Care in Old Age
If you’ve done everything right and your mouse has been very lucky, she’ll eventually reach old age.
Old age is a time in their lives few, if any, mice reach in the wild. But with proper care, many of your mice will achieve this milestone.
Old age varies on the mouse; some reach it at 1.5 years old, some make to 4 years old and beyond. It’s all a matter on genetics how long their lifespan is.
Old age strikes suddenly. In a only a couple of weeks your mouse may go from being a sporty chubster, to a feeble old lady. It’s a quick transition.
Special care is needed to ensure all their needs are met. Without special care, a mouse may only have a few weeks to enjoy their retirement. But by following a few simple guidelines, she may have many months to relax and say goodbye to you and all her friends.
Only remove old mice from their normal cage if they’re totally incapacitated. They’re used to their home and they love all their friends. Their friends also help keep them warm and aid in grooming. Removing an elderly mouse from their lifelong home is the quickest way to kill them.
Place an extra water bottle near where they den. Use a small 4oz water bottle--one with a small ball in the tip so it’s easier to drink from. Place it low to the cage floor. Place a pumice block next to it so they have something to grab onto while they’re drinking to aid in their balance
Elderly mice still like toys. Place toys close to where they sleep. Tiny toys are good too--ball up little pieces of newspaper and the like. The bustle of other mice examining their toys won’t bother old mice in the least; they love company.
As a general rule, young mice will show respect and courtesy to elderly mice. If there is a young trouble maker, remove her, not the old mouse.
Treats are a favorite with elderly girls; place them near at hand so they have a chance at them. Other mice normally won’t steal treats from the old girls and sometimes they even bring treats to them. Don’t give them anything sticky or gooey. Sweet treats give them energy and helps keep weight on them. Spoil them!
The softer the bedding the better. I use Kaytee Clean & Cozy. Felt blankets are a must for the old girls.
In addition to their normal diet, include soft, easy to chew food such as raw Quaker Oats, lightly toasted whole wheat bread, lightly toasted waffles and boiled rice.
Add vitamin drops to their water. to make up for their deminished diets.
In their twilight years, mice who have known you their whole lives, can become quite affectionate. Handle them as little as possible and extremely gently when you must. Pet by quietly resting your finger on their head. They love you.
Eventually your beautiful energetic girl of years gone by will become too weak to eat and drink on her own. At this point she has but hours left before eternity calls her. Make her as comfortable as possible by offering her water and treats and placing her by her favorite toy. She will soon pass quietly in her sleep. Goodbye beautiful girl.