As I sat here, pondering the possibilities for my blog posting today, I watched with increasing humour as my ferret tried to steal my shoe. This is nothing unusual for a ferret. They steal everything...and without a whit of remorse. They do it blatantly, in front of everyone in the room, and with swagger. Quite literally when it comes to the swagger part. Their waddling walk is only one of a million things that makes them so funny to watch. If they're not doing their humpity-backed run, they're waddling with a side-to-side butt-swish.
Now, back to Pepper's shoe fetish. All ferrets seem to love shoes. Shoes of all types are intriguing to them, as there seems to be an element of tunnel-like fun, with slight odds of a magic portal to be explored. Sandals still present a great deal of opportunity, however, in the form of something akin to a dead animal that they can grab hold of and shake the crap out of. Ferrets, being the highly intelligent creatures that they are, also lay claim to a vivid imagination apparently. Even Stimpy, who has two types of cancer that he's rebelliously fighting, wanders first to the shoes, making his never-ending attempts to climb through them.
Pepper's interest borders on mania. He runs away with the shoes and put them wherever he happens to think 'away' is at that moment. He has his hoarding corners. One of which happens to be the cats' litter box. This is not a thrilling new development for me, despite the laughter it triggers whenever I find my shoes in the aforementioned shit-crate. Being the mostly lucky person that I am, I don't have smelly feet. I have rather nice ones, actually. Not having smelly feet means my shoes don't stink. At least, they don't to humans. To a ferret, however, I'm sure there's a whole other olfactory perspective.
Pepper seems to be obsessed solely (no pun intended) with my cross-trainers. I wear them all the time when I go outside, even in winter, so none of my other shoes can compare when it comes to the bouquet of aromas my little boy seems to find so intriguing. Besides, I keep the really sexy footwear out of reach of the 'sharp, nasty teeth' of the 'killer' ferret.
Now, when I say I was laughing as he 'tried' to steal my shoe, that's because I've blocked off the dining room and kitchen for the most part. You see, I needed office space where I can have my stuff and work, and not worry that anyone is messing up my mess of stuff. It's still a disaster, but at least I know where everything is and it's not getting shifted around as it awaits the highly anticipated implementation of my grand organizational scheme.
There is a small gap that the ferrets can get through, but the cats can't, and I step over the one area that's short enough in order to get in and out. The reason for this is simple. My one cat whines and cries constantly, and then proceeds to walk through the wires attached to my laptop...over and over again...often disconnecting the power adapter. To say that he drives me nuts is an understatement of massive proportions. To say that the step of banning him from my office space might save his life one day is not an exaggeration, either. If I allowed him access to keep doing it, I might break my personal vow not to harm animals.
So, Pepper and Stimpy can get in and out of the space, but the gap is not big enough for my shoe. That should give you some idea of the ridiculousness of the picture, seeing as the shoe is wider than my ferret. I have small feet, a size six usually, so the shoes aren't quite as long as my ferrets, and being cross-trainers they're relatively light, but it's still funny as hell to watch them bang off the floor as Pepper humpity-backs his way down the hall...to the litter box.
Now, of course, I have temporarily circumvented Pepper's attempts to store my shoes in said compartment. I say temporarily, because sooner or later he will remember that he's physically capable of moving the barricades I have placed in his path. They're heavy - one is the sewing machine inside its case, and another is a box full of electronics - but he's very, very strong. He'll actually brace his feet against the base of the stove and use his back to push the items over as far as his short little legs will allow. Once he does that, my shoes are doomed once again.
I suppose I could put the shoes away in the hall closet, but that would destroy my best source of entertainment. Besides, ferrets need to be mentally challenged to have a fulfilling life, and watching them problem-solve is absolutely fascinating. They will push things into position so that they can get on top of other things that they're not supposed to be on, uncaring that the efforts will most likely result in an unintended suicide attempt. You have to watch them constantly. The smaller they are, the more danger they can find themselves embroiled in.
When it comes to playtime for ferrets, shoes in the litter box are the lesser of almost all evils, so I let him have his fun. Stimpy spends a lot of his time curled up on my lap these days, but when he plays I want him to have the toys he loves best...shoes. Well, that and tunnels. We just bought a cheap little stick vacuum that came in a long, narrow box, so that's getting added to the cardboard playhouse I'm constantly renovating for them. Just a couple of entrance and exit holes, and they'll think I've built them a brand new toy. I'm out of packing tape for their housing project, though, so it's back to the shoes for now.
Well, crap. I think Pepper outsmarted me once again. I somehow managed to forget that the ferrets have their own 'potty' in a corner of my office space. Time to rescue my shoe...again...