Sunday, 29 June 2008


Think we had a few hours of summer today. It was actually warm enough for a cat to do her sunbathing outside in the garden instead of in the bedroom through a window.

Here is Kashka decorating the rockery. She looked really contented. It was just a shame that the rain didn't take long to follow.

Pickles wasn't that sure it was warm enough to be sat outside, she was still doing her sunbathing inside.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Daily Routine

Well the days seem to be settling into a bit of a pattern.

I clean out the chinchillas sand bowl and he comes out to stretch his legs. It's quite funny as I can just go over and open the cage and nothing happens. I go over, open the cage and take away the sand bowl, by the time I come back with fresh sand, he is coming down of the shelf and climbing out of the door.

He has a mad dash around for an hour and then the boys catch him and he goes back home.

Here you can see the effect of such exertion. Off he goes, straight back on his shelf and he plays dead.

Then out comes Dusty.

She has certainly relaxed alot. The rabbit is running or hopping all around the room, even coming up onto the settee to investigate my cross stitching.

After an hour or so, she goes back and then it is time for the vacuum to have a run round!

Misty the rat is then in and out all day. It's quite interesting to see how she behaves with each of us. If I have her, when she wants peace, she wraps herself in my hair. With the boys, she crawls inside their jumpers.

She is one of my favourite animals as she loves my homemade jam.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


D and I went to the pet shop today to get some sawdust so we could clear out Dusty.

When we got home, the boys brought the hutch to the patio doors so we could take her out and bring her in for a run round the front room.

Dusty is a Lionhead Rabbit, and as she is sat here on the settee you can just about see her mane. As I haven't had her for such a long time, I had forgotten how soft and silky her fur was.

She soon settled down and it wasn't long before she was climbing over the boys too. She moved too quickly for me to get a photo.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Can I Give You A Paw?

This is Kashka, she has decided a cat knows how to knit best!

Actually, it is lovely to see her playing like this, she is such a nervous cat, that she usually runs away from sudden movements. Tonight I think she has decided if she wants some attention, she has to get rid of the knitting.

She has definitely got used to the knitting needles and now burrows her way under the knitting to sit on my lap. I just love it when she kneads my knees with her claws!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Breakfast Time

It is so difficult to get a decent photograph through the side of his tank, but here is Nipper having his breakfast. He made quick work of this cricket.

You can see on this photo the hairs on his body. He has grown so much since we've had him, though how I will feel about him as a full grown tarantula, I do not know!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Gaining In Confidence

As you can see from these photos, Misty is truly becoming an inquisitive rat. She is gaining in so much confidence, it's lovely to watch her exploring her surroundings. She even used our arms and legs as bridges to get across from one settee to another.

It is not going to be long before she starts going off the furniture and exploring at floor level.

From previous posts, you will see how she enjoys wrapping herself in my hair. With D, she always sits inside his jumper, just poking out her nose to retrieve tasty treats.

You would think that a girl could find peace and quiet in the bath, but Kashka has other ideas. Here she is begging for attention and she did this all the time I was in the bath.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Enter If You Dare

This is the hole under which Nipper the tarantula has his burrow. It is only after his last shed that Nipper has had two entrances.

Most mornings I spray his tank with water. This morning I surprised a cricket who jumped from under a piece of bark straight into this hole. There was a small earthquake and the cricket hopped no more.

We have seen the spider eating crickets, but never seen him catch them. I didn't physically see it this morning, but I think this may be the closest to it I will get.

This is George after very reluctantly getting caught to go back into his cage. He had a good hour running around the front room this morning. He certainly is getting used to his surroundings as he now jumps up on the settee and walks behind the boys. The boys are also getting very good to catching George now. Definitely less stressful for all concerned.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Bertie finally died this morning. Though it was sad, it was a relief that it was all over. The boys coped with it really well. We will miss her as she was quite a character.

We had to go out today but when we came home, the boys emptied her cage, cleaned and disinfected it. Once it was dry, they got it all set up again and the boy hamsters moved in.

Their previous cage had seen better days and they seemed to approve of the change of address.

Here is Darlek whizzing around in the ball. A few minutes later he was transporting food into here to keep it safe from Whizzer. Now when he runs round the wheel, we get a rattle. Sounds like bits of grit in a tumble dryer!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

A Day of Ups and Downs

As you can see, Misty has settled well into her house, in fact I thought she was too settled this morning. She usually comes out to say hello, but this morning she didn't move and was very subdued even when I took her out. She just sat on my shoulder and didn't move. That is until she decided to relieve herself, all down my front! I let her go back home.

Later on, the rat was her usual inquisitive self so I think she just didn't appreciate getting up at 5 am!

Meanwhile you can see that Kashka has taken over Pickles place by the chinchilla cage. George didn't seem bothered by the cat at all.

As the boys were away, I thought I'd make the most of the peace and quiet and do some knitting. Pickles came and sat by me, but it looked as if I was getting the cold shoulder. She had her back to me.

She did turn round and face me a little while later. It was quite amusing as she soon had her head down and was in the world of cat dreams. Her feet and whiskers were twitching. Wonder who or what she was chasing?

