Hamsters make awesome pets for most people, and there are plenty of reasons to get one as a companion. However, not all people are going to make good hamster owners. In this post, we’re going to talk about if you would be a good hamster owner, or if you should consider a different pet.
I’m going to ask some very important questions, which I will talk in depth about, and you’ll need to seriously consider before you bring a hamster into your home.
You should not get a hamster for someone without their knowledge. Pets are not presents. If you don’t have the knowledge, funds, time, ability, lifestyle, and interest to care for a hamster for its entire life, it’s not the pet for you. Age does not really matter; it’s maturity and ability primarily.
I do have blog posts on most if not all the topics we’ll be discussing, and those are linked at the end of the post for your reading and learning pleasure 🙂
Do I Have the Knowledge?
Hamsters require more than they seem, and if you have not done any research, then a lot can go wrong.
This is the easiest problem to solve. You do need to invest a few hours into your research, but once you have you’ll feel prepared, and caring for your new pet will be a lot more fun for you.
Literally copy and paste each of the following items into Google and read/watch from a few different sources. These are all the basic things you’ll need to know:
- Proper hamster caging 450+ square inches
- Safe hamster substrates
- Hamster dietary needs
- Watering your hamster
- Hamster chewing toy information
- Enriching a hamster
- Hamster taming
- Where to get a hamster?
- Safe hamster nesting material
- Basic hamster illnesses/symptoms
- Which hamster species to get
- Hamster wheel information
- Hamster emergency funds
And there are SO many ways to gain hamster knowledge! There are blogs, YouTube channels, forums, and books. However you want to learn, there’s a way!
Some great places/people to learn from:
- ErinsAnimals – Watch This Playlist
- Victoria Raechel – Watch This Playlist
- Hopping Hammy – Watch This Playlist
- Beanie the Hamster (This Blog)
Do I Have the Funds?
When you get a hamster you have to be totally responsible for all their needs, and otherwise it’s not your hamster. A fact of life is that things cost money, hamster supplies/care included.
If someone else is paying for your hamster’s supplies it is not your hamster. You are taking care of their hamster for free.
A hamster’s needs can be expensive, especially if you need to make an emergency vet visit. The first month is the most expensive, since you need to buy a good, large cage, water bottle or bowl, toys, chew toys, substrate, and food.
After the first month you’re only buying food, substrate, new chews, buying/making new toys, and possibly buying the odd pack of treats.
The cost of a hamster depends on what you buy for them. The original reason I started this blog was to show you all how to make budget-friendly hamster toys, and that you don’t need tons of cash to own a hamster, but they do cost money to own. If you cannot afford to buy what a hamster needs then it’s not the pet for you.
Do I Have the Time?
Hamsters are cage-pets, meaning they live in a cage and need to be taken out daily to run around and explore. Since they are domestic animals they also need to be fed, watered, and cleaned up after. You should be checking on your hamster daily, and taking them out at least every other day for a minimum of 30 minutes. They need to be spot cleaned (clean out the bathroom corner) weekly, deep cleaned (wash cage and add new substrate) monthly, fed daily or bi-daily, and watered daily to weekly depending on whether you’re using a bottle or bowl.
You want to plan on spending 45 minutes or more caring for and playing with your hamster daily, for their 1-4 year lifespan. Hamsters are also nocturnal, so this time spent with your hamster might be very late at night, or super early in the morning. Waking your hamster in the daytime to play is not humane.
Do I Have the Ability?
Hamsters are small, messy, quick, delicate animals. Most kids and some adults cannot properly care for a hamster in the interaction department. Holding them carefully and cleaning the cage may be things some people are not capable of doing safely.
You should not need supervision to own a hamster. In the cases where people (usually kids) need supervision the hamster doesn’t get cared for enough.
You need to be physically able to spot clean (clean out urine and feces), deep clean (wash cage), feed, water, and play with a hamster before you get one.
If you aren’t capable of being the sole caretaker of a hamster, you should talk to your family about getting a family hamster, where everyone helps take care of it! There’s no reason a whole family can’t provide what a hamster needs.
Will a Hamster Fit Into My Lifestyle?
Everyone’s life is different, and sometimes a hamster just isn’t the pet for you. Maybe you travel a lot, or just really can’t stay up late to play with a hamster. Whatever the case, you have to consider if your life really has room in it for a hamster.
Am I Interested In Hamsters?
This is probably the most important question of them all: am I interested enough in hamsters not to become bored of owning one? When you bring a pet into your home they are your responsibility, and if you are not interested in them they will get neglected.
When you have an interest in something you diligently do your best to get it right; when you lose interest you forget or find excuses not to do it. When you lose interest in living, breathing animals it is much different than no longer wanting to do your homework.
This is why I recommend waiting a month after you think, ‘I want a hamster,’ before actually getting one. A month later you will know whether or not you are as passionate about getting a hamster as you thought, and you’d have had time to research their care so you know how to properly care for a hamster.
Go ahead, ask yourself:
- Do I have the knowledge to properly care for a hamster?
- Do I have the funds to provide proper care and and
- enrichment for a hamster for their lifetime?
- Do I have the time for daily care and playtime?
- Do I have the ability to provide the required care?
- Will a hamster fit into my lifestyle, or should I consider another pet?
- Am I interested enough in hamsters not to become bored of owning one?
When you are considering getting any pet, you need to ask yourself these questions.
If a hamster isn’t for you right now, it is just best to wait. You won’t regret waiting, or never getting a hamster after all if it doesn’t work out for you. If you decide you don’t really want one after all, that’s totally fine. If you told people you wanted a hamster and decide you really don’t want one after all, you can say no.
If you agree with my points and you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!
- Ways to Enrich Your Hamster
- Water Bottles vs Bowls
- All About Wet Tail
- The Basic Syrian Hamster Care Guide
- Sanitizing Hamster Supplies/Toys
- Annoying Hamster Traits
- Hamsters and Allergies
- Keeping Hamsters Safe From Other Pets
- Free Roaming Hamsters
- Everything To Know About Hamster Seed Mixes
- All About Hamster Wheels
- Why Give Hamsters Naturalistic Lifestyles?