Sunday, 15 June 2014

Weekly Rundown: The Cage Upgrade Edition

This week marks a momentous occasion in the lives of our rat babies so far. They’ve upgraded from the small cage to the big cage! And it suddenly seems like they’ve shrunk!

For the last (almost) ten years I’ve followed a set regime when it comes to hand-taming my rats and they’ve all begun in an old hamster cage as babies (well, I’ve had it since new but it’s getting on a bit now). It’s not too small for baby ratties and it means I can carry it around the house so they get used to me as well as all the new sights and smells (read: the crazy labrador). Then, once they know their names and have got the hang of running up my arm, they are upgraded to the large Ferplast Jenny cage.

Former rats inhabited my original cage with uncoated bars but that one got retired when we had the girls and was replaced with a super duper new model. It’s virtually identical except that the bars are coated to make it easier to clean.

Unfortunately one of the problems we ran into with the Jenny 2.0 is that the screw threads went on two of the shelf screws making it impossible to remove one of the shelves. They very kindly sent a pack of replacement screws (and the doodads they screw into) way back last year, but I never got around to replacing them. We’d been putting off upgrading the boys for a week and so yesterday had to figure out how to get the damn shelf out.

In the end it took a bit of brute force on the part of Mr Click and then some ingenuity on my part. First to rip the shelf out (leaving the doodads still attached to the screws) and then bend the bars in such a way that they could be removed without doing permanent damage to the cage. It was very much a team effort, once we established that we weren’t getting anywhere by hacking at the things with knives!

The boys seem to love their new home, although to start with Yoda couldn’t figure out how to get down from the top shelf. You could almost sense Wicket’s frustration as he kept running up and down the tunnel trying to encourage his brother to follow him. In the end I took pity on them both, lifted Yoda down to the next shelf and he was able to figure out things from there.

When I’ve not been spending time with my bRats I’ve been working on my latest new ‘toys’. These are two books by Keri Smith, one of which is Wreck This Journal and the other is Finish This Book. I became aware of Wreck This Journal a couple of years ago (and at the time was horrified by the idea) but then I saw Finish This Book in Waterstone’s in Oban and obviously a seed was planted in my mind.

I decided I had earned a treat for finishing paying off my loan and as I couldn’t decided between these two of Keri Smith’s books I decided to go with both. The titles are kind of self-explanatory. The aim of one is to wreck it and the aim of the other is to complete activities given on the pages to finish it. I’ve jumped into both wholeheartedly.

Whereas the Wreck This Journal is encouraging you to jump around within the book and to wreck the pages in whichever order, or way, you choose, Finish This Book must be completed in order so it’s taking me a little longer. I’m really proud of how both are looking at the moment though, so I’ll share my progress with them in the future.

Aside from that, I’m still working my way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It’s taking me a little longer because my copy is in an awful condition and I’m scared it’s going to fall apart (it was the last of the Harry Potter books I let my brother borrow because of the state it was in when he returned it) and it’s also such a big book. It’s awkward to read in bed at night. All the same, at one point I was reading two or three chapters in the morning and almost the same at night but I slowed down as the week went on and I’ve not yet picked back up. I’m determined to finish it this week if only to lighten the load I’m carrying around in my bag each day.

We’ve finished series three of Criminal Minds and moved onto series four, which I’m enjoying. I like that it’s a procedural crime drama that I’ve not seen before so I can sit watching it and trying to solve the crime alongside the team. We’ve finished The Two Ronnies now and have moved onto Red Dwarf instead. We’ve already finished the first series and will probably be onto the third by this time next week, so I don’t think it’s going to take us long to get through them all.

I’m also on a get fit kick with a bunch of girls from work. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve been playing on the Wii Fit for 30 minutes each evening and using muscles I’d forgotten I had. I’ll try and share my progress here. If I don’t post it’s because I’ve died of exercise!


  1. That is so funny. When I first rescued Lucky, he was so small I had him in a little hamster cage and then bought a bigger cage that he chewed his way out of the plastic bottom and had to buy yet another cage, this time with a metal pan bottom. Now I've switched all the rats around and because Lucky is the largest rat I have he is in the big Ferret Nation cage and the others are in the smaller yet big 3 story cage. I remember when I first put them in their cages they had a heck of a time figuring out how to get from one shelf to another and would climb the bars..who needs ladders. lol

    1. I'd love a big cage like those ones. Unfortunately the ceiling in the room that they're in is quite low so their cage only just fits in against the wall where they live.

      I know what you mean about not using ladders. Both Wicket and Yoda are great jumpers, they can leap from bottom to top without even using the bars!


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