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Cat Forum: Living with a Hedgehog

On this edition of Cat Forum our two resident experts, Super Snoops (SS) and Kommando Kitty (KK) will answer questions regarding living with their somewhat unusual housemate, Horatio Hedgehog.

Host: How did you feel when the humans brought a hedgehog into the house?

SS: We didn’t know what it was. It looked like a gift for us that needed to be unwrapped to get rid of all the pointy things.

KK: But it smelled horrible. Not like any mouse I’d ever known.

Host: When did you find out what it really was?

KK: The male human was cuddling it. Can you imagine actually wanting to hold that?

SS: And he held it up to the female, and said it was an early Christmas present. She was all excited and told him how cute it was. No accounting for taste.

KK: We went on the computer and looked it up. It said African Pygmy Hedgehog.

SS: We wondered when it would be going back to the Africa Hedge.

KK: Soon we hoped. It smelled really bad.

Host: Did you try to make friends with it?

SS: I went up and tried to sniff it, but it totally ignored me. I put out a paw and it totally ignored me. I went a little closer. It was way too prickly to get close to.

KK: I looked from the distance. It was all rolled up and made funny noises. And it smelled …

Host: Yes, we understand. Hedgehogs smell bad. Did he sleep with you?

SS: They gave him a cage, so I didn’t have to worry about being attacked in the middle of the night.

KK: True. But it was a really nice cage. His exercise equipment was right there. Along with his food and his water.

SS: And he got really good food. Better kibble than us.

KK: And a heater.

Host: Did you try to make him feel at home?

KK (purring): Did you know they eat hedgehogs in some places?

Host: Moving on. Did he get in the way of cuddle time with your humans?

SS: Not really. Apparently hedgehogs like it warm, and the humans keep our house at cuddle temperature (as they like to call freezing). So he only came out at night.

KK: I don’t know why they bothered. All he did was sit in a ball and sound like he was going to explode. I don’t understand the appeal. You can’t cuddle it, you can’t play with it, and you can’t eat it. It doesn’t even look attractive all balled up.

Host: I imagine things have smoothed out a bit.

SS: Yes, he seems to have calmed down a little….

KK: And he almost ran away from home twice. I even had to rescue him one time. And they gave him a couple of baths. It was hilarious. The only thing funnier than a wet dog is a wet hedgehog. He tried to shake the water from his quills.

Host: Did I hear you correctly Kommando Kitty? You rescued him?

KK: Yeah. The idiot tried to go down some stairs. I stood guard over his lifeless little body until a human noticed. Turns out he wasn’t lifeless, he was sleeping.

Host: So things must be a little better.

SS: I watch from my cat tree. He appears to have bonded with the male human – my male human – rather than the female human – her human (motions at Kommando Kitty). He even ate out of my human’s hand. See if I ever eat out of his hand. (tail flap)

KK: Horatio does ignore my human now. Pretty good trick of hers – buy him worms and let the male human feed him. I still stay close to keep an eye on him, though.

Host: The three of you are living in harmony now?

SS: You could say that.

KK: Yeah. We don’t look up hedgehog recipes on the computer anymore.

Host: Well, I guess that wraps us up for this edition of Cat Forum. Come by the next time for a discussion of Baths: Evil Incarnate?

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0

Lamb Chop to Lamb Chomp

Back in the dark ages when we had to watch TV in large wooden boxes, there was a ventriloquist named Shari Lewis. She had a children’s show featuring hand puppets. Besides Shari, the stars were Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, and the “star” Lamb Chop.

Lamb Chop was basically a white sock with closed felt eyes and a pink nose. And a lot of attitude. She always had a retort for Shari. I was afraid that Shari might have her revenge in 1996 with Shari’s Passover Surprise. I hoped that Lamb Chop was not the surprise, as in the Seder dinner. Fortunately Shari was just teaching Lamb Chop about Passover.

Shari died a couple of years later and apparently Lamb Chop has fallen on hard times. I found her (and many of her clones) in bins at the store. It seems that Lamb Chop has become a chew toy for dogs. Her name isn’t on the box, but I’d know her anywhere.

To add insult to injury, Lamb Chop and her fellow sheep come in three sizes and multiple colors. I’m thinking that someone is finally getting revenge for being annoyed by Lamb Chop for years during his childhood. Or in an advanced case of sibling rivalry, getting even with a sister for years of torment by destroying a TV idol.

