Hamster Dance of Death

I NEVER take my daughter to pet stores, because she always wants to save all the animals. But our babysitter didn’t get the memo. Last week at a filthy pet store near school, Ava fell in love with a neglected hamster. Once the internet had assured me our cats wouldn’t kill the hamsters, I gave Ava permission to bring home the hamster, and gave the babysitter money to take care of the purchase.

Ava came home with two hamsters: a lady and a gentleman.

In less than a week, the lady gave birth to seven naked pink babies. It looked like mama hamster was going to eat her babies—distressing my daughter no end—but, days later, they are still alive, and their fur is beginning to grow in.

It’s a school day, but Ava has another virus—her second in two weeks—and is home from school for the second day in a row; I’m home watching her and attempting to do my work.

This morning while I was having coffee on the couch, Ava put the daddy hamster on my tummy. He slipped around behind me, and somehow disappeared.

We spent an hour on hands and knees amid Ava’s used Kleenexes, spilled hamster food, cedar chips, and other detritus, searching for the missing hamster. The cats could not find him either. (Giovannia, our vigilant tuxedo cat, actually looked for the missing hamster; gimlet-eyed Snow White licked her paws, oblivious.)

It soon became obvious that the hamster had somehow crawled into the family couch.

When little incisions under the cushions failed to reveal the missing rodent, I painstakingly destroyed the entire seating area in hopes of finding him. Insider tip: when destroying a couch from ABC Carpet & Warehouse, a scissor works better than a kitchen knife.

It was a beautiful couch before our sick dog Emile (RIP) had his way with it, and before Giovannia and Snow White converted it to a cat manicure device, and before Ava and I gave up and had all our meals on it, and before Ava decided that her favorite meal was soup.

Before I destroyed it, it looked like the Gestapo had held sex parties on it, but at least it was a couch.

Destroying the couch did not produce the hamster. We’ve left a trail of hamster food outside the ripped-apart couch. Probably he will come out at night, hamsters being nocturnal.

Anyone more experienced in this area, please share tips.