Every evening, after play-time, the rats start making their way back from my bed to the table with the cages. Some of the rats haven’t worked out how to make the jump yet, so those who are left on the bed have to be transported.
I call them. “Mordin! Tyrion!” and whoever else might still be there. They come running, hop onto my hand, and I transfer them to the table.
Then I crouch down next to the table.
The food container is on the floor under the table, so the fuzzbutts know exactly what is coming next. As if the normal procession of the evening’s routine were not enough to tell them.
I must be a terrible ratty mom, because exactly at that moment I pause – and listen to them softly grinding their teeth in anticipation. It’s the most beautiful thing, that small sound.
After enjoying their anticipation for a moment, I dramatically open the food container and waft the scent up toward them with the lid. The sound of teeth grinding intensifies.
At this point it sometimes happens that one rat will get so excited that he tips forward over the edge of the table and has to grip the table-top frantically with his back legs to keep from falling. Mommy has to lift him back onto the table.
As I dish up the food, they climb over each other from left to right, each hoping that the step to the left or right will take them closer, to a more optimal position to be at the dinner bowl first.
Once I put the bowl down there is just a brief struggle to be one of the first rats to get their heads into the bowl – it’s not quite wide enough for six heads at once – some rapid scurrying to find a quiet spot to eat the four or five pieces they managed to grab at once, and then… a hush comes over the table. And all that is left is the munching.