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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Frosty ... The Hamster

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click image to enlarge
Frosty the hamster as a baby
Photos Courtesy Catya
Baby Frosty and his hamster littermates enjoy an apple treat.
Frosty the hamster out of his cage
Frosty the hamster really enjoyed playing outside of his cage.

Hi, everyone! The other week, I told you about how happy we are to have Douglas at our house. This week, I thought I’d tell you about Douglas’s second cousin once removed, Frosty!

Frosty’s story starts the day before Christmas Eve 2006. Because we knew that his litter would be born near Christmas, we picked out Christmas-y names in advance: Nick, Noel, Holly, Jolly, Ivy, Cindy Lou, etc. Almost all the pups looked just like their dad — they looked like little ’possums. But one boy, smaller than the rest, was different.

This little guy had a beautiful satin white coat, but he was so small and looked so frail that we weren’t sure he would survive. Whenever we breed hamsters, we always keep in mind that the runt doesn’t always make it. We were instantly rooting for this guy, who we quickly named “Frosty,” after the famous snowman, for his shining white fur.

When it was time to send the pups to their new homes, Frosty stayed with us. He reminded us a lot of his grandfather, Spoon, and we loved his little personality. He was really social. I once snuck him to the dinner table hidden in the sleeve of my hoodie, where he slept contentedly until dessert, when I blew our cover by giggling because his squirming tickled me. Some hamsters get anxious after they’ve been out of their cage for a while. Frosty truly enjoyed his time out of the cage, playing with us and exploring the world.

In fact, he loved to explore the world so much that he learned to escape from his exercise ball and meander around our living room. Once we figured this out, instead of taping the ball shut to stop him, we made sure that the living room was hamster-safe and that he couldn’t leave it, and it became his big playground. He always came when we called him, although when he didn’t want to go home just yet he only peeked out from under the furniture where we could see him but not grab him! He managed to slip out of the living room a few times, surprising me in my room or Dad in the kitchen; whenever he was loose, we warned everyone to watch their step.

In the wild, rodents have a routine they follow when they’re running through their territory — certain places they stop to check on their stores, cozy spots to take a rest, and so forth. Frosty was no different. He decided that the living room belonged to him, and he went from underneath the shelves to the hearth to the TV cabinet to the couch. Finally, he sat on the flat base of a lamp near the piano, groomed himself and waited for us to take him home. He always made his rounds in a casual, confident manner; not scurrying around like a frightened animal. Frosty’s time was a special time at our house, and I can’t hear a certain Christmas song without thinking of my own magical friend who came one Christmas.

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