Alice the Rat is still alive. Almost two weeks ago she fell from her UFO – a perch near the top of her cage. She landed on her feet nut did not move. When Elizabeth picked up and took her out of the cage, she had a massive spasm and flew into the air. We caught her in mid air. She was very sluggish. We put her on the table and she pulled herself around. She appeared to have had a stroke. After a couple of hours she was doing better.
Over the next few days we hand fed her soft foods and had her frequently out of her cage. After her owner came home, Alice was held and cuddled almost all the time. Usually by her owner, though the rest of us took turns.
Kangaroo Care for Rats: We would sit, usually somewhat reclined, and kept Alice on our chests, close to the heart, nice and warm. We fed her via syringe. We found that if we put her on her back and cuddled her, she could still self-groom. She did not have to fight gravity or lift her body weight or support herself on her hind legs and most rats do when they self-groom.
Last Tuesday she got worse. Her feet were purple, she was catatonic, and would not eat or drink. We could not syringe her. She could not do any self-grooming, and she had discharge around her eyes. We kept her clean. On Wednesday she was the same. By Thursday afternoon she had become responsive, and was self-grooming. She was eating again, though the mixture of milk and ice cream gave her diarrhea.
Since then, she has stayed about the same. After eating she gets somewhat catatonic as she digests. She stays on someone’s chest, nice and warm, self grooms, has hiccoughs, moves slightly, and sleeps or lays awake looking around.
It has been twelve days and Alice the Rat keeps hanging in there. She has a strong will to live, and is being treated better than most of the rats in this world, like the pet rats that came before her: Nina, Fern and Charlie.