For Kieran's evening dose I tried soy chocolate pudding (which I specifically bought this afternoon as non-dairy thing to mix the meds in), figuring it might mask the sickly sweet taste better than mashed potatoes. Unlike for some other pets such as dogs and cats, chocolate is not toxic to rats, their theobromine metabolism is similar to humans so relative to their weight they can eat about as much chocolate as a human to theirs. And my current ones like the taste of chocolate (not every rat does -- I've had some that just didn't eat it as a treat), though of course normally I don't feed it them, not even as a treat. Their usual treats are things like small plain rice waffle pieces or organic spelt cheerios. Anyway, when I tried offering the unadultered food as a tease to see whether it might be popular (just a mouthful, obviously you don't want a full, choosy rat if you mix in substances -- I always give stuff before refilling the food bowl too) it was A+++: both shoved and scrambled to get a lick in and tried to pull the spoon with the bit of pudding out of my hand.
So I was really hopeful.
Then I mixed a teaspoon with his meds and offered it to Kieran alone. The pudding slipped down dramatically on the popularity scale. Initially he seemed hopeful, but a few initially greedy licks in he noticed and stopped. I had locked him in with the little dish in the transport box again, to prevent Rusty from getting at it, but he soon abandoned the pudding, and focused his attention on probing the transport box. I then took him out, because this was heading in the direction of him just stepping into the food during the escape attempts and smearing it all over eventually, and tried prompting him to eat the stuff directly on my lap.
So I shoved the dish under his nose, he licked at it a little, as if hoping that it might have gone back to just chocolate pudding, noticed that nope, not what he hoped, and then stopped again. Then when I prompted again, he licked again, but much less enthusiastically, and once again stopped. Unfortunately even a small teaspoon takes quite a lot of rat licks to be eaten, which ordinarily you don't notice, because with appealing food they can lick very fast. At this point he was clearly frustrated that I was keeping him on my lap, but at least it was more of a peaceful, evasive resistance, not violent struggle.
Eventually I managed to get him to to mostly lick the dish clear (over 95%) so eventually the evening dose got into him. But honestly it's just wrong having to press a rat so much to eat a small amount of chocolate pudding. And I'll have to do this another twelve times minimum, and this is the optimistic scenario that he won't become completely obstinate. OTOH maybe he'll eventually get used to the taste once he realizes that I'm not trying to slip him rat poison.This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/519059.html. | comments