Keeping A Hamster And Cat Under One Roof – Complete Guide

Wondering if your hamster is going to get along with a cat ? Or maybe you have a cat and want to know if she’ll be okay with a hamster ? These are always delicate situations, and it’s good to know beforehand.

So let’s see if cats and hamsters can live together, and how well that kind of relationship can go down.

keeping hamster with cat

So can cats and hamsters live together ?

It depends on the cat. There is no straight yes or no answer to this. Cats are predators, and will hunt everything they can, sometimes just for fun. Hamsters are prey and will naturally be afraid of cats.

But not all cats are proficient hunters. Some are lazy, or maybe just scared, or possibly don’t care about the hamster. The hamster, small as he is, can’t leave his cage and will be on one place. He can’t influence the cat to come looking for him. 

Still, there are stories and examples where a cat and a hamster got along well enough, and there are sad stories of hammies being eaten by curious cats. Or scared to death by them.

But to know more about whether your particular cat and hamster will be okay with each other, we need to know more about hamsters and cats, in general.

About the hamster’s personality

A hamster is an animal that is widely hunted in his natural habitat. His normal reaction any most creatures is to run and hide. This means that he will panic at the sight of a cat, and even at the sight of a human.

That’s part of what makes hamsters harder to tame than other animals.

Still, not all hamsters are equal. Some are hardy and will (try to) fight anything that gets too close. My Teddy (male Syrian) is one of these Rambo types.

Other hamsters are just veeery relaxed and mellow, and won’t really mind anything at all.  A family friend of ours had a hamster named Oscar (also Syrian male hammy) who was like this, and he never minded anyone, or anything. Including the cat.

keeping hamster with cat (3)
Oscar is in the cage

Still, other hamsters will be just too shy and panicky to even come out of their hideout when they know someone is around. They each have different personalities.

Running and hiding is hardwired into hamsters, and it’s a reflex that’s kept them alive in the wild.

If your hamster has a hideout (or several other hidey holes) to dart into when the cat would come close, he would be fine. As long as the cat can’t reach into the cage, the hamster will be safe.

Some hamsters might get too scared by the cat, and get stressed as a result. Stress can lead to a host of health problems like wet-tail, fur loss, digestive problems, and a very grumpy hamster.

About the cat’s personality

A cat is a predator, and as such will hunt for anything. Not necessarily to eat, since we’re talking about domestic, house cats. However the cat will still want to hunt the hamster, simply because it’s there, for sport. Even if She won’t eat the hamster, hunting him appeals to her instincts.

Just crouching and listening for soft rustling sounds is a big part of cat life. In a home where the cat has easy access to food and not many opportunities for adrenaline, a skittish hamster will be incredibly interesting.

Cats are also very curious, and ingenious too. They will keep trying, and they will knock down everything the have to in order to get to the hamster.

But cats can also be lazy, so if they learn that there’s no way that cage will open or they can’t get their paw through, they’ll eventually stop.

Still, expecting your cat to behave herself and play nice is unrealistic. You’re asking her to deny herself what she was born to do. Hunt (and possibly eat) small animals that hide in dark, tiny corners.

Some cats won’t acre about the hamster. But their default setting is to investigate and find the source of those odd, soft rustling sounds from under the sofa. Even if it’s just a plastic wrapper.

What to look out for when you own a cat and a hamster

All of that above doesn’t mean that hamsters and cats can’t ever live together. It sounds a lot like it, yes, but there are steps you can make to try and make things a little easier for everyone. So let’s see what those steps are.

1. Make sure the hamster’s cage is secure

This means a very good, closed cage. I would not recommend a wired cage if you’re going to have a cat and a hamster, simply because cats are so damn curious and determined.

They will stick their paws into the cage as far as they can, and even draw the cage closer to them. This means that will even pull/push it off of the table or shelf if they can get a good grip on it.

Once the cage falls, it can break open and the cat can find the hamster. Also terrifying, the hamster can injure himself when the cage lands. So you need a cage that is pretty much cat proof.

This means either an aquarium (or an Ikea Detolf) or a plastic cage. More on hamster cages here.

Now, an aquarium would be the best bet, seeing as it’s heavy and the cat can’t really move it. It’s also got smooth panes of glass so the cat can’t really hook her claws onto them and pull.

A plastic cage on the other hand is going to give the cat almost as much trouble trying to open it, but is lighter in weight. Still, there are some air holes the cat can use but they provide less of a grip than the wired cage.

Using a plastic cage will also make it easier for the hamster to be in a higher place, out of the cat’s sight. Possibly in a cupboard, with almost all the sides of the cage covered by the cupboard walls.

 

Be very sure the lid is tightly shut, and can’t be opened

If you get your hamster an aquarium or Detolf, it will need a mesh top. Make sure that lid is very well fixed in place, and can’t be easily opened.

The same goes for other doors of the cage (like sliding doors to put food in). Make sure they locks and closing mechanisms are well made, keep shut, and are childproof if possible.

Most cages have these things already, but you should check, just to be sure.

2. Have a place to put the hamster’s cage so the cage sides are covered

Where you put the hamster’s cage matters here. Cats usually patrol on the ground level, but they will also use ledges. Like the top of a dressed, the last shelf of a bookcase, a windowsill, the literal top of the door even.

But they usually only use the high places in the rooms they spend a lot of time in. Which often end up being the rooms humans spend a lot of time in (like the kitchen or living room). hat’s just cats being cats, the feel a natural need to survey everything, especially when there are other people or movement.

In a lone, quiet room, not so much. As such, the cat will usually just walk into the room and maybe settle into a chair. Putting the hamster’s cage in a higher place, like in a shelf that completely covers the cage sides would be fairly safe.

I know not everyone has this  possibility, it depends a lot on the layout of your home and the furniture you have.  But if you have a way to keep your hamster’s cage out of the cat’s sight, use that.

Do not close the hamster in a closet or cupboard ! Not only is it unsafe for hamsters (air) but it’s often too chilly.

3. Never let the cat inside the room when you hamster is out of his cage

If and when you give your hamster floor time, or lap time, or just hold him in your hands, make sure the cat isn’t in the room, and the door is closed.

Cats are curious, and will try to see what you’ve got there. Or what’s running around on the floor, and try to catch it.

Again, I know not everyone has this option. But if you can, don’t allow the cat into the room when you’re handling the hamster. This will make everyone more at ease.

And it will keep the hamster calm (as much as a hamster can be) so he will be easier to handle. Some hamsters won’t mind the cat being present, and that’s actually a problem.

A hamster that doesn’t fear the cat will go straight for the cat and try to smell her. This almost never ends well, and should be avoided.

At least only keep the hamster in his exercise ball

If you can’t keep the cat out, another option is only letting the hamster out of his cage in the exercise ball. And also making sure that the ball closes very well.

Do keep in mind that the cat will possibly try and paw at the ball, and spin the hamster inside. While this doesn’t hurt the hamster, it disorients him and it’s up to you if you want to intervene.

4. Try and distract your cat or keep her away from the hamster’s room or cage

As much as you can, limit the interactions between your cat and your hamster. This means keeping the cat away from the hamster’s room or cage as much as possible.

Playing with your cat, or a roommate or family member playing with the cat in a room as far away from the hamster is an option. Or just closing off the room to the cat, if at all possible.

This also depends on the cooperation of the other members of the household, to also keep your door closed when they go into it, or shoo the cat if she tries to open it.

Cats are very smart, and usually find a way to open doors and drawers you thought were closed and secure.

If your cat is also an outdoor cat, and you know she spends several hours at a time outside, you can use that time to your advantage. It can be handling or feeding time for the hamster, when the cat is definitely out of the way.

A family friend – the one who had Oscar – used to keep a close eye on their cat during the day, and during the night they kept the hamster in a room that was closed off. This way they were sure the cat wouldn’t reach the hamster at all during the night.

5. Have reasonable expectations, cats are curious by nature

Finally, do not expect the impossible from your cat. A cat is a cat, and there’s very little chance she will leave the hamster alone. After all, the hamster isn’t all that different from the mouse her ancestors usually hunted.

