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Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Hamster-Sitting Basics

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
hamster and children
Catya's young cousins learn about hamsters. 
learning about hamster care
Photos Courtesy of Catya
Catya's young cousin is hamster-sitting for her this week.

Hello from Arizona, everybody! This week finds me on vacation here in the saguaro state, visiting dear relatives and enjoying the desert weather. As you know from a previous blog post, I have a wonderful hamster-sitter, Liz, who takes care of my little ones whenever I have to travel. But this week, she has a little extra help!

Last week, during family Christmas celebrations, we had some small cousins over at our house to visit. One of them is thinking about becoming a hamster owner, but his mom isn’t totally sure about the whole thing just yet. While he was at my house, I showed him all the hamsters, told him about the different kinds of hamsters and talked to him about taking care of hamsters. He was enthusiastic about learning the ropes, and his parents were determined that if they became a hamster family, they would do it right.

During our conversation, his mom and I struck upon the idea of letting him try his hand at cleaning a hamster cage. My pair of Roborovski hamsters with Klingon names, Koloth and Kras, was due for a cage cleaning that day, and they’re pretty friendly and mellow (for Robs!), so I pulled out their cage and walked him through the process. I showed him how to safely pick up a squirmy Roborovski by cupping his hands like he’s holding water and scooping up the hamster gently, how to wash a wheel, how to change a water bottle and how to give Roborovski hamsters just the right amount of food.

My cousin passed cage cleaning 101 with flying colors. Since he did so well, and I was going to be out of town next week, I realized that it would be perfect if he could baby-sit the Klingon lads while I was away, and his mom agreed.

So we packed the Klingon hamster boys with enough extra food and bedding for their cage cleaning at the end of the week, a container of tofu for their morning snacks and a binder with all the hamster care instructions that my cousin, aunt and uncle would need. I think it’s going to be a wonderful experience for both the Klingons and my cousin. His parents are really conscientious and would never let anything bad happen to my hamsters, and my cousin is very responsible for a seven-and-a-half-year-old.

Although Roborovski hamsters aren’t a good pet for people as young as he, spending a week with them is enough to know if he’d enjoy owning another hamster species. I think that this is the perfect way for him to try out hamster ownership for a little while and see if it’s his cup of tea.

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aww cute
Tommy, Pocatello, ID
Posted: 2/23/2010 9:53:27 AM
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