Pickles didn't even take any notice of the hamster I was nursing. Bertie looks really poorly and I don't think she will last the night. I've had her sat with me most of the day. She has been a lovely little hamster and I'm going to miss her amusing antics.

This evening, when the boys returned, they brought the rabbit and guinea pigs with them. I haven't seen them for nearly six months and they have grown so much.

This is Dusty. She is a lion head rabbit and as she gets older she should develop a mane. She does have a small one, but I am sure it gets bigger.

This is Lucy and Megan the guinea pigs. They always used to squeak when they heard me in the kitchen as they knew it meant treats. Looking forward to the rabbit and the guinea pigs eating all my veggie offcuts. Hamsters, rats and chinchillas only eat them in small amounts. The rabbit and guinea pigs devour it.

Darlek and Whizzer

At last some publishable images of the last two hamsters. This is Darlek and Whizzer. Not exactly sure which is which, and I'm not sure they do. Their names have changed so many times since they were born. These are the two brothers of Bertie.

Friday was hamster clean out day which is how we managed to get pictures of them. These two boys are usually huddled in a ball together, quite friendly for boy hamsters.

When the cages are being cleaned, the hamsters go in their balls and are quite happy rolling around the floor.

Bertie seems a bit under the weather so she wasn't very active. All these hamsters are beginning to show their age, so we will have to keep an eye on her.

The boys usually go in the big hamster ball together, and they have learned that if they go in the same direction they get there quicker. It is quite funny to watch them trying to get over bumps together or go around obstacles. On the wooden floor, they can go quite quickly, so sometimes we have to have a hunt the hamster ball to get them back in their homes.

Usually, the first thing the hamsters do when they go back into their homes is to sit in their food bowls. It doesn't matter if they are hungry or not, they have to get the peanuts before the other gets them.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


George the chinchilla was on his travels this morning. He is getting very good at sneaking out of the front room and up the stairs before anyone notices he is missing.

I was upstairs sorting out something in the bedroom and I heard a tic tic on the wooden floor. The flash of the tail and the look on Kasha's face told me it was George.

With a little persuasion he went downstairs. Actually, it was as soon as I tried to get a photo of him. Unless he is in his cage, it is so hard to get his picture. Chinchillas move so fast, more often than not, I get a picture of the floor! However, today, I was sat on the stairs and managed to get a picture of George coming back up the stairs.

Misty the rat also had a treat today.

We had to go out this afternoon. Whilst out, we bought a new house for the rat cage. It is a log cabin. The boys were surprised when they open the box as they found it was all in pieces and they had to fit it together.

It didn't take long, and Misty lost no time in exploring her new home.

Monday, 9 June 2008


This is Bertie, one of the three Russian Dwarf hamsters we have. She is the daughter of one of our previous hamsters. We also still have two of her brothers.

Bertie was named after she showed a great liking for Berty Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts, not that she has ever been allowed to indulge greatly in this bad habit.

This picture shows her in her nightly activity-lets try a jail break!

She is quite an inquisitive hamster and loves her little treats of fresh fruit and veg.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Cosy Beds

Well, I thought I had restuffed this bean bag for the children, but obviously I was wrong. Seems to make the perfect cat bed. This is where I left Kashka when I went to bed last night. Trust a cat to find someone cosy to sleep.

Since Nipper the tarantula has shed, he has been busy rearranging his home. As you can see from the photo he has been busy making his burrow bigger, and it is a lot larger than before. All the earth that has been moved and held in place with web. It is fascinating to watch the spider take the time and effort to move it all into place.

Tarantulas don't drink as such and the atmosphere within the tank has to be kept humid. The spider itself does not like to be wet, so we spray in the soil to keep it moist. This is usually the time we put in new crickets as necessary. The picture below shows Nipper's dinner.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Roaming Free

Most days we will let the rat and chinchilla out to have a little roam and run around. The chinchilla especially, needs the exercise and space to run around. With Misty it is for her to gain confidence and get used to being handled. She just loves the company and she's a real pleasure to handle.

As chinchillas are known to gnaw on wires, we are always watching George. He always manages to get out of the room though, and run up the stairs.

Lunchtime, the boys decided to bring trays in and prepare everything in the front room. As it was a freshly baked loaf, I had to slice it for them. After several asks, they eventually cleared everything away. However, unnoticed by us all George had turned thief.

I happened to notice a movement out of the corner of my eye and saw that he was chewing on a piece of bread. He had dragged it off the tray, across the floor and hidden in the corner to have a nibble.

Misty the rat is coming into her own too. What is nice is that she is putting on weight and I can no longer feel her spine poking out of her back. She had been quite skinny when she first arrived.

Here you can see how much she has grown in confidence and she is using D as her new climbing frame. Didn't seem to worry her at all as he was moving around.

She also thought she might have a go at cross stitch! Fortunately, it was only worth a sniff.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


This is Kashka-pronounced Koshka-which is Russian for cat! Better it's in Russian, don't fancy calling up the street "cat" all the time.