Even if she’s just mildly interested, this can still spook the hamster. But after a few tries she will back off, and the hamster will figure out that the cat can’t really get to him. This is the case for most cats and hamsters, although there are a few exceptions.

Cats are curious but after a while they lose interest and look for the next fluffy rustling sound. If you distract her well enough, and she becomes lazy, the hamster could survive well enough.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

keeping hamster with cat (2)

If everything else fails, consider giving one of them away

You need to be prepared for the extreme and final case of your hamster and cat not getting along at all. If your home arrangement doesn’t leave you options of keeping the cat away form the hamster, then it won’t work.

If you don’t yet have a cat and hamster, but were considering getting either one, talk it over with the house. They might pitch in with some ideas, or they might just refuse to have a cat in the house.

Different people have different opinions, and living under the same roof can be difficult sometimes.

But if you’ve got both the hamster and the cat, and they just can’t get along ? You might have to give one of them up. As to which one, that’s up to you.

I imagine giving up any of your pets could be painful and you’re very attached to them. But it’s really a decision based on your lifestyle, in a way.

Would just a cat be more suited towards your lifestyle ? A pet that wanders the house and will sometimes cuddle with your, leave fur everywhere and hunt your ankles ? A cuddly, purring ball of fur waiting for your to get home ?

Or a hamster, who will stay where you put him, makes the funniest faces, and is scared of the thermostat going off ? The fluffy buddy sleeping the day away and keeping you company at night, running marathons in his little wheel while you wonder how he’s never tired ?

That’s you own decision, and you need to think about it carefully.

If you still want to keep a hamster with another kind of animal, you should see this article on hamsters or gerbils, or hamsters with rabbits, or hamsters with rats and mice, or possibly hamsters and guinea pigs.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are very easy to scare, but we sometimes get along with other animals. Just, maybe not with cats. It depends on the cat, really.

If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.

