Is it time to say goodbye

Caitlin

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
11
Location
England
Hello everyone :) Bit of a sad one here and I hope nobody here will judge me too harshly cause I truly feel like I’ve been an awful rat mum. My boy James is nearly 3 now and his brother died a long time ago. I have 3 other boys who I adopted for siblings for him and they are all perfectly healthy and living together. James has severe HLD to the point where he has absolutely zero use of his back legs at all and has to drag himself everywhere. Because of this, I had to move him out of the triplets cage and into a large mesh run as their cage is very tall and I felt mean having him live in such a small space on the bottom floor. (also he’s a grumpy old man and never really seemed to enjoy the triplets company at all) so he’s been living on his own next to their cage for a while now. He’s always had a respiratory disease and has been on medication his entire life but eventually he started refusing to eat it so I just stopped giving it to him. This is where I sound like a horrible rat mum. I love my boy so much but to be honest I expected him to only live a few months at most but it’s been around six months now and he’s still fighting on and I really don’t know what to do. He’s very skinny even though I feed him loads of fattening foods like porridge, scrambled eggs, even cake (sorry i know) and he of course constantly has his normal food in there always too which he does still eat from time to time. His breathing has got a lot better than it ever used to be but he’s still sniffly and sneezy so I know the problem is still there. I get the feeling he is blind as he never seems to react to anything unless it makes a noise or touches him. I feel so so guilty for asking but do you think I should get him put to sleep? I know his HLD is incurable and most likely so is his respiratory disease and I feel like I’m forcing him to stay alive for myself rather than for him and I know it’s no life for him to live all by himself even if he can hear the triplets. I really will miss him so so much when he’s gone but I need to stop being selfish. What should I do? I added a photo of him sleeping in his little house
 

Attachments

  • 4FAA7C9B-286D-4DBE-89CF-56DE61308DDF.jpeg
    4FAA7C9B-286D-4DBE-89CF-56DE61308DDF.jpeg
    48.1 KB · Views: 40

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
69
Location
Netherlands
Hey Caitlin,

What a sad story, I really feel for you and you little boy. I am replying because we have also been struggling with a similar problem with our little girl (of only 1 year old). She has been dealing with respiratory illness since she was 8 weeks and has been on painkillers almost her entire life (and combinations of antibiotics most of her life). When we stop the antibiotics, she immediately gets an ear infection and stops eating. Even though she is only 1 year old, we are already thinking of letting her go, so I might understand a bit of what you are going through. I got a nice advice from a rat rescue lady who said the following; "our little rats have no idea when their last day is or how long they have to look forward to. They literally live day by day much more than we do. So if every day is a good one with lots of treats and happy feels and no pain, it is a good day. But if every day is full of pain, they have no idea how long this lasts or what it could feel like without the pain." Absolutely no judgement from my part, I would give my girl antibiotics each day every day it makes her stay longer with us. However, sometimes it is necessary to make these hard decisions.

My feeling answer would be; as long as he looks happy, keep him around! However, my grown up answer would be that you probably already know what your decision is. At a certain point there is only so much you can do when fighting nature and that you might be getting close to that point 😔 At a certain point you have to accept that what you're providing is palliative goodbye care, especially as you know he is not getting better. And it's sucky and unfair and I am so sorry... But actually once you accept that the situation is beyond your control, that you can only do your best to help him live out the best days that you can and you make peace with that you often feel much better about it... I know this is the horrid answer though and I think you have given him the best life he could absolutely live. You seem like a perfect rat mum who doesn't only think about her own needs, but his needs and that is all your lovely pet can ask for. So please stop saying you are a bad mum, because this is one thing that is absolutely clear from your story; you are NOT a bad rat mum.

Lots of love and strength,

Nynke
 

Caitlin

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
11
Location
England
Hi Nynke, thanks so much for your lovely words you really have made me feel so much better. I’m so sorry about your little girl it really is so horrible to think they’re suffering :( with James’ brother William the decision to have him put to sleep was so easy because his respiratory disease was very extreme and I got home from work one day to see him in a panic unable to breathe at all and I knew if I didn’t get him put to sleep peacefully, he would literally suffocate to death. With James it’s so so much harder as he is such an old boy and even though he is probably blind and a bit deaf, I still see his little personality from time to time and he’s still the same boy who comes running as fast as his two front legs can carry him to eat his food as if he wasn’t fed that same day and he still pushes away from cuddles every night like he’s done since he was a baby. With that said I do know what’s the right thing to do even though it’s awful and I know even if he could naturally live to see his third birthday in a few weeks and even beyond it’s not gonna be enjoyable for him. I’m gonna ring the vets for the millionth time today and in the mean time I’ll give him all the cake and scrambled eggs he can eat :)
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
69
Location
Netherlands
You are absolutely welcome. Going through something like this is horrible and give yourself some time to adjust to the feeling that he will be in a better place. I loved this poem, even though it makes my eyes water each time I read it: The Rainbow Bridge Poem
Also you seem like a great rat mum and I hope you can make many more rats happy and giving them good homes ❤ good luck and many strength with this coming period.
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,192
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
Old rats mellow out a lot and if you are touching his hind end he may not feel it from the nerve regeneration.

So you want to determine his quality of life. It's a different scale to a young healthy rat IMO. As for living alone oldies sometimes prefer it so unless he seems depressed away from the other rats then I wouldn't include that factor. Does your old man enjoy his soft tasty food? Does he perk up when you rub
his ears or scratch his back, sides, neck etc? Everywhere he can't scratch now he will need your help.
Start there and re-evaluate what you think you see.
 

Latest posts

Top