I wouldn’t normally be looking at the dog toys except they did a major renovation of the pet area. They didn’t add any space, but they moved things around so the toys are on the main aisle. And apparently pet toys are a big business.

Our cats have the basic set of 50+ variations on mice and birds that they can carry around. Most of them were accumulated during the lifetimes of the previous cat residents.

I looked for a new scratching post. Apparently cats only scratch on kitty condos these days. If you want something that is strictly for scratching, the material is no longer carpet on a pole. It’s something that looks like cardboard that lies flat on the floor. I’m not sure how to train the cats to scratch down rather than up. (I think it’s some kind of cat spin to call a scratching post a toy. Everyone knows they’re for sharpening the weapons.)

Snoops’ favorite game with my husband involves a hole in the cat tree. He puts all the toys away in the bottom section which is a box with a hole in it. She watches then pulls them all back out again. It’s cheaper than buying more toys. And neater.

It appears that dog toys are less durable. They seem to fall mainly in the categories of chew and fetch.

There is an appallingly large variety of things for a dog to gnaw on. A stuffed version of any animal that you can think of can be thrown to the dog. The one exception is the absence of cat chew toys. I imagine that’s to keep the cat lobby from shutting down the company. Or using the corporate boardroom as a litterbox.

Also gone are the days of throwing Fido a bone from the dinner steak. I couldn’t find any of the rawhide chews we used to sell. However, there is a large variety of rubber/plastic “bones” for the health of the dogs’ teeth. And you can get gluten-free bones to clean the dogs’ teeth and give extra calcium to puppies.

Gluten-free is only the tip of the iceberg in the pet food industry. Dog food proudly announces that it has taken the grains out of the food. Cat food announces that it has added grasses to its products. Cheese, eggs, all types of “people” food can now be part of your furry friend’s dinner. (Of course, you don’t want to share these items from the table. Their version is more pure than ours.)

There are so many organic food choices they have taken over a whole aisle in both the cat and dog sections. I’m not sure I really understand the concept of organic pet food. Do they only use free-range chickens? Only use cows that have fed on pesticide-free grass?

I think we may have gone over the edge with the new dog food I discovered. It needs to be kept in a refrigerator at the store and at home. Some of it looks like kibble. But there is a selection of things that look like tubes of sausage. It seems that you break it up and feed it to the dog. And it costs more than the sausage in the meat department.

In spite of the over-abundance for dogs and cats in the newly refurbished department, there is still one glaring absence. I could not find a single thing for Lord Nelson, the hedgehog. I can’t believe they couldn’t find room for a single exercise ball or wheel. Guess we have to stick with the wax worm treats.

Perhaps if I look hard enough, I can find him a mini Lamb Chop.

2

That Was a Bad Idea

A couple of nights ago, it was really hot and humid here. We don’t have air conditioning so it was almost as uncomfortable inside as out. Horatio Hedgehog has his cage covered with a blanket so the sunlight doesn’t bother him while he’s sleeping.

I had forgotten to give him water that day, so I was worried about him. When I opened his cage, he was panting. I figured it was from the heat (not his grumpy personality.) Hedgehogs are supposed to love water and are good swimmers. Which had been the case with Jean Luc, his predecessor hedgehog.

So I put some water in our sink and brought out Horatio. When I put him in the water, he was not a happy hog. He immediately panicked and tried to get out. He managed to climb up the side of the stainless steel sink. I had to give him his favorite treat (wax worms) before he would calm down.

Speaking of bad ideas, I asked my (temporary) doctor for a note saying that I couldn’t unload pallets for more than 2 hours per day. I got the note. Unfortunately it says that I can’t do any repetitive motion for more than 2 hours/day. Which pretty much eliminates my entire job. I really need to enroll her for a course in empathetic listening.

It’s not just me. You may remember a few weeks ago I talked about Other Stocker and New Guy. New Guy didn’t last. First there was the work slow-down, then the quitting without calling in. Not the way to get a good reference.

But Other Stocker (OS) was the one with the really bad idea. The company is really strict about actually working while we’re on the clock (go figure). They even feel that we should be using the restrooms on our breaks/lunches (not gonna happen).

The deli and bakery are about as far from the break room as you can get. OS would pick out a bagel, pay for it, then go on break. Totally against the rules. It’s called abuse of time clock.

OS got caught one time and warned. He continued to do it without being caught. Until one day they got him again. He was called to Security and terminated.