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These Are The Best Ways to Exercise a Hamster
These Are The Best Ways to Exercise a HamsterHamsters are incredibly active animals. Often reminiscent of squirrels, for whom people often say are completely restless, hamsters need a lot of activity to feel comfortable. People may think that hamsters running on wheels is a gimmick, but it’s actually a form of exercise to them. Moreover, it’s a form of exercise that’s crucial – without exercise, hamsters feel dull and stressed out, they need an activity to function well. This is because they’re constantly moving around in the wilderness, and this instinct doesn’t go away just because they’re kept as a pet. If you want your hamster to stay healthy, and just as important as that, if you want it to be calm enough to have a healthy relationship with you – the owner, you’re going to have to provide a way for the hamster to exercise. This can be done in many ways, and we’ll be discussing all of the ways your hamster can exercise today. In this article, we’ll be covering all forms of exercise for hamsters, and what should you allow your hamster to do. There are many things you can do for your hamster to let them exercise and you should always try to keep them as active as possible. Today, we’ll be taking a look at those exercises. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Exercise Wheel2. Exercise Ball/Hamster Ball3. A Secure Playing Area4. Tunnels5. Climbing6. Obstacle Courses 1. Exercise Wheel This is without a doubt the most popular form of exercise for hamsters. It’s the wheel you’ve seen in every film or TV-show that showed a hamster. This shouldn’t be considered an optional accessory – this is a must-have for every hamster. These wheels provide entertainment and physical activity for the hamster. This wheel turns about when the hamster steps inside and cause the hamster to run as he continues to turn it around – it’s basically a treadmill for hamsters. This wheel will help your hamster burn off boredom and extra pounds (a form of expression, hamsters don’t weigh that much). There are many cages that come with the exercise wheel attached to them, but if you don’t have a wheel (or it’s broken), you’re going to need to buy a wheel. You need to make sure that the wheel is solid. Hamsters will instinctively chew everything, and some of them will stop biting metal once they realize that there’s no actual use to it – but if your hamster is that stubborn, then it’d be best to buy a metal running wheel, as they’re most likely to chew through a plastic model. Buying mesh or barred wheels is dangerous, as the hamster can get its feet stuck between the slats or bars. Also, different species of hamsters need different kinds of wheels. Syrian hamsters need wheels that are at least 8 inches in diameter, although if you buy a 10-inch wheel, you’re good for the rest of their life. Dwarf hamsters need a wheel that’s at least 6.5 inches in diameter. You don’t want to buy a wheel that’s too small, as that can cause major back problems for the animal. If you buy a wheel that’s too small, the hamster will stop using it after a while and it will get bored. If your hamster is a female and she’s a nursing mother, then take the wheel out. The hamster will lose interest in her young and won’t get off the wheel. There’s also the option of the young running on the wheel together, which creates the potential for injury. 2. Exercise Ball/Hamster Ball This ball is a great way for your pet to both have fun and explore its surroundings, getting better acquainted with your home. Hamster balls are plastic balls your hamster can enter and run around. This is great because your hamster is protected and can’t hurt itself (as long as you establish an area where it can move, if it falls down the stairs in the ball, then it’s definitely hurting itself). All you have to do is let the hamster enter the ball and then close the lid to the ball safely. The only dangers to this toy are drop off points, like the aforementioned stairs. Your hamster will power the ball with its feet, just like with the wheel, but unlike the wheel (which just spins in circles), this ball will actually take your hamster places. Your hamster will be able to explore your home and get more comfortable in the environment. The sizes for the exercise balls follow the same rules as with exercise wheels, so you can take a look at that section if you’re interested in sizes. Make sure to be present when your hamster is using the ball outside the cage – other pets may want to play with the ball and that’s just a barrel of dynamite waiting to be lit. It’s best to let the hamster run around a flat ground (like a single floor of the house) with all the doors closed. One of the greatest advantages of this toy, in comparison to letting your hamster freely roam your home, is the fact that it can’t get stuck under any furniture. However, you have to make sure that the ball you’re choosing has ventilation holes small enough. If they’re too large, your hamster might get their feet stuck in those holes, or even their heads (they tend to push their heads in literally every open hole). Since hamsters have such poor vision, it’s best to buy a ball that’s made from clear plastic. Tinted plastic is also an option, but why only make matters even worse. Another thing that you should keep in mind is the lid/flap of the ball, which you open and close from the outside. It would be smart to put a sliver of scotch tape over it, just to make sure that it doesn’t accidentally open while your hamster’s running all over the place. Children, just like pets, are sort of a hazard to this way of playing, as they may be tempted to kick the ball. You should also keep in mind that a ball that’s too large will cause your hamster to be thrown around it once they reach enough speed, because of inertia. Also, if the ball is properly sized and they still manage to reach enough speed, the same effect may be achieved. You shouldn’t let your hamster run around for longer than 20 minutes – they’ll tire and get dizzy, so it’s time for snacks, dehydration, and rest after 20 minutes. 3. A Secure Playing Area You should make an enclosure outside the cage, where your hamster can roam freely. Take four planks, each three feet long, and make a frame. Set that frame down on the ground and let your hamster play in that area. Make sure that the planks are tall enough, as hamsters are very good at climbing and they might climb out of the frame – if your hamster gets loose you’re going to spend hours chasing it. Your hamster should be able to move freely. Even if you haven’t purchased any toys for your hamster, it will still run around and enjoy the free space. However, you should definitely buy toys. They’re cheap and they keep your hamster entertained. Play is exercise and toys are the tools of play that lead to exercise. There are many toys you can purchase at the pet store, but we’ll list a few of them. You can even use some of these inside the cage. A piece of rope – you can hang this piece of rope from the top of the cage – this is great for climbing. Twigs – you can simply take twigs from any tree and let your hamster play with those. It will bite them and chew on them, which will exercise their jaws, and it will also provide your hamster with the materials they can carry around and build stuff with. You can also make toys out of everyday household items, like toilet paper rolls. Hamsters will roll these rollers around and have fun with them. This is actually very similar to the movement provided by the hamster ball, as they have to push with their forward feet. It will provide fun for a long time, at least until they realize that they can chew that up, as well. You can also use a tin can (once you’re removed and smoothened all the sharp edges), which makes an even heavier exercise tool. The next level to this can be a glass jar, but take the lid off and let the hamster explore the inside. Small pebbles and stones. These will act as weights for your hamster, it will pick them up and carry them around, roll them, and build things with them. You can also cut multiple entrances and exits to cardboard or a wooden box and let your hamster play around with it. This is actually great because it will resemble its natural environment (as hamsters live in complex burrows with many entrances and exits in the wilderness), and the hamster will naturally enjoy it. 4. Tunnels We’ve already explained that hamsters live in tunnels when they’re in the wild, so making a tunnel labyrinth is going to be a great form of exercise for your hamster. You can do this in two ways, collect used toilet paper rolls, or you can buy hamster tubes. Using toilet paper rolls is the cheaper option, as the hamster is definitely going to figure out that it can simply chew through those. Buying hamster tubes is the better option. These tubes are connectable, which allows you to create any shape you want and any sort of maze you want to. They’re also more stable than used toilet paper rolls, so you don’t have to worry about your hamster breaking them or disassembling them from the inside out. This gives the hamster a lot of places to climb and plenty of tubes to run around through. You can actually use this in the cage, but also let your hamster leave the cage to a playing area via these tubes – this is great because your hamster can get to its playing area whenever it wants to. And if you’ve made the walls tall enough, then it won’t be able to escape from the playing area, and the hamster’s exercising will be completely independent. You can also create a tunnel that lets your hamster leave the cage, with the other end of the tunnel returning to the cage, which ensures that it won’t run away. You can create tunnels that are incredibly complex, but still have only one or two entrance and exit points. You also have cages that have tubes installed in them, or you can purchase two cages and connect them, making an interesting habitat. You can also cover the whole wall with tubes and watch your hamster crawl on the wall. There are so many options with this, and since hamsters love tunnels, they will enjoy it too. The only thing you should keep an eye out for is the size of the tubes in diameter. You don’t want to buy a tube system that’s too tight for your hamster – they will get stuck and you’ll have to get them out. 5. Climbing Hamsters are natural climbers, so allowing them to climb is a great way of exercising them. If you have a metal mesh cage, you’re most likely going to notice that your hamster is climbing on the walls. This is completely normal, and if anything, you should encourage it! If you’ve developed a healthy relationship with your hamster, it’s most likely going to try and climb on you. You should allow this as well if you don’t have any problems with it on the hygienic front, and hamsters won’t scratch you or hurt you in any way. Aside from that, you can attach ropes, twigs, etc. in their cage to create a climbing environment. The only downside to this is that having a metal cage is definitely great, especially for ventilation, but there is a problem that you might be overseeing – and that’s their droppings. To resolve this, place a sheet of newspapers on the bottom of the cage and take it out when you gauge that it’s time to change it. If you have a Roborovski hamster, then you should be careful with metal cages and consider buying a mouse cage. These hamsters are great at crawling through small spaces and they will use this to escape. 6. Obstacle Courses You can also create obstacle courses for your hamster – include toys, branches, twigs, rope, and all sorts of things that your hamster has to crawl through, jump over, climb over, etc. This is a great way for them to exercise their muscles and have fun at the same time, just make sure that you’re using an enclosed area for these courses, as they’re likely to escape if you don’t. There are things you should keep in mind when exercising your hamster. Safety should always come first, that’s why you shouldn’t let other pets near the area where your hamster’s playing. Cats and dogs are 100% guaranteed to chase, and most likely catch your hamster, so it’s best to isolate them while your hamster’s playing. Another thing that you should always keep in mind are other hazardous things, like electricity – hamsters will maybe try to chew through electric cords, touch sockets, etc. If contact is ever achieved, it will most definitely kill the hamster, so make sure that your hamster can’t reach any of this. Another hazard that’s very dangerous for hamsters is sudden drops. This means: staircases, shelves, couches, tables, etc. – hamsters can’t see well, and when they’re on the couch or on a table, they will run around and possibly fall off, or even jump off the table or couch because they can’t see that it’s ending. And even if they see that the table is actually ending, they can’t gauge how tall it is and how high of a fall that is, so it’s best to enclose an environment for them when they’re playing like this. It’s also important to keep your water supply ready and full. Hamsters can get very tired and very dehydrated when they’re exercising, so it’s important that they can go back to their cage and rehydrate whenever they need to. It’s also important to have treats ready for them once they’re done. You shouldn’t let your hamster exercise for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and make sure that they rehydrate whenever they’re done. [...] Read more...
