Large Hamster Cages – Is Yours Big Enough?

Hamsters really do get bored! When they are bored they demonstrate boredom behaviors such as gnawing the wire of their cages…

But this article isn’t about hamsters’ boredom behaviors, it’s about how to prevent these behaviors by housing the hamsters in a cage that is big enough and comfortable enough for them to be able to relax and feel at home.

Scientists and other observers of hamster behavior are still not sure what the perfect cage size should be. Here are some examples:

  1. The most popular “Homemade Hamster Cage” is the remodeled plastic storage bin cage. Plastic storage bins can be made livable for hamsters if some windows are cut into the top or lid of the storage bin. This can work; storage bins are lightweight and easily kept clean. To read more about this option, Click Here.
  2. Yes, Fish and Reptile Tanks are an option. This is because these tanks are very sturdy and escape-proof. Not only that, but there is no set-up required. Just make sure that the lid fits fairly tightly and you have a secure home for your Hamster.
  3. Rabbit and Guinea Pig Cages can be modified to make good Hamster Homes. Compared to small-sized commercial Hamster Cages, some of which are way too small, these cages can be more than adequate in size. To prevent your Hamster escaping through the widely spaced bars, affix a layer of wire mesh around the outside. This should solve the problem.
  4. The Premium Size Commercial Hamster Cage may be the perfect fit for your Hamster. Forget about the smaller sizes though; they are not usually large enough for a Hamster to be comfortable in. Most commercial Hamster cages that are of an adequate size are sold in the UK, but USA Hamster owners may be able to import one from there.

Even though there has been at least one study carried out, it is still difficult to say for sure which cage size will keep a Hamster happy. Some examples of cage sizes are-

  • 1,800 cm. sq. which equals 279 in. sq.
  • 2,500 cm. sq. which equals 387 in. sq.
  • 5,000 cm. sq. which equals 775 in. sq.
  • 10,000 cm. sq. which equals 1,550 in. sq.

Although the Hamsters in the largest sized cage demonstrated the least boredom behaviors, it can still be difficult to determine which cage size is the best one for them. This is because Hamsters always demonstrate some signs of boredom or restlessness. They continue to run up and down and across the sides of the cage and they also gnaw on the bars of their cage. Hamsters may even demonstrate their own version of lethargy or boredom.

Generally speaking though, Hamsters are happier in larger cages. The research has proved that they manifest fewer signs of boredom in cages of 1,500 in. sq. Yes, Hamsters are happier in a 10,000-cm. sq. cage, although they still persist in showing signs of boredom! (For a list of large hamster cages, check out HamsterCageFinder.com)

Based on the information above, various organizations have developed opinions about the cage-size that is best.

  • The RSPCA Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 450 in. sq./3.1 ft. sq./2903 cm. sq.
  • The ASPCA Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 200 in. sq./1.4 ft. sq./1290 cm. sq.
  • The HSUS Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 288 in. sq./2.0 ft. sq./1858 cm. sq.

The numbers above represent the Recommended Cage Sizes for the aforementioned organizations, but unfortunately, these figures do not completely solve the problem. They are Recommendations and nothing more – they are Not Magical Hamster Happiness Numbers. They are merely guidelines as to which cage size can be judged to be habitable or comfortable for a Hamster.

Hamster Owners should be aware that these guidelines are just that – Guidelines. Even though these cage sizes have been recommended by the RSPCA, the ASPCA and the HSUS respectively, a Hamster may not be completely satisfied with any of them. Hamsters can be Difficult and Hard to Please.

Here are some other facts about hamsters

A Hamster can be unhappy in a minimum sized cage.

A hamster can be unhappy in a cage that is of the recommended size.

A hamster can also be significantly distressed (Read Bored or Unhappy.) in a cage that exceeds the recommended size.

It is hard to guarantee the happiness of a Hamster no matter what the size of their cage. Seriously though, some Hamsters, for example Syrian hamsters, need a larger cage – otherwise, it can be difficult to keep them entertained. “Minimum” size is way too small.

