Um... Hi everyone! This is Skye the rat.
Me and my ratty sister, Star, are coming up for two and a half years old. Two and a half isn't extremely old for rats, exactly. Rats will often live to be four years old. But two and a half isn't young for a rat either, and we're starting to feel our age creeping up on us.
Of course, we try to hide it. But the human caretakers have noticed that neither of us can get about as well as we used to, and we're sleeping more than we did when we were younger rats.
Star started to show signs of it first, but it seems to be a slower progression for her than it is for me. For example, Star can still climb, though she's not as fast as she used to be, but I can't any more, and only hurt myself when I try. Mostly this isn't a problem, but where our food bowl was required a bit of climbing from us to get to. We were great at climbing until recently, so the human caretakers didn't worry about it. But then they realized I was hurting myself whenever I tried to climb up to the food bowl. So, do you know what they did? They moved it for me. Now it's down in the bottom of the cage where we don't have to climb at all to reach it. In fact, we can now access both food and water without going far from our wooden ratty house (which we didn't used to sleep in much, since we always liked our hammock more, but we do use now, since I can't climb to the hammock any more, and Star rarely considers it worth the effort it takes her to do it).
Also, I'm really slow with getting about in general, so Star - who can move a little faster than me, even though she's slowed down to what she was too - can get to the human caretakers for special nibbles, where as I struggle to do so. Luckily for me, the human caretakers have realized I'm having a hard time, so they come to me, and make sure to distract Star for long enough so I can get some special nibbles too.
I don't like that I'm feeling my age enough for the human caretakers to take notice. But I am glad they've tried to help by making it easier for me to get nibbles from the bowl. I'm also glad they don't make me miss out on special nibbles just because I'm struggling to come get them... I'd hate to miss out on tasty things like cheese, cheerios, and raisins, just because I'm getting older and less mobile, so I'm glad we have such understanding human caretakers.