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Bokeh

Dove berkshire

10.5.2001 - 1.11.2003



About Bokeh

Bokeh came to live with us quite unexpectedly in June 2001.  I had visited Excalibur Rattery to take some photos (you can see them here), and there was this one little ratlet who managed to be centre stage in just about every shot.  It was quite impossible to resist his adorable pale fuzzy little face and outgoing personality, so a week later he came home with us, along with Motley and RiffRaff.

The name Bokeh comes from a Japanese word (actually pronounced "bo" as in boat, "keh" as in kettle, but in our Aussie accent it's Bokeh as in hokey pokey).  The word is a photographic term that refers to the way points of light are rendered by a lens in the blurred background of images.  We thought this suited the soft white fuzziness of our little guy.  Besides, the term is most often used in the context of "bad bokeh"... we thought this was apt for a rat name.  And this pint-sized fuzz certainly lived up to his name.

Bokeh was one amazing rat.  He had the most gorgeous coloured fur... a sort of a pale platinum grey, which changed to beige tones depending on the light.  Made even more adorable by his "pink accessories" (nose, ears, lips, etc) and a lighter coloured muzzle, you can see why he was so amazingly photogenic!  Despite his small size, he was very confident and independent.  He was lithe and extremely agile, with a passion for running about madly when out free-ranging (read about it here).  He was also an expert at looking so irresistibly cute that you'll give him anything he wants.

Bokeh didn't change at all in old age... he remained youthful looking and as playful and energetic as ever.  We used to call him "the Peter Pan of the rat world" and thought he would live forever.  He left us suddenly and quite unexpectedly at the age of 2 1/2, we assume from a heart attack... a quick and peaceful end for such a vibrant old ratty.

Farewell BokehRat... we'll miss your gorgeous white nose poking out of the top hammock, your cheeky expressions, and most of all your boundless youthful enthusiasm for life.


Photos of Bokeh


The pint-sized baby Bokeh


Bokeh fearlessly meets Big Mean Alpha Nimbus


A welcome kiss from Uncle Bear


Excrutiatingly cute


A Bokeh basket


Bokeh wisdom:  pout until treats happen


Always cheeky


Gorgeous in his favourite pocket hammock


Tales of Bokeh


The Rat Race

Bokeh loves to run.  And I mean he LOVES to run.  So much so that if you pick him up for a cuddle or something, he gets all twitchy and manic.  As soon as you put him back down, he zooms off at break-neck speed to make up for what he considers "lost run time".  This has resulted in much fun in the rat room, including the development (mostly by Al) of the following games:

Berserker Bokeh:
Hold Bokeh aloft and tickle his belly until he's all wound up, then let him down. He'll be running before he hits the floor and leaves skid marks on the carpet as he zooms erratically around the room.  Alpha help anyone who gets in his way, as he'll basically slam into them, knocking them to the ground so he can groom their hides.

Bokeh Bowling:
Spy a slow-moving Motley innocently minding his own business at the other end of the room.  Pick up Bokeh and wind him up with lots of belly tickling.  Use Bokeh's nose as a line-of-sight to direct him to his target, and then ground the furry missile. The aim is to impact the Motley, although this is quite the challenge considering that Bokeh rarely ever travels in straight lines.

The Rat Race:
Pick up Bokeh and RiffRaff, one in each hand and squirm them a bit until they're both demanding to be let down.  Place them next to each other on the floor and yell "Go!".  They will speed off in a frantic race to the other end of the room... often via the bed, bookshelf, clubhouse, soft sewer, around mum, etc.  We're yet to explain to them the time efficiency of straight line trajectories.

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Rat differences

I sit down on the rat room floor and this is how my boys react to me.

Roofie spies me from across the room, his face lights up and he bounds over to me.  He joyfully leaps onto my lap, where he sits quietly, enjoying a rub and licking my hand.  I tell him "I love you Roofus", give him a kiss and place him back on the floor.  He sits there waiting to be picked up again, but I pinch his furry butt and he bounces off cheerfully.

I spy Bokeh across the room, his face lights up as he leers hungrily at the wooden wardrobe door.  <crunch>  <CRUNCH>  He gnaws blatantly on the door.  I reach over and extract him from his badness, placing him on my lap.  I scritch him and playfully tell him he's a "Bad baaaaaad Bokeh".  Then I say "But I still love you BokehRat" and give him a kiss on his furry head.  He looks lovingly up at me and spits 5 pieces of partly masticated wood onto my arm.  Then he leaps off my lap and heads straight for the wardrobe door again.  With a resigned sigh, I realise my lap has been peed on.

They have such individual ways of showing how much they love me.

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Staying Young

Bokeh is a lone ratty in old age.  Since Roofie left us we've tried to integrate him with the little boys, but Boke's adamant he wants to live alone.  None of those annoying treat stealing little fuzz for him, thanks!

He's 2 1/2 now.  Old enough that he should have mellowed into a doddering old squish.... a lazy furry slug content to sleep and eat
and snuggle all day long.  But not Bokeh.  Bokeh has never aged.  He's always been a boisterous ball of energy, with the fitness and
enthusiasm of a ratlet.  The Peter Pan of the rat world, we call him.

So what keeps him so energetic?  What maintains his enthusiasm for life?  How does he stay so fit?  How can such an old rat be so
young at heart?

Fooffing.

Yep, you heard right.  Bokeh's an instant fooffer.  Just add ratlet.  Within a split second, that sweet old buck puffs up into the most
spectacular dove dunny brush.  Next comes the stomping.  The shuffling.  The sidling.  The huffing.  The fooffing.  And all of this wondrous alpha dancing frenzy is performed solo in his cage... instigated by a tendril of ratlet scent drifting up through the tiny crack around the trap door.  Needless to say, the ratlets spur him on endlessly by cheekily fooffing back at him.

Fooffing keeps Bokeh young.

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Bokeh's Bad Rat Loophole

Bokeh was sitting in the litter tray doing his business and at the same time chewing on the adjacent wardrobe door.  If I praised him
for using the litter tray, but he might think I was praising him for the chewing!  If I scolded him for chewing the door, he might think he
shouldn't use the tray!  What is one expected to do in such a situation???

Bokeh sat there smugly, well aware of my conundrum.  He had found a bad rat loophole.

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More tales of Bokeh and his friends on the Ratty Ramblings page.


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