Ella Rose (the rat) died at some point today. She was alive before I left for work. I gave her some more apple sauce, but she had visibly taken a turn for the worse. Considering she hasn’t been able to walk for over a week, the turn for the worse wasn’t a big one. She wasn’t making as much noise when breathing, her lungs weren’t visibly taking in as much air, she didn’t stir when I put the small dish next to her. I found her when I got home from work; after spending days taking care of her, the other rats were on the top level of the cage. Sugar still hasn’t been downstairs. Not even the promise of five cheese vegetarian lasagna could change her mind. She and Ella had bonded, but were always inclusive of the twins. The remaining Twin doesn’t seem to know how to console Sugar, which is heartbreaking. Tomorrow their cage gets a thorough cleaning, complete with the spray I use to get the cat pee smell off tile, and whatever amazing treats I can find. Caramel popcorn maybe. Some all new rags to nest with. Not having bonded with this group of rats, just cared for them, I’m in the most detached position with the death of a pet rat I’ve ever been. They’re too smart for their own good, too empathetic for it too.