Non-Conformist Hamster

So Kate, my 8-year old stepdaughter, is just crazy about animals. She talks all the time about wanting to be a zookeeper when she grows up (which is ironic, as one of my ex-girlfriends from college is actually a zookeeper these days!). She’s wanted a pet for years, which I had resisted due to a combination of allergies and curmudgeonliness. As those of you who read Nik’s blog know, Kate finally got a pet a couple of months back. A hamster to be precise, which is supposed to be a relatively unobtrusive pet. Kate named him Silky.

Fittingly enough, our hamster is a non-conformist. He has this elaborate cage with a sleeping area and then a spiral slide that leads up to a wheel. Nicole is always cleaning out his cage and making him a nice little bed of tissue in the sleeping area and then leaving treats in the food dish. It’s all very orderly…and Silky is having none of it. He has decided that the best place to sleep and store food is his wheel. He stuffs his cheeks full of food and then climbs up the slide and deposits his stores in the wheel. Mere hours after making up his bed, Nicole will find that Silky has carried all the tissue up the wheel and then snuggled down to nap up there. Silky doesn’t care how the Man designed the cage. The center of his crib is the wheel.

Now generally I find this pretty amusing. Fight the power, Silky! However, last week Kate smuggled Silky to school and got caught. As part of her punishment, Silky has gone to live in our bathroom and Kate can’t play with him for two weeks. Here’s the problem: hamsters are nocturnal. Once Silky has put a bunch of seeds and crap in his wheel, it sounds like a maraca when he runs in it. Now imagine me trying to sleep when Silky starts running at 3 am. I’ve begun to wonder who is being punished now, me or Kate. Silky, he doesn’t care. He’s howling at the moon.

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