Sunday, March 28, 2010
Finally! I bought 4 bricks to seal up the hole in the wall. Momokuai is wondering how she can move those bricks away. That area of the house has suddenly lost its charm to them and when I put them outside they will paste their noses on the glass door hoping against hope that I will let them inside. I know, they would love to come inside and crawl into the bellies of my couch or fridge. Or get more plaster off my wall.
I finally threw out the old pillow/blanket which stank like my hamsters, or worse. Didn't have time to sew them a new one until yesterday and no sooner had I placed it inside the cage, Mimi and Momokuai were tugging at it trying to claim ownership. My sister's hamsters (which actually used to be my hamsters) are more loyal to their possessions. Father Momo still keeps the one I sewed for him last year, the first pillow he owned. When Ping and Lele pissed on it my sister gave it a new case. She told me that Momo threw it out of his window. My sister went, "Ungrateful @#*!%# hamster".
Friday, March 26, 2010
My pet of choice would be a dog but since my living conditions does not permit I decided to choose a hamster instead. Mimi is like a little doggie whenever I put her inside the hamster ball. She'll run after me wherever I go. To my room, to the kitchen, to the toilet - everywhere. The most delightful thing is she comes when I call. When I am taking my shower she'll be knocking against the door and when I call her from inside, she'll knock louder. Amazing. I once reared rabbits but they were timid and shied away from me all the time. I thought hamsters would be like that too. Eat, shit, let me out, don't come near me.....well, most of the time that's the way they are. But they transform into little doggies when you put them inside the magical hamster ball!
Rain clouds? A picture taken 4 days ago but it didn't rain a drop until last night when we had a downpour for......less than 5 minutes. After such a long spell of drought, rain is much hoped for, awaited most impatiently and makes front page news. So an entry on rain in this blog couldn't be helped.
Perhaps it's the weather. It has been dry for months. Hot, humid, stuffy, smoky. It has become impossible to keep the windows open. The air conditioner is on the minute you're inside the house. It can't be helped unless you want to inhale smoke all day/night. Yes, perhaps it's this kind of unbearable weather that has been making my hamsters irritable and cranky. Last night when I bathed them I noticed bite marks on their bodies. Every now and then I have seen them tussling with each other and when one squeals you will know that she has been bitten. It's hard to pinpoint who the culprit is because I have seen Momokuai biting AnAn and AnAn biting Mimi and Mimi biting Momokuai. Hhhhmmmmm.
I was glad to see her gripping the bars with such strength and gnawing at it with such ferocity. She wasn't coughing anymore and you can't be sick when you display that kind of energy. It is also time for bed, my dear villanous Momokuai. You're a nocturnal creature - what are you doing gnawing the cage at 9.30am in the morning?
9 am Saturday morning. Mimi was fast asleep but not the other 2. Sensing my presence as I swept and cleaned they paced the cage restlessly, gnawing at the bars and looking at me ever so hopefully. That was the last straw - I cannot resist pitiful, pleading people/animals. So I thought I'd let them roam a little inside the toilet with the door closed while I proceeded to clean out my home and their home. Look what I found when I opened the door. AnAn and Momokuai the little gnawing devils have managed to make breadcrumbs out of the plaster on the wall.
My hamsters aquired awful body odour after weeks of not bathing. Since sand irritated their noses I tried wiping them with a wet cloth but that awful stink persisted - a kind of skunky, salty smell. They scratched themselves all day and watching them itch made me itch all over. That's that - last night they were bathed with soap and water and they looked absolutely comfortable after that. Or rather I felt absolutely comfortable. Try not washing your hair for weeks and then go wash it -- ahh, it is THAT kind of comfort and relief I am talking about.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
At first it was Momokuai coughing, then it was AnAn. I have a grim suspicion that the cause is that "hamster bathing sand" which I put out for them. Mimi is the only one who's not coughing and that's because she avoids it altogether. Two days after I removed the sand, I noticed that they coughed less often. That item will be deleted from my shopping list.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Life has been busy - so busy that I don't have time to whip out my camera, much less aim them at my hamsters. So an old photo will have to make do for this entry. Mimi's brood of 4. Their fur just growing, their eyes still shut tight. Like anxious mothers, my sister and I would count the days when their fur would sprout and their eyes would open. We will text each other and report "Oh ya - Lele peered at me today! He has got one eye open!" or "Hey, there are two girls and two boys!" or "Oh, we've got one brown one!". So excited were we as if they were our very own babies. Now we will text each other and report whose hamsters are cuter/smarter/naughtier. Everyday we will send pictures of them to each other. Ya, ya, we got nothing better to do with our time......
