When Silvua came into my life he was a shy, nervous but curious rat. He was so tiny, he came home inside a small Chinese takeout box and had room to comfortably groom himself while inside on the ride. When he was grown, he was too large to fit even half his body inside a similar box (much to his distress, as he loved fried rice).
Silvua grew up alongside his littermate, Corvo. They loved to curl up together for naps, or playfight and bounce about. At night, I had to learn to sleep through their endless raucous playtime, complete with not-so-quiet squeaks of excitement, crashes, thumps and the shuffling of bedding from one side of the cage to the other.
Time ran out for Corvo long before it did for Silvua. Corvo died suddenly and inexplicably at just shy of two years of age. Silvua would go on to live almost another year.
In solitude, Silvua grew very close to me. He wanted his cuddle partner, and selected my toes, ankles, knees or shoulders as such. He would spend hours cuddled up to some part of me, napping or grooming or bruxing in contentment.
As he aged, Silvua slowly lost much of his fur; a result of his rex breeding. Without his fur to keep him warm, he turned to nesting. Many mornings I awoke to find he had piled bedding and the nesting fluff I bought for him all around himself in his grass bungalow. Some mornings he could not be coaxed from his warm haven even by his most favorite of snacks. He was simply too comfortable.
The last few weeks of his life, however, Silvua became extra clingy. It was as though he knew his time was running out, and all he wanted was to spend it with the person who had been there for so many years for him. I often let him sleep with me at night, and would wake up to find that he had snuggled up as close to me as he could, and had grabbed a rat handful of my pajamas in either front paw, holding on tight lest I move.
At the very end of his life, I was able to grant Silvua peace before he suffered from his failing health. He died peacefully in an anesthesia-induced sleep, and was buried in my back yard in a cozy bag I had bought for him to travel in.
Silvua was a rat of contradictions. He was shy, but curious. Playful and rambunctious, but careful and thoughtful. He never wittingly inflicted harm on anyone or anything, and if he was made to realize he had done so accidentally, he would try to make up for it with kisses and snuggles.
He was a very precious, very special rat, and he will always warm my heart when I think about the time he spent in my life.
A donation was made in Silvua's memory and the memorial was created on December 13, 2017.