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Catya, a California Hamster Association judge Catya - Growing Up Hamster

Catya is a high school senior from Southern California. Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She is also a harpist and an amateur fencer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Final Hamster Blog

Dear Readers: As you read this, I am 2,000 miles away from home and my hamsters. After eight years of growing up hamster, and two years of blogging about it, I’m starting a new journey as a university student. View Blog>>

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
A Tribute To My Hamster Blog Readers

Hello, everyone! It’s hard to believe, but the summer is almost over. Soon, it’ll be back to school for a lot of my readers — and me! Before I head off to school, I wanted to take a moment to thank my awesome readers! I’ve been writing this blog for a while now (more than two years!), and you guys and gals have been there from the start with great comments and questions for me. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thanking An Awesome, Hamster-Knowledgeable Veterinarian

Hey, everybody! I’m back from Arizona, and I’m hoping you’re all having a great summer and staying cool! Last week, I took Lassie my Roborovski hamster to the vet. She has a bit of a cyst on her ear that needed to be checked. While I was at the vet’s office, I realized that this might be the last time I see my vet before I go off to school. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Hamsters And Deserts

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! This week finds me in the land of saguaro cacti and 105 degree temperatures — Arizona! My family is taking the week to visit relatives here. With my wonderful hamster-sitter on duty, I don’t need to worry about my hamsters, but I do still miss them. Out here under the desert sky, I wonder about how Roborovski hamsters survive in their natural habitat — the deserts of Mongolia and Northern China. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Appreciating The California Hamster Association

Hello, everybody! This weekend, the California Hamster Association just had another successful hamster show. We had a lot of new faces and people who were just getting their first hamsters here at the show, but we also had a lot of returning club members. My favorite parts of a hamster show are actually after the judging, when all the hamster breeders and owners get to “talk shop” and catch up with each other. View Blog>>

Wednesday, june 9, 2010
Roborovski Hamster Years

Hi, everyone! I don’t know about you, but I’m finally on summer break! Woohoo! Good luck to any of my readers who still have finals. Last time, I wrote about “Old Man Rufus.” That got me thinking — have any of my other Roborovski hamsters lived that long? Fortunately, between the Family Tree maker software and the Excel spreadsheets I’ve been using for my research project, I was able to find all of the data. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Old Man Rufus The Hamster

Hello, everybody! We’re almost to the end of the school year, so my hamsters and I are starting to get ready for summer. This summer, there are going to be a lot of hamster birthdays! View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Hamsters As Recovery Buddies

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day. And as the school year winds down, I hope we all make it through all of our standardized tests and finals! The big news in my house these days is that my brother Kevin is currently recovering from an orthodontic jaw surgery. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Hamsters Helios And Ra

Hello, everybody! I hope that everyone who went to the Pet Expo had a wonderful time! This morning, I was giving my hamsters their morning treats (it was scrambled eggs today), and when I reached the brothers Helios and Ra, I had to stop and marvel a little bit. The remarkable thing about Helios and Ra, aside from the fact that they’re as sweet as can be, is that they’re both blind. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Hamsters And College 

Hi, everyone! As I write this, I’m about thousands of feet above the United States, flying home from a campus preview weekend at one of the schools I’ve been accepted to. It was a ton of fun! I got to tour their amazing research labs and sit in on classes, and, best of all, I met other prospective students. A lot of them had pets (dogs and cats and guinea pigs), but I seemed to be nearly the only hamster owner there! Thinking about this fact, and checking up with my hamster-sitter while I was gone, reminded me of how much I owe to my hamsters. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Hamsters Meet A Paper Visitor 

Hi everybody! This week, the hamsters and I have a special visitor. He came to us from out-of-state through a long and fascinating journey. You may have heard of “Flat Stanley,” a character from a book who finds that he can travel all over the world by mailing himself in envelopes. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Douglas The Hamster's Green Mystery 

Hello, everybody! Once again, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the one day a year when everybody is a little bit Irish — even, apparently, hamsters. You know the tradition of the wearing of the green? In some countries, if you’re not wearing anything green on St. Patrick’s Day, you get pinched. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Hamsters And Hoarding 