After all, the word “Minimum” means the bare essentials. With regard to Hamster cages, it means taking up the very smallest amount of space possible. To complete this analogy, a minimum sized cage is just the starting point in terms of cage sizes. No Hamster, nor any other creature should be caged in the smallest space possible. It’s not humane or fair to house an animal in the barest minimum space allowed and such a thing should never, ever be done.

So why are minimum size cages ever manufactured? A part of the answer to this question revolves around the newness of the research. Researchers and those who are interested in the welfare of Hamsters are still observing them in various environments and cage sizes.

Hamsters can exist even in very small cages, but they will never thrive in them. They will never be the healthy, lively animals that they are meant to be if they are forced to live in a small cramped cage.

It’s sad to say, but some people may not even notice the difference – if the Hamster is alive that may be all that matters to people who have purchased a small, furry creature for the amusement of a child.

If the child is amused and giggles at the sight of the “adorable”, little creature, the adults may not even be aware that the pet they have bought is surviving but not thriving at all.

Our best advice about the perfect hamster cage is to give your Hamster a chance to be happy and purchase one that is at least 10,000 square centimetres in size.

PS: If you came here because you were looking for information on how to stop your hamster from chewing on cage bars, this might help:

All About Chinchilla Diets

If you’re thinking about getting a pet chinchilla, one of the most important things for you to consider is diet. In order to allow your pet to live a long and happy life, you need to make sure he or she is getting the right nutrients to not only survive, but thrive. Chinchillas are unique animals with extremely sensitive digestive systems who need special care to avoid health problems.

A Healthy Chinchilla Diet

Did you know that chinchillas are herbivores? Their diet in the wild would be primarily made up of seeds, roots and leaves. In captivity, a chinchilla’s owner needs to focus on providing adequate nutrition in order to help their chinchilla thrive.

Chinchillas can be fed pellets, but that alone is not enough for a healthy diet. They should also be offered hay on a daily basis. Pellets should be chinchilla-quality. High-quality chinchilla pellets should include a carefully balanced nutritional ratio: 16-20% protein, 2-5% fat, and 15-35% fiber. Their diets should also include healthy servings of vitamins A, D, and E.

Try to avoid loose food: chinchillas are prone to picking out what they like most from a mix, and that could be a dangerous habit! If they’re not eating the entire mix, they will miss out on necessary nutrition. Most chinchillas should be fed approximately two tablespoons of pellets per day: one tablespoon in the morning and one tablespoon at night, times when they would naturally feed. Make sure to put it in a small dish to keep it from getting soiled or spilled!

Avoid substituting chinchilla-quality pellets for pellets made for other animals, such as guinea pigs or rabbits. These foods will typically not include the necessary nutritional values for the care of a sensitive chinchilla. However, if you are having trouble locating chinchilla-quality pellets, you can search for a guinea pig or rabbit pellet with similar nutritional qualities. Consult a veterinarian for further help if you are unable to find this on your own.

A controversial topic for chinchilla diets is corn: some owners choose to feed pellets that include corn in the ingredients while others feel it causes bloating or digestive issues. It is generally recommended that owners avoid pellets or treats that have corn listed in the first few ingredients. Most pellets will include corn, so it’s almost impossible to avoid it all together, but higher quality foods will contain smaller amounts.

In the wild, chinchillas’ diets would include a large amount of roughage, a material found in vegetables that assists with digestion. Therefore, in addition to pellets, you should be offering your chinchilla hay for their overall health and to help mimic the diet that chinchillas would feed off of in their natural environment. It also helps keep their teeth healthy!

Chinchillas should be offered loose hay rather than hay in cubed form. Different types of hay contain different amounts of protein, and a hay mixture is likely to be your best bet to provide the highest quality food for your pet. Seek out a hay mixture that includes orchard grass, blue grass, timothy grass, and alfalfa. It is best to have hay available at all times for your chinchilla. Make sure to store it in a dry place, though, to avoid mold.