3 Reasons Your Hamster Can Be Big/Fat, And How To Slim It
3 Reasons Your Hamster Can Be Big/Fat, And How To Slim It A fat hamster is always funny. But is your hamster too fat ? I know I wanted to be careful with my Teddy so that he never ends up too fat. Actually he’s pretty fit. But how do you know when your hamster is too fat ? How big can hamsters get in general ? Is he eating too much ? This is what I’ll talk you through today, and Teddy will be our reference. Let’s start by figuring out if your hamster is fat.   Table of Contents ToggleSo is your hamster fat ?Is the hamster fat or just fluffy ?Why your hamster is fat in the first placeWhat to do when your hamster is fatNot all hamsters are the sameA word from Teddy So is your hamster fat ? Often times hamster owners don’t know how much to feed the hamster, and end up making their pets fat. For reference, a healthy, adult Syrian hamster will be around 6-7 ounces/170-200 gr. They will weigh much less as babies, but they reach their largest size when they’re around 3 months old. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh your hamster to see how much he weighs. He should not be having any food in his cheeks at this time. Our Teddy doesn’t really sit still, and your hamster probably won’t either. So you must be quick, or you can put your hamster in a cup that he can’t climb out of, and measure him like that. Take into account the weight of the cup as well. If your hamster is of a smaller breed, like Chinese or Roborovski those are usually much lighter. They reach between 20-25 gr/0.70-0.88 ounces. They are very tiny and very fast, so you definitely need to put them in something when you want to weigh them. Is the hamster fat or just fluffy ? This is something that made me look intently at Teddy so many times. Hamsters rarely every sit up straight, so the skin on them will bunch up. Their cheek pouches can reach behind their head and on their shoulders, so that can throw you off as well. And finally they’re the fluffiest thing ever. You can’t figure out anything through all that fur. So how do you tell if he’s really fat or just fluffy ? Well, one thing to look for is when your hamster does sit up straight. This usually happens when there’s something he wants and it’s way above him. Or, you can try feeding him a treat but holding onto it with your thumb and index finger. Once your hamster holds onto the treat, lift him gently off the ground a couple of inches/cm, still inside his cage. He will hang freely, and not be hurt. If when you see him straight like this he is… well, straight and not fat, then he’s fine. Just a lot of fur. But if your hamster is chubby and slightly round even when he’s straight, then you can be sure he’s fat. Why your hamster is fat in the first place If your hamster is in fact fat, there’s a couple of reasons for that. First, he can get fat if you feed him too much. For an adult Syrian hamster anything past 2 teaspoons of dry food will be too much. Hamsters hide a lot of food in their house, or stash it away under some bedding in the corner of the cage. So if you put some food for your hamster now, and check back after half an hour and it’s all gone, don’t put more. You hamster just took it into his house, where he will eat it as he needs. This is normal for all hamsters. Sometimes you’ll see some food left in the bowl even after a few hours. This happens when he still has enough food in his house, and also if he feels very safe and doesn’t need to hide his food. Second, you hamster could be fat because of what you’re feeding him. A diet heavy on nuts and sugary treats will get your hamster fat. So peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, etc are all fine for your hamster but do no feed him just that. Keep them as nice treats every now and then. Third, your hamster can get fat if he does not get enough exercise. If he has no wheel to run in, or an exercise ball, some other form of activity, he will get fat. So, provide your hamster with a wheel to run in, and possibly an exercise ball for when you take him out of the cage. What to do when your hamster is fat Slimming down your hamster will be to his benefit, and will extend his life expectancy. So here area few things you can try for your hammy to help him slim down. First, you can reduce the amount of food you give him. If you’re overfeeding him, then this will be the first step to help your hamster reach a normal weight. Transition feeding sizes slowly, until you reach the amount of food he normally needs. Second, make your hamster work for his treats. For example you can set up a sort of obstacle course for him, and place a bit of food at the end. If your hammy will have to climb a few toys and squeeze through some nooks and crannies to get to a treat every day, he will shed a bit of weight. Of course, the most work is done when he is running, so make sure he has a running wheel. For Syrians the wheel should be at least 8-10 inches across, to allow their backs to be straight. Smaller breeds need slightly smaller wheels, but it’s better to get a bigger wheel for them as well. Hamsters can damage their backs if their wheel is too small, so best to get a large wheel for your hammy to run. The best would be those metal wheels, with barely any space for his feet to sink into or he might hurt himself. If you can find a full wheel, even better. If you want to know more about hamster exercise wheels, check my full guide. Third, you can change his food. Switch your hamster to vegetables and dry grains, and you’ll see a clear difference. Make the switch slowly over a few days, so he has time to get used to it. If you want to know exactly what a hamster can eat, and what he should not eat read my article on how to properly feed your hamster. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Not all hamsters are the same Some hamsters eat a lot, some are kind of constantly dieting. Some are greedy and some can be more tempered with their food. It really comes down to your hamster’s personality, aside from what you feed him and how much, or how much activity he has. For example my Teddy is a very very active Syrian. He runs most of the nights and rarely ever sits still more than half a minute. His little paws are everywhere and when he was younger he used to scale his cage to reach me. He gets into the weirdest situations and does silly things like jump out of his moving wheel to race around his tube. Maybe your hamster is the same, or maybe yours is slow, or more relaxed. Hamsters in general are jumpy and tend to be all over the place. But I’ve met really tame and slow hamsters, who are still healthy, they’re just … so relaxed. This translates into how your hamster eats its food as well. Teddy gets his daily feeding, 2 teaspoons of dry grains and pellets, and some occasional slices of carrot or a piece of lettuce. Depending on what we have around the house he’s gotten fruits and vegetables on different occasions. And he only takes as much as he needs, and leaves the rest for later. I’ve often found spare food in his house when I clean his cage, from the days before. I’ve spoken to other hamster owners and some of them leave food for the entire week, and their hamster will only take as much as it needs. Others have hamsters that would binge on everything if they found enough food. Not all hamsters are the same, and some of them will have an easier time getting fat. If you end up with a hamster that is not very active and absolutely loves food, then he’ll get fat faster. If you’d like to know more about how to properly are for your hamster, then feel free to check this guide on the 15 essential steps to take car of your furry little friend. A word from Teddy I hope you’re clear on why we can get fat, and just how big a hamster needs to be. Remember, there’s clear differences between Syrian hamsters and the smaller sizes. I am a Syrian hamster, and my kind is the largest. Roborovski and Chinese hamsters are much smaller, but you can figure out for any of us if we’re fat or not. Feel free to look around the site, you might find something you like. 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10+ Reasons You Should Not Get a Hamster
10+ Reasons You Should Not Get a HamsterHamsters definitely belong on the list of the most popular pets in the world. Everyone wanted one as a kid, and many people still keep them as adults. They’re easy to take care of, and if you have two they’ll socialize between themselves, so they won’t be lonely when you’re away. However, not all is as it seems on the surface. As it is with every topic, keeping hamsters as pets have both its pros and cons. And today – we will be focusing on the cons. There are many things that may attract you to hamsters. They’re small, cute, their fur is shiny, and they basically look like small fluff toys, only they’re alive. However, there are many things about hamsters that you should know before you decide to adopt one. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at that side of these fluffy creatures – reasons why you shouldn’t get a hamster. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Biting2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising3. Hereditary Diseases4. Training and Taming5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive7. Breeding8. Escaping9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning10. Infection11. Lifespan12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children 1. Biting Hamsters actually tend to bite more than other pet rodents. This is mostly fueled by their poor eyesight – they rely on smell and taste to tell what’s in front of them, and if you stick your finger or your hand into their cage – they’re likely to bite it in order to find out if it’s food. These bites hurt and they will bleed, as their teeth are very sharp, despite not being that large. Their general lack of good eyesight most definitely has an effect on their behavior, as it makes them generally nervous – hamsters can be frightened quite easily, and when they’re frightened – they bite. It’s important to understand that they will bite you for only two reasons: fear (you would probably be willing to bite too if you were handled by a creature twenty or thirty times your size), and curiosity (if they mistake your hands for food or something else that’s interesting). For this reason, make sure to always wash your hands before handling hamsters – they’re more likely to bite you if your hands smell like food. Hamsters can also hurt themselves – as they’re a very frightened species, they’re ready to jump out of your hands when you’re carrying them. Let’s just say that jumping from such a height isn’t the smartest idea if you’re a hamster. Hamsters’ bites shouldn’t be underestimated, as they can be quite painful and draw a lot of blood. As an adult, you can probably handle this, but children can often be put off from this and not only lose interest in the hamster but start to dislike it altogether. There have been numerous occasions where a child has grown fearful of their hamster, and who can blame them? Probably anyone would if they had a pet who kept biting them. Gerbils, for example, are much better pets for children. They can be held and petted at will, and they rarely bite or scratch. 2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising These animals actually spend the majority of the day curled up and sleeping. They don’t like to be disturbed when they’re resting (just like us), and they’ll defend themselves if you disturb them. However, once everything at your home goes silent, hamsters wake up. At that point, hamsters get crazily active, which can actually wake up the whole house – especially if the hamster decides to start running on the wheel. They also get up very early, as they’re most active at dusk and dawn. 3. Hereditary Diseases Unfortunately, hamsters are prone to inheriting hereditary diseases. Because of overbreeding, they’re prone to congestive heart failure at an early age (as early as 6 months old). There’s no cure for this condition, and the treatment can be very expensive. They’re also prone to an incurable kidney disease called amyloidosis, which means that you’re going to have to be looking out on multiple fronts for the sake of their health. They are susceptible to many dangerous bacteria, ultimately leading to diarrhea and dehydration. Some of these bacteria, predominantly ringworm, can also infect humans. It’s very important to focus on two specific bacteria that can easily infect children. We’re talking about salmonella bacteria and lymphocytic choriomeningitis and hantavirus. These can be transmitted from animals to humans, and salmonella can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever. 4. Training and Taming Hamsters are very difficult to tame, much more difficult than other animals, and the main reason for this is the fact that they’re so scared of everything. They’re not trusting as dogs, they’re not even trusting as cats. Cats are actually more likely to approach you than hamsters. Their evolution has given them the ability to run and hide from any threat, and that’s what they will do if they see you coming. On top of that, hamsters have a lot of energy, meaning that they’re jumpy, active, and want to play – all the time. A pet that’s energetic but runs from anyone that pays it any attention is very difficult to train. 5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate Hamsters don’t enjoy being picked up and held, cuddled, and kissed like many dogs would. They will certainly put up with it for a while, but after a while, they’ll get tired of it and jump away. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a pet with which you’ll be able to strike a real connection – they’re not the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They will somewhat bond with their owner and come closer when they hear their owner’s voice, but that’s about it. Hamsters are not as loving and as playful as dogs. 6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive Hamsters are sensitive to many things. Firstly, their diet isn’t exactly something you should take lightly, as not correcting it when you need to can cause many dietary issues like diarrhea, dehydration, fur loss, etc. Secondly, they’re so easily frightened and they are so weak that they can literally die from too much stress. Hamsters are known to die from a dog barking at them or something else scaring them. You, personally, can scare your hamster in many ways – the hamster may not trust you yet and even feeding it will scare it (nothing you can do about that aside from trying to be as gentle as possible), if you do something very sudden it will scare it and that can be difficult for you as an owner to adjust to, your hamster may be in permanent shock (from moving to a new cage, for example) and during this period it will be easily agitated, and some hamsters are also naturally shy and difficult to handle. Also, hamsters’ immunity is terrible. They can easily contract any disease and unless you recognize it and take them to the vet immediately, they have almost no chances of survival. On top of this, they’re also very sensitive to temperatures. They can die from hypothermia very easily, and they can overheat easily. Your hamster’s cage is also going to have a massive effect on it, as hamsters get agitated easily in smaller cages. They’ll also get stressed easily if they don’t exercise enough, so it’s best to let them have a wheel. Transporting them is also not good, as that causes major stress. Now that we’re taking a look at all this in retrospect, evolution hasn’t really been beneficial to hamsters. 7. Breeding In case you didn’t know that all rodents breed extremely fast. Hamsters can breed three to four weeks after being born, and when they breed, they breed like crazy. You could make the massive mistake of buying a pair of hamsters and having almost twenty of them after a while. This problem is usually solved by pet shops where you purchase your hamsters, as the workers can separate the hamsters and divide them by gender. However, if a mistake is made and a single male hamster is put amongst female hamsters…well, we’re sure that you know what kind of a mess that is. 8. Escaping Hamsters can truly be defined as escape artists. They have the ability to flatten their body and they can fit through very small holes and crevices. An even larger issue is the fact that they love doing this and they’re likely to use every opportunity to escape. It’s their instinct telling them that they should escape and return to the wild. They’re also very good at hiding, so you won’t be finding them easily. This can actually lead to them being injured or killed while on the loose, as they’re very vulnerable. 9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning Hamsters themselves are very clean, similar to cats. They groom themselves all the time and this way they minimize their scent, which keeps them almost undetectable in the wilderness. Their cages, on the other hand, aren’t as nearly as clean. Exactly the opposite, actually. Hamsters are known for their inexplicable inability to keep their quarters clean. If you place a hamster in a perfectly clean cage, it’s going to take it less than three days to cover it in droppings and pee. Their droppings can smell very foul and many people can’t stand it. These dirty cages also tend to attract bugs, and they’re more prone to developing infections and your hamster will get sick more easily in such an environment. Now, you may be thinking “Fine, I’ll just teach it to use a litter box.” – that’s fine, only we’ve already mentioned that training is terribly difficult with hamsters and you’re not teaching them anything easily. There are hamsters that openly and seemingly without reason refuse to use the litter box. Cleaning the enclosure always means that you have to take the hamster out of the enclosure. This means that you have to grab it without it biting you. If it bites you, you have to disinfect the wound and put a bandaid over it. Repeat the process until you manage to take the hamster without it biting you, and now put it somewhere where it can’t escape from. However, your hamster has still escaped while you were scrubbing its cage because they’re great at that, and now you have to find a hamster before putting it back into the cage. See why it’s difficult? 10. Infection Even though it may seem like a good idea to have your child clean the hamster’s cage to teach them responsibility, it’s sort of an unsafe idea – these cages can be salmonella heaven, and children can be especially vulnerable to that. Children don’t exactly understand the dangers of illnesses and they may not wash their hands properly, which could, unfortunately, lead to them contracting salmonella. 11. Lifespan Hamsters don’t really live for too long. Most hamsters live from two to four years, with a two-year-old hamster already being considered old. If you’re looking for a short-term pet, that’s great. But very few people are looking for that sort of a companion, and most people want a pet that’s going to spend time with them for years to come (like dogs, who can spend up to a fifth of a lifetime with their human companions). Changing pets every few years may not be in your interest. Secondly, if you’re thinking about purchasing a hamster for your child, we’re advising you now that you shouldn’t. Children get attached to everything very easily and having to watch the hamster grow up only to die quicker than they can graduate from the elementary can and will break your child’s heart. 12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision Even though the maintenance they require is low in frequency, if you’re purchasing a hamster for your child, know that the maintenance your child is going to have to keep up with is complicated. They may not have to do it often, but when they do it, you’re going to have to be there. The same goes for training the hamster – since hamsters are so frightened and are easy to agitate and have them bite their trainer, it’d be best if you were there when your child was training the hamster. 13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children Despite the general opinion being the exact opposite, hamsters aren’t really good pets for children. At least not the youngest children under the age of eight or nine. They can prove to be aggressive which will only scare the children away, they can also be very difficult to train which won’t encourage your child to keep trying around them. Having to clean their cages and feed them may be a great way to instill some sense of responsibility in your child early on, but it’s quickly going to become a chore to them and they’re going to start avoiding it. Hamsters can also transmit a disease to your child. Ringworm infection, for example, can easily be transmitted to your child or yourself despite you being careful and wearing gloves. Salmonella, what we’ve already mentioned, is also a threat for children and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because of their sensitivity, and because of children’s general lack thereof, your child could accidentally harm the hamster. And their constant escaping isn’t going to help either, just like the hamster’s short lifespan won’t be helping. Hamsters also stay awake at night and they’re very active, which may keep your child from sleeping well. All in all, if you’re looking for a pet for your child, you should think twice before purchasing a hamster for your child.   Hamsters often seem like an ideal pet for anyone, but that’s far from the truth. There are many things that have to be taken into account when discussing these animals, as they’re not as nearly as perfect as they seem to be. You should keep in mind that no animal is inherently evil or aggressive, only defensive. Hamsters are just like that, and the fact that they’re so scared of everything and everyone makes it fairly difficult to interact with them. Teaching your hamster not to bite you will take weeks, and if you’re interested in potty training or teaching them tricks, that’s going to take even longer. They’re quick to turn against their owner, even if you mean them no harm, because they’re scared, and maybe it would be best to let this one go, and buy a different pet. There are many pets on the market that may be more suited to your needs. If you’re ever looking for any advice, feel free to consult your local veterinarian. [...] Read more...
