Are You Ready For A Hamster?

by Hamster Care
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Are you ready for a hamster?

Should I get a hamster? It is easy for anyone to say that they want to get a hamster. Whether or not one should get a hamster is, however, another issue altogether.

Before you continue reading, do go through this short quiz to see if you are indeed ready to get a hamster.

SHOULD I GET A HAMSTER? A short quiz for you to find out if you are ready for a hamster!

1. People living with me are okay with me getting a hamster
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point
6. I am ready to be the primary caretaker of the hamster
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point
2. I will be making big sacrifices in my life to raise a hamster (e.g. starving myself, getting chased out by the landlord)
* Yes: 0 point
* No: 1 point
7. If one day I am unable to take care of the hamster, I will find someone suitable to adopt it
* Yes: 1 point
* No: -10 point
3. I have decided on a specific spot in my house big enough to house a cage
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point
8. I will be home every night to interact with the hamster
* Yes: 2 point
* No: 1 point
4. I have enough savings to buy hamster necessities and toys
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point
9. I am willing to bring my hamster to the vet if it is sick or injured
* Yes, always: 2 points
* Only if it’s serious: 1 point
* No: 0 point
5. I am buying this hamster for myself
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point
10. Before I go overseas or am busy, I can find someone who can help take care of my hamster
* Yes: 1 point
* No: 0 point

Quiz results:

  • 12 points: You are definitely ready to get your very own hamster!
  • 9 to 11 points: You are on your way to becoming hamster-ready, but not yet!
  • -10 to 8 points: You should not get a hamster now…

This article provides you with information on the factors to consider before getting your very own hamster. Hamsters are not as low-maintenance as one may think, and it is vital that you ensure that you are able and committed to provide your hamster the best life it can get.

Factors to consider:

Space

Having an adequately spacious cage is crucial. You should, ask yourself if your house is big enough to house a sufficiently large cage for your incoming hamster.

Syrians are the biggest out of all the domesticated hamster species and, consequently, also require more space to thrive. Make sure that you are able to set aside a minimum of 80cm x 50cm of space for your Syrian’s cage.

Followingly, dwarves are able to make do with slightly smaller cages. A minimum of 70cm x 40cm is required.

As the saying goes, size (really) matters.

Time

Devoting a substantial amount of time is part and parcel of caring for another living thing. A hamster does not only need a cage, food, and water, but also lots of love and attention from its pawrent!

As a responsible parent, be sure to allocate time every day to ensure that your hamsters’ needs are taken care of. For instance, food and water should be replenished constantly, and intake monitored accordingly. Handle your hamster every day to bond with it.

Fun fact: Hamsters that have bonded well with their parents are almost always easier to tame.

Set aside some time every night to interact with your hamster outside of their cages. Just like humans, hamsters enjoy exploring, so let them embark on some living room or bedroom “travels” to discover different scents and textures. The experience keeps their brains stimulated and is great for their mental wellbeing. We suggest buying a playpen or bordering off a specific part of your house for your hamster to safely roam around in. This “playpen time” is also an excellent opportunity to bond with your hamster, especially if it is wide enough to comfortably house the both of you.

How much time should you allocate for exploration? Well, the appropriate amount of playpen time depends on your hamster’s energy level. For instance, Syrians tend to require more as they are generally more active. More information on the recommended playpen time for the different species can be found in the second part of this article series.

Budget

Cages

An appropriately sized hamster cage can be hefty investment, especially with Syrians, which naturally require larger cages. Parents of dwarves who find themselves on a tight budget may want to consider purchasing the IKEA Samla Bin, which is the most affordable cage available for purchase in Singapore. However, the general lack of ventilation in the bins requires parents to invest some time, money, and effort upfront for the reconstruction of the bin for hamster use.

Accessories

The Bigger Hamster, Bigger Budget rule also holds true for accessories: 21cm wheels (recommended size for dwarves) can be found for SGD3 (Carno saucers from Shopee) for dwarves; 27cm wheels (recommended size for Syrians) usually start from SG20. If your budget is on the lower end but still want something fun and safe for your hamster, we’ll let you in on the best kept parent secret: mason jars! Grab them from Daiso for just SGD2 for pretty cage accessory that your hamster will love you for.

Daily necessities

Hamster necessities are generally quite affordable. Substrates/bedding, food, sand, etc are readily available in Singapore and retail for reasonable prices. The Kaytee Clean & Cozy bedding can be bought for SGD20. A pack of Versele Laga Hamster Nature costs around SGD8-10, while a carton of Versele Laga Chinchilla Bathing Sand will set you back by at least SGD14.

The price tags of your favourite hamster care products vary according to retailer, so budget-savvy parents would be wise to do their homework and compare prices before making purchases. It is important to note that the Bigger Hamster, Bigger Budget rule applies here in the sense that Syrians have larger cages, which require more substrate and bedding, which then translates into a slightly higher cost of upkeep.

Medical care

Last but definitely not least, all pawrents should be financially capable and mentally prepared to foot medical Bill’s for their hamsters when they fall sick or get injured. Responsible pawrents seek veterinary help as soon as they spot something odd with their hamsters, and will readily fork out around SGD60 for a typical consultation with a vet specialising in hamsters. As good pawrents, we are willing and prepared to part with our money to ensure our hamster’s wellbeing and to save their lives.

Household members

Hamsters are family, and family should live together in harmony. Make sure all members of your household, be it grandparents, tenants, co-tenants etc, are on the same page as you and warmly welcome the hamster as an addition to the family. For every person in your family who disapproves of the hamster, the challenges of looking after it increases.

For parents of children who want a pet hamster, designate at least one primary caretaker. This is a must. The primary caretaker may be anyone who has the time, and required physical and cognitive skills, to maintain the hamster’s cage as well as handle the hamster safely.

Please note that every one of your children’s interactions with hamsters should be monitored very closely at all times. Realistically speaking however, the duty of primary caretaker ultimately ends up falling to the adults.

Hence, unless you are personally committed to investing the necessary time and finances to care for a hamster, we advise against getting a hamster, or any living pet for that matter. Getting a pet to make your child happy might seem like an act of love and kindness, but pets are not toys, so when children’s whims turn and they neglect their hamster, it becomes sheer cruelty.

Furthermore, hamsters must be tamed before they can safely interact with children. This means that, even if your children are mature and gentle enough to handle the hamster gently and carefully, there is no guarantee that the hamster will not bite if it has not been tamed. If the hamster you bring home turns out to be excessively timid or aggressive, you may end up with a ‘display’ hamster which no one will be able to touch but everyone has to continue to care for all the same. If this scenario is unacceptable to you, we also advise against bringing a hamster home.

Hamsters are living, breathing beings like us, and require a long term, steadfast commitment, so only make the decision to adopt a hamster if you are ready to care for it through even the worst case scenarios.

If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!

Waiting for our next post here.

By HamsterCareTip.Com

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