At some point, the boys, when we were still in Illinois, decided that they wanted hamsters. We had Alex and Kirby, but they wanted something else. We tried fish at one time, but no one wanted to be responsible for cleaning the fish bowl and the fish died. And when Chris and I lived together, before we got married, we had a ferret. Ferrets are smelly animals. Alex loved the ferret and was very upset with us when we gave it away (long before David was born).
Personally, I am not an animal person. I love dogs but that is it. I don’t care for cats. My mom had birds when I was growing up and I don’t like birds. Snakes, turtles, frogs, crabs, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, hamsters, ferrets and other small animals are not my idea of a pet. I don’t like them and will admit that I am a bit afraid of them. Dogs, I like dogs, dogs are good pets. Nothing else cuts it in my opinion.
But the boys wanted hamsters. Chris and I discussed it and decided that we would get them hamsters. Chris was supposed to help them keep the cage clean until they were old enough to do it themselves. So off we went to buy hamsters. I got additional tubes and stuff for their cage from freecycle and ebay. Chris would help the kids clean the cage and I would attach the tubes and stuff in funky designs. I didn’t mind that part.
But, then Chris moved to Colorado and I was left with the hamsters. That meant that I had to help the boys clean the cage. I really don’t care for hamsters. And, they bite. Hard. But the boys wanted their hamsters and so I helped them keep the cage clean.
When it came time for the rest of us to move to Colorado, Chris flew to Illinois so he could drive with us. We had a mini-van and in it we had Chris and I, the two boys, the two dogs and the two hamsters. What a trip!
The hamsters seemed to adjust to Colorado. They seemed contented. I was content because Chris was back to helping the boys clean the cage and I didn’t have to deal with it. And then, one day, the hamster cage door was found open (we think we know who left it open – and it wasn’t my boys) and one hamster was missing. The other hamster was dead. In one fell swoop, we had no hamsters.
Honestly, I was sorry about the missing hamster and thought that we didn’t take very good care of him, if he was allowed out of his cage unsupervised. And who knows what happened to him. Did a dog eat him? Did he make it outside? Who knows? I can tell you that I have cleaned the boys’ room from top to bottom and have not seen the hamster.
We cleaned out the cage and put all the pieces in storage. I think that the kids when with Chris over to Uncle Mike’s house to bury the hamster, but I am not sure. And we were blissfully hamster free for a while.
Last year, they started talking about getting hamsters again. I was against it, but they would not be dissuaded and they really didn’t ask for anything else for Christmas. So how was I to say no?
I would have liked to, really. But the boys worked on cleaning their room (although it didn’t stay that way) and they really, really wanted them. So they got new hamsters.
The new hamsters did not want anything to do with being held. They would bite. They would draw blood. It wasn’t much fun (and I don’t like hamsters to begin with). Chris would have trouble breathing and would break out whenever he was around them – cleaning the cage or holding them (if they would let him). The boys don’t feel comfortable cleaning out the cage by themselves. So that means that I get to sit in there whenever they have to do it (and it doesn’t get done as often as it should).
While we bought both hamsters from the same litter, and they were in the same cage at the pet store, they don’t like each other. They fight. A lot. And one hamster was looking pretty beat up. So we put them in different cages so they can’t interact.
The one beat up hamster is looking a bit better since we did that, although he doesn’t look as healthy as the other hamster. His eyes are not as big and protruding and his face seems less round. Is this a difference in hamster genetics? Or the result of being bullied and picked on? I have no clue. But the two hamsters do not look a like at all. They also aren’t happy posing for pictures – they move around and don’t look at the camera. They don’t respond to your voice like a dog would.
The hamsters are much quieter now that they are in separate cages. Did you know that hamsters squeal? Since they are supposed to be nocturnal, it is usually in the middle of the night. And they get quite loud when they are fighting.
I’d like to say that when these hamsters are no more, we will be done with hamsters. I’m not certain that will be the case. As far as pets go, hamsters are fairly cheap. They don’t need walking or shots or much besides food, water, and a cage cleaning every now and again. So, most of my pet arguments aren’t valid. I’d like to say that next time we get hamsters, I will make sure that the boys spend time holding them, etc. so that they learn to trust people and don’t bite. But, as I don’t want to hold them, I can’t say that will happen either.
So, I haven’t quite figured out the allure of hamsters. Maybe one day I will. They are awfully cute, as long as you don’t have to hold them and risk being bitten.