.. yes, really!!
A short while ago I came down in the morning to find the gerbil cage on the floor, open and the gerbil hiding under the sofa. After 20 minutes, I managed to coax it out and catch it (not an easy job!).
I have suspected for some time that we have a stray cat coming into the house through the catflap. Our cat is 18 and just really can't be arsed with the gerbil. One morning I came down to find an attempted jailbreak with the access lid open on the gerbil cage, and as I came downstairs I heard the catflap clattering. My suspicions are also that it's a male cat as we've been able to smell tom cat spray, and our cat is a female.
So at 5am this morning I heard a crash! I jumped out of bed and came downstairs (I wasn't scared, I knew it was the gerbil cage not a burglar) and lo and behold, the gerbil cage was open on the floor and the gerbil nowhere to be seen. The culprit still in my living room. Now, picture a scene from Tom and Jerry.. I chased this unwelcome cat around the living room, it jumped to the top of the patio curtains (god only knows where it thought it was going or how it was going to escape through closed patio doors), but it got away through the catflap (with hindsight i should have locked it before I started the chase). Our cat sat on the sofa spectating. She really could only just be bothered to lift her head to see what was going on. She wasn't even bothered about the little furry creature that had poked it's head out from under the sofa. Nevertheless, I put our cat into the kitchen and closed the door.
Now armed with gerbil food and broccoli I set about trying to re-capture the gerbil and get it back in the cage.
This gerbil can only have a brain the size of a lentil, but my god can it use it for escapology! No matter which end of the sofa I sat to catch it, it came out the other end. As soon as I moved, it scooted back under the sofa again. Grrrrr!
Remember.. this was 5am! after an hour I gave up and went back to bed. Our cat was left in the kitchen, and I wrote a note for Mark asking him to leave the cat in the kitchen and why because he had to get up early to travel to Leeds (in this snow and ice.. but that's another story).
I woke up to squeals of laugher and lots of clomping feet in the living room (it's a wooden floor). Mark and Isabelle were trying to catch the gerbil, so I came downstairs to help.
At the end of the sofa was a box with broccoli in it and they waited for the gerbil to go for the broccoli.. which it did. The plan was as soon as the gerbil went in for the broccoli, Mark would flip the box up, thus catching the gerbil (who had now been wandering around for 3 and a bit hours, surely it's little legs must be tired?
The gerbil entered the box, Mark lent forwards to flip the box up, the gerbil went airbourne! It flew over his shoulder and landed with a thud behind him. Mark turned around as quick as he could and attempted to grab the gerbil (oh btw, Mark doesn't like to touch gerbils lol) It scarpered under the table, then ran out the otherside. Thankfully, I was at the otherside of the table and the gerbil, in it's sheer panic, was a bit confused and I managed to grab the little blighter. Now caged, we all broke into hard laughter at the vision of the flying gerbil. It must have only stood on the flap of the box, not actually gone inside, so as the box was flipped, the flap became a catapult (gerbilapult?) and fired it off into space. (me-thinks a diagram would be handy here so you really get the picture)
Note to self, lock the catflap before bed to stop gerbil hunting cat from getting back in.