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great Alternatives
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great AlternativesWhen I first got Teddy I also got a bunch of toys for him, including some mineral chews. Since he is my first hamster, I did not know if he’d need them or not, but I got them just to be sure. But do hamsters really need mineral chews ? Are they useful ? Do they stop the hamster from biting the cage ? Here’s what I found out, and how you can help your hamster as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need mineral chews ?High mineral content foods for hamstersThe right nutrition for your hamsterMineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cageA few chew toy ideas for your hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need mineral chews ? As it turns out, no. Hamsters do not need mineral chews. This is because the feed you give them already has enough minerals in the mix. If you are using a well balanced muesli mix – grains, dried fruit, some vitamin colored bits – then your hamster is doing just fine. As soon as I found this out, I stopped getting mineral chews for my Teddy. He went through them really fast, since he’s a chewer. The same goes for salt licks for your hamsters. Hamster do not need salt licks any more than they need mineral chews. They get enough salt from their food mix, so they should not have any deficiency. If you are unsure, check your food mix box to check for mineral content. High mineral content foods for hamsters Some food alternatives you can give your hamster are easily available, and are easy to eat for hamsters. For example you can give your hamster nuts and seeds, since they have a high mineral content that will help your hamster prevent health problems. Just be careful to not give the hamster too many nuts and seeds, since they do have a higher fat content. Limit them to just a couple of peanuts, or half a walnut per day. Unsalted, raw. Another idea is broccoli, along with some dark leafy greens like kale or spinach leaves. They are rich in minerals and fibers, so your hamster is getting a full meal out of them. Dried fruit and tofu are also good alternatives for your hamster to get his minerals, just keep these on a low intake since they can get sticky for the hamster. With the dried fruit make sure they are not sweetened, and you don’t give the hamster too much of it. The right nutrition for your hamster Whatever brand of hamster feed you use, make sure it has a balanced content of vegetables, added vitamins and minerals, dried fruit, and some grains as well. Most manufacturers have good mixes, so it does not really matter what brand you get, as long as the ingredients are alright. Aside from the food mix, you can give your hamster some of the foods I mentioned earlier. I give Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) unsalted raw peanuts every now and then, or pumpkin seeds as a treat. He’s had some spinach leaves when we were cooking spinach, and he liked that as well. Just be warned that the hamster will store some food in his house as well, and stale spinach or broccoli does not smell great. So, make sure that you give the hamster a small amount, that he will eat soon. For a clear list on what your hamster can eat, and what he should avoid, check out the food list article here. You’ll also find the kind of treats your hamster can eat as well. Mineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cage This is something I did at first, to stop Teddy from chewing on the bars. Hamster chewing on bars can be out of annoyance or their teeth growing. A hamster’s teeth will keep growing his entire life, so he must constantly chew on hard surfaces to keep them at a healthy length. If the hardest surface is the cage bars, then that’s what he will use. You can find a few cage ideas here. However you can give your hammy what I gave Teddy – wooden accessories for his cage. For example his home is entirely out of wood, and he sometimes chews on that as well. Another idea is bendy bridges, the kind that’s made out of cut tree branches and you can shape them however you want. They can be used as a toy, or even a home for your hamster. But the most important fact is that they’re made of wood, so your hamster will chew on them instead of the cage when he needs to take care of his teeth. Mineral chews are not a good idea to keep your hamster from chewing the cage or something else, because they are too soft. If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, he will tear through an entire mineral block in 20 minutes. Teddy just goes crazy when he has a mineral block, it’s like he must rip it to pieces or else. The second reason mineral chews are not good for hamsters to chew on is because they are incredibly dusty. They’re usually made up of crushed shells, tapioca, and some calcium powder, and when they break into pieces they leave a whole lot of dust. That dust is never good for your hamster. When Teddy had mineral chews he looked like a construction worker, he was covered in that dust and had to clean himself more often. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few chew toy ideas for your hamster If you’re trying to give your hamster something more bearable to chew on, consider these options. These make much less noise, are better for your hamster’s teeth, and do not contain odd ingredients. Actually they’re mostly wood. Like the bendy bridges I mentioned before, or the wooden home for the hamster. Another idea would be the dense cardboard tubes that are left from aluminium foil wraps. Those are much much denser and stronger than toilet rolls, and they give the hamster more to chew on. Another idea would be whole walnuts or a very large chestnut. The point is that it must be too big for your hamster to try to shove it in his cheeks. If you make a small hole in the nut the hamster will smell it, and attempt to reach it. So he’ll chew and chew and keep his teeth in check. Finally, you can try toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls. As long as they are unscented, they’re fine. You can use Paper egg cartons as well, just make sure they are clean and not stained. For a more comprehensive list of toys you hamster can safely chew and play with, here is a list of store bought toys and also how to make them at home. If you’d like more info on how to properly care for your hamster, then you should check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll find out everything from what kind of cage he needs, to how much food he needs, and how to figure out which breed you’ve got. A word from Teddy I hope you understand more about us hamsters and mineral chews. We don’t really need them, since the food you give us is usually good enough and has enough minerals. If you want to keep one of us off the cage bars, you could try something made of wood. We love chewing and wood is a friendly material for us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info on why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and much more. [...] Read more...
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat Them
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat ThemIf you’ve got a hamster, then you need to know about the teeth problems your friend can develop. Hamster’s teeth are crucial to their health, so you need to know how to help him out if something happens. I’ll cover the main dental problems hamsters can get into, how to check for those problems, and how to treat them. Table of Contents ToggleWhat a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look likeA hamster’s teeth are always growingTeeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot themOvergrownInfectedMisshapen/brokenTypical symptoms to look forBad breathSudden loss of appetiteChattering teethDroolingBad temperCage bitingFiling down overgrown hamster teethThe hamster will file them down himselfChew toys and other options for your hamster friendYou can take the hammy to the vetInfections in hamster teethChecking for infections in your hamster’s teethTreating your hamster’s teeth infectionMisshapen or broken hamster teethHelping your hamster with bad teethA word from Teddy What a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look like A healthy hamster’s teeth are quite long, yellow-ish orange, and a bit see-through. The hamster’s teeth look very different from a human’s teeth. Hamsters, like most rodents, have 2 pairs of incisor teeth. The lower pair is the longer pair, and will look very large compared to the top pair. You will see your hamster’s teeth clearly when he bites the cage, since he often bites hard onto them. Normally, your hammy’s teeth should be aligned, and ‘meet’ properly, both pairs forming a nice close. You can also check your hamster’s teeth by holding him and gently scruffing the back of his neck. This does not hurt if done right, since you are only pulling a little at the fur on the back of his head. This will reveal the hamster’s teeth, and you can check them for yourself. Do not be surprised that your hamster’s teeth aren’t white, or very pale. Yellow teeth in hamsters is no unhealthy. However you should worry a bit if you start seeing white spots on your hamster’s teeth.  Usually they’re brittle sport in the teeth, and will crumble. Those can be serious dental problems that require a veterinarian. A hamster’s teeth are always growing A hamster’s life is defined by chewing, and gnawing, and biting some more. Hamster are rodents, and as such they have an inherent need to always be chewing on something.  