DD wants a sodding hamster, pros and cons please

(96 Posts)
sandyballs Tue 13-Nov-12 16:16:44

I hate the thought of a stinking rodent in the house.

Cons:
- nocturnal, what's the point if they can't play in the day
- smelly
- bitey and scratchy
- money - vet bills, sawdust, food and other stuff they need
- I will end up caring for it by NY day despite DDs claims.

Pros:
- only one I can think of and that is DD has longed for one for years and I have just found a long letter in her bedroom begging for one for xmas and that is all she wants.

- another - a cheap present despite being one of the 'cons' above!

Can't believe I'm even thinking of it, please talk me out of it, say they are dirty and smelly and it will die young and leave DD distraught.

You're welcome sandy smile

If you're going with Siberian Hamsters (which I think are the best grin) they definitely can't live in pairs - but they are lovely and tame with humans...

BTW I've noticed theres an Amazon Black Friday deal coming up this afternoon at 2:14 pm for a Savic Hamster Heaven cage - which is a good one as its nice and big. Doesn't tell you what the price will be until the deal starts but definitely worth a look as that cage is usually pretty pricey smile

Really excited for your DDs! You are a very kind mummy smile

Siberian hamsters can't share a cage, they might kill each other!

2muchtimeonmyhands Thu 22-Nov-12 08:22:48

Get her a guinea pig, don't bite, so much cuter, easier to handle as don't make an attempt for freedom everytime yoi open the cage. (Weve had 5 hamsters over the years, all escaped or died within a year) our guinea pigs were great and they respond to you, we getting DS 1 for his birthday next yr.

sandyballs Thu 22-Nov-12 07:55:14

Just to add they are both nearly 12 so I'm hopeful they're mature enough to look after them properly.

sandyballs Thu 22-Nov-12 07:53:35

Thanks for all your messages. I think I've finally caved in and I'm looking at cages to wrap up under the tree then she can choose her own hamster when shops open again. Thanks for that suggestion badtasteflump!

However! my other dd has caught onto her sisters hamster obsession and also wants one. Should they share a big cage to keep each other company? Or will they fight? Would DDs prefer their own cages? Not planning to keep in their bedrooms due to noise at night so that's not an issue.

Every hamster that we have had will wee in a jam jar put in their cage. You just wash it out every day and no smell at all.

They are lovely little creatures but don't always get treated properly.

biglill Sun 18-Nov-12 13:25:53

Pros: Hamsters were a massive past of my childhood and I adored them, they taught me a lot about responsibility (and death). I could spend hours playing with them or watching them play, they can be so entertaining.

Cons: Many children I know (myself included) have intentionally or unintentionally (in my case) harmed their pets because they just don't have the sense needed to care for a little life. In my case I forgot to tend to one in particular and it ended up being neglected and was left in a sorry state, I know so many other kids who have done the same or worse have 'experimented' on them in some macabre way, or their hamster has escaped and been trodden on, eaten by the dog etc all surprisingly easily done! Then there is the rank smell of hamster urine, the need for a carer when you go away etc.

Personally I would steer clear unless you are prepared to play a major part or unless your DD is particularly loving and mature.

HermioneE Thu 15-Nov-12 23:03:32

I would say let her choose, but first, you choose the pet shop. As has been said you want one where they've done lots of hamster handling to help tame it early.

duchesse Thu 15-Nov-12 09:58:59

Pros:
Don't live very long
cheap to buy
no tail to fall off if mishandled, unlike gerbils
Easily handled by youngish children

Cons:
smelly unless cleaned out often
nocturnal
can bite
not really that interesting

That said, very few children under 10-11 are mature enough to look after a pet properly so it would end being your pet. If you don't want to look after it, then don't give in! The longer you wait, and the more you remind her that it would be her responsibility, the more likely it is that she will look after it (rather than you) if you do eventually give in.

LittleFriendSusan Thu 15-Nov-12 09:44:16

Just read the other replies and am very envy of all these toilet trained hamsters who always use the same corner...