Monday, March 22, 2010
"Both of you can go dig the hole - I will play with this pink lil' bucket." said AnAn, hurt that she was left out....no, pushed out of her share of the hole. She couldn't get an inch in sideways. Yes, don't I know how frustrating that is. It is like talking (if that is possible) to people who don't know how to stop talking, refuses to let you talk and never listens.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Good hamster owner that I am, I refrained from dipping them in soap and water and instead poured "hamster bathing sand" onto a new tray for them. They sniffed at it suspiciously and ventured a paw inside and then turned away. The previous day they even pissed in it. Hmmm - seems like they are just not interested in sand-bathing. My vision of 3 hamsters frolicking and rolling gleefully in desert sand crumbled. What went wrong? They don't like the lemony scent? Like me, they hate sand on their bodies? Or was it plain folly to place the tray too near that hole in the wall? Mimi was tugging at the plastic so forcefully that I feared her teeth would fall out. Her breathing became heavy and I finally had to cradle her in my arms to calm her down. As an extra treat she was allowed on my computer table so there she was snooping and sniffing and wondering what would happen if she leaps off the edge of the table.
The label said "extremely appetizing", with "extra vitamin e" and with "more than 20 kinds of ingredients" so I bought it. Seems like the 3 hamsters do find it appetizing. My gigantic jar of hamster food is still two thirds full but bugs have been appearing and what I fear is bugs getting into their ears. Good grief. That's worse than half-eaten bugs. There was a good suggestion on a hamster forum - freeze the food and chances are the bugs will die. Will do that later. Advice - don't store too much in future.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Mimi was still sound asleep when I had to clean out her igloo so I had to airlift her to the porch. Poor girl, she was still groggy when she landed. This incident confirms the fact that hamsters have jolly good memory because within minutes she was near THE HOLE in the WALL and unlike Momokuai's failed efforts to get at the plastic, well, the pic above says it all. She was determined, single-minded, displaying unusual strength! Usually she loses out to Momokuai in their daily tussle inside the cage but I now have a suspicion that she just lets Momokuai win. You know how mothers are - they dote on their babies.
While I was busy cleaning, these 2 girls were falling over themselves trying to get the plastic out of that hole in the wall. They were pushing each other and I saw Momokuai doing something very, very mean to AnAn. She sunk her teeth into AnAn's fur and tugged with all her might. She won - AnAn left.
Thank God for Saturdays. It is THE day when I can get up later than usual or so I thought. Monday to Friday I cannot hear my alarm (set twice at half hour intervals) but Saturday I can hear it so it's 5.30am and I am wide awake. My hope for getting up a teeny weeny bit later dashed. Ah well, might as well do some blogging and let my hamsters out for a run. Mimi was fast asleep so Momokuai and AnAn were lucky to get their early morning exercise. I cleaned the cage thoroughly and prepared their food. Seeds at level 1 and chestnuts at level 2 with the freshest water. Just read that they ought to drink boiled and cooled water rather than from the tap. What a good life - so what did their ancestors drink in the desert? Ah yes, mineral water I guess. Toilets (one for each level) shone with fresh wood shavings, pillow and blanket all laid out for their royal highnesses after their early morning jog. I am the servant of hamsters. Their maid. Their nanny and provider, all rolled into one. And after that I cleaned my own house. Sweeping and dusting and a neighbor had to haul me out from my labors and chat for half an hour. I hope he wasn't aware that I hadn't washed my face or brushed my teeth/hair, besides...um, other things. At least he said I was a good listener....he didn't know that I was counting the minutes and that my elbows hurt from leaning too long on the window sill. At this age, those marks on my flesh will take a few hours to plump out....
Momokuai has been making some strange sounds the past few days - it sounds as though she is coughing, sneezing or hiccuping. So that worried me and I started looking for information about hamster health. All the horror stories about flu and cough had me even more worried. I just hope that it is self-limiting. All I can do for now is to keep her warm and let her sleep as much as she likes. Other than making that odd sound and jumping an inch with each hiccup she seems pretty normal. Eating and sleeping and wrestling with Mimi as usual. Hamsters seem like a second class or maybe even third class pet here - dogs and cats reign supreme. When I can't find what I want from the pet store the owner would go..."Umm, well, hamsters aren't really the in thing now, well, it used to be but not anymore so....." and that's that. When I brought Momo to the vet for neutering the vet said, "Sorry - hamsters are too small and we cannot do it." I wanted to make a eunuch out of him because he was chasing after Mimi all the time and it just wouldn't do to have her producing every now and then. To separate them seemed even more heart-breaking because he would prance about in the other cage for hours, look lonely, drool at Mimi, look at his exceptionally long dingdong in such a desolate manner ---- neutering seems to be the best option. They can live happily forever after minus all the babies. And while I am here blogging, Momokuai had been busy pulling the threads from my couch (again!) and she is now scratching the door of her hamster ball in earnest. Perhaps it isn't a cough or a sneeze after all. Perhaps a piece of seed got stuck in her nose.
