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Oh dear, what can the matter be? I’ll tell you what the matter bloody well is: Squill is a blasted Houdini, that’s what the matter is! Damn my eyes if the little hussy didn’t find a way to squidge through the bars, cross the chaotic no-mans land that is my bedroom at present, dodge two homicidal fox terriers and a sociopathic Siamese cat, and settle in for a nice night of the old foopah-foopah in the boys’ cage. And after all the sermonizing I’ve done to other rat owners who find themselves in this position! I’ll be eating crow well into the next decade.

Squill's accidental litter: how the MIGHTY SMUG have fallen!

It’s just more than a body can bear. Twelve healthy pups – for that I was grateful, and I found good homes for all but a pair of females I’ll probably be able to place in Arizona while I’m home visiting the folks. For that I am also grateful. And I learned a boatload about rattie prenatal and neonate care and feeding. Frankly, it was a blast to raise the litter and a real kick in the head to have little ratlets running around all over the place like wee wind-up mousies.

And just when I was down to a tiny population in the girlies’ colony, I have three charming Russian blue and white cuties, to be introduced in a later post, one of them a rex. It’s been a rough year for rexes at Dovetail, what with the passing of Blossom, Will Shakespeare, and Henslowe within a twelvemonth.

Happily, the paternity was a snap to figure. Half the litter are a pattern of their mother, Squill, and the other half are Russian blue with either stars or blazes, a darker version of my British blue buck, Arthur. He’s the dominant male in the boys’ colony since Will Shakespeare’s demise. Arthur is a handsome fellow, though I think the girls are going to resemble their mother in their classic narrow heads and long snouts. Arthur is more typey, with some chunk to his build and a face and head more akin to a dumbo profile. Either way, the girls are going to be lookers.

But more to the point, and stay tuned for further riffs on this theme, Mea Maxima Freakin’ Culpa. As the Ronco comercial salesman says, “But wait, there’s more!” Stand by for further humiliating revelations….