A few years ago, my daughter and I took a trip to the local "big box" pet store in search of some cat toys. When we got there we found they were holding a big "free hamster" event. I took a quick look at the free hamster cage and saw there was only one left. Foolishly I told my daughter that if there were any left when we were done, she could get one...
I say foolishly because I did not realize they were using the "rice krispie treat" marketing method. You know it from the commercials. They leave one bar in the box so the customer wants to buy it as it is the "last" one. Once the customer leaves they drop another "last" one in the box.
At any rate, we walked around the store and found the cat items we were looking for.
OK, I know what you are thinking. If you read my earlier cat posts you would know I have six cats in my house. At the time we only had four as the Siamese were not yet living with us. So, you are probably wondering why someone with four cats would be buying a hamster. Well...
My daughter had recently gotten caught up in the Hamtaro craze that was sweeping the cartoon-aged kids of the country. She wanted a hamster, and that was that. Of course she wanted a cute cuddly teddy bear hamster, but those cost money. We did get a hamster... an "evil" hamster!
Yes, we got a very nasty dwarf hamster. A hamster that bit me as soon as we got home!
Back to the story...
The hamster was not exactly "free" though, you had to buy a cage to get the hamster. So, we looked around and picked out a SAMS cage. It's similar to Habitrail and was only about $30. We also had to buy bedding and food.
In the end, the "free" hamster cost me about $50!
On the ride home the surly hamster was just going nuts trying to get out of his little box. We made a quick pit stop at my wife's work to show her when it dawned on me... my wife has a rodent allergy.
In my zeal to put a smile on my daughter's face I forgot all about my wife's allergies... she did not. As soon as we walked into her work she looked at us and said, "What is that?" When my daughter told her she looked at me, "you do remember I'm allergic to hamsters? What possessed you to bring an animal that you know I am allergic to into our house? Have you also forgotten about our four cats?"
Yeah, I screwed up. I admitted it and then we left.
Once we got home we put the cage together and when I went to put the hamster in the cage, he bit me! After he bit me I just tilted the box and "poured" him into the cage. He needed a name; we named him "Evil Ham."
My daughter wanted to keep him in her room but we ended up putting him in the living room on top of the TV cabinet. It took a few hours before the cats noticed him... Once they did, they would just sort of stare at him... Sometimes they would jump up and look at him but mostly, they didn't care much.
Over time we bought extra tubes and added them onto his habitat. At one point we had so many tubes that we had to add extra weights to the bottom of the cage to keep it from falling over.
After we had him for about 16 months, we got the first of the Siamese, Kiko.
Kiko had a "thing" for the hamster. A short time after we got Kiko the hamster died of old age.
We had a short service for him and buried him in the flower garden, right next to a fish that had died before we got the hamster.
Soon enough, my daughter was bugging us for another hamster. My wife relented and we got a new hamster. This time we paid for the hamster and got a good one.
We got a "Panda" hamster that is named "Panda-Ham" and is very large. The hamster is so large that we ended up selling the old cage as he could not fit through the tubes!
We bought a mostly wire cage with a few short tubes that the hamster "crawls" through at a low rate of speed. Where Evil-Ham would fly through the tubes at break-neck speed Panda-Ham just sort of ponders through them.
When Evil-Ham came to a dead-end he could flip over and turn around, Panda-Ham has to back up.
Due to Kiko's "thing" with hamsters we had to move Panda-Ham's cage on top of our computer cabinet. For a while this worked but, eventually, Kiko managed to jump the five feet from a nearby table to get on top of the cabinet.
For a while he would just sit up there and stare at the hamster, but one day, he pushed it down...
It was early in the morning and I was about to get up when I heard this very loud crash! I jumped out of bed to see the hamster cage in pieces (it was part metal and part plastic) and a very guilty looking Kiko on the floor looking for a hamster-snack!
I wasted no time moving the cats out of the way and finding the hamster. It bit me!
Well, I can understand why this normally friendly hamster bit me. I mean, it just fell about six feet to floor to have it's home smashed and then to be chased by a hungry cat!
I duct taped the cage back together and put it in the basement.
I bought a new cage a few days later but kept him in the basement.
I finally found a new home for him in the bathroom on top of a cabinet with *no* tables nearby for a cat to jump up from.
One funny thing about this hamster is that he loves the hamster wheel, even though he hardly fits in it! To see him running in it is quite comical as he has to arch his back to avoid hitting the spindle in the middle. Due to his large size, when he runs, you hear a very loud, "ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk" all throughout the house!