I was trying to look for some good hamster blogs when I chanced upon information about bathing hamsters (with soap and water). Most advised against bathing as it can cause them to catch a chill and die and there I was bathing them diligently every week! To think that I have been subjecting my poor hamsters to such an ordeal......I blame the petshop owner for this. When I asked her if hamsters can be bathed she answered me vehemently that they OF COURSE could and should be bathed and proceeded to sell me a shampoo for that purpose. According to her they just LOOOOVE to be blown dry by a hairdryer - something which I gave up doing because they looked absolutely terrified when I turned the hairdryer on. Her hamsters were thrown inside a glass case (which looked suspiciously like an aquarium) and the bedding looked as though it hadn't been changed in a long, long time. They looked too comfortable - that can only happen when they are sleeping in their own filth. A lot of filth. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing much hamster dung in that tank. They were probably so starved that they ate up all their own dung.
You can take away my roof, you can sweep away my food, you can remove all traces of my dung and piss but you shall not take away my pillow. It's the one thing which you cannot wash or the beans inside will sprout (haha). It's tattered, it's frayed but it has a dear, familiar, wonderful scent that lulls me into the deepest and sweetest slumber. Ah...my pillow!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
AnAn made another (great) escape last night from her hamster ball while I was dozing off on the couch with the tv watching me. I woke up to find an empty ball in the toilet and Momokuai trapped between the sewer pipe and the water tank, looking forlornly at AnAn's empty ball right in front of her. It must've been sheer agony for poor Momokuai. This time it took me much longer to find AnAn. Not in the bedroom, store room or kitchen. Not behind the couch or fridge until I heard scratching from the bottom shelf of my tv stand. All my cat biscuits and sweet corn couldn't entice her from the innermost depths of my cobweb-ridden shelf. She's getting smarter - she is not going to be deceived by the delicious snacks I offered. A torchlight was used to shine her out - to no avail. All I could see was bits and pieces of paper that she had ripped off something inside - I hoped it wasn't my photo albums. I had to empty the whole shelf and ironically, the bits of paper came from a bag with a mouse trap inside. The mousetrap which I had been looking for since last year. She must've sensed some secret message from all the rats that had met their fate in that trap. Well, at least something good came out of all that commotion - I found the trap I had been looking for.
There's nothing more startling than stumbling upon a hamster ball with its door flung aside and no hamster to be found in it. This time it isn't Momokuai but AnAn! AnAn who spends all her time nibbling/sleeping and very little time on plotting (to escape) --- I am surprised indeed. Before panic set in I remind myself that I live in a miniscule apartment and she can't go very far. I calmly took food out of the fridge (cat biscuit always does the trick), shake the bottle noisily and lo and behold, she comes out for a nibble. QED - quite easily done.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
She was actually lifting the broom and trying to get it into her little igloo! You silly hamster, I thought, how can you possibly get a thing that long into your small little entrance? But, genius Momokuai.........she almost did it by getting one end in first! I wonder what she would do with that broom in her spare time? Nibble on it? Use it as a cushion? Sweep the cage? Wishful thinking.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Atrocious Momokuai treating AnAn like her bed. Strange thing is, AnAn doesn't mind at all. When I watch my hamsters I just cannot resist touching them. But they just hate it when I try to stroke their heads or backs. Another hamster can walk all over them but the tiniest touch from me will send them flying. But there is one spot that you can tickle when they are sound asleep - their tummies. They hate me for poking and prodding when all they want to do is sleep. They will go to the furthest corner and if I still persist, they will crawl into the tunnel in disgust. Well, there are tiny holes at the sides of the tunnel where I can blow air at them. Revenge is sweet - my way of getting back at them for biting their cage loudly and incessantly when all I want to do is sleep....hahaha. Or is it the other way round? They bite their cage to get back at me when I sleep?
