In association with The Rat Whisperer (

August 23, 2013

Made the heartbreaking decision to put Cicero to sleep this evening. He was the first rat to enter our home and hearts as part of Aquarius Mischief after a long hiatus of rat ownership....and the first to leave it.

Since he was a "feeder" rat, I dont know his exact date of birth but based on the size and some other features he had when I got him, I estimated his birth to be sometime in July of 2011. I adopted him 8/22/11, exactly 2 years and 1 day ago. He has had respiratory problems on and off the entire time I have had him. I would treat him and it would go away but it always came back. This most recent flare up was the worse, he was having labored breathing, very lethargic, and got dehydrated pretty badly.The Baytril I had him on did not seem to be working any longer. Attempts to make him comfortable did not seem to be working and I could not see prolonging his suffering any longer. His health appeared to be failing at an alarming rate.

His eyes were very dull and have a strange, stretchy looking film over them which I assume is a result of dehydration. He was laying in his own urine, too weak to move although he is still able to walk (no rear leg paralysis). Ears and paws appeared quite pale. I attempted to rehydrate him with some pediatric electrolyte solution and assist in helping him breathe easier with some infant Vapor Rub on a corner of a blanket I was holding him in. He had a warm meal this evening, but I knew it was time to let him go when he was too weak to move away from it and laid with his head in his porridge.
Close up of the film over his eyes

As for my girls, Kaylyn, the youngest, doesn't really understand anything other than she knew he was sick. Shaylee, who is 7, was more upset leading up to it but prior to his euthanasia, she got to talk to him and pet him. She fell asleep while he was being put under but after he was put to rest, and was carefully in a box with a blanket and pillow, I woke her as I promised and reminded her that he was an angel now, that Jesus got a new pet rat today. She said he looked like he was smiling in his sleep and was she seemed content enough to go back to sleep. Euthanasia was done at home via CO2 as approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), peacefully and quickly. My children were able to say goodbye and while he will be missed greatly, we feel better knowing he won't have to suffer anymore.