Do Hamsters Use Tubes And Tunnels ? Gifts For Your Hamster

Watching a hamster crawl through tunnels is half the fun of having one, right after watching him stuff his cheeks and run on the wheel. But do all hamsters use their tunnels ? Are they worth getting for your hamster ?

I’ll tell you my experience with Teddy (Syrian male hammy) and what I’ve learned from other hamster owners.

hamsters tubes (2)

So do hamsters use tubes/tunnels ?

Yes, most hamsters do use tubes or tunnels. Some will use them more often, some will use them every now and then. But all hamsters are drawn to small, tight, hidden pockets of space.

This is mostly because of the nature of rodents, to always seek a tunnel or hole to hide in. Also, in the wild hamster nests are made of a series of long, interconnected tunnels and galleries.

So a tunnel or tube will feel very familiar to him. That being said, some hamsters will be more on the lazier side and won’t use them much, instead preferring to sit down and snack on something.

There are a few things you should look out for, when you get your hamster a tunnel toy, for their own safety. Let’s talk about that.

What to look for in a hamster tunnel

For the most part tunnels (the store bought kind) are made of plastic and as such can be a bit slippery. You should check to see if the tunnels have rungs on the inside, so your hamster can actually get a grip.

Another issue is airflow. Being plastic, and being mostly external tubes (running on the outside of the cage), the tubes will not be easy to escape. This also means that airflow could be restricted, so there will be a bit less air in the tubes than in the cage.

This also makes cleaning and drying the tube much easier.

Most tunnels will be clear, so you can watch your hammy scamper up and down. However when you assemble the tunnels, you need to be careful to not create very sharp angles, so the hamster can turn easily. A U-bend is alright, as long as it’s wide enough.

You should make sure your cage can support a tube opening though. Our Teddy’s cage came with tubes and we can always connect those tubes to other extensions. But no all cages can do that. There are tutorials online on how to create a safe tube opening in your hamster’s cage though, and you can get some ideas from those videos.

Aside from all this, hamster tunnels are pretty much great for hamsters, and for us owners too. Let’s see a few examples.

A few hamster tunnel/tube examples

You can get all kinds of tube, or tube toys. Some of them can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on what you’re planning to use the tubes for.

For external tubes, or a complex tube series, I recommend plastic tubes, since they will definitely keep the hamster contained. Let’s see some options for both kinds.

Store bought hamster tunnel toys

For the most part tubes can be constructed any way you like them, as long as they fit.

This tube style for example is popular, and leaves you room for creativity. You can build a whole set of complex tunnels, as long as you don’t go overboard and tip them over (center of gravity and such).

You’ll see only one style in the photo here, but the listing on Amazon shows you all their available pieces. You can combine them as much as you like, and create a whole playground for your hamster.

They can be used both inside the cage and outside.

You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well.

You’ll have to check your cage if it can fit the openings for tunnels. If not, they can be created securely, with a few online tutorials.

DYI hamster tubes and tunnels

Many hamster toys can be made at home, very simple, from cardboard rolls. If you have toilet paper or paper towels, then you’ve got a whole bunch of tubes for your hamster.

Unfortunately cardboard is a favorite among hamsters to chew on, so these tubes can’t be used as external tubes. Connecting them would also be a chore, and there is no airflow as well.

But, inside the cage, our Teddy always has a couple of tubes he uses to get from one end to the other. I guess it’s more exciting that way. Sometimes those tubes end right in front of the water bottle.

He doesn’t even bother to get out and drink water like normal hamster, he just twists himself up to get a drink and then darts back in.

(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.)

hamsters tubes (1)

Giving your hamster a tube to play in is as simple as just placing the tube inside his cage. But, if you want to get fancy you can cut a few holes in a long tube and he’ll use as a hide and seek toy.

You can leave it at that, or you can use a few shorter tubes (like the toilet paper ones) to create a tube system on the floor of his cage. Just fold the end of the tubes a bit, so they fit into the holes, and make an entire system.

Do keep in mind that it won’t last long, though. Hamsters love cardboard, and will chew their way through it. So the tunnel system will be bitten here and there, and parts of it will be missing. The hamster’s gonna have a great time though, so there’s that.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters love to play, but we’d love to run around in tunnels too. I hang out in my tunnel quite often, and I’ve moved some food there as well, so I have a snack when I go there.

If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us safe and happy.

