On December 18, 2013 by Kate

Kramer and Anakin - first pats

Firstly, I will apologise for the sombre feeling of this post. I feel like I tell my readers (and followers on other social media) a fair amount of my personal life, and I’ve debated whether to include a post about how I lost Kramer. I decided that something good and uplifting should come out of his passing. Being the happy little tyke he was, I imagine he would prefer that.

For those of you who may not know, I have had two rats, the surviving big boy Anakin, and my spritely, spring man Kramer. I bought them both from the pet store around 20 months ago (in May 2012) and enjoying spending time with them, learning about their kind and getting to know each of them. Anakin, who is still around today (thank goodness) has been rather down lately to see his brother go, but still enjoys licking, cuddling and still despises baths.


Kramer was always not quite as healthy as Anakin, but continuously tried to prove us wrong. He was energetic, loving and cheeky for his entire life, almost right up until the end. Most rats are born with mycoplasma, which is kind of like pneumonia, and cannot be stopped  by antibiotics or penicillin. It is always merely ‘dormant’ until the next attack. Some rats are not affected by it, because their immune system can keep it at bay. Unfortunately, Kramer was not that strong. On 14th December we took him to the vet after staying up all night with him nursing, and the lovely vet Rebecca told us to say our goodbyes. It wasn’t fair to extend his life with the state he was in.

This isn’t the first time I’ve lost a pet. There has been Barney (a sheepdog when I was around 5), Old Tom (a tabby cat near the same time) and Amber (a staffordshire bull terrier when I was 13). But this pet loss has been the greatest.

I think this loss hurts the most because Kramer was me and my partners’ first pet together. We chose him, raised him from a 7 week old baby rat to a handsome young man, all for it to be lost within literally 18 hours. It happened so quickly and suddenly that I still can’t believe he is gone. The other reason why this particular loss has upset me the most is because ultimately, I was the one who had to choose whether we keep him going for the hopes of a semi-decent life, or to let him go. It was absolutely, gut-wrenchingly awful thing that I had to choose, but I did it because I love him. I love him more than wanting him to be around so I can be happy.

sneepy bobo

Everyone of my family, friends and readers have been so supportive in giving me time to grieve even though he was ‘just a rat’. But it’s never about the species of animal that touches your heart. All creatures great and small can make an impact on your life, and Kramer certainly impacted mine. I feel like in the past few days I’ve dealt with guilt, anger, depression, denial, acceptance, and then the whole lot over and over again.

I’m feel like I needed to write this out to help with the pain I am feeling over losing a great friend. Hoping it wasn’t too sad/gushy/pathetic for anyone to read, because I think getting it out of my system was required.

last day

Much love to Kramer, and all other pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

  • Wendy

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I had to make the same decision a few years ago when my cat fell ill. It’s never an easy process to lose a pet and I highly believe you are right about writing about it being cathartic. Glad you still have your other little guy to give you comfort and snuggles. <3

    • Kate

      Thanks Wendy. It’s never easy to lose a member of your family, even your pet family. Xo

  • Chelsea W

    Oh dear…what a hard time, I’m sure…

    I lost my best friend, a dog I had for over a decade, last year, and I was a mess. I was in the same shoes as you because I was the decision maker…

    Rats seem to have the same emotional understanding of us that dogs do, or at least from what I’ve experienced, and they are such hardy, wise little guys that you can’t help but love them.

    I’m glad that you got to spend as much time as possible with Kramer and I’m positive you both enriched each others’ lives.