Strawberry’s Retirement Cage.

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Strawberry is in his “retirement” cage. Yup. Disturbing him daily to be sure he hasn’t died and having to deal with all his jungle gym equipment dangling from his bin cage lid was driving me nuts. He isn’t coming out at night. He IS coming out during the day more. I know he’s barely active at night because I have had a lot of opportunity at night at all hours to check on him. I have a teething 1 year old. Enough said. I am not getting much sleep.

I was having to go upstairs during the day and in the middle of the night go in the hammy room – lift up the lid. Lift up his house. And make sure he was alive as I otherwise wasn’t seeing him. The bin cage isn’t very great for visibility either.

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I got him a 24” long, 12” wide, 14” tall Grreat Choice cage from Petsmart. SUPER deep base. Which I will be adding much more substrate too. I dumped in there what I had left of the Kaytee Cozy stuff. I need to wait to get my hubby’s help to take the crinkle bedding storage bin down from a high shelf and once I do I will put that in to deepen it.

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And I have to tell you – I actually love this cage. It’s so simple. Yet sturdy. And with the multitude of stuff I have to put in it from collecting…I am pleased. I have to recommend this cage for people with lazy dwarfs. Not Chinese or Roborovskis as they are too small and could possibly squeeze through the half inch bar spacing. Baby Russian dwarfs are a no no. But for a full grown, older, lazy dwarf I cannot see how he could slip out. I did have to bend a couple bars back that were slightly bent to be too wide. Easy enough to squeeze them back in shape. The door area where it presses in to “lock” will widen the bars a bit over a half inch but I screwed in an edible branch perch thing in there which blocks the gap made when the door is pushed in. I mean, with a bit of ingenuity you can adjust it to be escape proof for an adult dwarf.

This cage is marketed for rats. Yuck. You have to be kidding me. It’s WAY too tiny for even a single Rat. I’d not put a Syrian hamster in this other than for travel or a hospital cage. Even if the bar spacing was 7mm I’d not put mice or Roborovskis in this. Roborovskis are super active. They need the same if not more space as a Syrian from my experience. I don’t have really great experience with Russian dwarfs. “Hybrids”. I just have Strawberry and he’s always been lazy, antisocial, and moody. He has never been very active and now that he’s getting feeble lately he’s hardly ever surfacing from his house but to eat and drink. He’s gotten clumsy too. I noted that when I did see him out once in his hammock. He fell from it …on purpose seemingly. Scared me.

So far he has taken to this cage well. He has made it his with his manic rushing around over everything in there. I have him downstairs now so we can see him more since he is more day time lately than night time. He is coming out a lot more and climbing around. He *SEEMS* quite content. He’s most definitely not unhappy. He seems to be feistier than he has been for so long.

I loved the bin cages but I must be losing my mind because suddenly I am tired of them. I am throwing out the double decker I made Penny. I’ve been cleaning out the house to get ready for our moving in the spring. It’s a slow process of sorting and giving away and tossing away. I am minimizing our STUFF.

And I just feel like tossing the bins to the curb. I got really turned off when Penny’s bin was overwhelmingly stinky from the lack of ventilation. I’ve never had that problem with a singular bin cage with plenty of ventilation meshed windows. But still – the issue with a good working door in the front and having to lift from the top to reach down in – that was one of the main reasons I hated Tanks. I don’t like reaching down. I also didn’t like the lack of ability to hang and connect stuff. I much prefer a lot of bars to hang things and connect things.

And I just have to downsize. Strawberry is old now. He’s got to be 2 years old. I’ve had him a year and a half and he was not a baby when I brought him home. I wasn’t given his true story but he was full grown when they pushed him on me. He looks old. Is acting old. (So is Gabriel but I know he’s older too due to me being his 3rd owner). I’m pretty content with having him in a “retirement” cage. Especially, now that I have easier access to him inside. I can fit him downstairs to be among us more often so he’ll get more attention.

If only they made this same cage but bigger. They DO but it’s a rabbit cage and the bar spacing is inch spacing. If they could make a rabbit sized one with this half inch bar spacing this brand Grreat Choice would be on the top list for USA Hamster owners because it’s such a sturdy well made SIMPLE cage. The door could shut better. But that is really minor to me. This was on the inexpensive side for a cage and for its size.

I put a shelf in there that came with the Kevin 82. It connects to tubes so he has his tubes back which he loves – you can’t see them from the bottom but they connect to the shelf from below and he comes out of the curved periscope like tube at the top. I put his Silent Spinner in there which he was strangely excited to have back. He liked his Wodent Wheel and his Flying Saucer as well but both took up too much room. Under the shelf is his sand bath and a loo roll. And in the other corner of the cage his igloo and wooden bridge and wooden tunnel. That bendy bridge I made connects him from the floor to the shelf. Also helps him climb out of the front door when I open it. His hanging coconut, food dish, chews, and SS is on the shelf. His hammock and hanging wooden suspension ladder is dangling from the other side.

I’ll take better pictures later. I took these tonight in the dim lighting with my cell phone. I wished I had thought to take pictures earlier today when he was running around everything.

In closing – this cage doesn’t meet minimum requirements for space for a Dwarf according to the RSPCA guidelines which most of us knowledgeable USA hamster people follow as our law. I wouldn’t recommend going below the minimum for a young, active Dwarf hamster. It’s half inch bar spacing which is not safe for a Chinese or Roborovski or baby Russian dwarf hamster. They can slip through if they are determined. For a lazy, old, adult size dwarf – just be sure all the bars are not bent wider than they should be. I cannot even fathom how Strawberry could fit through these bars.

