Saturday, September 20, 2008
Vermin in Da House
Our menagerie continues to grow. About a year ago, we rescued our then-feral kitten off of our roof. Now fully grown, that koo-koo kitty bestowed the gift of a dead mouse to us, this week. Or so we thought.
When I looked closer, I realized it was a tiny hamster at death's door, stretched out on its side and barely moving. Fur slamped down with kitty spit, it was still breathing and twitching a paw or two. My first instinct was to toss it in the outdoor garbage can. Instead, I gently wrapped it in a paper towel and put it in a shoe box to see if it might get better.
Less than an hour later, it was sitting up and bristling its whiskers, nose twitching this time - normal hamster behavior from what I could tell, as if it hadn't just been traumatized in the jaws of our merciless feline. I cut up half a grape and put in a couple pieces of cat kibble. I wasn't sure what else to feed it until I could get to the market for some Purina Hamster Chow.
I also wasn't sure if fresh grapes would provide our minuscule refugee with adequate hydration. An eye dropper seemed to be the first logical choice. I was too lazy to search the house for one, however, and I ended up soaking a cotton ball with water, which the teensy hamster took to right away.
I thought it might be a baby hamster. But as the cat saliva dried, making mini-Hamtaro look less like a drowned mini-rat, the fluffy light brown fur and white underbelly confirmed that it was probably a dwarf hamster. The poor thing's eyes were squinty at first, too, which also made me think that it might be a very young hamster, just opening its eyes. But maybe that's what happens to hamsters' eyes when they are traumatized and ready to give up the ghost. One eye had opened fully by the first evening, and the other by the next morning.
I dropped the better part of fifty bucks on a cute Critter Trail habitat (wheel, food dish, and water bottle included), hamster chow, cotton bedding, and absorbent cage litter. Thank goodness the hamster was free, at least. I also dropped an empty toilet paper roll in the habitat so that Winky Winkles would have some place to hide (as well as chewing material).
I worried about her/him being all alone in its tiny kingdom. Luckily, that darn cat found another miniature hamster this morning, in our backyard. Domestic Partner held the cat back while I trapped the petrified creature under a drinking glass before adding it to the plastic vermin condo. Neither hamster attacked or threatened the other. They have been fascinating to watch, like a larger version of an ant farm, only better.
Where the heck are dwarf hamsters coming from in our suburban neighborhood? Were they part of a newborn litter in one of our neighbors' houses? I don't think hamsters can survive in "the wild," especially with all of the stray cats on our street.
Hopefully, there won't be anymore that need to be rescued. And hopefully the two that we have already are of the same sex.