Happy Pets = Unhappy Me

For those interested, I recently added profiles for our two pets: Chimutisk, and Stew.

Before we left Calgary, I wrote about being grateful for having healthy pets. After watching the animals for the last couple of weeks, Sharon and I were musing that its nice that they are happy too.

After we purchased our Hundred Acre Wood, we spent a couple of weeks moving stuff in with the intent of getting enough furniture for us to spend whole weekends at the property. This meant locking up Stew in his cage, and packing up Chimutisk into his kennel for the two hour drive to and from the property. The first time we did this it was a total fiasco.

For Stew, the idea of spending any daytime hours in his cage is abhorrent. Putting him in his cage, during daylight hours is a tricky((we actually have a ritual at night that has him eager to be locked up at night)). It involves trying to catch him while he hides behind very piece of furniture you have. Pull the furniture away, and he bolts for the next hiding spot. Eventually, you just give up, wave a carrot in his face, and throw the carrot in the cage; when he goes for it, you slam the cage shut. It is best to do this just before you leave so you don’t have to listen to him rattling the cage door.

While driving we discovered Chimutisk can’t “hold it” as long as he used to. We needed to ensure we stopped every hour for bathroom breaks, or he wets his kennel. We discovered this the hard way on that first trip; twice.

Was it worth the pain? That depends on who you ask.

While we were travelling back and forth, getting Chimutisk in his carrier was was simple enough; he was terrified he was going to be left behind. Every Saturday morning we would start packing, and he would be in a panic if his carrier was not on the floor with the door open so he could wait inside. If I took some things to the car, he would panic that he wasn’t included in the stuff taken to the car. Sharon would have to pick him up and hold him, whimpering, until I came back. He would arrive at the house, his tail would Bottle Brush, resulting in him passing out from the excitement.

Now that we live here, every morning Chimutisk wakes up and goes to the kitchen for breakfast. As soon as he has had his breakfast,  his tail instantly goes Bottle Brush, he runs (actually walks really fast… he’s old) to the bathroom and spends the next 5 minutes rolling around on the bathroom rug, scratching his back. This leaves him totally exhausted so he goes back to his cage and passes out (tail still bottle brushed). In the evenings, you will hear him wake up, and start exploring the house… tail completely bottle brushed again. One minute of bottle brushed tail later, he is in his couch grooming himself and settling in for the evening.

Seeing Chimutisk so excited, every day definitely shows how wonderful this place is for him.

Stew is another kettle of fish. He wakes up in the morning and starts doing Binkies immediately. Generally there is a race between the fridge (where his breakfast is kept) and his cage (where he is given breakfast); he runs from one to the other waiting for the food to be delivered. Once the food is delivered, its over to the living room (no he doesn’t bother eating, its too exciting) to start doing the morning Binkies. After 15 minutes of that, he starts his morning rounds ensuring that the curtains, couches, and ferret are exactly where he left them. If something has changed, he will generally spend extra time investigating whether it is something he can eat, climb, or move. After a couple of hours of this, he is generally settled enough to sit down for the afternoon, and returns to his cage; only to discover that somebody put food in there (the breakfast he never got around to eating), resulting in another 15 minute round of Binkies!

Seeing Stew so excited, every day definitely shows how wonderful this place is for him.

All of this excitement starts around 7am, by about 8am Sharon and I are exhausted. Chimutisk’s bottle brushed rolling around on his scratch mat generally atracts the attention of Stew, who wonders what the noise is. Stew owns the bathroom, and decides to cuff Chimutisk to get him out, we have to run in and separate the two of them. While we are carrying Stew to a different room, Chimutisk discovers Sharon’s good fuzzy bath mat, and decides that this is the greatest thing in the world to dig in: put Stew down, and go get Chimutisk. While you are cleaning the bits of rug Chimutisk dug up, Stew comes to investigate what you are working so diligently at. The smell of ferret sends him on a marking spree where he has to rub his chin on everything in his bathroom; leading him to mark the baseboard… which smells really good… so good its worth a nibble. “STEW! Stop that!”, sending him bolting for the door (generally with two circles around you on the way), ears flopping away as he runs, just daring you to catch him.

Things have finally settled down, so you decide to go to the basement to start the furnace, only to have both animals follow you to the door to investigate what is down there. After shooing them both away and squeezing yourself and not them through the door, you end up coming back up to both of them laying in front of the door so you can’t open it.

Sitting down at my desk to get some work done becomes an exercise in multi-tasking: typing, while either fighting Stew for my slippers or listening for him heading up the stairs, climbing the furniture, eating books, or getting bored enough to go into the ferret cage to pick a fight with the sleeping ferret.

I hate my critters:

  • Stew trying to steal my slippers, while I’m wearing them.
  • Chimutisk nesting in your clothes, just as you come out of the shower.

Stew discovering the stairs can be climbed (and the tops of the furniture near by).

  • Stew picking fights with Chimutisk.
  • Chimutisk daring Stew to pick fights with him.
  • Stew joining you on the sofa.
  • Chimutisk wanting to be picked up, then put down, then up, down, up, down, up down updownup…
  • Stew eating books, computer cables, and wires.
  • Stew re-arranging curtains (with his teeth), and digging hardwood floors (tickity-tickity,tickity-tickity,tickity-tickity,tickity-tickity,….).
  • Chimutisk digging in rugs (the more expensive, the better).
  • Stew eating computer cables and wires.
  • Stew stealing food, while you are eating it.
  • Chimutisk hiding his food dishes.
  • Stew freaking out that Chimutisk is being fed and he didn’t get anything.
  • Stew “helping” with repairs around the house’
  • Chimutisk “helping” with chores around the house.
  • Stew using anything you put down as a ladder to somewhere he shouldn’t be (see: eating books).
  • Chimutisk tipping waste baskets.
  • Stew closing his cage door, then freaking out that his cage is closed (hasn’t figured out how to open doors, just close).
  • Either of them being quiet.

Some days, I wish we had “misplaced” them along the way.

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