Of course, don’t forget water: your chinchilla should always have fresh water available. Choose a suitable water bottle with a metal spout to give them constant access to fresh water. However, avoid feeding your chinchilla distilled water, as that means that essential nutrition is missing from the water. If you find your chinchilla drinking more than usual, you should bring him or her to the veterinarian.

Treats

Many chinchilla owners enjoy feeding their pets treats, but an excess of treats can cause a variety of digestive issues, teeth disease, and obesity. So, how can you ensure that you’re feeding the right treats to your pet in order to advance your chinchilla’s health, not damage it?

Many pet stores carry nutritious natural treats, which oftentimes are an excellent form of treat to share with your pet; be careful, however, because there are also a number of treats offered in pet stores that are marketed for chinchillas but do not contain the correct ratio of vitamins and nutritional sources and may be high in sugar and fat, which can do severe damage to a chinchilla’s digestive system. Be particularly careful to examine the labels to ensure that there is not an excess of sugar or ingredients such as honey in the treats.

Other natural foods that can be used as treats include mountain ash berries, fruit tree twigs, dried rose hips, dried herbs, and marshmallow root. Chinchillas often enjoy raisins or dried fruits, but should not be offered more than 3-4 raisins a week. Try cutting the raisins into multiple pieces to make the treats last longer!

When choosing a treat, avoid grains, treats with high amounts of vitamins and minerals, fruits, oats, and treat sticks. These ingredient can wreak havoc on your pet’s system, putting them at risk for serious illness.

If you feel inclined, you can make your own DIY treats like the video below

If given the opportunity, your chinchilla will overeat treats—so be careful! Remember that treats are not a necessary part of their diet and can be avoided.

Can chinchillas eat carrots? And can chinchillas eat apples?

Carrots should not be a staple part of your chinchilla’s diet, but they are not toxic to your pet. Stick with feeding carrots like you would feed other “extras,” or treats: extremely sparingly. Any extra foods that throw off the careful nutritional ratios could be damaging to your chin.

Apples are also permissible, but keep in mind that an excess of sugar can lead to obesity and fatty liver issues for your chinchilla. Only feed them small amounts of fruit as a treat.

Safe and Unsafe Foods for Chinchillas

Given their sensitive digestive system, a number of foods are toxic to chinchillas and can make them extremely ill. If you’re looking for a creative food to treat your chinchilla with, try carrot, celery, potato, pumpkin, or squash. However, avoid the following foods!

Anything containing animal ingredients—Chinchillas are herbivores, meaning they only consume proteins from plants. Their systems are not designed to eat meat or other animal products.

Chocolate—The high levels of fat and sugar make chocolate extremely toxic to chinchillas.

Nuts and seeds—It is a common misconception that because chinchillas are herbivores and rodents, it is safe for them to be fed nuts and seeds. However, the high amount of fat, proteins, and oils damages their digestive system. Protein intake of over 20% per day can put your chinchilla at risk for liver damage.

Tree bark—Not only are a number of different types of wood toxic to chinchillas, but trees are often sprayed with pesticides which can be deadly to your pet.

Vegetables—Although vegetables seem like they would be healthy for a herbivore, they can cause your chinchilla to bloat. You should avoid the following toxic vegetables in particular: asparagus, broccoli,cabbage, lettuce, peas, rhubarb, and spinach.

With a healthy diet, your pet chinchilla will live a long and happy life. A responsible chinchilla owner should carefully research the different do’s and don’ts of chinchilla care before acquiring their new pet, which will ensure that your pet will be carefully taken care of for the rest of his or her life.

References

  • http://www.exoticnutrition.com/chinchilladiet.html
  • http://www.chinchillachronicles.com/chinchilla_nutrition_food_and_diet_continued.html
  • http://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-health-advice/chinchillas/diet
  • http://exoticpets.about.com/od/chinchillas/a/chinchillafeed.htm

Wheatgrass for Pets

Wheatgrass is all the rage in health trends now, and you may be wondering about its other uses beyond adding a dash of variety to your diet. Have you ever seen your dog or cat gravitate towards eating grass, even though they’re generally carnivores that love meat? It may seem strange to you, but eating wheatgrass actually has many health benefits for animals.