Hi, everyone! I just got back from a “preview weekend” at a university that I’m considering. I had a lot of fun and met some awesome people, but I missed my hamsters over the weekend. Every time that I come back to my hamsters after a few days away from them, I'm always struck by all the wonderfully quirky things that they do!  View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Hamster Valentine's Day 

Hello again, everyone! I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day! Whether you think that the holiday is about cards, flowers and candy, or about spending time with the people you love, if you’re a hamster owner, there’s a special family member you shouldn’t forget on Valentine’s Day — your hamster! View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
All In The (Hamster) Family 

Hi, everybody! Since my last blog, the California Hamster Association had their January show, and it was awesome. The show packed the house to its fullest, and everyone had a grand time. There were a few familiar faces returning, including the wonderful folks from Wee Companions, but also lots of newcomers. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Downtime With My Hamster Homies 

Hi, everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I can’t believe that my school break is over this week! My classes are starting again, and my brothers and sister have gone back to college. The house is a lot quieter without all four of us here, let me tell you! What a break it was, though. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Hamster-Sitting Basics 

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! View Blog>>

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Hamsters And The Meaning Of Christmas 

Happy Holidays, everybody! By the time you read this, it will almost be Christmas Eve. Maybe you will have your whole family at home — all my siblings are home from college and graduate school — or maybe you’re planning a more quiet celebration. Maybe you’ve got everything ready for the holidays, or maybe, like me, you’ve got just a touch more shopping to do. View Blog>>

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Hamster Re-Gifting 

Hi, everyone! Here in Southern California, we’ve been having rainy weather this week. At the park near my house, all the ducks spend their time huddled under the trees looking cold and grumpy. But the ducks aren’t alone — there’s a pair of bunnies that live there, too! View Blog>>

Wednesday, november 25, 2009
Douglas The Hamster Customizes The Couch 

Hi again, everyone! It’s almost Thanksgiving, when my American readers like to be mindful of all the things they are grateful for. This year, I’m grateful that my dad’s hamster isn’t stuck in our couch! It’s funny that I wrote my last blog about my dad’s hamster, Douglas, and his nightly playtime in the living room, because just the other day we had an interesting incident. View Blog>>

Wednesday, november 11, 2009
A Year With Douglas The Hamster 

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween with your hamster friends. The other day, I realized that it’s been nearly a year since my dad got his very own hamster, Douglas. You got to hear all about Douglas when we first got him, so I thought you might like an update. View Blog>>

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Hamsters That Go Bump In The Night 

Boo! It’s that time of year again — spooky decorations are on every corner, scary movies are in every theater, and tricks and treats are on everyone’s mind. (Speaking of treats, be sure to save your pumpkin seeds for your hamster friends. Check out my October blog from last year for a good recipe). We hamster owners don’t need ghosts or goblins to fill the night with strange noises and mysterious happenings — our hamsters create plenty of those! View Blog>>

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A New Location For The October Hamster Show 

Hi, everybody! This past Saturday the California Hamster Association had another great hamster show. We tested a new location for our shows, and I think it was a major success. Normally, we have the shows at a park in Lake Forest, California, or at a member’s house in Orange County. But this time, we chose to have our show at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Hamster Memory

Hi, everyone! I’m having a lot of fun in school right now, taking chemistry, physics and music theory, along with other things. I’m finding that many of my classes demand a lot of memorization. I have to remember how to name ionic compounds (and you can’t just call them all “Ted”); I have to remember the equations and formulas for physics (F=ma, don’t push on a rope); and I have to remember what class comes after the next and what rooms they’re in! Thinking about how to master my own memory has gotten me thinking about hamsters and their memories. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Evacuating Hamsters

Hello, everyone! Here in Southern California, we’ve been battling the biggest wildfire in L.A. county history. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and more than 80 homes have been damaged or destroyed. My heart goes out to the families of the two firefighters who gave their lives protecting others. The fire is well away from where I live, but it brought back memories of the time that a fire forced me and my critters to evacuate. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
From Horses To Hamsters

Hi, everybody! Can you believe that summer is nearly over? I’ve already started classes again, and my college-aged siblings are heading back one by one. Before the end of summer, my family always likes to do something fun together. This year, we took a day trip up to Big Bear, our old stomping grounds. View Blog>>

