Ever since this winter, Boromir has been trying to rebuild Osgiliath out of gnawed toilet paper rolls. This creates masses of debris so large that the fluff overflows onto the floor, attracting the Eye of Cinnamon which is ever-watchful for a chance to crush the world of gerbils.
So since an eruption of Mount Doom had been building for many weeks and was imminent, we decided to take the preemptive measure of cleaning Boromir's cage. (Aragorn's cage is much easier to clean, as he lives in the White City and spends more time exercising on his wheel than gnawing. Note that Boromir has been supplied with a large quantity of paper towel pieces to chew up and use for nesting material, which he will have shredded in two hours and started in on the paper towels lining the bottom of the cage.)
Boromir does not generally enjoy leaving his cage, particularly when it is going to be cleaned and he is stuck running around inside the dreaded Gerball -- where he is never safe from the Eye, or the Paw, of Cinnamon. However, his cage was starting to smell and even a Man, er, Gerbil of Gondor has some standards of cleanliness.
So he permitted us to remove him, and after his cage was clean he consented to a visit from his King...who sniffed his butt very enthusastically, as always.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had my children named the gerbils Merry and Pippin, as they briefly considered. Would they be living happily ever after in one cage? Or would we catch them gnawing on pipeweed?
Please note that any comments about how my kitchen could use some spring cleaning as well as the gerbil cages will be ignored, as I have a very important pirate ship battle to fight against my son.