The really stupid part about the whole thing is that his girlfriend was terminated a while back for abuse of time clock. She lived about 25 minutes from the store (why she would drive that far is beyond me). She always seemed to be running behind, so she’d pull up to the door, punch in, then go park her car. OS seemed to think it was reasonable because she lived so far away. It didn’t seem to occur to either of them that maybe she should leave the house earlier.

Probably the dumbest idea I’ve run across lately is from the guy in the next section over. He stocks overnight with another guy in dairy. The night people are supposed to take breaks consistently every two hours.

Dairy Guy (DG) has his own “system” and feels the need to not take his “lunch” until he should actually be taking his last break. And he usually schedules it so he misses unloading as much of the truck as possible. DG also has things he “has to do” before he goes to lunch.

The other day, one of the managers asked why DG was not working on the load. He went to find DG and told him to go help. DG was sure that his partner had ratted him out. DG was furious that his priorities should be questioned. He said that he was going to take his second break and leave on time. It was actually kind of amusing that he had thought he was impressing management by not taking his last break and working over every day.

The next day, DG went to the manager above the one who had “forced” him to help unload the truck. He told the manager that his “system” was being interrupted. The second manager agreed with the first one. I thought I was going to be stomped on if I got too close to one of his carts. It was the fastest any of us had ever seen him work.

At least Horatio will never tell anyone how I tried to drown him.

2

A Cat’s Life

My name is Snooper Katt aka SuperSnooper and Snoops. My human thought it was a cute name after I spent the first few days in my new home exploring. What did he expect? I’m a cat. I had to make sure I could find all the important cat places: sun spots, hiding places, litter box, food, etc. I have heard that many humans are under the impression that all we cats do is sleep. I am writing a summary of a typical day to dispel that error. I have used Google Translate to make it intelligible to you. It would be a lot easier if you humans would just learn to speak our language.

2:30a – I hear my human’s mate (from this point forward human #2 due to the order of her appearance) coming down the stairs. I can hear her telling cat #2 to keep moving so she won’t get stepped on. That human is the clumsiest thing I’ve ever seen first thing in the morning. It’s OK though, she’s come to get our breakfast. I used to get up and go into the kitchen with her to make sure she picked out the right food. Now I can trust her, so I stay in my tree and let cat #2 make sure it gets done.

3:00a – Human #2 comes back all wet. I’ve been in the kitchen to try out breakfast. Not bad. I’m sitting on the table waiting for her. She reaches over to pet me. I let her scratch me, a couple of times. She sits down at the thing she calls a computer. I stand at the table behind her and watch. Then I jump on her table to check out Cat TV. Since it’s still dark out, sometimes there are some good moths on the screen.

3:30a – Human #2 leaves. I check out cat #2 to see if she got any treats I didn’t. Sometimes we clean each other or play or fight or ignore each other. Depends on the mood. I make a quick check of the perimeter on Mouse Patrol. If I hear anything, I stay on guard. Otherwise, I go upstairs and wait for my human. Sometimes on his bed, sometimes in the hall. Sometimes in human #3’s room.

Sometimes I see human #4 in this period. He used to get up for school, but now he’s “graduated”. I think that means he’s nocturnal. He eats and/or does laundry then disappears again.

5:00a – My human wakes up. I like to be there to make sure he’s up. First thing in the morning is the best time to get good skirchies from him. (Human #2’s father came up with that word to describe the kind of petting-cuddling-scratching attention we cats like when we want full attention from humans.) It’s best to get him before he’s fully awake. That way I can help him get dressed.

5:10a – We go downstairs. He does human stuff in the kitchen while I check out the food again. It’s always the same stuff. Guess I’ll get some kibble. And get some water.

5:15a – We go into the study. He turns on the big “computer” while I settle in his lap. I help him get his messages and type anything he needs. I really like it when he plays games – one hand for the mouse and one hand for me. Why do they call that thing a mouse? Humans are so silly sometimes.

5:30a – My human goes upstairs. Sometimes I go up ahead of him and lay on the bathroom floor. It’s the best place for tummy rubs. It’s the best place because he can shut the door and cat #2 can’t hog in.

5:40a – My human leaves. He usually closes Cat TV so I have to watch through the window and can’t hear anything out there. I use the facilities. I love my human, but sometimes he forgets to clean the litterbox at night. I bet he wouldn’t want to step in that.