Grreat Choice – I’ll be contacting you guys with some suggestions. You guys make a great cage but please consider making them longer as you do the rabbit cages but with the same or even smaller bar spacing as this one! For a retirement home for my dwarf  I feel this cage is ace. But it could have been a few inches longer to make a more affordable yet suitable sized hamster cage.

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5 thoughts on “Strawberry’s Retirement Cage.

  1. Strawberry’s retirement cage looks a lot like my evacuation/hospital cage. I’ve unfortunately had to use mine in an evacuation, so I know it works. My little guys were troopers.

    Anyways, I use Ware Manufacturing’s Chew Proof Critter Cage 25″ It is bigger, and it has the extremely important metal (not plastic) bottom. Rats can chew through any plastic if they want. I presume hamsters can? Rats are known for going through the plastic bottoms of cage. But, they seem to do ok in bin cages. Also, this cage has the half inch spacing.

    LOL On the other hand, I’ve been known to take my rats to the vet in a cute picnic basket with a pretty matching fabric liner. My vet just laughed, and she had to show my rats in the basket to other staff members. I also have a secure carrier for the vet, too.

    • I was thinking how this cage is a PERFECT travel/vacation cage. I would put my Syrians in it with a lot of platforms for travel or vacation. I’m half tempted to get a couple more just FOR that purpose instead of bin cages like I initially planned. It’s smaller than the bins would be but I can fit their wheel in this – it’s tall enough – and with platforms and hammocks it gives them something to do and more space at least as a temp situation. Like an evacuation! Or moving as we’ll be doing.

      I contemplated on the Ware chew proof!! I had it in my cart just to keep in mind. It was going back and forth in price from 30s to back down to 24 bucks. When it was 24 I would almost buy it. As I said in the other comment my issue with it would be the base height. THIS one has a tall base height which is awesome.

      Hamsters are known to chew out of plastic bases and bin cages. I am lucky to not have any that do that. But I’ve seen it! It’s just the luck of the draw of getting that ONE hamster that is a hardcore chew master. And it doesn’t have to be blamed on boredom or too small a cage. Oh no – I’ve seen pictures of it happening in large hamster cages that have plenty for the ham to do!

      They really all have their own unique personalities. That is why we adore rodents so so much!

  2. Have you ever looked at Martin’s cages for hamsters?

    For rats in the USA, I’ve found two premier cages: Critter Nation and Martin’s. (I own a Critter Nation and love it, but I’d imagine it’s too spacious for hamsters, since I can house ten to twelve rats in mine. Also, a critter nation’s doors may be too open for hamsters. There are hilarious pictures of owners putting their 3 human kids (sitting, laughing, and smiling) comfortably inside a single critter nation to demonstrate how big a critter nation actually is.)

    Anyways, Martin’s will customize. But, I’d expect that one of the small rat cages would be perfect if a Martin hamster cage isn’t adequate. At least for rats, people are always encouraged to make sure that the cage is powder coated. I’d presume that you need the same for hamsters.

    Please let me know what you think about Martin’s. Because if I was to get a hamster, I was thinking of a Martin’s.

    • Those cages are awesome! The thing that sticks out to me is the base isn’t high enough for the amount of substrate/bedding a hamster would want. It would want to burrow and it wouldn’t be high enough. And it would be a MESS. All over the sides of the cage. LOTS of clean up. But I’m sure something could be adjusted around the sides with some DIY possibly. Hamsters need longer length more so than height. So that is always a consideration. Longer versus higher unlike with rats they love to have so much height for climbing. My issue with the mamble/ferret kit 100 cage I had was it was TOO high. Even with all the hammocks to catch falls. I’d need hammocks under the hammocks! To catch her from her highest hammocks! Both Bob (who was in it first) and Penny had terrible falls in that cage. IT’s great length and good bar spacing but the height just bothers me too much. Bob’s converted rabbit cage is long but not as tall as the Mamble.

      I didn’t look at all the cages on Martin’s. I’ll go back again soon and look at them all. There might be one that with a little DIY would be perfect. I only looked at the first few and I didn’t read the measurements yet. I just noticed the base was a bit shallow.

      Critter nation cages are so awesome. And they would be great hamster cages with DIY for a base. Figuring out a way to keep bedding in. I’m not sure it’s a CN but someone in the UK is using an ENORMOUS cage that is JUST like a CN for her Syrian. two floors and it’s long! It’s gigantic. She converted it. And I was so jealous. It’s amazing. I would LOVE to have a set up for my syrians like that. She uses the bottom for a lot of bedding. And I guess she used acrylic sheeting (plexiglass types) to go around it maybe? I couldn’t tell from photos. But acrylic sheeting attached somehow around it would be a great option. Not really tall – just about 6 inches maybe. Give or take a little.

      • Critter Nations are wonderful for rats. The British version is the Savic Royal Suite.

        It looks like the Savic comes with a deep pan. The Critter Nation comes with a thick plastic floor cover which has a depth of less than an inch, and my guys have torn gaping holes in its corners. Fortunately, the plastic pan sits on the metal cage floor.

        Anyways, Midwest which manufactures the Critter Nation makes a scatter guard that provides a four inch depth to the pan. However, it seems that most rat owners who want a deep pan buy a Bass pan from Bass Equipment. When you get the bass pan, then, you have to powder coat it. The cheap solution is buying a plastic cement mixing pan from Home Depot which amazingly fits inside a Critter Nation.

        But, I don’t think a Critter Nation is a good idea for hamsters, just way too big. Believe me, they look smaller than they actually are in pictures. But, I’m not a hamster expert. Pretty much all I know about hamsters comes from your website.

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