A Short Treatise on the Care and Feeding of PoodleRats

(According to Winston)

It is not my intention here to imply that PoodleRats are pets. They are companions, protectors and friends. They are also, however creatures of comfort and if you are lucky enough to have encouraged one to stay in your home, it is well to be forewarned. They enjoy hot baths and hot meals and cold drinks with plenty of ice. They are as equally enamored of salty foods as they are of sweets and cakes. They are not afraid to try new things and particularly enjoy food which comes in edible parcels- wontons, spring rolls, tortellini, jam-filled donuts, and cream puffs for instance. They need feeding at regular intervals during the day and night- say fifteen or so small, balanced meals. They are vegetarians and prefer their vegetables raw or lightly steamed. They delight in hearty soups and stews but regard casseroles with suspicion. A PoodleRat would like nothing more than a simple supper consisting of six or seven courses revolving around an assortment of salads, sorbets, salted snacks, and topped off with one or two large desserts featuring a lot of chocolate and whipped cream.

They require soft, padded sleeping surface. A futon is alright if that’s all there is but they prefer cotton sheets and down comforters. Do not be surprised if you wake in the middle of the night to find that your PoodleRat has taken over your pillow.

This reminds me of a matter of great importance. PoodleRats are neither rats nor dogs. They are sentient and highly intelligent, very long-lived bipeds with an elevated moral code and extremely polite manners. This is not to say that they are incapable of reacting to physical threat. They are equipped with thick, blunt digging claws on their toes and sharp curved climbing claws on their hands which make for serviceable weapons. Furthermore their mouths are stuffed full of incisors. So if one is on your pillow it would be wise to allow him to remain there until you can make up an equally comfortable bed somewhere else.

PoodleRats groom themselves obsessively. Their climbing claws are notched and grooved on the underside and can be used as combs for removing snarls and knots in their fine, silky fur. They are fond of intricate designs shaved into the fur but they use clippers or small nail scissors for this. Most popular are patterns of leaves, flowers and other natural motifs. They are big fans of the human William Morris and believe as he did that things should be both useful and beautiful. Some of the younger generation, those who have only attained their second or third century, have adopted the fashion of braiding their chin or scalp fur tufts and adorning them with beads or tying them with leather cords of different colors. PoodleRats come in a variety of shades themselves although the predominant colors are brown, black and white and the rarer varieties include russet, salmon- pink and orange- gold or piebald versions of all the colors above. I have heard tell of a rare appaloosa (black and champagne-colored) but this is regarded widely as a myth.

If well-fed and well-rested, the PoodleRat is sure to reward his hosts with hours of pleasant conversation. They are singularly literate and well-traveled, and enjoy recounting humorous anecdotes and tales of their intra and extra-dimensional journeys.

They also possess the uncanny knack of being able to fix almost anything that is broken and of transforming junk or garbage into items of attractive usefulness.

Many a household fortunate enough to attract a PoodleRat has experienced a marked decrease both in the amount of garbage it produces and the monthly bills.

Less exciting perhaps than the diurnal Jibber Jabber or the Lesser Newticon of Codswallop (S.E. Sector G3964231), the PoodleRat is nevertheless a carefree, affectionate and educational addition to any home.