I was not expecting to have to write this yet. Smoak had seemed fine, it was her sister Nyssa who had a lump. But then there were little hints, slight changes in behaviour, that suggested something wasn’t right. She became a bit clumsy and then started having difficulty holding snacks and soon it was obvious that she had some sort of neurological problem. I took her to see the vet a couple of weeks ago and he agreed: she most likely had a brain tumour of some type.
She had been fluffing up a bit, which can be a sign of being in pain, so I brought her home with some painkiller. She went downhill gradually, losing weight and finding it harder to eat and to keep her balance. Even her beloved banana became difficult for her. And I knew that it was time to say goodbye to my beautiful grey Smoak, the rattiest of rats.
Saying goodbye to Molly in November 2017 left us with just one ratty: Ivy. We weren’t going to rush to get more, but it was obvious that Ivy wasn’t going to be happy on her own, so friends had to be found.
I fell in love with Smoak the moment I saw her; such a beautiful grey-brown girl, a bit skittish, but utterly gorgeous. She proved herself to be the rattiest of rats: when we brought her home, she escaped onto the floor as I tried to get her from the carrier to the cage and the sight of her bounding along the skirting board under the sofa… just so incredibly ratty.
Such a pretty rat
Nyssa was more forthcoming and curious; she didn’t want to be held, but she was more than happy to be around people, especially if they had snacks. She quickly discovered that the inside of a t-shirt was a fun place to explore (I’ve used tucking ratties inside my t-shirt as a socialising technique before but Nyssa did it all on her own). She has to be the focus of attention, if anyone else is getting any fuss — or worse, food — then she will quickly place herself front and centre.
On the move
Raiding the snacks
Smoak was beautiful and a little aloof, with the softest fur. Nyssa was and still is, energetic and sleek, with a beautifully silky coat.
Smoak quickly learned her name and would acknowledge you, even if she then chose to stay exactly where she was. It took a lot longer for Nyssa to even understand what a name was, she recognises it now and does respond, but I’m convinced she just thinks it means “snack time”.