We have a Habitrail cage with lots of tunnels / pods etc (don't get one, they're a bastard to clean) and our hamster pees and craps everywhere. Including whichever pod she chooses to make her "nest" in. I do a "surface" clean once a day and full disinfect etc once or twice a week, but it still smells of hamster piss in my hallway sad.

LittleFriendSusan Thu 15-Nov-12 09:30:41

Cons:
Nocturnal
Noisy
Smelly
Can nip a lot in early days
You'll be the one feeding it & cleaning out its stinky cage...

Pros:
Food and bedding fairly cheap
Short lifespan!!!

DS got one for his 7th birthday. DP talked me round ( I had sore memories of being bitten & kept awake by my sister's hamster). Ours doesn't really bite (she did nip in the early days, but is used to us now). She does, however, stink. Daily cage cleaning was not something I expected to have to add to my list of chores... She is also extremely irritating when she decides to run on her wheel / gnaw on the cage at 11.30pm...

If you do go for one, go for a Syrian. I loved the little dwarf hamsters (cute factor!!) but was advised they'd be too fast for DS. So we got a Syrian and she was def. fast enough!!

Guinea pigs wee too much for me! Need to clean them out lots, and the cages are quite big for kids to do by themselves.

Isla77 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:14:58

Personally I would rather have guinea pigs - more solid and cuddly and we found them quite easy to keep. They were much loved by all of us not just my DD's. The girls loved having them in the house and they ran around quite happily in the sitting room especially if we left food on a plate for them.We could feed them by hand and never got bitten. My DH is not a great lover of animals in the home but even he became quite fond of them. They had a run in the garden made by DH and loved running arond in there in the good weather. We were very sad when they died - they do not live to a very great age.

Let her choose her own Hamster, it's only fair.

I still remember the excitement of going to the petshop ( blush it was 1975) to choose my first guinea-pig. It wouldn't have been the same if I'd been given the cage with the guinea in situ.

My DD didn't choose her GPs, they 'chose' her. We got 2 rescue boars and as soon as she saw their picture, she was in love. grin

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 14-Nov-12 18:10:14

Pros:
None

Cons:
Hamsters are evil, creepy little buggers.

Rats otoh are marvelous.

Tuppence2 Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:12

I've had 5 hamsters over the years and I really like them as pets. I got my first aged 8, and it was always my responsibility to look after her, cleaning her cage out, letting her for a run in the ball and feeding her before I went to bed.

I have one now (aged 26) and I think they are a very low maintenance pet.
I clean her cage cleaned out once a week
feed her half a bowl of dried food every night and add some fresh fruit/veg/meat every other night
clean water in bottle every night
Try to get her in her ball for at least 45 mins of an evening, but definitely every other evening
I usually take her out and she sits in my lap for half an hour if I'm watching tv
She has only tried to bite me once in the year I've had her and that was 2 days ago, after I had eaten and hadn't washed my hands! So technically my fault!

Oh, and not all hamsters only live for 2 years... I had 1 who lived for 4.5 years (I luffed her lotsly!)
Food/sawdust/bedding isn't expensive. I get mine from Wilkinsons. it's £1.50 for a kilo of the dried food, and that usually lasts just over a month. They also do little bags of treats, gnawing blocks and seeded bar things to keep the teeth from growing too much.
I also have this cage for her:
www.petsathome.com/shop/pink-palace-housing-unit-by-rotastak-78051
Attached to half of this cage:
www.petsathome.com/shop/super-pod-hamster-cage-by-rotastak-15945
So she has plenty of space, tubes to run round in and 2 wheels to run in

OP If it's a christmas present I would buy a nice big cage, wheel, bedding & food & put an IOU in it for the hamster - you can wrap it all up then and not worry about her discovering it before Christmas. She can get it all set up herself for when she brings her little baby home - it's nice for her to pick it herself too.

