? - 15.03.07

Ruby was a champagne.

Ruby came to me as she'd been picked up by the RSPCA, found wandering stray in lowestoft.
I was asked when I went into work one morning if I'd like another rat because the RSPCA didn't have facilities for her, and she'd spent the night in the office.

When Ruby came to me, it was clear she'd been roughing it for a while. She was very thin and extremely thirsty, so much so that she was drinking the rain water that fell through the gaps in the cat basket I carried her home in.
Although she was curious and happy to emerge from her igloo in the quarantine cage, even coming to the bars to see me, she had obviously not been handled much. She would scream whenever you went to touch her, but she would also lunge at anything that touched her or appeared in front of her. I handled her with thick gardening gloves for the first couple of days, and gradually let her get used to being picked up with them, and being stroked. She would still whip around as if to bite, but actual biting itself became much less. Soon I was able to hold her without gloves and for the first time get a proper feel of her.

I soon realised she had lice, so she was treated for them. For a period I thought she may have been pregnant, as she quickly developed a pot belly, but thankfully this wasn't the case. Soon, she was completely handleable and ready to meet my other girls.
I still don't know if Ruby had ever seen other rats before. She seemed to know exactly what to do, and was extremely submissive to my other girls, and seemed very keen to be near them. Soon they were all in the same cage together, but Ruby wasn't immediately accepted. For a good while she would still be attacked, chased, bullied and excluded from the group. You'd often see her trying to sneak into the igloo to be with the others, only to be chased out again. Mainly, it was Chloe and Nora who gave her the most grief. Frankie and Molly seemed to accept her right away.

Unfortunately, a few weeks after settling her in with the other girls, Ruby had what seems to have been a stroke. She became very weak, couldn't walk straight and kept falling over when she tried to wash herself. I kept her seperate from the other girls, as they often picked on her and I wanted her to have some peace. She made a full recovery in a few days, though the other girls seemed to no longer want her back. As such, she went to live in a smaller cage with Molly. A few weeks later, just as she was seeming to put on weight and get back to being the rat she should be, she had another stroke. This time it was much worse and she was unable to walk or move and seemed in discomfort. She was put to sleep.
I only had Ruby a short time, but she was one of my sweetest girls. She always made the effort to come out to see me, she liked a cuddle and she didn't have an aggressive bone in her body, even to other rats who picked on her.

Why Ruby? My mum named her, on account of her red eyes.

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