weaselmom: (Gabriel)
[personal profile] weaselmom
Stress, how I hate thee! A lot of us are under a lot of stress for a lot of reasons, and I'm going to distract myself by talking about Gabriel (aka "Hurricane Gabriel") for a little bit. Gabriel is the cuddliest, most affectionate ferret I've ever met. Most of the ferrets I've known are somewhat cuddly and affectionate, with their own people if not with strangers. But Gaby is affectionate to the point of clinginess. Maybe it's because he was a Petco guy - all our other ferrets were acquired through a local breeder/rescue. Maybe it's because I got him right at the most optimal moment for bonding - all our others were at least four months old when we adopted them, and Gaby was somewhere from 8-10 weeks. Maybe I love him so much because he loves *me* so much - apparently I am the whole world to him. He follows me all over the place and likes to keep in physical contact. When I'm getting ready in the bathroom, he lays on my foot. While this all sounds very sweet and charming, there's a dark side to it - he's very jealous. When I get home, he wants me to pick him up first and hold and cuddle him, and he's content to be held until long after my arms start to cramp (he is not a small weasel). If I pick up one of the girls first, he gets fretty and sulky. He wants his treats first, too, and will bully the girls a bit or steal their treats if he can.

He'll be a year old this month (and for those of you keeping track, Kaylee will be six years old this month, and Fiona will be five - it's a big month for ferret birthdays), so he's not truly a baby anymore. But until fairly recently, he acted just like a human toddler. If you have children of a certain age, you might be familiar with this behavior: As the evening wears on, your little one is tuckered out from his day but is too tired and too little to manage the transition to bedtime on his own. If you say, "Come on, time for bed," he will start running around doing random things just to avoid going to bed - "Noooo! I'm doing stuff! Look, I'm doing something!" So you scoop him up and carry his struggling and fretting little self to bed, where he conks out the second his head hits the pillow. That was Gabriel all over - it was very amusing to watch.

He's a very challenging little animal to have in the house because he's so big and strong and athletic that he gets into everything. In Ring of Bright Water, Gavin Maxwell talks about otters and how strong and destructive they are - not at all suited to being in a house! I think Gaby has the soul of an otter: He loves the water, has big webby paws like catcher's mitts, is curious and a bit destructive, and has a big thick tail. It's simultaneously hilarious and exasperating watching him get into this one kitchen drawer that we can't keep closed with Velcro. He's got the body of an Olympic athlete and the impulse control of a two-year-old child.

Early on, he glommed on to all of Kaylee's toys and made them his own. She's been pretty philosophical about it except for her shaky ball - she'll fight him to get it back. Gaby moves the toys all over the place to keep them safe. He has a habit of stuffing them under the bottom layer of bedding so there's a big mountain of toys under the blanket, and everybody has to sleep on the slopes of Mt. Squeaky at a 45-degree angle. Occasionally I excavate, but he just moves them somewhere else equally inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Oops! Gotta go - Stress has caught up to me and I must bow to its commands. Take care of yourselves, everybody!
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June 2011

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