Nicole's friend's 2 male hamsters* had babies. Yes, they were told they were 2 boys but they were wrong!! So they quickly separated the mom and babies from dad and went about the process of offering up cute cuddly rodents to all her friends. Nicole begged and begged. Of course we said yes. We always say yes, because we are idiots, er, indulgent parents. We tracked down the old fish tank/lizard tank/snake tank and set up a nice little home.
Soon the babies were able to leave the nest and venture forth to their new homes. Nicole thought the spots on her cutie were reminiscent of those giant rodents of China hence the name Panda. Panda was so adorable, with his/her twitchy nose and fluffiness. (We can't tell the sex, I tried to check but unless the animal is hung like a horse, I feel trying to check closer is a violation and I could be arrested for bestiality.) So I will just refer to Panda as he. Panda had a water bottle, a food dish, a house, chew blocks, an exercise wheel, and a basket with a cute pillow. Panda ignored the chew blocks and destroyed the basket and pillow. The top of the tank is made of wire mesh to let air in. Nicole thought the lid was heavy enough on its own to keep Panda in.
One day Panda escaped. He climbed his water bottle, pushed the lid off and scampered away. When you live with 3 cats, a loose rodent in the house is in grave danger. Nicole was in a panic. I figured if he was a smart hamster, he would hid in her room. Nicole lives in the attic. Her room is an add on done by unprofessionals and is probably not up to code. It is the space above the garage and laundry room and around the edges its not quite finished. Meaning you can see right down into these spaces. If he fell down there, well, good luck to him!
But as luck would have it, Nicole is trying to slumber in her bed when she hears noises in the storage closet that runs the length of her room. She sees him hiding in there by shining a flashlight and his eyes glow back. Nik makes a trail of yogurt chips (yes they made special yogurt chips for hamsters*.) and he comes out, safe and sound. The next day, I got clips for the tank lid.
Now Panda has been around for a couple of years now. He is no longer in Nicole's room because he was keeping her up at night racing in his wheel. We put him in the guest room for a while, but when we had guests, they were kept up by his constant spinning. So now Panda resides in my sewing/craft room (this makes it a sewing/craft/animal sanctuary room, I guess). Nicole is no longer interested in cuddles with Panda. She feeds him, waters him and cleans his tank. I spend time chatting with him when I'm sewing or crafting but mostly he is alone, spinning at night, sleeping all day.
One day Nicole announced that she wants a hedgehog. That she has researched them and will save her money to buy one (expensive rodents!). I said no way are you going to get another rodent. She says, "What if Panda dies?" I said, "No, not even if the autopsy says it was natural causes." So I'm a bad mom. Then last week, Aaron tells me that his boyfriend's mom is going to give him a present. A teacup pomeranian puppy. She is going to breed her dog and since she loves my son, she is going to give him a gift.
The cats will eat it. We will have to get another fish tank to keep it in for safety!
You have to admit, they are damn cute.
* this post edited to correct the identification of the rodent from guinea pig to hamster as moron who wrote the post can't tell the difference