5:45a – Perform a more thorough Mouse Patrol. The best place to find the little guys is in the pantry. We find quite a few in the dining room too. Cat #2 is a pain in the neck, always getting in the way with the humans and talking nonstop, but she is a pretty good mousing partner. We can watch for them from two places. Morning Mouse Patrols are rarely successful.

6:00a – Get another snack. Time for my morning nap. Should I go to the cat tree? The chair in the living room? My human’s bed? Human #3’s bed? If it’s chilly, there’s no question about going to sleep with human #3. I think she “graduated” too, but she’s only part nocturnal.

Noon – Get up and wander around the house. Cat #2 is asleep in her chair (it’s pretty funny how human #2 thinks it’s her chair). Do a perimeter scan. Sit in the tree.

1:00p – Human #2 comes home. I like her new car. It’s a lot quieter than the old one. I go to meet her at the door. She bends down to pet me. I let her scratch behind my ears. I try to lead her into the house, but she almost trips on me. See what I mean?

1:15p – Human #3 comes downstairs. She and cat #2 are both trying to talk to human #2. Human #2 eats something that looks unappetizing, but I check it out anyway. Cat #2 talks her into taking a nap. I stay down with human #3. She has a “computer” too so I only get minimal attention. It helps if I walk on the “computer”. Eventually I go to sleep.

3:30p – My human comes home. They all eat. Most of the time it is pretty unappetizing. But everyone once in awhile, she makes good meat. Regardless, I have to make sure I don’t like it. How would I know if I don’t get close enough to smell it completely?  The best is when I sit in front of human #4 and stare at him. They all say he really likes cats, but he is bad about sharing. But he does talk to me and pets me.

4:30p – My human and I spend a few minutes on the “computer” then go watch TV. The only thing he ever watches is people so I get bored pretty easily and either go on Mouse Patrol or take a nap. This is the best time to track down a mouse, although sometimes it takes cat #2 and me quite a while to actually make the kill and deliver the gift.

Cat TV usually gets opened up again somewhere around now.

10:00p – Human #2 gets the rodent out of his cage. He’s big and smelly and covered with quills. She tries to cuddle with him. Sometimes he’ll sleep; other times he just makes a lot of noise. I try to stay as far away as possible unless I’m bored. Then I try to stare him down. He’s really boring.

11:00p – My human and human #2 go to bed. Cat #2 goes with them. Sometimes I go up and let them pet me. If it’s cold, I ‘ll sleep up there. Otherwise I go back to sleep downstairs. The rodent is on his wheel. He walks on that thing for hours.

So that is a typical day for me. Is your life any more interesting?

3

How Do You Vacuum a Cat?

I really hate what aging is doing to my body. Particularly my sinuses. Probably not the part you were expecting, but I don’t know you well enough to be any more intimate.

When I was in high school, my best friend had allergies. It seemed like she was miserable all the time. Mainly it was the usual suspects: ragweed, pollen, goldenrod. She was also allergic to dogs and cats. One of her concerns was that she really wanted an Old English Sheepdog, but she couldn’t breathe around them. I think the breathing finally won out. Just as well. I read that those dogs have to be brushed daily, preferably at least twice a day. If they’re talking about using a utensil, that’s as much as I brush mine.

I tried to be sympathetic, but it was useless. I had no idea what it was like to be that miserable just because the weather changed. So I did the typical teenage thing. I congratulated myself on not needing to carry what seemed like a whole box of tissues in my purse. And finding somewhere to dispose of them.

A few years after college, I got severe headaches, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. If I were a doctor, I’d want to be a dermatologist – no emergencies and the problem is right there, sitting on the skin.

I finally went to an allergist. She did that obnoxious test were they turn your back into a chess board and use a tiny needle to inject certain allergens. Turns out there were no major problems, but I did react to some trees, grasses, mold – and cats.

That day, when I got home, my husband had a surprise for me. The cutest little (4 weeks old) kitten. She lived with us for twenty-two years with no problems. Hah! Shows what that test was worth.

As the years went by, I had more and more trouble breathing around mold. We have an old house and the basement has leaked around the foundation off and on. Seems to be some grumpy gremlin around the base of the house. At first, I only noticed the problem when I used the treadmill. Now I can feel it just going down there. Is that a great excuse for not using the treadmill or what?

Then it was cut grass. Then other things growing around me. I am still no where near my friend’s level of discomfort. Lucky for you – otherwise, you would have heard me whining about it a long time ago.