Benefit #1: Wheatgrass aids in your pet’s digestive health.

Just as adding fiber to your diet helps if you’ve been having constipation, fiber in your dog or cat’s diet can stimulate their digestion. If your dog or cat has digestive problems, wheatgrass may be a good solution, as it helps to break down and flush out any clogs in their system. Plus, if your cat frequently coughs up hairballs, they may seek out grass in order to help them regurgitate indigestible matter.

Benefit #2: It helps to detoxify their systems.

In the wild, animals eat grass (or hunt herbivores that do) to soothe their stomachs when ill. For whatever reason, wheatgrass appears to help with toxins and thus can be a good remedy to give to your pet when it’s sick. It can also be a good preventative measure when given to your pet in small doses on a regular basis, and has anti-inflammatory effects so it could help with any skin conditions. Make sure to give your pet wheatgrass of good quality: store-bought wheatgrass that contains pesticides and other additives may end up bringing harm to your pet instead.

Benefit #3: It contains lots of vitamins and minerals.

Like vegetables and fruit, wheatgrass contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Although most canned or dried pet foods will satisfy the daily nutritional needs of your pet, giving them a bit of wheatgrass can serve as a supplement. (Like all supplements, though, make sure to calculate the right dosage!)

Benefit #4: It adds variety to your pet’s diet.

Many dogs and cats enjoy wheatgrass as a special treat, so giving them a little in its raw form or as juice on a regular basis helps to keep them happy. Be careful not to give them too much, though – just as humans may suffer from adverse side effects when too much is consumed, pets may suffer from similar effects.

Wheatgrass isn’t just beneficial, your pets will enjoy it too

7 Ways to Make Your Cat Happy

Dote on your cat. Having a good relationship with their owner is crucial to a cat’s well-being, so do spend time with them, pet them, and show affection to them. Where it comes to discipline, opt for prevention rather than punishing them for unacceptable behavior: harsh discipline can make a cat skittish around humans. For instance, make sure to keep their litter boxes clean and have scratching posts available for them — this will prevent quite a lot of unwanted behavior.

Get to know your cat and pay attention to it. If you listen to it or watch its behavior on a consistent basis, you’ll be able to tell what its needs are. For instance, different sorts of meows carry different meanings (I kid you not) — one type of meow can indicate pleasure, while another type of meow can indicate fear or irritation. And, just like human beings, body language can also tell you quite a bit!

Make sure they have entertainment. Cats are independent creatures and can be left to themselves quite well, but do make sure that they have toys and other things to play with to entertain themselves. Toys can be purchased easily at any pet store, but wadded up newspaper or a paper bag would also do fine. Plus, music helps: classical music relaxes them, but talk shows or radio channels help them to feel as though someone is at home.

Give them access to nature. Cats usually don’t do well when cooped indoors all day; their natural instincts are to hunt, stalk prey, and soak in the sun. If you live in an urban environment and letting them outdoors isn’t such a good idea, then making sure they have access to the windows would be an alternative. That way, they can take in the sights, keep a watchful eye on those pesky birds, and get their daily dose of sunlight.

Keep your cat healthy. Make sure your cat gets its regular vaccinations, and have it spayed or neutered if it hasn’t already gone through this in the adoption process. Regular flea and worm treatments are essential as well, especially if your cat tends to wander around outdoors and has the potential to pick up these pesky bugs.

Make sure the litter box gets cleaned regularly. Cats are very clean creatures, and having a dirty litter box to come back to isn’t a pleasant experience for them! Just like human beings, they appreciate a nice, clean toilet as much as we do. Of course, this will also prevent them from depositing their doo-doo in less appropriate places in your home.

Play with your cat regularly — or provide a playmate! Spending time each day playing with your cat helps to develop their connection with you, and connected cats are happy cats. That said, if you’re not home most of the time, consider getting a second cat so they can keep each other company. Consult a pet store or pet expert to see which type of cat would be best as a second pet.

And how do you tell if your cat is happy? Take a look at the video below