stayed in my hands calmly - I was unbelievably chuffed. Now all I need to do is lather, rinse and repeat every day I possibly can, until she comes up to me and sits on my shoulder of her own accord. How cool would it be to just sit and write for an hour with a rat snuggled up against your neck?

The problem? I've been scratched all over by Thelma's ratty little claws. It stings to buggery! She doesn't do it intentionally; it's a bit when a cat sits in your lap and flexes its claws, inadvertently digging them into your legs. A rat's claws are always out, so when Thelma scrabbles across my bare arm she leaves loads of little scratches.

Anyway, I passed today as best as I could, by going round to Laura's for a few hours. We didn't go out today as she's home alone again and had loads of housework to do, plus I was really tired. So we just had a cup of tea and chatted for four hours! Boudi's still in the growling phase, trying to figure out her place in the pack, and her cat Snoopy's looking thinner each time I see him due to his old age. Laura's cut her hair to what you might call a 'boyish' length but it really suits her and I can tell she's comfortable with it.

Little rat scratches aside, I'm considering wearing a chiffon dress tomorrow. Sleeveless. Normally I hate my arms and shoulders, but I think I should just be bold and roll with it. It all depends on the weather, of course, because if it's breezy - well, chiffon's a very light fabric. So I should probably consider sticking on something else beneath it, like a heavier skirt. This is probably why I should invest in some shorts...

After all this waiting, Wednesday is almost here. I'm really excited! Jason's such a nice guy - I love hanging out with him.

Ratty Fun Times

  • Apr. 5th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
kelzadiddle: (Write Like a Mofo)
I've had two socialisation sessions with Thelma since my post yesterday. One was last night, right after the post in question.

I'll admit that a lot of the issues come from myself. I'm a first time rat owner and I'm nervous when it comes to handling because I'm scared that a) Thelma will run away and forever disappear down one of the nooks and crannies in my bedroom or b) I'll accidentally hurt her while picking her up.

I think I just need to trust myself as well as her, though. During both sessions, neither were an issue.

The first one, last night, I took the top off her cage and balanced it so that it was half on, half off, if you get what I mean. This meant Thelma could emerge and explore my bed if she wanted, but she also had the comforts of home if she got too scared. I'd also stick my hand in and near her, offer her treats and make clicking noises at her so she could get used to me.

I think the first session was about twenty-five minutes, because after a while Thelma looked quite tired; I thought I'd give her a bit of space.

This morning, almost immediately after I woke up, I tried again. Cage roof off, balancing even further across the base so she was more likely to leave. Again, more treats, I'd stick my hand into the cage to show her I wasn't her enemy... she nibbled at me a bit, but the bites weren't 'threat' bites, they were 'food' bites!

Then, I discovered a nifty trick for picking her up. I'd get her to climb on the outside of her cage, then scoop her up while she was at it. I only held her for a couple of minutes at a time this way but it was definitely a good start; much better than our interactions the past couple of days. She hid in my sleeve again, which was fun, but this time my sleeve was loose enough so she could go in one end, out the other, not a problem.

This socialisation session lasted about thirty minutes. I'll give it another go later this morning, before I pop round to Laura's, and I think I'll have another two tonight - before everyone else has gone to bed, probably, because then I can actually talk to her. All this dead time I've had of late - I might as well give it to Thelma!

In Which Thelma Hates Being Boxed Up...

  • Apr. 4th, 2011 at 9:01 PM
kelzadiddle: (UFO Club Poster 1)
It seems that LiveJournal has been stricken by a second DDoS attack. Thankfully I still have Semagic, but the attack means that any Semagic features that require a connection to LiveJournal (browsing your post history, updating userpics/tags and posting, for instance) won't work. Ah well, I can always type entries up and save them for later.

So, today I finally took a massive risk and cleaned out Thelma's cage. Thelma being, for those of you who missed the post, my new pet rat. I bought her almost a week ago, she's adorable and she hates me. Every time I go to pick her up (as she should be picked up, I might add - by a finger and thumb around the midriff) she either freaks out and scuttles from my grasp or goes to bite me. Mmmyah. I think she's still settling in, to be honest, as she was at Anna's place for a good three days before I took her home.

She wasn't as bad as she was when I first got her, anyway. In the beginning she hid under the hamster wheel that came with her cage and flatly refused to come out. Now, she'll come up to the cage bars when I enter my bedroom, looking up at me intently. She'll sniff my hands when I go to stroke her nose. She'll even give little kisses. What baffles me is that she clearly looks like she wants to get out, yet when I take the cage top off or go to pick her up she'll have absolutely none of it. Thelma, y u no make sense? Oh - right - because you're my rat. You have a nonsensical owner.

Today I've passed the time by mostly reading. And thinking. And farting about on the computer, trying and failing and failing better at finding good ways to pass the time. I've been reading Robert Rankin's 'East of Ealing' and P. G. Wodehouse's 'Carry On, Jeeves'. I've had countless cups of tea, and I'm currently craving another. All in my mission to make Wednesday come faster.

Well, it's not so bad. Monday's nearly over now, and tomorrow I'm out with Laura. It would be nice if I could get another weekly bus pass on Wednesday, really, because then I'd invite Jason out myself to show that I'm interested.

Laura could help me with my Thelma conundrum, actually. She's had rats before, most notably Badger and Smudge, but I recall one occasion where she and her Mum actually looked after twelve rats at the same time on behalf of a neighbour who was on holiday. She might be able to give me some advice.

Actually, someone on Twitter said that she needs more socialisation. I think I'll try having little socialisation sessions in the mornings and evenings, when she seems most active. I've just stumbled across a neat little article that recommends clicker training, actually - this could be handy!

So, now that I've given Thelma a few days to settle in, here's how I'll start to socialise her:
  1. Little morning and evening sessions, about half an hour each, so she can get used to being handled.
  2. Treats and clicker training.
  3. Plenty of talking to her! She needs to get used to my face and voice.
  4. Oodles of play time.
  5. No pressure if Thelma seems threatened.
Hopefully, in coming weeks, she'll be a lot more comfortable with being handled. I'd be gutted if she just spent her whole life being anti-social like this, but it probably wouldn't be her fault. As her owner, it's my responsibility to give her the proper care. And it would be loads easier to look after her in future if she was socialised properly - no more of these 'rat-in-a-box' situations when it comes to cage cleaning time, for a start!

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