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hamster Rescue Organizations

Hello, everyone! Two weekends ago, the California Hamster Association had a hamster show. I’ve written before about how awesome hamster shows are — they’re a great place to meet other hamster owners and learn about hamster showing and breeding. But this time, I want to talk about some special people who sometimes come to hamster shows — hamster rescuers. View Blog>>

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hamsters And Engineering

Hello again, everyone! I’m back from the last camp of the summer, and I am so glad to see all of my hamster friends again! I had a ton of fun at engineering camp, but I missed my fuzzy buddies. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Hamster Boys Will Be Boys

Hello again, everyone! I had tons of fun at my harp camp, meeting other young harpists and learning lots. One of the things that I learned is that apparently not many harpists also breed hamsters! I did meet a few who owned hamsters, and got to hear some interesting stories. View Blog>>

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Sending Thanks To A Great Hamster-Sitter

I’ve had two harp-related excursions this summer — harp camp and a harp convention. Soon, I’ll be off to an engineering camp in Indiana! Quite a busy summer, and none of it would be possible without the help of my dedicated hamster-sitter. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Great Hamster Dads

Last Sunday, to celebrate Father’s Day, my siblings and I treated my dad to a home-cooked meal, complete with homemade brownies. Father’s Day reminded us of how lucky we are to have such a great dad. I was also reminded of some of my hamsters who have been great dads, too. View Blog>>

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Story of Stapleton The Hamster

Salutations! I got to make another trip to the veterinarian last week. This time, it was for one of my brother’s hamsters. You may remember Stapleton from the Christmas blog (he’s the one in the stocking looking all adorable).  View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Hamsters Named Spot

Hello again, everyone! I hope you had a good Memorial Day. Summer’s just around the bend! I’ve told you a bit about taking care of Roborovski pups, and how exciting it can be to breed hamsters. Today I want to talk to you about a time when things didn’t go as planned, but worked out alright in the end. View Blog>>

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Hamster Houdinis

My favorite part of writing this blog is hearing from my readers. Recently, one of my faithful readers, who always has great comments, asked me what I do when my hamsters escape. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Hamster Teeth

Hello again, everyone! The Pet Expo was awesome this year. I had some great conversations with many hamster owners (and future hamster owners) and everyone learned a lot, including me. I can’t wait for next year! View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Aging Hamsters

Hello again, everyone! I hope you all had a good Easter and Passover. I enjoyed the spring break from my busy schoolwork, and took the opportunity to spend more quality time with my hamsters. These days, my hamsters need more time than ever. View Blog>>

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
California Hamster Association Members At The Pet Expo

Hey, everyone! Two weeks ago, I wrote a little about America’s Family Pet Expo and told some stories from my experiences there. Today, I wanted to share some more about the Pet Expo from a different angle. View Blog>> 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Hamster Talk At The Pet Expo

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Believe it or not, this is actually a popular holiday with hamsters. Legend has it that St. Patty drove all the snakes out of Ireland, and that is something hamsters approve of 100 percent. View Blog>>

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Roborovski Hamster Research Revealed

This past Saturday, I was at the Honors Research Symposium giving a presentation of my research into Roborovski hamster genetics. I’ve written a bit about this before, but I just wanted to share with you how amazing it felt to finally see this come to its conclusion. Well over a year’s worth of effort has led to this day. View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Hamsters And The Internet

Hello again, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a great day to think about all the special people in your life, but it’s also a good day to think about the special animals you know. So this Valentine’s Day, I gave all of my hamsters a kiss and some sunflower seeds. View Blog>>

Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Greatest (Hamster) Show On Earth

Greetings, beloved readers! (I noticed that I almost always begin with the same salutation, so I’m “mixin’ it up,” as they say.) I hope everyone had a great weekend – I most certainly had a fantastic weekend! You see, we had a California Hamster Association show this weekend. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Mystery Genes

Hello, everyone! Last time I told you about hamster breeding, and how I was waiting to see if my research would be accepted. Well, I have some good news to share with you. My abstract was accepted, and I present my research in February! In celebration, I’d like to tell you a bit about what I’m researching. View Blog>>