The way AnAn sleeps reminds me of my mom. A little on her side and with the feet crossed in a very lady-like manner. I shan't bore you with the way I sleep - all I can say is that it's nothing like the way my Mom sleeps. Anyway, you're more likely to have nightmares when you cross your feet like that - you're being chased down a dark alley, your feet gets entangled, you struggle to free yourself but whatever it was that was entangling your legs tightened its grip, you scream, waking the person who sleeps with legs/arms flung wide apart who then has to wake you up and un-entangle you from the bedsheet/blanket/comforter/whatever.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Momokuai messing up her toilet. This isn't a toilet originally. It's actually a sand-bath. Hamsters supposedly like to roll around in sand to clean themselves and probably for fun. However I gave up after the first bath because there was sand everywhere and you know how annoying that can be. I put shavings instead so now it is their toilet. It really tickles me to see them pissing disciplinedly! No matter how sleepy they are, they will trudge to the toilet with their eyes half-closed to do business and then get back inside their little plastic igloo to sleep. Whenever they are upset (prime reason being they want to go play outside and I said NO), they will rush inside and start kicking up the shavings furiously. Silent creatures they may be but they have their way of letting you know their displeasure. Vengeful creatures - remember what I wrote about rats?
I had barely cleaned the cage when Momokuai went inside the toilet and started scratching furiously at the wood shavings. She was so furious that she actually buried her head in them. After she messed up the place I swear there was a look of satisfaction on her face. Now what was she so angry about? What would I give to have someone clean my loo twice a day.
Mimi was bought with reluctance. She wasn't the color I liked, she was scrawny and didn't do cute things like sleep on her back. Her face is so black it's difficult to make out her features. But as time got by she compelled me to love her. She was adventurous and didn't think twice about venturing into new areas, unlike her partner Momo who had to sniff things out for an hour before he would step outside. She liked getting close to me and was a good, caring mother to her babies. She is the one who follows me everywhere in her hamster ball and looks at me and comes running when I call. And the best of all - she rarely shits/piss in her hamster ball! That rhymed - Mimi has made a poet out of me. The pet and the poet. Move aside Margaret Thatcher.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Oh cuteness personified! AnAn's little toes huddled together like praying hands........:-) Forgive us pet lovers for being so obsessed with our pets. You've just got to own one to understand! Recently I saw a documentary about pets having to be left behind when hurricane Katrina hit. An elderly gentleman wept because he had to leave his cat behind and I was so moved to see that. I understand completely that feeling of loss. Imagining your pet lost and lonely without you, starving, confused. Animals have qualities akin to children and it is that cute, innocent helplessness about them that makes you so protective. I don't understand people who are cruel to animals. I have seen kittens thrown into the rubbish bin (live kittens and mewing pitifully) and stray dogs tortured with hot water, their necks wound tightly with wires until they become bloody sores. A stray cat that I used to feed in my office grounds gave birth to little kittens. One by one they were adopted (odd thing was they asked for my permission first) until only one was left. I fed that kitten too until it didn't shy away from me and just as we were about to become friends, a careless driver ran over it and killed it. What amazed me was he had about as much remorse as running over a piece of lifeless thrash. A kind worker bathed the poor dead creature (according to her custom) while another buried it. Others were equally indignant about his nonchalant attitude. But what was most pitiful was the way the mother looked for her kitten. Meowing in a strange way and looking so pitifully lost and lonely, it went round and round looking for her baby. May God bless those who showed kindness and respect to a poor, dead stray kitten.
Friday, March 12, 2010
This is what I meant about the igloo being too small for 3 inseparable hamsters/pillow. They just had their bath and couldn't wait to tuck in. Fur was still wet so I lifted the igloo so they wouldn't catch a cold while sleeping (is that possible?). However, they made a din with the overturned roof and crammed inside the tunnel instead. I had no choice but to let them back in - obstinate, obstinate creatures.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A strand of evidence was found..........it was Momokuai! The same genius who could open the door of her hamster ball. Friends of mine are superstitious about rats. If you have rats in your home/office, don't call them rats, call them by another name, don't curse them behind their backs, don't catch them, don't anything and they will not turn on you. The latter meaning they will destroy your goods with their teeth, shit all over the place and even have babies in your drawer (yes, my drawer in the office and my boss asked "Who's drawer? Yours? Ahaa....!" meaning that you must've been eating from your drawers or something). Now that I observe how brainy hamsters can be, I won't scoff at all those superstitions - they know who you are and they will be back. With a vengeance.
Finally, Mimi managed to get her head partially inside the hole while AnAn came along to help her mom and sis. All that action took a mere 10 minutes. I just wanted them to have about 15 minutes of fun time before I leave for work -- to roam freely, do a bit of jogging on their threadmills, have fun in the contraption I made out of used cans and tissue boxes. It was not to be - all their toys were kicked aside and they focused all their energy on scratching that hole in the wall! I shudder to think what would happen if they get stuck inside. So intense was Mimi on her mission that she kicked my hand furiously when I tried to prise her away. I really, really should go look for those bricks. I think 2 should be heavy enough to seal it. Or maybe 3. Better make that 4.