For a long time, I’ve been planning to build a “playhouse” for Dasha, my chinchilla – something that would attach to the top of her cage and be full of fun for a little furball to climb around…and which would allow her to have access to her wheel at all times. Chinchillas are energetic and smart, which means that they get bored easily in their cages, and an hour a day of out-of-cage playtime just wasn’t cutting it for poor Dasha. It helped when we started leaving the radio on for her at night – tuned to the
classical station, because although hair-band metal is Dasha’s favorite, it makes her hyper (and therefore even MORE determined to get out of her cage to run around).
I went to the pet store, and by chance found the exact same cage she has now…on sale for less than half price! So I bought it, and Zak and I spent all day last Saturday wiring the two cages together over a cardboard platform. Dasha was none to pleased to be awakened during the middle of the day (she’s nocturnal), but when she saw her new home, she decided it was worth it. She now has double the cage space, extra places to climb and hide, 24 hour access to her wheel, and many more things to chew on. This is her idea of heaven.
She’s much calmer and happier now that she can burn energy running in her wheel, and she likes to squish herself into the little crawlspace between the top of her cardboard “house” and the shelf above it – how a fat thing like Dasha can fit in that space is a mystery to me…I think she’s made of quantum particles that exist outside of normal space and time. She’s much more snuggly during her out-of-cage playtime, curling up in my hoodie and letting me pet her – although her exuberance at getting to run around the hallway has certainly not diminished. She still does plenty of hopping and running up the walls and sliding across the hardwood floor and bouncing off the doors. That’s the best measure of a happy chinchilla!
My plan is to get her a little basket nest for the top half of her cage (more hiding spots makes her feel more secure) and some sisal rope toys (she has a sisal rope ball with a rattle in it that she tries to carry around the hall with her during playtime…which works until she tries to leap through the air and land while still holding onto the ball.)
Next post: In answer to a comment on my previous post, I’ll be writing about my visit to Pushkin’s apartment while I was in St. Petersburg, plus a little background on Pushkin’s contribution to the European Romantic movement.