“Get a pet, they said.
Kids love pets, they said.”
Before I tell you about this morning’s crisis, I need to explain how we got to this point. So bear with me as I dig back a few years…
The Captain and I are devoted animal lovers. We celebrated our engagement by adopting a sweet, fluffy kitten, who despite her penchant for hopping atop the couch and attacking your ears without warning, seemed to be an obedient cat, until we discovered (after several days of a curiously foul odor wafting through the room at random times) that she preferred to do her business behind the couch rather than in the litter box. Delightful. But we loved her, even when she drew ear blood and peed on our down comforter all.the.time.
We had to move to an apartment in which cats were strictly forbidden, but my parents graciously adopted our cat as their own, bringing their total to five.
Five cats. (I blame their pet-welcoming influence for the following events.)
So The Captain and I were petless and sad, until a few months after our first daughter was born. Though she was utterly entertaining, we missed having a pet. But dogs and cats were not permitted, so The Captain explored the world of domestic pets, and came home with a:
I have no doubt that, like myself, you’re thinking, “What’s a degu?” Well, it’s a rodent… looks a bit like a gerbil, but fatter, and…. ew.
But we were still young, in love, and foolish, so, the baby degu was named Felipe and installed in a handmade box cage with a wire mesh wall (this becomes key later…)
But then we read that degus need to socialize with other degus. Makes sense, right? And Felipe was still such a tiny baby, so… off to the store we went to get another degu. A mommy for Felipe. We brought Mama Abby home, and placed them in the empty bathtub, as per the suggested advice on introducing them for the first time. Baby and his adoptive mother, no?
Tiny Felipe’s tiny male libido kicked in, and he began chasing poor fat Abby around the tub. She was a quick gal despite her size, so though he managed to grab her rear with his paws, she continued to run around the tub, dragging the lech around behind her.
The Captain: “I think he wants to-“
Me (in horror): “We didn’t buy him a mom! He thinks we bought him a PROSTITUTE!!”
Yep. We basically served as pimps for our horny little rodent. The degus were “married” soon -disturbingly soon- after, and remained with us until I grew tired of their habit of kicking, yes, KICKING- their tiny poop pellets on the floor. Off they went, back to the pet store.
(INSERT CHILDREN 2 THROUGH 5 HERE)
No pets. Not until sweet #2, a staunch animal lover, begged for a cat. So we broke down, and got the cat. You can read about her here.
So, five kids and a cat later, I’m pregnant with #6. VERY pregnant. And The Captain decides that we should get a pet- a caged, contained pet. We discuss hamsters, gerbils, etc. The Captain goes off to the pet store to look around, with my words, “Maybe a guinea pig? Something fluffy to pet.”
… and comes home with a…
Bearded dragons are NOT fluffy. They are the exact opposite, in fact. They shed their papery skin. And they eat BUGS. And they stare at you with their big old cold eyes when you’re trying to do laundry.
And we were still in love, but no longer young and foolish. And nine months pregnant with #6, it was NOPE. Just nope.
He stayed for awhile. He had a name, but I dubbed him Satan, as in “Satan lives in my basement and I can’t live like this.” The Captain fed him bugs and bought installed heat lamps, temperature gauges, bath supplies, and found out along the way that bearded dragons need a LOT of maintenance, and if you want to stay married to your pregnant wife you should just not have a bearded dragon that is not fluffy and eats bugs next to your washing machine. So the accommodating Captain gave the dragon to a fellow lizard loving guy, and
was replaced… by two gerbils. So we own two gerbils, and a cat.
And that brings me to today.
It started yesterday. The cat discovered that instead of merely glaring at the gerbils from the staircase, she could jump on top of their cage. And she did. And she caved the cage’s cover right in. Thankfully, the gerbils were ok. The Captain repaired the cover and tightened it. We went to bed. Which is just what the cat wanted…
We were on time this morning. 20 minutes until school (& babysitting for me), and everyone was ready. And then then,
A broken cage cover. And no gerbils.
… and the kids know it… all hell breaks loose. And I’m praying, “pleasedon’tletthembedeadonthefloor, PLEASE… Don’t be DEAD…”
I peeked under chairs, in laundry baskets. The clock was ticking. I hoisted up the couch, and sure enough, out popped a tiny head. We have a live one!!
Imagine, if you will, lifting a heavy couch. Oof. Now imagine doing it fifteen times, because the gerbil began sprinting laps around the couch. Under. Out.Under.Out.
But luck was on my side, because once the gerbil dashed across the room, I clapped a box over it to catch it. As I frantically yelled for the kids to grab me a book to slip under the box to transport the gerbil, the box began to scoot across the room…
“Please excuse so-and-so for being late; there was a gerbil crisis. Ask him/her.”
(Seriously. I wrote that. They know me by now.)
The cat was locked out of the basement, and off we dashed.
And gerbil #2 was later, against all odds, also found- alive and intact, no less. After just twenty minutes of peering into obscure basement corners with my iPhone flashlight, muttering about hoping to GOD that I didn’t find a dead gerbil (or a live… something else. Dark corners are creepy). Both gerbils were returned safely to their cage, with a completely new cover that is, according to the pet store, “guaranteed to hold four cats”. (My question: How would they KNOW??)
I’m in admiration of my feisty little gerbils, who are truly rock stars for escaping the killer claws of kitty.
…though the cat obviously remains determined.Six Pack Mom