Ah, just think how excited she'll be when she opens it! grin

Are there any small pet shops near you? If you can find one that does most of the taming for you, the hard bit's done smile

And if you need any more persuading - my eldest DC (15) has hardly used his xbox since we got our hamster nearly a month ago - he gets her out to play with as soon as he gets home in the afternoons and spends ages with her smile

Ooh and another tip - if nobody's mentioned it yet - when you get your new baby grin if you or the DC are feeling a bit nervous of her, either shut yourself and it in a small safe room (the bathroom, with the loo seat down!), let it out of its cage and just sit there and keep calling its name gently. It will wander around and gradually come over to you for a sniff and can get used to you that way (easier for you also if you're a bit unsure). My son also started off by putting the plug in the bath and sitting in it with the hamster cage (with no water in, obviously!), then taking the cage top off & letting the hamster sniff around him that way.

Am excited for your DC! smile

sandyballs Wed 14-Nov-12 13:31:31

I've just discovered there's a whole topic on this! 'super furry animals' this could open up a whole new world for me! grin

expatinscotland Wed 14-Nov-12 13:23:22

DD2 loves her female, piebald Syrian.

We do, too. She doesn't bite and is lovely.

We take her out to exercise her twice a day.

Definitely let her choose one! It was so exciting - we just went looking and by that night he was fully ensconced in the spare roomgrin Dd knew exactly which one she wanted, I wouldn't necessarily have chosen a long haired one myself....

JackThePumpkinKing Wed 14-Nov-12 13:03:29

At that age I would let her choose one, definitely. grin

Ooh, exciting!

This thread has made me want a hamster, and I usually hate the little bastards.

sandyballs Wed 14-Nov-12 13:02:00

Thanks all, I'm seriously coming round to the idea for some odd reason. DD is 11, will be nearly 12 by christmas. She's been on about a hamster for over a year and I know she would be so so happy to get one.

Another pro is the fact that it's not yet another electronic gadget she'll be glued to and I'll have to nag her to get off!

I've just sent DH a text and his reply was "I was going to talk to you about that, I'm sure it will be well looked after by DD and I'm more than happy for her to have one". That wasn't his response the other week when DD mentioned it grin.

Sooo if I do cave in, which is looking increasingly likely, do I buy one for her, to keep it a surprise or let her choose one?

I think the phrase "DD wants a sodding hamster "is the main giveaway grin

You don't want the hamster and Hand On Heart you will be the one looking after it.

Can I put you off guinea-pigs at all?
I've had guineas since I was 9 yo to 22 yo.
Last year my daughter wanted a hammy (I don't like them) but we agreed to get guinea-pigs. (In plural. You need 2 + )

They are flipping hard work. I don't expect my DD to clean their Pighouse. She feeds and cuddles. She checks them over and helps me bath and cut their nails.

And they have a life expectancy of 5-9 years. So they are a commitment, not to mention quite expensive when you factor in food, hay, oil filled radiator in the Pighouse because they were fighting in their indoor cage hmm boys?

Oh, and on the smell front, we put a jam jar in the cage. Hamster will potty-train itself, and you can just empty the jam jar, which contains most of the smell.

Hamsters are lovely. We've had 2 siberians (no biting from either) and 2 dwarf Russians - but they are not as placid and one bites.

Assuming you're talking about siberians, the pros are:

- they are actually crepuscular, rather than nocturnal, so likely to be active in the evening when your DD wants to play

- cage nowhere near as big as e.g. guinea pigs, so easier to fit in the house and transport to friends for hamster holidays

- cute to watch and usually good to handle

- DD got her first one at about age 9 and has always cleaned it out weekly, can't comment on what your DD will do

- cheap. Main expenses are food and bedding (not dear). Vet needed only rarely

Cons:

- does seem to want to come out and play a bit most days (only a con if your DD loses interest)

The main pro in my mind though is that your DD is desperate for one. Does your family have any pets? I think pets are good for kids. Was never allowed to have one myself despite much begging!

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