When my sister and I were kids, we both had hamsters as pets. I can’t remember what my sister’s hamster was called, but mine was called ‘Pocket’. Pocket was grey and my sister’s hamster was ginger and white.
We kept our hamsters in our respective bedrooms.
I took a lot of time making sure that Pocket’s cage was clean and that his little bedroom area was full of this weird cotton wool type stuff that he liked to sleep in. He always had fresh water and his food bowl was full to the brim with his favourite food.
My sister’s hamster on the other hand, lived in squalor. Its cage was filthy and the water bottle always had a layer of grimy film floating on the top of it, and I’m pretty sure she regularly forgot to feed it. That said, my sister’s hamster was the happiest hamster in the world. I mean, I am not a hamster happiness expert, but it seemed a pretty content little dude. She let it run around on her bed, and she would give it Bonio biscuits, you know the ones you give dogs? And her little happy hamster would run around her bedroom carrying a Bonio biscuit—twice its own body size—in it’s mouth. She would let her hamster explore and run as fast as it’s little hamster legs would take it and she was always holding it and hugging it.
My hamster, Pocket, rarely left his cage.
I was a bit scared of Pocket, actually. I was scared he would bite me, or he would run away and get stuck down the back of my bed and I wouldn’t be able to find him. I was also scared one of our cats might eat him. And so I left him in his cage, a cage that was clean and orderly and very safe. A cage that had everything he needed to live. Everything that is, other than freedom and fun and adventure and exploring.
Pocket regularly gnawed the bars of his cage. I imagine he felt frustrated and sad and disconnected from his tiny hamster world. I guess it was his way of dealing with it all.
I think a lot of people live like I made Pocket live (I’m sorry, Pocket). They live their lives in a way that, on the outside, looks pretty good. They live in nice, clean, tidy and orderly homes, keeping everything just right and how it should be, and yet their lives are void of freedom and fun and adventure and exploring because they value safety and to-do lists and having things ‘just so’ over actually leaving their cage and living.
How are you looking after your hamster?