But it was still pretty obnoxious a couple of years ago when they started putting cut flowers in the cheese cooler before big flower holidays (Easter, Mother’s Day). When I opened the cooler this week and saw them (they had slunk in the night before), I groaned. Sure enough, my eyes watered and got swollen and my nose ran for hours. They’d been storing up their nasty little histamines all night to get me.

But the absolute worst happened a few weeks ago. I was wearing a fleece jacket and it was getting more and more uncomfortable to breathe. I looked down and it was covered with cat hair. That can’t be it – I’m not allergic to cats. I took off the jacket and could breathe again. Oh no, I thought, not the kitties.

It was shedding season. Kommando Kitty (who has adopted me as her main human) is a cross between a Siamese and something Siberian, I’m sure. She has medium short hair that molds against her body. And more of it than I have seen on any cat except my parents’ Norwegian Forest cat. She even has fur between her toes. And it’s really fine fur – sticks to everything.

I would brush her whenever we sat together. Did wonders for her coat; not so much for my sinuses. As you might imagine, I was distraught. It was the first time I had a problem around any animal and it was mine! She cuddles in my arms every night before she goes to the foot of the bed. She watches TV on my lap.

My family laughed at me because it was “my” cat who was giving me problems. The calico seemed to be hypo-allergenic. Until I brushed her and got the fur all over me.

All you cat people probably know that cats are at their friendliest during shedding season. The loose fur itches and they want to get rid of it, preferably all over you. You skirtch them and get handfuls of fur. You brush them and empty the brush multiple times before it comes back fur-free.

We had a cat that I would brush downstairs before going to bed. We’d go upstairs and when I scratched her back, I still got handfuls of fur. This would go on for days. Then magically stop. The biggest problem was the amount of fur in the trash. It looked like we were trying to grow a new cat.

I was still totally traumatized by my new affliction when I realized it had stopped. Kommando continues to rub her face against me, but my sinuses are clear. That’s weird – everyone knows that allergies to cats are caused by their dander, not the furs themselves.

But as you know, I’m a little unique. Apparently the allergy is not very severe. It only activates when I look like a yeti in cat fur. I’ll wait until fall to test my theory. The cats shed the summer fur in the fall to get in their winter furs, so it’s not as severe. If I’m OK between now and then but start to react, I’ll know I’m right.

If that’s the problem, I have a choice between shaving them and vacuuming them during shedding season. Obviously, cleaning my clothes after brushing is not an option. That is a lot of work. Bathing isn’t an option. I’d have to do it daily for two weeks. I need my blood.

Same issue with shaving. Both the cat and I would need a transfusion at the end. Me from her teeth and claws. Her from me trying to shave her. Besides, it took Kommando several months to grow back her fur after she was fixed. Guess it’s hard to get all those furs through the skin at the same time. She’d just get furry in time to get shaved again. And she’d look funny.

So vacuuming it is. It may be a little tricky. They both hate the vacuum cleaner. Maybe I can use the little ones they have  for computers. Probably not, I think those blow air not suck it in.

Hmmmm. Think I’ll stick with the theory that they just spent too much time in the basement with the mold this spring.

4

Catitude

A guide to the tao of the cat as described by resident experts, Super Snooper and Kommando Kitty. (They are available for private consultation if you desire. Fees are determined on a sliding scale based on how much they like you.

Cats are by nature sweet, loving creatures. If we are treated otherwise by humans, we will respond accordingly. Particularly if our every wish is not fulfilled by our personal human.

Humans have two non-negotiable duties. They must feed us and make sure that our litter-boxes are clean.

If your human does not feed you in a timely manner, you are permitted to remind them of their responsibility. If they feed you at 4a on workdays, they should understand that they must feed you at 4a on non-work days.

Permissible ways to remind your human of feeding time include, but are not limited to pouncing, talking to them, and lying on their faces.

It is not permissible to use the potted plants for a litter box unless your human has been derelict in cleaning the proper one. The litter box is your private space. You are responsible for determining when it is too dirty to use.

Humans are also useful as warm-blooded furniture. If you need a comfortable place to sleep, laps may be used. Do not let your human tell you that you are in the way of the newspaper, book, sewing or anything else.

If you feel your human is ignoring you, you are entitled to attract their attention. More specifically, you may sit on a book, newspaper or keyboard.

Cat beds should always be positioned in the place with the most likely to have a sunbeam most of the day. It is not appropriate to have one in the human’s bedroom. The large one the human sleeps on is yours as well.

