Yesterday Seven ran out of energy, went to sleep in her hut and didn’t wake up again.
She made it to the very respectable age of thirty-three months, outliving her sister, Nine, by more than five months.
Seven started losing the strength in her back legs towards the end of last year and that slowly worsened over the following months. Although she couldn’t clamber around the cage any more, she did still manage to somehow — sheer determination, I think — get up onto the lower platforms and even into the tube hanging on the cage door so she could see the world going by. The other morning she managed to climb out of the cage onto my lap for a cuddle while I was doing the morning medication rounds.
She slowly turned into an old rat; still adorable, but life was obviously becoming more of an effort. We’d known for a while that she wouldn’t be with us for much longer and were dreading having to make that decision for her. She kept going right up to the end, she had some time out of the cage and a wander around my office earlier in the day, before settling back into her spot in the cage and going peacefully to sleep.
Never the smartest rat, but always the sweetest of them, and the one with the softest, most strokable fur, Seven will be sorely missed.