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Hamster Pups

Hi, everyone! Happy New Year! I hope your 2009 has been good so far, and that it will continue to be. This looks to be quite a year for me, with lots of exciting things coming my way. Hopefully, one of those things will be presenting original research at a research conference. View Blog>>

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
’Twas The Blog Before Christmas

’Twas the blog before Christmas, and all through the house, Many hamsters were stirring, but none was a mouse. The critters were grooming and cleaning their hair, In the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. View Blog>>

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

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! View Blog>>

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thoughts On Rhino

This weekend, I went to the movies, like practically everyone else. The movie I saw was quite popular with young people, featuring a star that is cute and pale. No, not that movie — I saw Bolt, by Disney. I wanted to find out about the hamster character, Rhino. View Blog>>  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Welcome, Douglas Cement Mixer O'Spoon!

Hi again, everyone. I hope you had a happy and safe Halloween. Here at my house, there's a bit of exciting news. We've added a new member to our hamster family, and the proud "parent" is none other than my dad! View Blog>>

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Trick or Treat

Halloween is just around the corner, and everyone’s getting excited about dressing up, going trick-or-treating and consuming vast quantities of candy. Some people’s pets even get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up. As a hamster owner, however, I’ve had very limited success with costuming my furry friends. View Blog>>

Friday, October 17, 2008
Hamsters And Heat

Hello, everyone! It was great to hear what you had to say about my last blog. Yes, some fancy cages — although they’re pretty and fun — might be easier to escape from. They also might pose a problem for larger Syrian hamsters if they get stuck in the tubes. View Blog>>

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Hamster Economics

Hi everyone! Lots of people are talking about the economic meltdown. As a teenager, I don’t know what I can do about it, or even how it’s going to affect me. But I do know that there are ways to make hamster ownership as cost-conscious as possible while still providing what they need. View Blog>>

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When To See A Vet

Hi, everyone! It's hard to believe that this is the ninth installment of "Growing Up Hamster," but here we are. And, as always, I'm very pleased to see the insightful comments that you post. Last time, Jana asked how to tell when it is time to take a hamster to the vet. View Blog>>


Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Choosing Hamster Names

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I love hearing from you. Last time, someone asked if hamster care has gotten easier with time and practice. It certainly has – I’ve learned more efficient ways of doing the hamster chores, and it takes a lot less time. View Blog>>


Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Balancing School And Hamsters

Hello again, everyone! I loved harp camp, but it’s great to be home and see my hamsters again. I missed them while I was away, and I think that maybe they missed me too. View Blog>>


Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The Calming Sounds Of Music

Greetings from harp camp! I’m spending two weeks at an awesome harp camp right now, away from my hamsters (they have a hamster-sitter), but I have been thinking a lot about hamsters and music. View Blog>>


Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Hamster Species – The Roborovskis

Last time, I wrote about all the kinds of hamsters that my family has owned, except for the Roborovskis, which I’ll tell you about today. One of you asked if there were any kinds of hamsters that we haven’t owned. The answer is yes. We haven’t had the Chinese hamster, for a very good reason: they’re restricted in our home state, California. View Blog>>


Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Hamsters In The Family

You’ve heard me talk about keeping Campbell’s dwarves when I told you about Boo and Tom, so I thought that you might like to hear some stories about the other species of hamsters. My brothers and sister have also owned hamsters throughout the years, and I’ve learned about the other kinds of hamsters by watching them and their hamsters. View Blog>>


Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hamster Show Basics

Thanks, everyone, for your great comments. One of you asked about treat-based training for hamsters. Although I use treats when I tame, I haven’t gotten my hamsters to do tricks or come when called, even with treats. But smart use of treats as a reward for being calm and to encourage hamsters to play with you can make a big difference. View Blog>>


Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hamster Taming Tips

I’ve had lots of people ask me questions about taming their hamsters, or wonder why their hamster isn’t as friendly as they would hope. I’ve heard stories of hamsters that would constantly squirm and struggle to escape when handled, or even bite... View Blog>>


Wednesday, June 1, 2008
First Hamster Memories

Who can forget their first hamster? I have heard hundreds of hamster owners tell me the stories of their first hamsters. Although I have loved every hamster I’ve owned, there’s something special about the first time you bring a new hamster friend home... View Blog>>


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