We inherited Kashka with the house when we moved in. She belongs to our landlord and he hadn't wanted to unsettle her by moving her to a house full of dogs. She is about the same age as our cat, Pickles.

Kashka is quite a timid cat. She doesn't like noise, sudden movements or strangers. I was very fortunate to be accepted on our first meeting. I managed to get a purr from her on our first introduction and after a couple of visits, she would eat while I was still in the kitchen. It only took a few weeks after we moved in, for her and Pickles to eat at the same time.

Though both cats seem to a have accepted the presence of each other, they do have the occassional spat. Don't think I will ever see them cuddled up together.

Although Kashka tends to keep herself apart from us all, most evenings she will come and sit with me, almost tearing my legs apart as she kneads her paws on me. She can be a most affectionate cat.

She has one strange habit though, she has a fascination with toes, she just seems to have to lick them. Yuck.

I have never seen her kill a mouse, but I have had several sleepless nights as I have had to try and catch the field mice she brings in. Always in the night, she brings them to me and chases them all round my bedroom. Don't you just love cats.
Do wonder what she thinks when her gifts disappear from under her nose. And I don't expect it will be the last time I will be rewarded with such a gift.

Becoming more Adventurous

Misty the rat comes out every day and is gaining in confidence. Here you can see her exploring over J. We could never get close enough to take a photo, but she would raise herself onto her rear legs, nose and whiskers twitching, as she was sniffing the air. Doesn't look as if it will be long before she leaves the refuge of the settee.

She is a most affectionate rat. She loves wrapping herself round my neck and this evening whilst she was sleeping, she must have forgotten where she was. All of a sudden, she had fallen off. Not sure who was more surprised, me or her.

George, the chinchilla, is coming out for daily sorties and he seems to love going upstairs. You can imagine how comical it looks as he bounces back down the stairs.

Chinchillas, like all rodents, need to chew to keep their teeth down. In his cage he has two blocks he can gnaw on and we have noticed he likes his shelves too. The disadvantage to him running loose is that he finds lovely bits of wood to chew on in my front room - usually my trunk that holds all my fabric! We just have to keep our eyes and ears open to the sound of chinchilla gnawing, and help him to move on.

We are always amazed at how high he can jump for a little fellow, he often jumps up onto the settee. Then it is over the top and off the back for another run round the room.

Chincillas also manage to squeeze through small spaces too. Whilst we were eating dinner, he was able to squeeze through the door, which was open just a couple of inches. He certainly enjoys exploring the house.

As soon as he is back in his cage, it is time for a sand bath. It is almost as if he has to wash us from his fur!

It is amazing how quickly Pickles has got used to George. She seems to be able to keep har cat instincts under control most of the time, and ignore him. A big difference from when he first came out, she was straight off the table to investigate. She was slightly taken aback when he jumped. She is used to chasing things running along the floor. Saying that, she has once managed to catch a bat. We still haven't worked out how,

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


This is George, a Chinchilla. He is fairly new to our family. He came to stay with us for his holidays whilst his family were, away for three weeks in Australia. When they returned, they asked if we would like to keep him.

Chinchillas are more active at night, but George regularly comes out for a run around the house during the day. I have tried to photograph him when he is loose, but he run too fast.

He loves raisins, though they are rationed. Too many would upset his tummy. Chinchillas don't like water, but we get special sand which he uses for cleaning himself.


This is Nipper a Red Kneeded Mexican Tarantula and he's very difficult to photograph. As soon as he sees a movement, he goes running into his burrow.

Nipper is hardly a cuddly pet, but he is very fascinating to observe. Red Knees like to burrow, and Nipper has made himself a home under a piece of bark. Most days he will come out and walk up the side of his tank and around inside.

We have to buy live crickets for him to eat. Spiders will only catch and eat live prey.

As spiders grow, they regularly shed their skin to grow. The old skins are called sheds. It looks just like a spider, as they come out in one piece. The spider looks so much bigger after a shed. It usually takes a few days for him to recover and return to full activity. He will eventually grow to about the size of my hand.

Monday, 2 June 2008


This is Misty, our newest addition to the family. She is about half the adult size of a rat. She is really adorable.

When we first had her, she just curled up in a ball and wouldn't move in her cage. We think she was missing her brothers. However, we would hold her every day and now she will come across the cage to take tid bits through the bars.

We spend time holding her everyday, and as you can see, she loves wrapping herself in my hair. It wonderful to see her gaining in confidence and look forward to the hours of fun we'll have with her.

We are on the lookout for a few additions to her home, so we'll show you those in time.


This is Pickles. She is a grey tabby moggy and is about 14 years old.

She loves being outside and during the summer she tends to come in only for food. She's not a particularly lappy cat, though she has been known to want a little TLC.

She has done fantastically well, having settled in after moving from South Wales to Sheffield. Not only that, she had to get used to another feline friend who we inherited with the house. She'll be introduced later.

I like all kinds of needlecraft and I had just finished stitching the back to this Bargello design cushion cover. Anyone would think I had just stitched it especially for her! She was lying on it within seconds of me finishing.