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4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To Do
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(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.) Keep in mind that most of the cages you find in stores are too small for Syrians, and the accessories that come with them are too small as well. The best cages for Syrians are actually the ones that are suited for ferrets or chinchillas or guinea pigs. But there the space between bars is a problem because the Syrian can escape through them. Giving your hamster a lot of space to run around and play is going to keep him much happier, and he will want to escape much less. In general hamsters need a wide and low cage, instead of one with many levels, but they can enjoy those too. The distance between the cage wires is important, since the hamster can squeeze through them. If they can get their head through, they can get their body through as well. So for Syrians the wire distance should be 0.4 inches/1 cm or smaller, so they can’t get their head through. Siberians and smaller breeds need much less space between the wires. Actually, for the small breeds it’s best to get n glass tank with a wire mesh over the top. My Teddy has a 21 inch by 12/53 cm by 30.5 with 2 extra floors, which give him about double that running space. He has bridges connecting the floors and a thick layer of bedding in case he falls. If your want to know more about what kind of cage to get your hammy, look here to know how to choose a hamster cage. I cover the 3 main types of cage, as well as how to clean the 3 kinds of cages. A scared hamster will try to escape If there is something bothering or even scaring your hamster consistently, he will try to escape. He will try to run as far away as possible, and will keep escaping if you bring him back. This is a case where cage size and temperature and food quality does not matter. So watch your hamster for a few days, and see what keeps spooking him. Pets, kids, lawnmowers, visiting aunts, it could be anything. Find the reason, and figure out a way to keep your hamster safe. An idea would be to keep the hamster in a different room, where nothing can bother him and he can sleep peacefully. This way pets like a very curious cat won’t be able to paw at the poor hamster. If the hamster is scared of you, the owner, then you need to build trust with him. Let him get used to you, let him know your smell, and do not rush him. Check the article on how to tame your hamster. Place your hand into his cage, with a treat on it. He will come to take the food, but possibly run away after that. It’s okay, it’s a step forward. Repeat this every day until your hamster trusts you to touch your hand. From there, small steps towards holding your hamster in your hand, inside the cage. Talk to your hamster, even if he doesn’t understand the words he understands the tone. He knows a friendly tone from a harsh one. A word from Teddy This was about why we hammies try to escape, but really it’s about how you can help us lead a better life with you. A happy hamster might try to escape sometimes, since we are a curious and energetic bunch. But if you keep us well exercised, and with lots of toys and love, we’ll stick around. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we throw our poop around or the best way to feed us, check the articles below. You’ll get lots of great info on hamster care ! [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle In
Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle InIf you’ve got a hamster you probably want to treat him to the best there is. We humans love hammocks, but do hamsters use them ? Would they swing in a hammock like us ? Or would they just ignore it ? I found the answer to this, and I’m here to help you figure out how to make your hamster a happy ball of fur. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters use hammocks ?The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safetyA few examples of safe hamster hammocksOption 1Option 2General precautions when getting your hamster a hammockA word from Teddy So do hamsters use hammocks ? Some hamsters do. Not all hamsters will go crazy over hammocks, but some will love to burrow into that warm fabric. It depends on each hamster’s personality. Some hamsters, like my Teddy, are runners and chewers. Some are diggers, some love to climb more than anything. You can’t guess beforehand which type will like a hammock. But I can tell you that giving a hammock to a hamster who loves to chew (more than other hamsters) is not going to end well. Knowing if your hamster would love hammocks is not going to happen unless you try one. There are some guidelines to follow, and some things to look out for when you put a hammock into your hamster’s cage. So let’s see them. The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safety Hamsters love to chew, they always need to file their teeth down. So this gives them an instinct to chew and nibble on everything they can get their paws on. They’re also very curious and will try out anything with their teeth too, much like a baby human. When it comes to hammocks, the fabric they’re made of is crucial. The wrong fabric can be dangerous for hamsters, some hazards including: choking on loose strings and pieces of fiber swallowing loose fluffy fabric and damaging their digestive system hurting themselves on sharp pieces of metal or plastic in the hammock stuffing loose, fluffy fabric into their cheeks and getting it caught up in their teeth or paws None of those situations are comfortable, for anyone involved. So it’s very important to check the potential hammock for any pieces the hamster could hurt himself on, before you present it to him. A word of caution, hamsters are always looking for soft materials to use for their