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Insanity to get a hamster?

(23 Posts)
LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 21:10:50

DS1 (12) has written his Christmas list.

It consists of;
BB Gun
ipod touch
Hamster

He will not change his mind before Christmas, this is his final list.(Believe me on this one!)

I got a hamster for Christmas when I was 8 and it was THE BEST PRESENT EVER.

But...we have 2 cats (although we did have a cat when I was a child)

I'm not that comfortable with rodents.

Hamsters don't live long. I don't like dealing with dead things, and DS won't be at all upset when it dies. Which will probably upset me hmm.

It doesn't sound like a good idea, does it?

Tortoise Wed 19-Oct-11 21:20:45

Get a rat. They are much better than hamsters. DS1 has 2 in a cage in his room.

LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 21:24:30

When I say I am not comfortable with rodents, I mean I have an intensive phobia of rats.

It will NEVER happen!

LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 21:57:03

Nobody else cares?

I'll just get him a BB gun then!

BehindLockNumberNine Wed 19-Oct-11 22:02:01

I was never very keen on hamsters. But then 18 months ago our beloved family dog died a sudden and unexpected death at not even 5 years of age. 9 months later dd (age 8) was still writing cards and letters to 'our dear dog underground' and 'dillon our dead dog'. We were then not in a position to get a dog so got her a hamster.

It is brilliant! Clover (the hamster) is really very cute. We have prepared dd for the fact she will die at some point within 2 years. (but after the loss of the dog at least we know a little how she will react and she may even cope 'well')
The hamster is great fun. We handled her lots when she was tiny so she is now completely hand tame. She comes when you call her. She loves climbing and dd is forever building her cardboard obstacle courses and dens etc.
I am a convert, hamsters are brilliant.

Go for it, your ds will love you for it, he will be over the moon and as and when hammie does die it is a valuable lesson in 'things die and how to cope'.

giyadas Wed 19-Oct-11 22:05:54

I would have suggested a rat to but if that's a total no go then the larger types of hamster would be good, but only if you're confident he'll look after it properly. If you're in doubt about getting one I'd just give it a miss tbh.
Can I ask, how do you know ds wouldn't be upset when it dies?
Can't go wrong with an Ipod touch provided you accept that you won't get a word out of them until you physically remove it from them

Beamur Wed 19-Oct-11 22:07:58

I think a (suitable) pet for a child is a good thing generally - but the reality is that Mum or Dad will end up doing most of the looking after.
We've had hamsters, probably when our older kids were about that age and to be honest, it wasn't a great experience, we had two (in separate cages - Syrian hamsters are not social) and they were nervous and biters, so not much fun. DP is a very experienced rodent handler, so it is not the way we looked after them, but I know of many people who have had these animals which have been a delight - easy to handle, friendly and there is very little in this world which is cuter than a hamster. On the downside though they are mostly nocturnal and ours drove me mad with their wheel trundling which seemed to echo through the house.
I've had Russian hamsters a long time ago, which had been well handled so were tame and friendly, but not a good experience with Roboroski ones which are tiny - really really sweet looking but I found difficult to handle.
Currently we have gerbils, which I actually rather like - they are active in the daytime, are inquisitive and not nervous (although guide books will tell you different) but they are not really handling pets - I never pick them up, DP does the cleaning out (they are his pets really) but they do have a slightly ratty scaly tail which might put you off. They hardly smell either.
As long as you keep the cat away from the hamster it would be fine. Our dog used to stare intently at both the hamsters and the gerbils and the hamster would come out and stare back - it didn't seem that bothered.
Shame about your rat phobia, they get a very good press as a pet.

LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 22:17:13

Thank you for the answers.

giyadas DS is quite matter of fact about life and death. He is in the "animals are born, live and die" school of thought. I did ask him if he would be upset when it dies and he said "it depends if it bites me a lot".

I suppose he means if the hamster is lovely, never bites and they bond he might be upset.

Beamur Wed 19-Oct-11 22:19:20

grin We have a dog, but DD is really a cat person and I've said no cats while we have the dog, as I really don't think our dog would like it. DD is now counting the days to the dog expiring so we can get a cat....kids can be very tough about these things!

giyadas Wed 19-Oct-11 22:32:52

grin that's a very honest answer from your ds.
I would still say if you're in and doubt then don't, but pets are great, my house would feel empty without my animals.

LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 22:36:11

"I would still say if you're in and doubt then don't"

Good job I didn't take that view with DC, or the planet would have 3 less people on it. grin

Hassled Wed 19-Oct-11 22:38:39

Yes. It is insanity. They are NOCTURNAL - dull as shite during the day, very noisy at night. They bite, they smell, they're too stupid to form any sort of a meaningful relationship with anyone. The novelty will wear off in moments. Get a guinea pig if it must be small and furry.

Hassled Wed 19-Oct-11 22:40:22

And the cats will be obsessed. Our hamster (imaginatively called Sawdust) had to live on top of the piano in the end because the piano acted as an early warning system for when the cats climbed up to bother it.

maybeyoushoulddrive Wed 19-Oct-11 22:41:17

We got a syrian hamster for dd's 8th birthday. She adores him and keeps telling us how much she loves him. He has been handled from day one so is very tame and cuddly and even I'm thawing to his sniffly nose!

How easy would it be to keep the cat seperate???

Hassled Wed 19-Oct-11 22:41:40

But then if you get a guinea pig it has to be two guinea pigs. Which on the one hand is a pain, on the other hand proves that guinea pigs can form a meaningful relationship.

giyadas Wed 19-Oct-11 22:45:03

are you talking about hamsters or kids Hassled wink
<cynical owner of teen emoticon>

Hassled Wed 19-Oct-11 22:58:56

Kids. And hamsters. There's not much in it, to be fair grin

BehindLockNumberNine Wed 19-Oct-11 23:02:26

But two guinea pigs will for a meaningful relationship with eachother not with the small person who owns them.

Dd's hamster sleeps whilst she is at school. We have trained her to wake at 4pm when dd comes home from school (by feeding her at this time) and she is now at the cage bars greeting dd and waiting for her dinner. Then dd will play with her. Hammy will finally go back to sleep around 3am ish and be wide awake again at 4pm the following afternoon. So half nocturnal, completely acceptable to not be dull and actually be a nice pet.

Also, because she is a solitary animal I do believe she is capable of forming a bond with her owner (dd) because hammy comes to cage door when called, comes out of cage into dd's outstretched hand as soon as cage door is opened and will happily be kissed and cuddled.

Plus, unlike guinea pigs, hammy lives indoors and is therefore a member of hte family (albeit a small one who runs around in a pink plastic ball hmm)

chocolateyclur Wed 19-Oct-11 23:07:26

Guinea pigs are far better as inside pets. Google "cavy cages" and see how to build your own indoor cage for cheap. They live longer, are friendlier, an are just fantastic pets.

Indoor pigs will also bond easily with their caregiver because they are so much more part of the family than an outdoor pig.

Hamsters in comparison are just bitey, sleepy gits. And escape artists, which doesn't seem a good idea with cats.

LynetteScavo Thu 20-Oct-11 20:36:44

I will admit, my first hamster escaped from it's cage and came to a sad end. With hindsight, the cat must have been involved.

But surely, no childhood is complete without a hamster.....

Beamur Thu 20-Oct-11 22:03:28

Being grimly realistic - even if it doesn't work brilliantly, they are fairly short lived. But if you are lucky and get a nice friendly one, your DS will be very happy.

LordOfTheFlies Thu 20-Oct-11 22:08:09

I don't know if you can get pets for Christmas.We have a really good petshop near us and they don't sell Christmas animals.

We are getting 2 rescue guinea-pigs at the weekend. Most sites recommend getting G/Pigs as a pair, they do need cavy company but there are four laps in our house to cuddle them, so they'll get plenty of human company too.

I've never had hampsters,rabbits or gerbils so I wouldn't consider them when my DD wanted a pet.
I did consider rats but guinea-pigs are less clever so IMO a bit easier to deal with.

And yes, I have volenteered to do the cleaning out 3 times a week. It was part of the deal. I wanted the piggies as much as DD and I don't want to get the the stage where I'm pushing the DC to clean the pig-house.
DD/ DS will feed am/pm

LynetteScavo Fri 21-Oct-11 22:05:00

LordOfTheFlies, I can understand why they don't sell Christmas animals. I was planning on getting DM to look after it for a month before. grin

I made the decition on the way to work this morning not to get one. sad

I was getting too nervous about the whole cat thing. I had horrid visions, and I really didn't want to handle the it, if I'm totally honest.

I explained this to DS tonight. He nodded emphatically, and said "I know".

He is not stupid. I think this is his plan to make he gets an ipod touch....he knows there will be no hamster or BB gun. grin

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