My friend Janet said recently how much she enjoyed the films I've posted of our hamster family member, so I've made a new one. This was taken last Friday. As you might be able to tell, he is growing at an astonishing rate, and becoming much more tame as he's learning that nine times out of ten a cuddle = food. Anyway, here he is - having come out of his new little house to say hello:-
You might think, from that innocent piece of film, that all is going swimmingly in Herbie's world ... but you'd be wrong. Very wrong. The night that film was taken turned out to be an eventful one for young Herbie.
Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I'll begin ... I went to bed as per usual, having fed him, fed the cat, etc. I read for a short while and then dozed off. It was a good night's sleep - I didn't wake up until gone 8am (the smalls were with HWNLR) - and had a nice shower before going downstairs. I must admit I thought it odd that Georgie cat wasn't snuggled up to me on the bed when I woke up. She's usually purring loudly in my ear, whispering the sort of feline sweet nothings which roughly translate as 'get up you lazy bag, I need feeding'. I had called her whilst I was enjoying my post sleep laze in the cozy warmth of the duvet, but nothing doing - I assumed she was snoozing on a different bed and couldn't be arsed to get up.
Anyway, freshly showered, I wandered downstairs, and at the bottom of the stairs I found Herbie's water bottle on the floor. *Cue dramatic music ... dum dum duuuuuuuuh* I glanced at his cage and saw this opening where there should have been his water bottle:
I quickly opened the cage and lifted the roof off his house ... no Herbie. It was at this moment that my stomach hit my knees and I realised that both Herbie AND Georgie were missing. *Gulp*. I wandered into the sitting room: no sign of critters. Dining room: no sign of critters. Kitchen: Ah. It was dim but I thought I could make out a titchy 'blob' near the back door, with a larger cat-shaped blob in attendance. Oh God.
I switched the light on, and as the flickering flourescent bulb finally stilled itself, I could see Herbie running towards me for all he was worth, little hamster legs going like mad. He was alive - phew. I scooped him up and gathered him to my bosom, trying to instil calm into his pounding rodentia cricetidae heart. He was very still. I could find no blood, so I quickly put him back in his house, making sure to secure the
escape hatch water bottle hole.
I returned to the kitchen to find Georgie with a 'whoops, caught in the act' expression on her face. I've never seen a cat blush before - but she was definitely blushing. Thank God she's a rubbish hunter. Thank God she is a friendly sort of cat; one who seeks friendship and amusement from other animals, rather than confrontation and gore. I know without a doubt that our last cat, given the same 'window of opportunity', would have killed Herbie. I muttered some words of disapproval at Georgie at which she guiltily slunk off, spending the day sleeping on the sofa.
I rang the kids to tell them what had happened - if I'm honest I thought Herbie would probably die of the shock at some point during the day, and I wanted them to be prepared. I kept going to check on him, and every time I lifted the roof from his house I was met with a little twitchy nose, and sleepy black eyes which said 'What? What? Sod off and leave me alone!' Usually he turns into Bionic Herbie at around 9.30pm every evening, but on Saturday evening he didn't. I couldn't go to sleep until he'd come out of his house and had something to eat - which he eventually did just before midnight.
Yesterday afternoon I went out to the hall to put my coat on for the school run, and this is what I saw:
Hmmmm, what do you think dear reader? Friends or foe?
At the time of writing Herbie's still with us. I have examined him closely and he does seem to have a tiny wound on his left side. I'll never know whether it was caused by Georgie, or when he fell from his cage (it is a good metre/yard off the floor). I'll never know whether he was out all night, or for only a short time. I'm just so relieved he seems to be ok. Cats are supposed to have nine lives - how many do you think a hamster gets?