Our oldest pet died today. Claudius was a wonderfully fun pet. He would jump and climb on top of you. When we first got him in September 1995, he was 6 months old and had been called "Matty". We almost called him Darth Vader, but it just did not fit with such a cute cuddly chinchilla. He was our first higher maintenance pet (we had had Siberian Dwarf Hamsters named Tweety and Sylvester when we first married). He LOVED raisins and dustbaths. He was my first "baby". I used to go on chinchilla websites all the time for feeding and care, etc. For 4 years, he had the run of our apartments. We would let him (and later on Leeloo) run all over the apartment. When we moved to a house, they got the run of the upstairs. When Michael came into our lives, the chinchillas were not so sure about where they stood. Eventually, Michael was helping with them and Claudius was especially able to adapt to a small child running about.
I feel bad that the last couple years have been hard on him. Delenn, his daughter, died earlier this year. After that, we noticed he was loosing weight. But, just when we started worrying about him--he would be a spry old man, jumping out of his cage and bouncing around and immediately going into his dust bath. We did not play with him as much as we used to because of our preoccupation with the other aspects of our lives, and the fact that he really did not want to be out of his cage for very long anymore. I regret that. But I know that he died in a newly cleaned cage, with a full stomach (including two raisins I gave him yesterday morning).
We are no longer chinchilla owners.