This is mostly because their front teeth are always growing. So, your hamster friend need to file them down regularly in order to keep them healthy. This can be done in several ways, but it’s mostly through the tough food your hamster chews every day, and whatever he chews on aside from that, like chew toys. Teeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot them Your hamster can develop dental problems. That can happen to anyone, but given the small size of hamsters, and how important their teeth are, it’s more of a problem for them. There are 3 main types of problems your hammy can run into, and in the rest of this article we’ll cover how you can help your friend. Overgrown The most common problem found with hamsters, overgrown teeth lead to several problems. Those problems can be that the hamster isn’t able to eat enough, is in pain, and will possibly be grumpy. Teeth can become overgrown if the hamster isn’t filing down his teeth. This can mean that the food he’s being fed isn’t hard enough – hamsters need hard, chewable foods – so he can’t file the teeth down. Or, it could be that he has nowhere to file the teeth down onto, like chew toys or cage bars. If you’ve got a glass tank for your hammy, and he’s got nothing to chew on, that’s a problem. Infected Infections can occur if the hamster’s gums become hurt in some way (like something sharp scraping them) and the bacteria has a way into the animal’s body. Or, it could be tooth decay from possibly sugary food (depending on what you feed your hamster), which can lead to an infection. In any case, this is something to treat at the vet. Misshapen/broken Sometimes, hamsters are born with tooth problems. Like misshapen teeth, and in those cases it’s best to get the hammy to the vet so he can help the hamster. If the hammy’s teeth are healthy and straight, but end up breaking, that again means a trip to the vet. This can happen if your hamster’s got weak teeth, or if he chews on much too hard surfaces, like the metal bars in his cage, or the running wheel. Typical symptoms to look for Usually hamster dental problems can be spotted fairly quickly. There’s just a few things you should check your hamster for, so see if he’s alright. Bad breath An infection especially, will smell terrible. Your normally clean and non-smelly hammy might have terrible breath if he’s got an infection. You can notice this when you pick up the hamster and play with it. Or, by giving it something to chew onto and then you might smell the problem. The smell is caused by the pus and irritation in the hamster’s mouth, where the abscess is located. If you scruff the hammy you will probably be able to see which tooth is infected. You’ll notice the gum around the tooth is red, swollen, and might already have whitish spots where the infection is coming out. This needs to be treated immediately, otherwise your hamster is at serious risk. Sudden loss of appetite This can come along with an infection, or even just overgrown teeth. If you’ve noticed your hamster’s food bowl has been mysteryously full these past few days, you should check on the hamster. It can happen that your hamster isn’t able to feed himself properly lately, and he needs your help. Now, do keep in mind that hamsters can and do become very picky eaters. So if you’ve got a food mix, and only some parts of it are still in the food bowl the next day, your hamster is fine. For example my Teddy (Syrian adult male) favors the sunflower seeds, peanuts, and other vitamin bits he finds in his food bowl, and leaves the plain grains aside. He’s still a healthy Syrian hammy though, he just gets picky. However if you’ve noticed that your hamster is also losing a bit of weight, this is also a sign. You can check the weight by placing your hammy in a cup he can’t get out of (like a tall glass, or plastic cup) and weighing him on a kitchen scale. Make sure to account for the weight of the cup ! Chattering teeth This is another sign that something might be wrong with your hamster’s teeth. Chattering teeth are usually a sign of nervousness, and are accompanied by a short temper, and lots of cage biting. He might even bite you, he’s in no mood to play. If your hamster has chattering teeth, and also chews on the cage bars a lot, it could be a possible tooth problem indicator. Like tooth pain, or an infection. Do keep in mind that chattering teeth can show up even if your hamster is healthy. He could be just aggitated or trying to intimidate you. So make a mental note of chattering teeth, but this is not a clear sign of just tooth problems. Drooling Hamsters, like cats, do not drool normally. They do have saliva, but their mouth is usually ‘dry’. So if your hamster is suddenly drooling, it could be a sign of him not being able to close his mouth properly because of his teeth. Bad temper Hamsters, like humans, do not respond well to pain or stress. So if your hammy has a tooth ache, he might be snappy. Imagine your last tooth ache. So your usually mild and cute hamster might turn into a snappy, nippy hammy with no patience for anything. He might not even let you touch him in some cases. Now, not all ill-tempered hamsters have tooth aches. But this could be a sign of tooth problems. Especially if it’s a change that came on suddenly. Cage biting If your hammy suddenly started biting the cage bars, this too could be a sign. Hamsters always need to chew on something, but if he’s ignored the bars until now, that says something. Your hammy could be seeking some relief from the cage bars, instead of his chew toy because the bars are, well, much harder and are also cold. If your hammy’s got an infection, the gums will seem very hot to him, and he’ll want to cool off a bit. Obviously, your hammy biting the cage bars is not a good idea. And it’s not healthy for his teeth either, since he can actually break or crack his teeth on the bars. Filing down overgrown hamster teeth If your hamster’s got overgrown teeth, then he will need to file them down. This happens by repeated chewing and biting onto hard surfaces. But, those surfaces should never be as hard as the cage bars, or the glass of his glass tank. There’s two ways your can go about this. The hamster will file them down himself Most of the time, the hamster will file the teeth down himself. If he’s got proper food and chew toys, he will do that himself. Your hamster’s front teeth are always growing, so he always needs to do this. You can help him out here by giving him the right kind of toys to use for his teeth. Chew toys and other options for your hamster friend One option is chew toys. Hamsters do well with wood based chew toys. So for this reason a set of toys like this one will help your hamster not only file down his teeth, but also keep his mind occupied. This set’s got several toys, so your hammy will have lots of options to choose from. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews for yourself. Another option is giving your hamster friend a walnut, or a chestnut so he will want to chew and gnaw on it. My teddy has a walnut in his cage and he goes absolutely insane when he sees it. He just has to break the thing open or he won’t know what he’ll do. He never did manage to open the walnut, hamsters aren’t squirrels. But he loves biting into the shell, and your hammy will probably do the same if your give him one. Other options include bendy bridges, which are made from wood, and can serve as a great chew toy for your hamster friend. You will find those on Amazon as well. And finally, hamsters will chew on absolutely everything. Including their food bowl and hideout. For this reason, and not only (more on that here) I recommend you get your hamster friend a wooden hideout. This will make it easier for your hamster to file down his teeth, since he will wake up in the middle of the night to chew a little. And he will chew on his hideout, without even getting out of his nest. I looked around for a hideout very similar to the one I have for my Teddy. My hammy already shaved fairly large chunks of the inside, in the year and the half since he’s had his hideout. Still, he loves it, and it keeps his scent. You can find the listing on Amazon for this wooden hamster house here, and read the reviews. You can take the hammy to the vet If the case is severe, and immediate attention is needed, you can also take your hamster friend to the vet. He will know what to do to file down the hammy’s teeth. There are a few guides to filing down hamster teeth at home, or even clipping them. But I honestly discourage them, since the animal isn’t comfortable, and you need a lot of training to make sure you do not hurt the hamster. Please do not file or clip your hamster’s teeth at home. Seek professional care for him. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Infections in hamster teeth Sometimes the hamster’s teeth can get infected. This can happen like with humans too. Maybe the hamster ate a food that made a small cut in his gums, and that cut got infected. There could be other reasons, but the end result is the same. Checking for infections in your hamster’s teeth Red, angry, inflamed gum(s), and a bit of pus. This is dangerous for your hamster to swallow, so it must be solved quickly. You can check this by holding the hamster in your hand, and gently scruffing him. This will pull back his lips and you will see his teeth. He might not like being held like this, so expect a bit of squirming. Expect lots of squirming if the hamster does have a serious infection, since it will possibly hurt him a bit. Treating your hamster’s teeth infection If the gums or mouth looks at any point like I just described above, then your hamster might be dealing with an infection. In this case, take your hamster to the veterinarian. He will prescribe a round of antibiotics that are safe for small animals. He will tell you how to administer the medication to your hamster. Usually the veterinarians that have experience with rodents are labeled as exotic, meaning that they will also know what to do with unusual pets if the case arises. Misshapen or broken hamster teeth There are some unfortunate hamsters who are born with misshapen teeth. They are misaligned since birth, but they can sometimes be corrected. You can notice this at the pet store by looking closely at the hamster for any mouth problems. You will also be able to notice this when the hamster tries to drink a bit of water. Or, if you haven’t noticed at the pet store and brought him home, you can still check him. Just use the scruffing method and check the teeth. There should be no gaps, or odd angles or crossed teeth. If there are such problems, take your hamster to a veterinarian. Now, if your hamster’s got great teeth, and suddenly broke them, that’s an issue. Breaking teeth are a sign of malnutrition, or poor health, old age, or a possible illness. It depends on each hamster, and his own medical history. Broken teeth are particularly dangerous, since the hamster can cut himself on them. And often they’re cracked/fissured as well, which means that your hamster is in for some serious problems. Again, it’s best if you take your hamster to the veterinarian, who will know how to align or file the hamster’s teeth, and do it humanely. Helping your hamster with bad teeth For any hamster with bad teeth, the diet is important. I don’t mean putting your hamster on a weight loss diet. But the food he eats has a direct and large impact on his health. You can take care of this by giving your hamster friend a healthy food mix, to make sure he has all the basic nutrients already in his food bowl. This particular mix has all the nutrients your hamster needs, including the harder, sturdier grains hamsters need to chew on in order to file down their teeth. The whole bag will last you a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed your hammy. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the healthy food mix, you can give your hamster from your own pantry or fridge. A large amount of the foods we humans eat are also safe for hamsters, so you should check out this article on what foods are okay and not okay for hamsters to eat. Just remember, fruits and high-fat foods should be kept to a minimum, since they can lead to an obese hamster. And that’s a whole different set of problems, which you can read about here. And always, always, make sure your hamster has something wood-based to chew onto. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to care for your teeth in this article. I know us hammies can get a bit overzealous with our chewing and biting, but we do have dental problems from time to time. So if you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below for valuable info on how to care for us. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Smell Bad ? Here’s How To Make Sure They Don’t
