Let's begin our ADVENTURE:
- REGISTRATION - This is something done usually on line about a month before the show. This is when you realize you actually have been calling your rat's markings the wrong thing. Yes, I do feel a bit silly. I have called one of our girls a mismarked hooded for the longest time but looking closely she is collared. (A ring around her hood before her variegated stripe - oops!) The deadline for registration usually ends at the beginning of quarantine. They say to register EVERYONE you may want to bring because once the deadline passes you cannot bring ANY others (not even to the parking lot to sale/trade in prearranged meetings) Why not in the parking lot? This keeps rats from being sold that are not registered, unhealthy or possibly not old enough to be sold.
- QUARANTINE - Our club wants a 3 week quarantine. We live pretty much in quarantine year round. We avoid pet stores unless we know we will be away from home for several hours. We usually do not add rats to our mischief unless it is in the late spring / early summer to keep the separate air space with no heat or a/c and vents sealed. We do occasionally stop by our friends rescue (TOLR) but make sure we are planning a fun run at Goodwill to look for rat toys after our sushi lunch. We have chosen to have our mischief in our main living room to make sure all of our ratties get tons of love and attention throughout the day. Because of this, the hardest thing about 'show quarantine' is telling our friends that have rats they cannot come over unless they have been away from theirs for at least 3 hours.
- CAGES & SHOW BOXES - Now it is about 3 weeks to the show. I have looked at Goodwill and on Craigslist to find cages and show boxes for the show ever since we decided to start this part of our adventure. I figured we will need at least 4 smaller cages and 8 medium show boxes. I will not be bringing all of our rats to the show but want to have enough boxes in case different classes are called at the same time. I had only found 6 up until this point but guess who's son gave her 2 for her birthday?
- PET CONTEST - Well the best part of the show for our girls will be the pet contest. They will get to enter their ratties in so many different choices. Kissiest Rat, Most Beautiful Adult, Most Adorable Kitten, Squishiest Rat, Longest Tail, Best Rescue Story, Most Unusual Markings, Owner and Rat Lookalike Contest, Costume Contest & Cage Decorating Contest. One of our daughters make the silliest rat face and I am hoping I can convince her to do it for the lookalike contest. CRUS Bennet is entered for Squishiest & Longest Tail. OCRA Beast and Joey of OCRA are going for Kissiest, OCRA Aurora Most Beautiful Adult and OCRA Llyra Most Adorable Kitten, then we have OCRA Beast and OCRA Falcon in the costume contest. We were going to bring CRUS Ariel for costume but she is just too territorial and I do not want her to be in a smaller cage with our other girls. She would have made the BEST zebra - lol. Now to decorate the cages - oh this is going to be fun!!!
- REVOLUTION - Okay so what? Yes, I am talking about that broad-spectrum topical parasiticide that treats and protects against a range of internal and external parasites. You see sometimes you have the joy of bringing creepy crawlies to your rats. These mites, lice can hitch a ride on many things the most common is the bedding. The selamectin in REVOLUTION is one of the few treatments that has been approved for rats. It does not cross the blood brain barrier in juvenile and adult rats. It is NOT recommended for pregnant and nursing rats due to the development of the babies. There is a health check prior to show. This is to make sure only HEALTHY rats gain entrance into the show. This health check looks for scabs & sores on the rats to make sure they do not have any of these parasites. We use about .5ml to dose all of our ratties. We need to use the cat formula due to such small juveniles but think we will buy the dog formula to have on hand next time for our larger ratties. The concentration is 2x stronger so we do not need to use 2 containers. The frustrating thing is the stuff evaporates fast! So we have to weigh and figure out dosage for everyone prior to beginning this adventure.
- SIGNS AND TABLE DECOR & FUN STUFF TO SALE - Well, this speaks for itself. We have collected a bucket of fun toys and photo props to bring to the show along with making a couple dozen hammocks. If the hammocks don't sale that is okay because we give one with each rattie adopted from us. Less work for me our next litter. However if we do sale a few things it might help cover a bit of our costs for the entry of the ratties & the Revolution application.
- NAILS - oh my, those itty bitty nails can do a lot of damage, especially to a judge's hand. We usually use the PediPaws . We find it doesn't work really well with the dogs but does a great job on the rats. The thing I like about it is, I can do it by myself, propping the little gizmo between our two couches. However, this time we chose to go for old fashion nail clippers. It went surprisingly fast with the help of our daughters. Only Bennet kept screaming, as if we were torturing him with hot pokers.
- BATH - What? I thought they kept themselves clean. Well, they do. Our daughter says the boys smell like tortillas and the girls, just smell. lol However, boys like to show each other who is boss by peeing on each other. The girls do it, too! They also produce buck grease. It is, an oily orange skin discharge usually caused by an overproduction of testosterone. We usually rub some coconut oil on it to help break it down about a day before bathing. On average we end up bathing the rats about 4 times a year. I think we will start doing it to coordinate around the rat shows since it is not an easy undertaking. Actual bath day should happen, the day prior to the show. Oh boy! Who would have thought washing 10 rats would take 8 full size towels? I think if we were washing them in the summer we would not use so many, but we were wanting to make sure all the lil pipsqueaks stayed warm. Their tails needed to be scrubbed with a toothbrush as well. This morning I said something I didn't think I would ever have to say, "No B you cannot use your sister's toothbrush to clean Joey's tail." We use unscented puppy shampoo on the rats and those that still have a ton of buck grease get a dash of dawn on them. We also found that cutting socks up, to use as fingerless gloves, helps us have a great hold on the rats, making them feel more secure while preventing us from getting scratches on our hands and arms.
Well tomorrow is the big day, I am sure I will have much more to add!