nests. This is why very fluffy, wooly fabrics are a no go, like plush, fake fur, fur-like textures like on teddy bears, and the lining you will find in some house slippers. So if it’s soft and fluffy and makes you, a human, want to cuddle in it, keep it away from the hamster. He’ll want to do that too, but he won’t just drag it to his nest. He’ll tear it apart and put it in his cheeks, and then get tangled in it. What does this mean, then ? What fabrics are okay to use on in a hammock ? Well, for the most part very flat fabrics work well, the ones the hamster won’t be very tempted to chew on and take back to his nest. Fur-like fabrics would be alright too, if you can find a short-haired version, and not too soft or fluffy or easy to rip a piece out. A few examples of safe hamster hammocks I’ve got here a few examples of hammocks that are safe for hamsters (and other rodents as well), and you can pick whichever you like best. Or pick out a completely different one. That’s up to you, as long as you look at the reviews and take a good look at the material it’s made of. Option 1 This hammock is a fairly large one, and any hamster will definitely fit inside. It’s got metal chains to suspend it inside the cage, and it keeps its shape very well. It can fit something a bit larger than a hamster, like for example a chinchilla, but you can also turn it over, take out the chains, and use it as a hamster hideout. As far as I know there is just the one color option you see, but it’s a very well made product. Washing machine safe, and the material is safe for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Option 2 This one, much smaller, but very colorful, is another option. It’s more of a hut/hideout, but it’s warm and cozy. You’ll be able to spot your hamster right away against the colors of the hammock (blue, red, or pink) and I’m sure he’s enjoy playing in it. Like all hammocks though, it will have bits of food and poop after a few hours of your hamster sitting in it.. That’s okay, since this hammock can be washed safely. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Whichever hammock you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the design and keep an eye on your hamster when he is interacting with it. There’s some general precautions you should take before getting your hamster a hammock, so let’s see those. (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.) General precautions when getting your hamster a hammock When letting your hamster onto the hammock, make sure there are no sharp pieces he can hurt himself on. Sometimes the hammocks are sewn together with a plastic thread, and it sticks out a bit. Or, possibly the metal clips (if there are any) are sticking out or need to be closed better. Most of the time the hammocks that have a bed/lining inside are adorable, but the hamster ends up taking the small bed out. Not sure why, maybe they feel it’s too crowded. But the point is that the walls and inside structure of the hammock needs to be very good and sturdy. If you notice your hamster chewing a bit on the hammock, that’s okay. Some chewing is normal, since hamsters chew absolutely everything. If it turns into cheek-stuffing then you’ll want to remove the hammock, or at least the lining. Hammocks, no matter the brand, can’t withstand the constant wear and tear of a busy hamster for more than a few months. They keep getting into and out of them, clawing at them chewing a bit, soiling them, etc. In time it will show and you might have to replace their old hammock. Make sure the hammock doesn’t have an odd or strong smell  when you first give it to your hamster. Hamsters have very sensitive noses, and won’t like something that smells strong. If need be, you can wash the hammock by itself with the minimum amount of detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener. Finally, if your hamster doesn’t take to the hammock instantly, have patience. He might not understand what it is at first. He might need a few days (some need a few weeks) to get cozy in there, but once they do, they will probably use it as their nest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters do use our hammocks, just not all the time. We’re different, you know; each of us has a different personality. We do appreciate the effort, though ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Tumors And Lumps In Hamsters – Symptoms, Treatment, And Care
Tumors And Lumps In Hamsters – Symptoms, Treatment, And CareYou might have noticed an odd lump on your hamster recently. Is it cancerous ? Is it benign ? Can hamsters survive surgery to remove a tumor ?  We’ll cover tumor and odd lumps in this article, including the options you would have when treating your hamster. This is a situation where you will have to see your hammy’s vet often. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters develop a tumor ?Why tumors appear in hamstersMalignant vs benign tumors in your hamsterSigns and symptoms your hamster has a tumorTreating your hamster’s tumorCommon treatments for the hamster’s tumorCaring for the hamster after surgeryA word from Teddy So can hamsters develop a tumor ? Yes, hamsters can develop tumors. Whether they’re called, lumps, or tumors, the end result is the same. A growth of extra cells, which does not serve a particular purpose and could potentially be fatal. It can affect any part of the hamster’s body, and can come about at any age. There is an increased chance that older hamsters will develop tumors, compared to young hamsters. Tumors are treatable  most of the time, especially if noticed early on. It also depends on the location of the tumor. For example a growth on the outside of the leg is easy to remove, but one on the hamster’s ovary is not. Let’s see how and why tumors come about, so we know what to expect. Why tumors appear in hamsters