If your human feeds you food including “greens” (for some reason they think they are healthy) you may take it as permission to eat greens on your own. Ferns and spider-plants are especially tasty. Some cats like the taste of flowers.

If your human feeds you food with eggs and/or cheese, you may assume that you are also welcome to those foods when your human indulges.

Cats are carnivores. Your human may need to be taught that we recognize meat even if it is being consumed by the human. Most of us are particularly fond of deli meats such as ham and turkey.

If your human is not feeding you a sufficient amount of meat, you are allowed to share theirs. However, ask for a separate plate. They have germs.

If your human pays sufficient attention to you, you should get enough exercise in the house. However, if your human feels he/she must take you for a walk, be certain they know the correct way to do it:

Cats who go outside are permitted to check the weather at both doors before determining that it is too cold/wet/snowy/windy to go out.

Cats have a sixth sense about humans who are not fond of them. However, it is rude to use this power unless the human invades your territory, (i.e., your house).

Humans do not seem to understand that they are teaching us hunting skills when they dangle those feathers on a string in front of us. They rarely appreciate the fruits of our improved hunting. You will probably never see them eat a gift you have provided. Do not be disappointed; it is just poor manners on their part.

Most humans are fully trainable and will become loved and treasured members of the family.

9

Horatio Hedgehog, Intrepid Explorer

A couple of days before Christmas, my husband came into the study with my present, a 2-month-old hedgehog. I had a hedgehog a couple of years ago, but Jean-Luc has passed on to the great hedge. So my family thought it was time for a successor.  Jean-Luc had been a sweetheart. He was very even-tempered and would sleep in my sweater or shirt on my arm. I could give him tummy rubs and pet his chin. I thought he was a typical hedgehog. Having been the human for several cats, I should have known that there is no such thing as typical.

The new guy’s name is Horatio, Lord Nelson, but I like to call him Sir Grumpy. The first few times I took him out of his cage, he got into extreme protective mode, and I could barely pick him up without gloves. He’d huff and chuff and do his very best to intimidate me. It was kind of amusing when you consider that he weighs about a pound (he’s an African pygmy hedgehog, not the larger variety you find in Europe). I would speak softly and try to get him to relax. No chance. He wasn’t happy, and I was not going to change his mind.

I don’t really see the point in having a pet that I can’t cuddle with, so I was not happy with Horatio. My husband said I wasn’t spending enough time with him. Who wants to spend time with something that spends all its time making threatening noises and pretending to be a hand grenade waiting to go off? But obviously, a new tactic was needed.

So I decided to try a few minutes every night rather than going for an hour or so. Progress! He actually let his quills soften to the point I could pet him. And he stopped pooping every time I had him on my lap. Major bonus.

But then I missed a couple of nights.  Apparently Horatio has a little clock or calendar in his cage. When I went to get him out, he was back to his old self, grouching around. So he was adapting to having a human! But he wanted a human on his terms – whatever those were.

Horatio does not like to be woken up. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, but we have to keep a blanket on his cage right now. It’s too cold for him without a heater and we need the blanket to keep the heat in. As far as I can tell, he has decided that nighttime is when the television turns off until he gets tired in the morning (sometime around 4a). Which is actually pretty good, except the only time I can get him out without waking him is before work. Since I start work at either 6a or 4a, depending on the day, it would mean I have to get up really early to play with him. Then I would be really grouchy.

A couple of days ago, I was home sick and got up early. I had an idea and put some pillows around to create a sort of “run” for him. He loved it. The first thing he tried to do was get out (of course). When that didn’t work, he spent quite a while happily wandering around, sniffing everything. The cats were fascinated, but smart enough to stay away from the quills.

Horatio finally figured out how to escape, so I put him back in his cage. He was not a happy hog. He huffed and he puffed and he scratched at the newspaper on the bottom of his cage. He’d get on his wheel for a couple of minutes then get off and stomp around some more.

I am trying to make him a more sturdy playground. He loves to climb, so I have to make sure there’s no way for him to climb out. He has sharp teeth, but a terrible overbite, so I don’t think that’s a major issue. I wonder if there is some sort of Architectural Digest for hedgehogs? Or maybe a hedgehog whisperer to tell me what he’s thinking?

For the moment, I’ve given up the hope of having another snuggly hedgehog. Right now, I’m just hoping to get him to the point that he doesn’t make me think of Cujo every time I pick him up. One thing at a time. Eventually he’ll discover what he was missing in turning down all those tummy rubs. In the meantime, I’m keeping the gloves handy.