Our family new addition – the pet hamster

I am never fond of animals, big or small. Never have special feelings for dogs, cats, rabbits and have never shown much interest in insects too. But after having children, I know kids, by nature will love these living things.  So, I try very hard to let them understand even though I am scared of animals, I am totally supportive of their love for them. My kids love little pets, like to pat dogs and cats, feed rabbits, show much curiosity in insects and even lizards which is my number 1 fear. Kel caught one recently and kept it in a container as a learning for the kids, but he had to let it go as I was almost screaming every time I need to walk near the container.

So when XX and YH bugged me for a pet hamster, I find myself seriously thinking if I should relent this time round. Having a dog or cat is definitely a NO since I am scared of them. Also, it takes lots of commitment and responsibilities to rear one. The kids have to know that they shouldn’t be having a pet on impulse.  They have to know they are responsible for taking care of the pet if they ever have one, which includes feeding, bathing and cleaning up. Getting a pet hamster might be different and everything seems much scaled down for the following reasons:

1) Hamsters mainly stay in the cage.
2) They do not run around the house and create poos or puddles that Baby YT may pick up to put into his mouth.
3) They do not need to be out for walking.
4) They do not require too much emotional handling.
5) They do not shed furs which may be a big problem if it triggers the allergic reactions in my children who have sensitive noses.
6) Maintenance is low and no grooming is needed for hamster.

With the above reasons, I asked Kel how much he thought would be the total cost of getting a hamster with its complete cage and all.  “Less than $50,” was his answer.  Okay, I thought, in that case, let’s go to the pet shop and get one.  My kids were overjoyed when I told them we would be getting a hamster.

When we reached the pet shop, XX and YH were both taken by a winter white breed.  One look at the price tag showed $18. Well, luckily they did not choose the one that cost $50.  Next, we went on to search for a cage.  We chose a $20+ cage and were to be told by the sales person that cage was for travelling only.  Does anyone actually TRAVEL around with a hamster?? He went on to explain our hamster needed a bigger one so as not to feel stressed. STRESSED!!!??? It never occured to Kel and I that hamsters will feel stress like humans.  Alright then, we took a $48 bigger purple cage.  The salesperson went on to recommend a house for the hamster.  A HOUSE?? Isn’t the cage already the HOUSE? Next, he introduced a vitamin in powder form to be added to the hamster food for 7 weeks.  This vitamin was to stabilize the hamster as it was moving to a new home. It was important for the hamster to be stabilized so that he would not bite for no reason or fall ill.  And the vitamin pack cost $20, which was more expensive than the hamster.  The salesperson went on for other must-haves: the food, a bowl for its food, a chewing block for the hamster to sharpen its teeth with, water bottle, a bath tub for its bath, bath salt, and a big pack of bedding to lay on the bottom of the cage.  This is supposed to cushion its fall while exercising or climbing and to absorb its poo and urine. Then came the long bill, which totaled up to $123! And I have to repeat that the hamster only costs $18. Well, I have agreed to it and started it, I have to agree with the price. And I should have done a wikihow on setting up a hamster cage prior to this.

XX and YH listening seriously on facts about Winter

Touching little Winter for the first time

So, off we went home happily (for the kids) and set up the cage for our dear hamster.  The kids decided to call it “Winter“.  That’s a nice name.

Although the whole hamster set up cost was $123, we think that it is still worth the investment as we can see our kids learning lots from taking care of Winter.

Winter's purple cage

Winter’s purple cage

XX and YH looking at what Winter is doing in the cage

XX and YH looking at what Winter is doing in the cage

So far, they have been feeding Winter by refilling its food and water every 1 or 2 days, change out the entire bedding of the cage once a week, transfer Winter to the bath tub with its bath salt, play with it for several minutes everyday, and sit down in front of Winter’s cage to observe its movement.  They love Winter and love to see him run on the exercise station so fast that he falls off.  They love to see Winter sleeping everywhere in the cage and in many many different positions you can’t imagine.  However, Winter is usually active at night.  XX and YH will take a peek at it if they do wake up in the night to go to the toilet.  I must say Winter brought a lot of joy to the little ones.

YH clearing the bedding from the cage

YH clearing the bedding from the cage

Putting the new bedding in the cage

Putting the new bedding in the cage

Winter in its temporary housing while waiting for his cage to be cleaned

Winter in its temporary housing while waiting for his cage to be cleaned

Ever since we have Winter, I realize XX and YH readily took up the responsibility of caring for Winter. It has been more than a month, and they never push the responsibility of bathing it, feeding it and changing the cage bedding to Kel or me.  For the first few days, Winter was not active and they were disappointed, and I was sad too.  We were worried it might be sick or did not like us.  I would peek at it every time I pass by it.  But now, Winter is active and everyone is happy.

It’s wonderful to know that your kids are capable of caring for a pet. The kids, in turn, love the trust we give them by getting them a pet hamster.  Kel and I are just too happy our kids are learning an enjoyable lesson in responsibility.

What’s your experience in having a pet? Was it a good learning for your kids?

10 thoughts on “Our family new addition – the pet hamster

  1. I think kids can learn so much by having a pet! I grew up taking care of cats, dogs, birds, fish, hamsters, rabbits…. And it was a great experience for me and lots of happy memories…. Unfortunately at the moment we don’t have any pet, since we travel quite a lot, and we are going to move overseas in 2 years. But we are going to get a pet some time in the future!

    • You are right! My kids learn lots too, and I love seeing them taking great care of the hamster. It’s wonderful to see them show love to animals. You must have an interesting life travelling and staying in different countries!

  2. This post caught my attention because we’re currently in the process of contemplating whether to get a hamster or two for our kids! Our eldest has been bugging us for a pet hamster since like… 2 years ago?! But each time, we (or rather, my hubby) refused because we’re not sure if the kids will lose interest after a while and I will be the one left looking after it! But reading this post makes me want to go buy one for my kids. I’ve actually been reading up and I think there’re more pros than cons. Will love to read about the progress of your kids’ adventures with their new pet! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Hi Ing, I am glad that my experience helps you in making a decision to get a pet hamster. I think among all pets, hamster will be a good starter since it really requires minimum taking care of. At the same time, it really provides much joy for my kids and enable some responsibilities upon them. I think overall is a good decision on our part to get one for them. However, I feel getting one hamster is sufficient as more will cause a rapid breeding in which daddy hamsters do eat up their young ones. This can cause too much to handle. Also, as one of the readers had shared, we got a floor rolling travel ball for the hamster and my kids have a great fun following the hamster wherever he goes without fear of losing it. Thanks for dropping by!

      • Hey Ing! Thanks for coming back and telling me about your new hamster! It means lots to me for readers like you to follow up. I hope your kids are enjoying loads with the new hamster. Have you written a post on it to share? I would love to read your experience!

  3. Hi! I’m a fairly new hamster owner–late last year, someone abandoned their two hamsters in a cage, we took one back, and my friend took the other. We got the more aggressive hamster, a female (my daughter named her Sarah). She used to bully her male companion and bite the fur off him. I was starting to think she’s become more gentle because she stopped biting me whenever I had to lift her out of her cage, but this week, she’s suddenly started biting again, and hard! Am wondering what happened! 🙂

    • Hey! So our hamster isn’t the only one who bites! It’s been about 2 mths, and she’s still biting every time my kids carry her out for play. Initially, they were upset about it but now they seem to get used to the initial bite. I think we got an aggressive hamster too. I wonder just like you about why she bites too! Do let me know when you have the answer, yeah? Thanks for sharing here! I love your blog!

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