Do Hamsters Smell Bad ? Here’s How To Make Sure They Don’tA smelly hamster is no fun. But do they exist ? Do hamsters smell ? If they do, how do you take care of that ? I know I had these questions when I first got my Teddy. I found outthrough trial and error what to do when there is a funky smell coming from your hammy’s cage. But let’s talk about whether hamsters do or do not smell first. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters smell ?Hamsters are very clean animalsA hamster’s hideout will have his scentWhy the hamster’s cage can get smelly – and what to do about itThe hamster’s pee corner is the main culpritA litter box for your hamsterYour hamster might be sickThe hamster might have some food hidden in his hideoutHamsters have their seasons as wellFemale hamsters can get a bit smellyHow to clean a hamster cage properlyPlace the hamster in a temporary holding placeRemove the toys and hideoutTake out all the bedding and nesting materialPlace fresh, clean bedding and nesting materialA word from Teddy So do hamsters smell ? No – hamsters themselves, the animals, do not smell. They don’t develop a stink that clings to their bodies. But their environment can get a bit smelly, in some cases. That’s what some people might confuse with the hamster itself being smelly. For example I’ve had my Teddy since August 2017. At the time of writing this he is nearly a year and a half old. In this time I’ve handled him often, and he’s never smelled bad. Or had any particular smell to him at all. I’ve spoken to other hamster owners, and their pets don’t smell either. But Teddy’s cage can sometimes get smelly, under certain circumstances. He is an adult Syrian hamster, but this applies across all hamster breeds. Hamsters are very clean animals In fact, hamsters clean themselves about as often and thorough as house cats. Half the time when you see a cat it’s cleaning itself, like it just came from the dirtiest place ever and needs a nice long shower. That’s how meticulous hamsters are with their cleaning routine too. If you pick him up, you’ll see he starts cleaning himself almost immediately after you put him back down. This is a habit and instinct that they’ve had since forever. In the wild hamsters are prey, and are hunted by basically every animal. Some of them fly, some crawl, some slither, and some run. But they will all look for the hammy’s smell. So, the hamster will obsessively clean himself at every turn, to make sure he has as little scent as possible. This way his predators  won’t find him as easily. A hamster’s hideout will have his scent While the hamster’s hideout will have his scent, it will not get smelly under normal circumstances. Hamsters actually pee outside their hideouts, so their predators will have a harder time finding them. They also have a very sensitive nose, hamsters, so that’s another reason they avoid using their nests as bathrooms. If you observe your hamster, you’ll notice he always picks a particular spot to use as his bathroom. Always the furthest from where you placed his hideout. If anything, the hamster’s pee corner will be what gets smelly. The poo doesn’t smell, since it’s dry droppings, and his food doesn’t smell either. Hamster are very clean little things, and watching them clean themselves is always cute. But as I said above, his cage can get a bit smelly sometimes. There are a few reasons for that, let’s talk about that. Why the hamster’s cage can get smelly – and what to do about it A hamster’s cage is where he will live his entire life. So of course he will eat, poo, sleep, run in this cage and these can all leave a mark, or scent. So here are the main reasons your hamster’s cage might get smelly. The hamster’s pee corner is the main culprit This is what smells most often, and what will stand out easily. You can find that corner by noticing your hamster when he wakes up to use that corner. Or, you can look for any recently wet or moist corners. It’s usually easy to find, so you won’t have much trouble seeing or smelling it. If you’re not sure which corner it is, or your hamsters uses more than 1 corner, that’s fine. Just change the bedding in every corner if you want to be extra sure. Hamsters do poo in their hideouts, you’ve probably seen this on the cleaning days. But they rarely ever pee there. I’ve never found pee stains on the nesting in my Teddy’s hideout, but I have heard of rare cases when this happened. So, make sure you change the bedding in the corners more often than the whole bedding. If you change the entire bedding once per week that’s fine. The corners might need changing every 2-3 days though, depending on your hamster and how sensitive your smell is. A litter box for your hamster It might sound like you have a cat now. The hamster cleans himself regularly and now needs a litter box. But hamsters do use a litter box, if you give them one. You can use the bottom half of a hideout, this one actually should be plastic for ease of cleaning. Then, place mineral sand in that halved hideout. Tadaa, litter box ! As long as you place it in the corner your hamster usually uses for peeing, everything will be fine. The hamster might kick some of it up and take a sandbath as well. But that’s okay, if you want you can place another sandbox for him for this reason. If you’re not crazy about the litter box idea, you can just change the bedding in the corners every 2-3 days. If you want to know which kind of bedding is safe for hamsters, and which bedding to never get, read this list here. You’ll find out about the bedding and nesting materials your hamster will need, and how to clean them properly. Your hamster might be sick Sometimes this happens to hamsters, like wet tail for example. Wet tail is an illness more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarfs. It’s basically brought on by stress, and one of the most noticeable signs is a very very runny stool. This can be treated, but you need to call your vet as soon as you spot this. It’s not difficult to treat,but you need a vet and immediate attention. Now, when or if your hamster gets wet tail, the stool will be a bit smelly, and will wet the bedding as well. Wet bedding doesn’t smell great either, even if it’s just with water. Or, maybe your hamster has a different type of illness that can make his urine smell particularly bad. Like an infection for example. Again, contact your vet as soon as you notice this. If your hamster seems to be moving very slowly, always has his ears folded, is more hunched than usual, and sleeps a lot, call your veterinarian. The hamster might have some food hidden in his hideout Some foods can get very smelly if left out for too long. The clearest example I have is when I gave Teddy some cabbage. Well, I gave him a whole leaf, just to see how he’d react to a food 15 times larger than him. He was a funny sight, nipping at the cabbage from left to right like a typing machine. I took it out after a few minutes, since he didn’t need a whole entire leaf. But he did take a few pieces which he didn’t eat straight away. Some of them he hid in his hideout, and I only noticed the next day. There was a weird, sulphury smell around his cage. I put Teddy in his exercise ball, and looked inside his hideout. He had some cabbage pieces, and they stank. Oh boy. So, if you give your hammy a kind of food  that can get smelly fast, give him very small amounts, and not often. This applies for vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus. They’re all related, and all get smelly. Cheese of any kind, even tofu, should be give in very small pieces that you’re sure the hamster will eat quickly. Boiled egg white is in this category as well. If you do find some food that’s very smelly in your hamster’s cage or hideout, remove it, and change the nesting material as well. Hamsters have their seasons as well By this I mean that hamsters have periods when their cage can get much smellier than usual. I’ve noticed this with my Teddy. I could never track it to a specific season – like winter or summer, or rainy or very dry, or something else. But it happened about twice a year. He’d have these periods when his cage would smell much more, and I’d have to change the bedding in his corners almost every day. I chalked that up to him just being a male, and maybe marking his territory more aggressively. As to why exactly, I’m not sure since males do not go into heat the same way females do. The period for Teddy goes away after a couple of weeks, and he never looked ill or lethargic, or out of place. Just a stinky cage, is all. Female hamsters can get a bit smelly As I’ve noticed from other hamster owners, the females can get a bit stinky in their mating periods. Females go into heat every few days. Females can actually breed immediately after giving birth, so their mating periods are short but much more often than other animals. Every 4 days to be exact. So, a female hamster might get a bit smelly when she’s in heat, to attract any male around her. However if you’re not planning on breeding your female hamster, this won’t have too much of a point for you as an owner. A female going into heat is normal, and healthy. It can get a bit smelly, but again, changing the bedding more often will help with this. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to clean a hamster cage properly This depends a bit on what kind of cage you have for your hamster. But keeping a clean cage for your hamster will keep it non-smelly as long as possible. If you want to know what kind and size cage your hamster needs, check out this article. You’ll get a rundown of the most common cage types, and the pros and cons of all 3, including a care and maintenance guide for those cages. Place the hamster in a temporary holding place This can be an exercise ball, a transport cage, or anything else that can safely keep your hamster and allows him air to breathe. Pick up your hamster and place him directly where he needs to be, like the ball or transport cage. Always use a scooping and cupping method, and do not come from behind him. If the hamster is not easy to pick up, or very difficult to handle, bait him with a treat. Place the treat inside the transport cage or exercise ball, then close it once he’s in. Remove the toys and hideout Take everything out of the hamster’s cage. If they need cleaning, do so with a warm moist cloth, or hot water and a very small amount of soap, and leave out to dry very well. Food bowls and water bottles need cleaning more often than the wheel or  hideout. Take out all the bedding and nesting material Keep just a bit of it, to make things more familiar for your hamster. If he’s been sick, skip this step. Once all the bedding is removed you should be left with an empty cage or glass tank. Those can be wiped down and/or washed with hot water and a very small amount of soap. In the pee corner you might see some very dry white substances. That’s just the work of the acidity of the urine, combined with the bedding and some dust from the bedding. It can be scrubbed off, but only if you allow it enough time to soak. Use something very coarse like a metal brush will help. But unless you do this regularly every week, that corner will become white forever. This is why I recommend the litter box, since it’s easier to clean this way. Speaking of, if you’re using a litter box, you will find some dried compacted sand, mixed with the hamster’s urine. Clean everything off with hot water, and use a toothpick or the metal brush to scrub and pick away at it. Once you’re done cleaning and washing everything, make sure you dry everything completely. Use a hair dryer if you have to. Excess moisture can make the new bedding smelly, and even build up some moldy spots. Place fresh, clean bedding and nesting material Give your hamster 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm of bedding and 2-3 torn up paper towels to use as nesting material. Place the toys and hideout back into his cage, and let the hamster back in. If you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster friend, you can check out this very thorough article on exactly that. A word from Teddy I hope you found your answers here, and know that us hamsters aren’t smelly. We’re actually very clean and like to take very long ‘showers’. If your hammy’s cage is smelly, you can fix that with what you read from my owner. But if you want to know more about us hamsters, make sure to check the articles below ! You’ll find stuff like why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you. [...] Read more...