Advent Calendar Bonus: Ratmas

I'm not exactly sure when Yuki's number is going to be up, so Ratmas came slightly early this year. It's not like they keep track. Someone at a holiday party asked me if I'd come up with a mythology for Ratmas, and I haven't, really; rats are simple, and they would be content to celebrate a holiday strictly because it's the day where Mommy comes in and gives them way too much food for no reason at all. It's self-justifying.

Yuki doesn't climb onto the upper cage shelf much anymore, and I can't justify buying a roll of wrapping paper to decorate for a rodent. Also, she's rather high-strung and hates change. So she got a warm box, sleeved in the remains of a cheap chenille hat that developed a hole the first time I wore it, and lined in red jersey knit; a Christmas tree made from fabric scraps that she can knock down and cuddle with if she wants to; and a layer of white gift tissue "snow" on top of her usual newspaper bedding.

Das Rathaus is not really worth taking oodles of photos of this time around, but I did take one simple shot for posterity. My phone camera is crap, especially in low/yellow light, and I am a crap photographer, but here it is:

Model: Yuki (rat, dozing inside box, lower left corner)
The tall pointy green blob is her squishy "tree". The green blob behind it and around the cage is the cage blanket, with which her house is perpetually covered, because there's very little a rat enjoys more than a large soft dark that she can grab with her teeth and haul in through the bars before shredding it into nest material. Somewhere near the middle, she's pulled paper over her food bowls, because otherwise someone might break in and steal them.

The centerpiece of her holiday was a lot of breakfast: a dish of Honey Nut Cheerios for her dry food, and a small plate of breakfast egg for the main course. This probably sounds tragically cheap until I mention that your average rat would pawn their own grandmother for scrambled eggs. You wouldn't even have to ask -- they'd offer. Huge as she is, a whole egg is still just about 100% of Yuki's daily caloric requirements, plus I gave her some beans, plus some bread ends with butter and jam, plus the Cheerios and the eggshell, so by rat standards she still finds herself embarrassingly well-off.

On the off chance that there is any room left in the rat after she's sampled all of that, she also gets cookies. Those little "snack pack" cups that you can buy for a dollar are full of tiny cookies about an inch across. Relative to the rat, they're about the size of a county fair funnel cake. Her favorites -- determined by experiment, because of course I feed the rats bits of my snacks, too -- are those Keebler fudge stripe things. She gets to keep eating them until they're gone or she is, and they are entirely hers, a fact which I'm sure she'd appreciate more if she had not always been of the opinion that all food was hers anyway.

[Edit: Apparently I have done all right, because there is a roughly rat-shaped pile of paper in the corner of the cage making chitter noises at nothing right now. Yay!]

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