by Diana Hockley
My name is Vivaldi and I am a handsome, upstanding member of the rodent community. People say I’m fat, but I’m only 900 grams. Quite sylph-like, really.
Yesterday, Mama let me play in the pigeonhole in her “‘puter desk.” I like playing in there, because when I sneak out and trundle across her key- thing, she grabs me, puts me back in the pigeonhole. She muttered something about peeing. Well, how can I help it? Last time she forgot to take me back to my litter tray in time. I waved my whiskers at her, but she was too busy writing about some stupid musician murdering someone. She was just getting to the er – erot- erotica bit–wouldn’t mind some of that, but I got the unkindest cut of all when I was little. Still, eating has its compensations … where was I?
Oh yes. Then I crawled over and leaned right over the edge of her desk, waving my arms in the air. All she did was laugh, pick me up and squish me – well, you see my problem, don’t you?
Once she’d rinsed the keyboard out and dried it, I was forgiven … except when she remembered and kept muttering to herself. I couldn’t hear much, but I know she included more of my crimes. There was mention of a vest I re-laced for her last time I shirt-dived and the scratches she had to explain on a doctor’s visit. Also, an ornament which got broken rated a short expl – explet – ex – never mind! It sounded quite cranky when she said it.
However, I digress. Pay attention, ratlets of the world! You need to learn a few things before you launch into being your human’s entertainment machine. We will tackle the search and rescue game in this lesson.
Any self-respecting rat will tell you, the most fun to be had is when you hide, especially if there’s cats in the house. At first, Mama and Daddy don’t realize you’re missing. They look casually around for all of two seconds and then they panic. The cats are flung out of the house (he he) and the search begins.
There are several places which are very desirable for the game of “where’s the rat.” Behind the curtains, sitting on the window ledge is an oldie but a goodie, except one night when an owl spotted me and stood outside, peering through the glass. That was a baaaaaaaaaad moment.
Another successful hidey-hole is an open drawer. Nestling among the clothes is very comfortable. If you burrow deep enough, they won’t discover your lace embroidery until they wear something. It could be a long time and you might be dead by then, so it won’t matter. Well, we rats only live for two to three and a half years … but perhaps it’s better to save that trick until you’re at least three and a quarter.
Up in the springs of the settee is an excellent place to hide. It can sometimes take anything up to an hour to winkle you out, usually with treats–yoghurt drops are the best –which they can’t resist giving you when you’re caught. If they don’t, then sitting in your house and turning your back on them for an hour or so usually breaks them down.
Boxes are a handy receptacle for hide and seek, and behind the long curtains in the lounge room are great. Those hems can be very tasty. Sometimes you can chew holes so the sinkers fall out. If you can find a newly opened tissue box, pull out all the tissues, shred them and climb inside, things can become very exciting.
The best place of all is in the refrigerator motor. I can’t understand why they always hunt under there last of all! Perhaps because it’s always so dusty they don’t want to pull it away from its niche. That would mean Mama’s conscience makes her get the broom and dustpan out! I, of course, have no conscience.
Last time I hid in the refrigerator motor they gave up looking for me before they went to bed. Well! The nerve of them! They only searched for an hour or so. Aren’t I worth hunting for?
I made the mistake of sulking for too long, so when I got hungry, I had to eat the wires (yum yum, not bad really). They were real mad at me. Daddy said lots of wild things. The words “new” and “home” and “rat rescue” were bandied about rather freely as I recall. You can deflect these threats, however, by clinging to the bars of your cage–after they put you back in there–and looking pathetic.
This time, Mama wasn’t pleased. Her mouth looked all tight when she got off the phone after talking to the refrigerator man. I was bundled rather purposefully back into my condominium, where they left me without cuddles for a few hours. It’s not my fault I ate the wires. After all, a rat shouldn’t have to starve to make a point, right?
I have to confess that after the “refrigerator crime” the pathetic act wasn’t a total success, but eating the wires in the refrigerator motor successfully diverted their attention from the laundry basket full of clean washing, where I spent a fruitful half hour or so before I got into the motor …
You can find more rat stories & articles in our Rodent Ramblings section.