Jazmin has recently experienced the HEALING POWER OF RAT. She came home after a particularly shitty couple of days, so I told her to sit the fuck down on the sofa, handed her two of the three rats, and pulled up the original Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (1981), because everything is on YouTube if you look long enough.

The critters have grown up interesting. Binky is in fact still tilty. She can straighten her head -- she does it to eat -- but some combination of torticollis and maybe just that ear works better means that she usually cants to the left. This bothers her not at all. The spiral worsens as she stretches; if she's really keenly into smelling something, she'll cantilever herself out over the edge of the cage with a progressively greater and greater twist, until at her full extension, she's making frantic sniffing noises with her face nearly upside down. The bulk of the rat, of course, is right-side up and sat squarely on the roof of her house.

Binky hasn't fallen off yet, which is not something I can say for her sister. Edelweiß is the only one who has gone splort on the floor, which led to a fun evening of moving furniture trying to get her back. I was briefly terrified that she'd found some way up into the walls, but it turned out the scrabbling noise was coming from under my bureau, whose toekick is only closed off in the front. There's a bottom to the cabinetry, which meant I couldn't drag the drawers out and pull her out through the gap.

So Eddie and I spent a few hours doing this:

ME: Come on out, boo-boo.
RAT: no
ME: Pleeeeeease? I love you.
RAT: no don wanna
ME: Goddamnit, rat, get back out here or I swear I'm going to suck you out with the vacuum cleaner.
RAT: fuk u *vanishes*

I probably could have moved things enough to get my entire body back there and fish the rat out directly, but I didn't want Eddie utterly traumatized, plus it's absolutely filthy behind my dresser, so no. Eventually I remembered that Jazmin had recently brought home something that I can only describe as a box full of boxes of boxed dishes -- I swear there was only service for four packed into that cube, but it was so Tetris-ed in that decanting it resulted in a gargantuan pile of things in our recycling bin, all of which I could go steal for use in retrieving the fucking rat.

After a brief sojourn, in which I prayed that the rat did not have the bright idea to leave the sanctuary of the bureau and smash herself into somewhere even more inconvenient (no; she sat there and ate mysterious floor crunchies), I came back with my secret weapon.

ME: Will you maybe come out where I can grab you now?
RAT: hahahaha no
ME: Okay. I don't know what I'm going to do with this cardboard box, then.
RAT: ....box, u say?
ME: I can't put it back in the recycling. Someone seems to have gotten peanut butter in the bottom.
RAT: ...penut buttar, u say?
ME: I'll just put it down right here, next to the dresser, while I think about what to do.
RAT: *throws self into box*

I wouldn't have to do that now. Eddie and Binky have recently discovered that they do not have to wait for me to scoop them up for cuddles. Mommy can be climbed. (They're most of a year old now, mind you. No one is going to mistake these particular rats for intellectuals.) The top -- that is, permanently open -- door to their cage is right about at shoulder level, so the two of them spent a good half hour running onto my shoulder! and off of my shoulder! and back onto my shoulder! and frequently colliding face-on and trying to slide off backwards into my shirt in an undignified fashion.

They are both now also deeply in lurve with Jazmin, because she will sit there and pet any visible parts of the rat for as long as they want, or until I serve dinner, whichever comes first. At one point, she was lying on the sofa petting the back half of Eddie while the front half of Eddie was jammed face-down into the front of her blouse, because by rat logic that totally makes you invisible. Jazmin is learning first hand that when I say rats are tiny self-centered little attention sponges, I am not kidding.

Yuki is not interested. I have no idea why. She's kind of bitey, which is a new one on me; none of my rats have ever done more than test me for food-ness before. She's not angry-biting, or I wouldn't ever get my finger back -- she's greedy-biting, because apparently she considers my hand to be hers as soon as I start petting her, and she thinks it belongs back in her comfy nest with her. I've no idea how to get her to stop, so she gets to sit out Social Night, where Jazmin and her friends get festooned with rat while they watch Farscape on the couch.

It doesn't help that Yuki is fucking huge. I mean, all of my rats are always huge -- they're very well-nourished as kits, thanks to my habit of feeding them bits of my leftovers as a reward for existing. My kinesthetic weight reference for "1 kilogram" is still "two squashy boy-rats smashed into a Kleenex box for a nap". (Male Rattus norvegicus in the wild are usually around 350g when decently fed. My boys routinely hit ~500g, or a little over a pound. A couple of them have been noticeably fat, but mainly they just grow to Hulk-like proportions.) Binky and Eddie are pretty big for girl-rats, but Yuki is gargantuan. Jazmin said she looked like a bear compared to her sisters. If Eddie is a Romanian gymnast, and Binky is a Paralympic swimmer, then Yuki looks like she ought to be medaling in shot put for East Germany.

Weirdly enough, the fat bitey rat is also the only one who will turn up her nose at things. I'm not 100% convinced that the other two taste anything they jam into their mouths, but Yuki will smell things and then shove at them with a paw if they are not to her liking. How the fussy eater got to be the one built like Wilson Fisk is beyond me.

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