Friday, February 22, 2013

The Rats are Alright

The rats and I recently went through a bit of an ordeal, Cathy had a tumor. So, I guess I should really be saying that the rats went through an ordeal, and I put myself through an ordeal by worrying. Now, since we were going to have a surgery anyway, I elected to get both of my little ones spayed at this time. I highly recommend getting your rats spayed.

Rats are very prone to getting mammary tumors. I had one rat as a little girl who had seven. But, if you spay your rats, they are less likely to develop mammary tumors. So go for it! It will save them a lot of discomfort and one surgery is a lot less expensive than seven.

Now, where to get your rat spayed? Many vets do small animals as well, call and ask! I was lucky enough to have been raised by a veterinarian. So, I planned a trip home to get my rats spayed by my mother.  For those of you in the northern California area looking for a vet, her website is:

The trip home is a long one- about six hours. The rats were in the front seat in their travel cage with snacks a plenty, and I was equipped with a thermos of black tea and a box of chickin-in-a-biscuit crackers. Mmmm. I don’t even want to know how bad they are for me, so I always eat the whole box at once and throw the package away as quickly as possible.

On this journey, I was also equipped with an audiobook. Terry Pratchett’s  The Color of Magic. Now, I was really excited about this book. Terry Pratchett came to me highly recommended by quite a few friends. However, despite this recommendation, I was disappointed with the book. The main thing that put me off was that the narrator kept reminding me of the same thing. Over and over again. It felt like my hand was begin held the whole time because somebody thought I was stupid. Along the same lines, character descriptions were given again and again with similar language. Descriptors for dialogue were also repetitive.

That said, I loved the Discworld. It was a really cool idea, definitely a very magical place. Pratchett is also very funny. There were a few places where I laughed out loud. But there were also a lot of places that could have been really funny, but they just didn’t quite make it. Now, there are thirty or so of these Discworld books. Since this was #1 in the series I am going to give Pratchett another try somewhere in the high 20s.

Ah, and this brings me up to 6 in my 100 books in a year goal!

Books Read In 2013

1.      Pocho - Jose Antonio Villareal
2.      Do You Speak American? – Robert MacNeil
3.      Hunger of Memory – Richard Rodriguez
4.      So Far From God – Ana Castillo
5.      Y No Se Lo Trago La Tierra – Tomas Rivera
6.      The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

Lyra getting prepped for surgery 

But back to the rats. The rat surgeries were an all day affair. Lyra was the easy one, so she went first. When she was out, my mother, along with her assistants Emily and Rachel, clipped the fur on her stomach and scrubbed the area with a surgical scrub to sterilize the area. After that, she went on into the surgery room. I had planned on staying with her for the duration of the surgery but after the first incision I was out. I am afraid I have to admit that I am a bit squeamish. I have been known to faint at the side of blood. Not too handy in a crisis.

So I waited outside, reviewing some corrections I’d been making on my novel. And when the surgery was done, I was ready with hot water bottles when they handed me Lyra, all wrapped up in a blanket. Then, cradling Lyra, still out cold, along with the hot water bottles, I watched while Cathy was prepped for her surgery. Hers was going to be a little more complicated, as not only was she being spayed, but her tumor was right in her arm pit. Tricky spot.

Lyra, waking up

Lyra woke up shortly after Cathy went into surgery. She woke slowly, and seemed quite content to remain in my arms. It was quite refreshing actually. Normally she would be climbing all over me at about a hundred miles per hour.

Me, with both of my babies!

Then they handed me Cathy. I briefly had a rat bundle in each arm. Then I was quickly outfitted with a tub lined with hot water bottles and a blanket. Cathy and Lyra recuperated quite nicely there, and soon were as lively as ever. Now, I have gone through this with quite a few rats, but never before had my rats gone after their sutures. But both Cathy and Lyra were determined to get theirs out.

Getting out of the jackets

The solution? Jackets! Now, neither Cathy nor Lyra were too pleased with this idea. It soon became apparent that while it took us two minutes to get a jacket on, it only took two seconds for a rat to get out of it. But eventually, with a lot of trial and error, we finally devised a jacket that would stay on. And my little babies are doing just fine!!

Lyra in her Jacket!
Cathy, not so happy with her new attire 


  1. I'm glad the rats are doing well. I've been told that they make great pets. I work for a veterinarian who also treats wildlife, exotics, and yes, rats. He's one of the few in our area that does. We do remove a lot of tumors from rats.

    I also agree with you with the spaying. All rats, cats, and dogs should be spayed and neutered! I wish it were a law but how can they enforce it?

    Being raised by a vet you already know how important it is. For those who don't know, spaying and neutering doesn't just keep your animal from reproducing, it keeps them healthier, they get less cancers and diseases, and less aggressive, and less chance of marking.

    Enjoy your little guys!

  2. Rats do make great pets!! I love them so much!!! And I wish there was a way to enforce it too!! There are so many benefits to spaying and neutering!!

    Cathy and Lyra say Hi!!!