Tumors appear in hamsters pretty much the same way as they appear in humans. Studies haven’t really pin-pointed the main reason tumors appear in humans, so knowing why they appear in hamsters is just as confusing. However we do know how the tumor forms (this is a very simplistic and sketched-out explanation). Usually the hamster’s cells have a certain programming. They renew every few days, but their programming can go awry sometimes. As such, old cells can forget to die, but new cells still appear. This leads to an overgrowth, which is not exactly healthy. It’s not like the hamster is getting a larger lung which will help him. He is growing part of the lung that does not serve a purpose, and will mess with his other internal organs. Take up room, blood, energy, and keep on expanding. The tumor can become infected sometimes, and this makes the treatment fairly difficult. These cells don’t respond as normal cells would. Malignant vs benign tumors in your hamster There are 2 types of tumors. One is benign, meaning not dangerous nor spreading, while the other is malignant meaning it is spreading to other tissues and can be life-threatening. A benign tumor is just an overgrowth of the cells, but it does not ‘move’ to another part of the body. For example a lump on the leg that just grow to a certain size and then stops, without triggering other growths somewhere else, is benign. A malignant tumor is one that spreads to other ares on or in the body, because the very cells themselves become contagious, in a way. This means that a growth on the leg can produce a growth on the belly and tail as well. The best person to decide whether your hamster’s tumor is dangerous or not is the veterinarian. He will examine the hamster, possibly run him through an ultra-sound to see if there are any odd growth on the inside too. He might also collect a small sample of the tumor, to study it under a microscope. He will come back to you shortly with a diagnosis and a treatment option. Signs and symptoms your hamster has a tumor There are very few clear, external signs of your hamster having a tumor. Aside from the tumor itself, if it is on the skin, or right under the skin and becoming a very large bulge/lump. A noticeable lump will be fleshy, but mostly hard. It will not yield like skin and muscle, and instead feel much like hardened tissue. It does not hurt, but it can press down on certain nerves or blood vessels and thus hurt your hamster. If the lump is on the skin, you will see it straight away. If it is under the skin, it will not be very clear unless you handle your hamster often, and all over. You need to get a feel for all of his little body, so you will notice where there is an extra lump. Do keep in mind that female hamsters have teats along their bellies, and the male Syrians have very large testicles hanging around their tail. Aside from all of this, there are more subtle signs your hamster has a tumor. They don’t necessarily mean there is a tumor present, since they can also indicate other health issues. But here are the most common ones: Low appetite Abnormal droppings – no droppings, bloody droppings, diarrhea (but not necessarily wet tail) Increased thirst (especially for adrenal gland tumors) Lethargy, low energy Huddling in a corner, hiding more often and not coming out too fast Possibly falling over, poor direction (if tumor is affecting inner ear) Weight gain or loss, despite feeding the hamster the same amount (also adrenal gland tumor) Abnormal grooming – much less grooming because the hamster is depleted of energy, or much more grooming since the hamster is licking at the tumor (skin-level) Irritated, grumpy disposition Fur loss, usually in patches If you see these signs, make sure to tell your veterinarian about this. It’s important for him to know everything that has changed with your hamster friend. Treating your hamster’s tumor The first step is to set up an appointment with your veterinarian. You’ll want to look for an vet who has experience with small animals, or even better a vet labeled as ”exotic”. These vets have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will have more knowledge on hamsters than a regular veterinarian. Once you’ve reached your vet’s office, he will look at your hamster and turn him over to see any lumps. There might be an ultra-sound exam too, to see if there are tumors on the inside. If the vet does find a tumor, and it’s easy to access, he will inspect it closely. He might take a sample of the tumor, which means an actual piece (very tiny) of the skin there. This will show him the structure of the cells, and whether they’re malignant or benign. According to what the vet will find out about the hamster, and also the location of the tumor, he will set a diagnostic. Once you know that, you can decide together on a treatment for your hamster. This can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few days, depending on the situation. Common treatments for the hamster’s tumor Usually the treatment for a tumor is to remove it. If the tumor is on the outside, like a growth on the hamster’s leg or back, it will be easy to remove. The vet himself might perform the surgery, or he might enlist a surgeon’s help. However if the tumor is inside the hamster, for example on his kidneys, it is much harder to treat. It can still be removed, but there are a few considerations to take. The first is whether the hamster, small as he is, will survive the anaesthesia and the ensuing surgery, with all the blood loss. The second is that the risks associated with surgery on a very small animal usually are very high, which might mean the hamster would have to be put down. This is only if the tumor is hindering the hamster’s life quality. Deciding to put down the hammy is not easy, and should be thought about very well. You need to take into account