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Hello! I've always had rats as pets throughout the years, but I'm far from an expert. One of them named Cas has always been an energetic girl. She's 3 years and 5 months old. I realize she is getting up there, but she hasn't shown any signs of her age until recently. A few days ago she was as healthy as ever, and last night I was genuinely worried she was going to die.

She's lovable but she's never been a shoulder rat. Whenever she's out of the cage, she's running around, never sitting still. She's the first rat I've had that has literally never slept out of her cage because she's too excited to be out. Last night I noticed she was acting strange. I tapped on her cage and she normally runs right up and greets me, but she wasn't moving. I had to reach down to pick her up. When I set her down she was very slow and clumsily moving. Her eyes were half shut, and she just staggered about until she found a spot to lie down. I had plans for the evening but I was confident she was going to die so I cancelled to be with her. She lied down on me and slept for a while. Which again, has NEVER happened before. There were a couple of times I thought she had died.

But a few hours passed and she started to try to perk up. She was still slow though. I fell asleep and she started to go back to her normal self a bit. My girlfriend put her back in her cage for the night. When I woke up she was a little better than when I first got her out the night before, but I still thought she was going to pass. I got her out and she slept on me again for a few hours. I had to get ready and go to work, so I asked my girlfriend to keep her out until I got back. I don't like the thought of my rats dying alone in their cages, so far I've been.. lucky enough to be with all of them in their final hours.

She's been out of her cage all day, and she actually seems to be doing very well. Close to her normal self, she definitely doesn't seem to be on her death bed anymore. She has been napping occasionally though, which is strange for me but this is the first time she's been out of her cage for a whole day. And I just realized unless it happened more than 6 hours ago while I was at work, she hasn't pooped all day. But she's never pooped outside of her cage, at least not since her first weeks with me. When I put her up to her cage to let her go in if she wants to, she chooses to stay out with me.

It also didn't occur to me until I was typing this but it may be something in the cage. As it seems the longer she's out the healthier she appears.

The only things that have changed recently is that she grew up in an aquarium (which I've felt very guilty for) so I recently bought her an aquarium topper as I used to have one for all of my previous rats. I got it from Martin's Cages, and it has been on the aquarium for 3 weeks. My girlfriend and I have also had colds of some sort recently. But we haven't been handling her while we've been sick. She is in the same house though, so that's a possibility. I've ALWAYS used Kaytee brand plain white bedding in her cage since she I took her home. That hasn't changed, but I always buy it from the Jacks Aquarium chain which has been remodeled and the company's name has changed to Pet Valu. I'm not sure if that could effect anything. And I know she's getting up there in years, but age has never acted so swiftly in my other rats.

I'm hoping someone with more experience may know what's going on with her. I'm very worried.

Thanks very much to anyone who can help.
 
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