I'm going to lose one of the rats soon.

Binky has been deteriorating for a while now. It's one of those inevitable rodent things. They have a pretty firm expiration date, rats. I'll spare you the details; she looks a bit terrifying.

I know she is sick and she's going to get sicker. But right now, she is still performing her normal ratly duties with alacrity. Eating, sleeping, grooming, smelling things, demanding attention, chewing holes in nest boxes. She squabbles for food and sits on the other rats so she can groom them until they squeak. She is personally affronted by the suggestion that perhaps not all of the stale cheez doodles in that bowl were earmarked for her. She is still very much a RAT.

We offer euthanasia to our pets in the hopes that we can give them a quicker, kinder death than they might otherwise get. If I took her in now, it would be quicker, but it would not be kinder. She'd spend the entire journey in a blind panic, trying to chew her way out through the bottom of her box, going NO NO NO DON WAN BE EATED! I'm okay with traumatizing the rat if she comes out of it better, but she wouldn't. She'd be terrified that Mama was taking her on a loud scary trip to a strange place and giving her to strange people so they could do bad things to her. And she'd be right.

Rats are not complicated creatures, but they are definite about what they do and do not want. They let you know when they think it is no longer worth the effort to raticate around, and just want to lie down in a warm place and be loved until it's over. I give them Tylenol and Benadryl for comfort, Xanax at the end if I have any (I know it's intended for me, but it turns out that we both calm down if I give it to the rat), and feed them baby food, if they're still eating. Usually, I just hold them on my lap or laid over my shoulder, and watch a lot of TV until it's time.

I don't know exactly how she's feeling, but if the rat still emphatically don wan be eated, I don't think I have the right to overrule her. I just pet her a lot, and feed her whatever she wants, pretending for a moment that that isn't actually standard policy even when the rat is perfectly well.

Comments

  1. I feel exactly the same way. I always used "is she still eating?" as my DON WAN BE EATED measure. But sometimes with the horrifying-looking things it is really hard to wait for them to be finished.

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    1. They are amazingly resilient little creatures. A human suffering from the kind of thing that rats generally expire of would be lying in bed, moaning about an uncaring God. The rat is still going FUK U MY POPCORMS MINE MINE MINE. She has a very definite set of priorities, Binky.

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  2. i'm sorry to hear that your sweet companion is suffering so. it heartens me that she still has some fight in her. i sincerely hope that she passes in her sleep feeling comfortable, safe, and free of anxiety. :(

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    1. ...to be perfectly honest, I seem to be the only one of us who is currently distressed over it. Binky doesn't really have 'fight' in her so much as she does not appear to have noticed anything is amiss yet. Rats, as a rule, don't really make note of anything that isn't edible and isn't going to eat them.

      I had to deal with far more upset from Eddie and Yuki the other night, when they had the brilliant idea of chewing through the boot lace that keeps their cage door propped up as a porch. While they were standing on it. Predictably, gravity took over, and after an almighty clanging SPLAT! noise, I had to fish the two of them out of the wastebasket.

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