Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Smell a Rat

When my daughter lived in Minnesota last year, she was homesick. She wanted to get a kitten or a puppy, but her apartment lease said no way. So she got a hamster. I advised against it, but she's quite headstrong. She went to PetCo or some such establishment and purchased the hamster, the cage, a little house, food, a wheel, everything a hamster of distinction could want. Turns out he was not the snuggly little furball she had envisioned. He seemed to dislike people and he was a biter. One day he flung himself out of her hands and landed on his back on the floor. Daughter and rodent were both traumatized.

When she moved home last summer, Sherwood came along. He lives in the guest bedroom. I actually found him to be quite amusing and fairly cuddly. I didn't have any trouble holding him and he never bit me. I got him one of those balls so he could roll around the house, driving the dog and cat crazy. Gotta love that.

I feed him from time to time, if Jess is away for the night. Unfortunately, I occasionally forget to close the door to his cage and he escapes. He's usually easy to find because he goes under a storage cabinet in the same room. The only time he didn't go there, he ended up in Jessica's room. She was rudely awakened at three a.m. by a hamster running across her face. She reacted by grabbing it and flinging it against the wall (she didn't know what it was, she just knew she didn't want furry things with sharp claws doing laps on her face). Once again, daughter and rodent and trauma.

Last Friday I forgot to shut the door to the cage. I realized it Saturday morning when I went to open the blinds in the bedroom and his door was open and he was nowhere to be seen. Hubby and I looked under the cabinet to no avail. No luck behind the filing cabinets or under the sofabed. Didn't see him in the closet, either. I was afraid he'd gone back into Jess' room and was anticipating another attack in the wee hours. That didn't happen, and we continued to check places he might be hiding. We knew he had been out at some point because he left little clues here and there, if you know what I mean. We set his cage on the floor hoping he would get hungry or want to sleep in his own bed and would climb back in.

I tend to stick stuff in that bedroom that I don't want to deal with until later. That is why there was a basket with twenty candy canes on the floor of the room. A couple of days ago, during a perfunctory check of Sherwood's favorite hiding place, I noticed something odd. A serious reduction in striped confections. I picked up the candy canes and asked my husband if he knew where the others went. He did not. Weird. Maybe Jess and her friends had raided them.

Last night (84 hours missing), the cat was showing great interest in the closet in that bedroom. When we opened the doors, we heard rustling. Eureka, we had found the little vagabond! Getting him out was no easy task. He was under a bookcase that was up against the wall. There is a sewing machine and six heavy boxes in front of it. And other boxes next to it. (Okay, so I have two junk closets.) The three of us moved all of that out of the closet and witnessed this crime scene. Oh, the humanity!

The little freak had hauled them in, ripped off the paper, and was mainlining sugary peppermint. Getting him out from under the bookcase was not very easy, but eventually he was apprehended. He was not Mirandized, just put straight back into his cell. Is it just me, or does he look pissed?

I'm thinking life without parole. Oh, and we're changing his name to Bugsy.


Anonymous Jess said...

When he flung himself from my loving hands to the unforgiving carpet several feet down, he landed on his back and looked like he was CRYING. So what did I do?? ALMOST CRIED. To say that I was traumatized is putting it lightly. Either way, I think everyone deserves a vacation every once in a while, and most people gain some weight when they travel. Who can blame him, really? Oh and Stuart says he would LOVE to eat only candy canes for four days.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Mooselet said...

He looks like he's coming down off a serious sugar rush and is starting to suffer the DTs. The little furry junkie...

3:32 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

jess - I have seen Stuart eat things way more disturbing than four days of candy canes.

mooselet - I don't think he's slept since we found him. I just went in to open the blinds and he gave me the same dirty look. He seriously needs rehab.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Harmonica Man said...

Great story! And great prison picture too.

We lost a hamster once to the ductwork system. Fortunately, it wasn't a duct that led to the furnace. We heard him scratching inside the walls a few days later and when we followed the sound to the other side, he was sticking his poor little leg out through the vent and waving it as if to say "I'm in here!"

7:28 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

h-man - Sounds like yours wanted to be found. I think Bugsy wanted us to leave him alone and continue ripping off candy canes. The little thug.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do animals only eat what is good for them? NO! Reminds me of a VD a long time ago and our big gentle, well behaved dog Champ. I placed a huge chocolate heart on the dishwasher top--it almost covered the top. A couple of samples were taken from it by humans who then retired from the kitchen. When we returned, the entire V was gone and a sheepish dog greeted us. Champ went outside a few minutes later and urped the whole mess. Another dog got into a large container of kitchen grease in the outside garbage on another day, came into the house and deposited the whole mess on the living room carpet. We had to get a new carpet.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Lois said...

We had a hamster that would get out of his cage-(we never could figure out how) and go down the stairs to the basement and hide under a cabinet. And there would even be some of his food there too!Like he was going on a picnic or something? They are really smart little creatures!!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

anon - Our poodle got into Jessica's room and ripped the wrappers off half a bag of little Reese's cups and chowed down. I guess she didn'think we'd know it was her, with her little chocolate covered paws and chin.

lois - I had a hamster years ago, whose cage got knocked over by a cat. He had a wad of torn up towel in the corner for his bed. After the upset, he stuffed all the towel into his cheeks, got into his wheel and ran for a couple of hours, then emptied his cheeks, remade his bed and went to sleep. I think he thought he had run away from home!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Great story! I was on the edge of my seat. Aren't animals just big pains in the butt?

8:09 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

heather - They really are! They don't grow up and do things on their own, they just get old and needy. I hate to be mean, but I'm kind of waiting for our remaining cat and dog to expire. Not to mention the hamster.

7:49 AM  

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