whether the hamster can live the rest of his normal life with this tumor. If it’s the kind of tumor that will spread and grow, then it will slowly eat the poor creature from the inside out. This is a case where putting the hamster to sleep would be the most compassionate and human treatment. However if the tumor is fairly small, does not grow in time, but is on the inside and can’t be removed without putting the hammy at risk, this is probably a case where the vet would advise letting the hamster live his life. There is a third option, which involves chemo therapy. As you know from humans that went through such a treatment, chemo is very rough. Many humans do not survive this. Imagine a small, weakened hamster going through it. You could try, however, and see how the hammy responds. Make sure you talk to your vet about all the options you’ve got, and see which you think is best. (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.) Caring for the hamster after surgery If the tumor can be safely removed, them this means your hamster will go through surgery. After he wakes up from his anaesthesia the vet will probably keep him for a day or two, for further observations. Once you can pick up your hamster, you will also get a set of guidelines from your vet. He will let you know exactly how to care for the hamster, as well as many post-op medications he needs to take. Do keep in mind that a hamster out of surgery will have the scar still a bit red and swollen in the first few days. That’s normal until the wound heals. However make sure to check the scar daily, to see if there is an infection. Sometimes, depending on the conditions the hamster is in after the surgery, an infection might occur. This will be noticeable by continued swelling, and pus. The wound will not close properly and will ooze a white-yellow liquid, and might smell bad as well. If this is the case, rush your hamster friend to the vet immediately. Also keep in mind that a hamster who was just under surgery will probably not want to be handled for a few days. He is tired, and sore, and he will possibly try to reach the scar to lick at it and clean it. So resist the temptation to pick up your hamster the first few days after the surgery. As always, the room he lives in must be warm enough, not drafty, and he must be separated from cage mates during his recovery. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies don’t normally get sick, but when we do we need your help. A tumor is definitely something we can’t figure out on our own. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Keeping A Hamster And Cat Under One Roof – Complete Guide
Keeping A Hamster And Cat Under One Roof – Complete GuideWondering 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. Table of Contents ToggleSo can cats and hamsters live together ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the cat’s personalityWhat to look out for when you own a cat and a hamster1. Make sure the hamster’s cage is secureBe very sure the lid is tightly shut, and can’t be opened2. Have a place to put the hamster’s cage so the cage sides are covered3. Never let the cat inside the room when you hamster is out of his cageAt least only keep the hamster in his exercise ball4. Try and distract your cat or keep her away from the hamster’s room or cage5. Have reasonable expectations, cats are curious by natureIf everything else fails, consider giving one of them awayA word from Teddy 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. 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.) 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. [...] Read more...
The Real Reason Hamsters Like Wheels
The Real Reason Hamsters Like WheelsIf you have owned a hamster or if you are currently a hamster owner, one of the things you would instantly notice is how your hamster loves playing with its wheel. The hamster wheel instantly becomes the little animal’s favorite thing in the world, and it will play with it non-stop to the point that an average hamster can go for up to five miles in a single night on a hamster wheel. But what is the real reason why hamsters like wheels? The real reason why hamsters like using their hamster wheels are the fact that they are naturally born to run. Generation of domestication as well as a proper introduction to the hamster wheel has allowed the hamster to associate it with running. As such, your hamster will easily love the hamster wheel once it becomes used to it. Hamsters do love to run but they are usually kept in enclosed cages that really limit their movements and activities. As such, the only way for them to be truly themselves is to run on the hamster wheel, which is basically the only exercise they can get whenever they are kept in their cages. In that sense, the hamster wheel becomes a necessity. But don’t stop there because there are more things you need to know about hamsters and their hamster wheels. Why hamsters like wheels If you are a hamster owner or if you are planning on getting one, one of the first purchases you need to make is a hamster wheel. Every pet store will always tell you to buy a hamster wheel together with the hamster’s cage or habitat because it is a necessity for your tiny pet rodent. And the moment you bring your hamster home and set its cage up with its hamster wheel, it won’t take a long time for it to start running on the wheel. And whenever you try to observe what your hamster is doing while it is awake, it will most likely be on the wheel running. But why exactly do hamsters like wheels? For us to understand why hamsters love their hamster wheels, let us go back to the basic nature of a hamster before they were even domesticated and treated as pets. After all, everything an animal does can be traced back to its natural state in the wild. As rodents, hamsters are usually