About a month ago, my daughter earned her first hamster. (Yes, I said earned, she had to work her butt off and work shows with me for a cut of the commission until she had enough to purchase the initial needs for the hamster. What can I say, I’m old-school. You want it? Earn it!)
I had hamsters when I was a kid, so I figured why not. Fairly low cost, save up enough for a cage, bedding, food, water bottle, right? WRONG! So the first thing I learned was that the hamster cages I grew up with as a kid are horrible an inhumane for a hamster. They need lots and lots of room to run around and burrow. All those years of my hamsters chewing on the bars in their cage? I thought they were just chewing for their teeth. Nope, I guess it’s actually a form of hamster psychosis, them literally going psychotic. Oh Tapioca and Abigail, I am so so so sorry. Rest in peace.
My childhood ruined… I was a horrible hamster mom.
So we went down the route of what’s called a bin cage. They’re not hard, you just grab a big huge (preferably deep) clear storage bin, carefully cut the lid and/or sides and insert 1/4 hardware cloth metal screening (we used twist ties and drilled holes into the plastic. It was tedious but it worked. Lots of bedding for him to burrow in and we got creative and turned two birdhouses from the craft store and created a little castle home for Harry to defend. We left it unpainted as paint, unless you use specific ones, are quite harmful to hamsters. (There are pet-friendly paints but I live in the middle of nowhere so we do have issues getting our hands on materials sometimes and we tried food color dye but that didn’t work. I know you can make dye out of foods too but that doesn’t kill off food bacteria, seems to me that’s just asking to invite mold into a habitat?)
I’ll be honest, Harry the Hamster seems to love it and he borrows and plays and climbs like crazy. He’s a pretty content little guy. However we discovered one night that my mischievous kitten, T’Challa, had tried to jump on top of the cage and took the whole thing with him crashing to the floor, resulting in what I could only describe as the equivalent of an 8.5 Cat-Induced Earthquake on Fort Hammy. I’m surprised he survived to be honest, but now his home needs an overhaul.
So I’ll be putting up new posts about his new home shortly, just wanted a quick intro on bin-cages here. They really are easy to make, just make sure you have a way to secure them if you have naughty cats.
These are not the best pictures but that’s okay because just wait til you see what I’m up to repurposing next!