Letting go of rodents…

I like rodents. In the recent past I’ve had guinea pigs (lots of fun, chewed through all the important electrical flexes in the house, peed on me a lot), gerbils (feisty little critters who loved biting my fingers to the bone), a hamster (the biggest hamster I’ve ever seen and also the laziest) and a succession of rats.

I love rats. They’re friendly, cuddly and they make me laugh. My two bald (yes bald!) girls would get into bed with my and fall asleep against my legs. The feel of their skin was exquisite and I miss them a lot.

The trouble with rodents is that they don’t live long. My guinea pigs lived about four years each. The gerbils made it to three months (climbing accident for one of them) and three years. Goliath (the giant hamster) was over two when he finally succumbed to a tumour. The rats on the other hand don’t usually get to two. The bald ones died at a year old each and countless ones have developed tumours. I cry a lot when they become ill and eventually die. They have short and joyful lives and so the misery at the end is a small price to pay but, and there always is a but, it’s bad for me.

My sister suggested this weekend that maybe it’s time I stopped keeping rats. My two youngest have both developed tumours in recent weeks. One had a successful operation a few weeks ago & her sister is undergoing one tomorrow. I am ill and the misery, relief and anticipation of further problems isn’t helping me gain the stability I need.

I’m not going to rehome the ones I’ve got left. Two of them have sight problems and one of them is into her third year so it would be unnecessarily harsh to rehome them and, besides, I adore them and want to keep them with me as long as possible.

Two of the cages are past their best so it’s a good time to say that when their occupants die then the cages can be disposed of. The third cage is new and so it will be stored for sometime in the future when I’m more well than I am now and I can cope with short joyful lives and moments of misery.