somewhere near the bottom of the food chain in the wild because they have plenty of natural predators that will not waste time trying to make dinner out of them. That is why hamsters have developed a lot of different habits that allowed them to survive in the wild. After all, if they were so easy for predators to catch, they would have been extinct by now. Hamsters, due to how a lot of predators are more likely to be active during the day, have developed the ability to stay awake and active at night as nocturnal animals. They are usually hiding in their burrows during the day before they try to go out at night whenever it is usually safe for them to forage for food. But, even if hamsters are indeed nocturnal, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have predators at night. A lot of cats and reptiles are nocturnal predators as well and are not hesitant to hunt hamsters whenever they are available for them in the wild. Because hamsters still have predators no matter what time of the day it is, they have developed one of their best basic instincts—to run. Yes, because of the very fact that hamsters need to run a lot in the wild due to how they are nearly at the bottom of the food chain, they have developed the basic instinct to run and run and run whenever they can. Running has become second nature to hamsters regardless of whether or not they are wild or domesticated. That is why hamsters are always running and running even when they are kept in their cages as pets. As such, because running is a part of a hamster’s basic instincts for it to survive, it has carried that nature even after the animal has become a domesticated pet. Hamsters as pets will always find a way to run regardless of whether they are in their cages or are let out of their habitats for a short while. And if they are kept in their cages, they will always find a way to run by making use of their hamster wheels. So, a hamster wheel basically plays into the hamster’s instincts of running. That means that your hamster doesn’t technically love its hamster wheel but it actually loves running. It is only that its hamster wheel is what allows it to be its natural self, which is a tiny rodent that basically spends an entire day running. In fact, hamsters run so much in a single day that they can reach up to five miles on their hamster wheel alone. There was even a time when a single hamster was able to run 26.2 miles on its hamster wheel in a span of five days. If you think about it, most people nowadays can’t even run five miles in a single week. That goes to show how truly active hamsters really are especially when they are given hamster wheels. On top of all that, hamsters are also naturally curious animals that love to explore their surroundings by running around. That is why a lot of hamsters can’t help but run around the house when they are let loose from their cages. So, by giving a hamster a wheel, it is able to satisfy its natural sense of curiosity by allowing it to run around to make it feel like it is exploring. Why hamsters need wheels While we have discussed why hamsters like their wheels, let us go to the discussion of whether they need their wheels and why they need their wheels. First things first, your pet hamster can survive without a wheel because a wheel is not one of its basic necessities. As long as you have found other ways for the hamster to run around and be active, then it can do without a wheel.  However, know for a fact that it still needs a wheel if you are going to keep it in a cage without anything for it to do. As such, this is when a hamster wheel becomes a necessity for a hamster. So, why do hamsters need wheels? Well, the first reason why they need wheels goes back to the hamster’s basic instinct of running. Hamsters are natural runners that need to run a lot every single day because that is what they are used to in the wild for them to survive. So, by giving them hamster wheels and letting them run on those wheels, the hamster can be its natural self again. Moreover, hamster wheels are the best ways for your hamster to stay healthy. As mentioned, hamsters are natural runners that require a lot of constant movement. It is their natural habit as runners that allow them to stay healthy in the wild. So, by giving your hamster a hamster wheel to run on, you are allowing it to stay active so that it can not only burn off those extra calories but also keep itself away from diseases caused by obesity and inactivity. Finally, hamsters have nothing to do in their cages. But by giving them hamster wheels, they can stay mentally and physically stimulated as they are running tirelessly on those wheels. It is a way for them to have a hobby and a pastime so that they won’t end up developing bad habits. Do all hamsters like wheels? It’s not like hamsters like the wheels themselves but it is the act of running on the wheels that they actually love. So, do all hamsters like wheels? Yes, they do but only because the wheels allow them to run around and not because they like the wheels themselves. In that sense, if you were to give your hamster another way for it to run around and stay active, then it might have no need for its hamster wheel. A lot of owners, in this case, would much rather give their pet hamsters a hamster ball where the hamster is kept inside an inflatable ball that it can use to run around the house freely without getting exposed to the outside elements. The hamster ball allows the little animal to stay safe and have a sense of freedom while it is running around outside the confines of its cage. But because there are some dangers in using a hamster ball (such as when your hamster bumps into things and falls down the stairs while using the ball), it is still better for you to use the hamster wheel as its main source of exercise and activity. [...] Read more...