I’m Very Sore

I’ve been negligent in updating this blog for a long time; coming into my own has distracted me a ton (well, that and new video games).  With the intention of rectifying that, I’ve decided to ease into this again by writing a short post.

To preface this post, a few weeks ago the second of my original trio of rats, Lucca, died of Lower Respiratory Disease complications.  She was incredibly affectionate in the last months of her life, and was a joy to be around.  I have her picture hanging on my office wall right now, and there it will stay.

Nearly two weeks ago, I got two new rats; sisters from a rescue who were mistreated as pups (a common story in my selections thus far.  I like to think that I’m helping to make a difference, as small as that might be).  Lacking further creativity with Female names (I still have Verna and Misha, though for some reason I didn’t select those names), I named them Chie and Yukiko, after the Persona 4 characters.  Chie is the bigger of the two, and is much more outgoing.  Day by day she is warming up to being handled and being around me, and is somewhat replacing the role Lucca played before her death.  Yukiko is skittish, and often struggles when handled.  It’s a constant battle to try and show her that I can be trusted for more than food.

Before these two entered my life, I could count on one hand the number of times a rat left or entered my cage on one hand: twice, Glenn climbed into the cage from outside (the first being on his first day when I was holding him by his future cagemates to give them a quick glimpse of each other); on one occasion, Torec jumped out of the cage because I startled her as she was climbing the cage walls.  Since their arrival, I can no longer say that this is true.

Yukiko is very good at getting out of areas, apparently.  She learned that she can squeeze through the bars of my cage (1 inch spacing) on Tuesday, and promptly began making one of my duties “escaped rat wrangler.”  Thankfully, she’s often too timid to leave my room.  Nevertheless, after keeping her in a backup cage for two days and a night, I decided that I needed to… sigh… mesh my cage again.

Let’s back up.  When I got Torec, Lucca, and Riley, the person I got them from (Lyndsy of Henry’s Haven; an incredibly nice and supportive woman) assured me that Torec would constantly be escaping if I didn’t mesh the cage.  At this point, I had spent nearly $250-$300 already setting up for my foray into pet ownership ($100 cage, $100 rats (neuter fee, mostly), $50-$100 in food or accessories).  I ended up spending another $110 or so on four rolls of hardware mesh, hundreds of zip-ties, and a pair of wire-cutters.  The process of meshing the cage was incredibly time-consuming and painful; I was cut in multiple places installing the wire, and ended up having to buy zip-ties halfway through because I had used too many.  After getting my rats, after about a week I cautiously removed one section of the mesh, then another, and so on until the cage was bare.  Torec and Lucca made no attempts to escape at any point.  The money and effort were ultimately further wasted when my landlord at the time threw out the mesh I had moved to storage, thinking it was garbage.  Okay, back to yesterday.

After looking at an apartment (which is a good prospect; that will be the subject of a future post), I cabbed on over to Home Hardware to get some meshing.  I ended up getting two 2’x5′ rolls, two 3’x5′ rolls, a better pair of wire-cutters, and 300 zip ties.  I had dropped another $100 on a meshing project.  The cab rides there and back cost me another $30 or so.  The great thing about having money is that you can spend it on stuff like this.  Except you don’t want to have to.

Anyway, I started the meshing process at around 6 PM.  Beyond a 30-40 minute break to prepare and eat dinner, I worked straight through the night, until I finally finished at around 2:30 AM.  Yep, it took me around eight hours to mesh the cage a second time.  I ran out of zip-ties, too.  Thankfully, I had some spares from last time lying around.  After factoring in cleanup and the fact that I had to spend time setting up the cage again (not incredibly trivial, but I had simply lifted the cage out of the base, so I didn’t have to do anything with the second storey or up), I went to sleep at around 3:00-3:30 AM.

The cage is meshed, thankfully, and Yukiko didn’t have to spend another night in the small temporary cage.  However, my hands are throbbing from all of the work, and I have a good collection of punctures and scratches on my arms.  I expect that the meshing will stay up until I’m absolutely certain that Yukiko or the males I’m getting in a few more weeks can’t escape any more.  That might take a few more months, and the meshing is annoying enough for a short period of time.  Hurray.

As a postscript, I give my rats ample time to run around my room each day, so Yukiko being out of her cage isn’t the issue.  It’s the fact that she’d be running around without my supervision, and possibly leaving my room (therefore getting closer to the cat that lives in the basement).  If something happened to her while I was sleeping or away, it would be terrible; this way, I can at least be assured that I can respond quickly to anything that does happen.

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~ by buncythefrog on August 5, 2010.

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