Rant from my misery.

I tell you… I have joined all sorts of hamster forums and communities and the only one worth a damn so far has been Hamster Hideout. Even the Facebook groups it’s just “post a million photos of our cute hamsters” and let me bully you about your minimum space cage and I am human but let’s post a bunch of photos of myself in a rainbow colored suit because I am depressed and all of you seeing my pictures in a hamster community will make me feel tops.

BUT someone posts with concerns about their ill hamster and it’s ignored. It’s like high school in these communities. If you aren’t part of the “in” crowd you and your hamster aren’t worth a lick of salt.

Yes I am livid. And upset. My hamster is dying and my vet can do nothing but euthanize her. And I just wanted some encouragement and advice and suggestion (with some people owning over 20 hamsters and many having died from various illnesses you’d expect they had SOME feedback).

These people who are decidedly silent and I can not help but be surprised when I feel I’ve been emotionally supportive to them in the past.

I don’t say a lot when I am sad.

I watched my daddy die. My sister died. My favorite uncle died. When my cat Fiona died (after losing my Malti-poo Fonzie and never finding him again) and I found her dead it was before any really close family had ever died yet while as an adult. I was so depressed I didn’t shower for weeks. I had to go onto antidepressants to function. After that I have reacted to major deaths in a shutdown mode. Even human deaths.

I have two little boys who I have to be strong for so I especially have to keep most feelings inside to my self. It’s a dark place to deal with death. And just because someone doesn’t talk about it a lot doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings they are dealing with in their own way and couldn’t use some encouragement or sympathy. In this case for their hamster who is dying today but not quickly. She is breathing but not moving otherwise. Has been on fast decline since the vet visit. Making me suspect I never should have taken her there to begin with as it apparently sent over over edge stress wise and didn’t help her in the least.

I just cannot believe how selfish people are. People in these communities with their claims of being different and not being popular in school and having dealt with so much ill treatment by peers because they are homebodies… They go online and form cliques and become exactly the type of people they were bothered by.

Hamstercentral and SHuk and the rest are closed off and holier than thou. Pretty much should just be called “Post Your Hamster Pic Spam and then get the Hell Out”.

If you want any rise out of them just post a picture of a small cage. A big cage is all these people give a damn about. Post about your sick hamster that a vet can’t figure out what’s wrong with it and be ignored. Misplaced values anyone? It’s unreal.

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Hamsters Versus Rats.

Yesterday, on a local pets group that I follow on Facebook, someone asked: “Rats or Hamsters?” She acknowledged they were completely different pets but that she would like to hear opinions on which makes a better pet.

Now, I think we hamster people (And I’m sure Rat people) will know what was unanimously the answer.

Rat was voted over 10 times. The only person who stuck up for Hamsters was yours truly. And the only person who “liked” my answer was the OP herself.

In my comment I took it as an opportunity to express why I felt hamsters were viewed less favorably to their larger “cousins”. For starters the tiny cages they are “supposed” to be put in limit the appeal that is the hamster. It limits their happiness therefore their personality. People are under the misguided notion that hamsters only need a wheel for enrichment. That they do not deserve or are intelligent enough to enjoy other toys. In fact hamsters do enjoy the same toys Rats do. Maybe with some not with the same gusto but definitely they appreciate climbing. Hammocks, tubes, and platforms.

I stated that given a decent sized cage one would be surprised by how entertaining and sweet these creatures can become. Comments against hamsters stated they were not affectionate. Not social. And pretty  much it was implied they are stupid.

Seriously, what the heck? I felt offended.

I think Rats are awesome! I completely understand that they are known to be highly intelligent and sociable and affectionate. But to favor Rats because of the belief that hamsters have none of those attributes is upsetting to me. What do they know? And what gave them that idea? Hamster ownership was so dismal to them? How come? What is it they did not do for their hamster’s health and happiness for it to hate them so much they formed a horrible opinion of them.

Because when I was a little girl my memory of my hamsters is quite fond. And this was in the 80s when we thought that a 10 gallon tank, a metal spoke wheel, pine shavings, a toilet paper tube and food and water was all they really needed for a good life. And even then I remember fondly playing for hours in the evening with my hamsters. On my bed usually where I could sit with them (I only had one hamster at a time) and cuddle when they tired. I had hamsters fall asleep on me they were so comfortable with me.

So even with the idea I have that they have negative views because they didn’t see hamsters at their fullest potential – due to tiny cramped cages with little enrichment – that doesn’t excuse their false idea they are not affectionate. Not cuddly.

Then it bothers me – the OP herself. Asking between rats and hamsters. Despite both being rodents and hamsters having admirable qualities like a rat as well – they are still distinctly different species. Pets. It’s not really fair to compare them. And if you are at a loss of which to pick I think it’s time to really do more research before choosing.

I feel like I should have not just made my answer in defense and education about hamsters to the masses but I also should have said “What are you looking for in a pet?”¬† I think Rats are going to need a lot more attention. Do you have the time for that? Hamsters need a good deal more attention than most people think (but probably not nearly as much as rats) and at later hours. Are you a night owl? Do you want a pet more laid back?

I just don’t appreciate it being some sort of contest of Rats versus hamsters. I think it’s unfair. Perhaps had the answers been more fair – that would be one thing.

Only a few of the answers people left were actually helpful. Such as mentioned that Rats need to be in at least pairs. And for the most parts hamsters were solitary. And needed to be alone. Though why that would be why one chose one or the other boggles me. I don’t know why I’d be less inclined to get a Syrian Hamster over a rat because one likes to have friends with them and the other likes to be a hermit. I wonder what that says about us when we are motivated by simply something like that. (Not being judgmental or critical there – I truly wonder what it says (positive or negative or neutral).

At this point I’m just babbling. We have our favorites. At this point I’d probably never get dwarf hamsters again. Only Syrians. I truly am more inclined to have Syrians and many of them. I also am very drawn to Gerbils. Which was much to my surprise as before I suddenly wanted a pair I hadn’t had much interest in them ever before.

Some people definitely prefer their Rats to any other rodents or pets in general. And I can understand why. I do understand Rats are much more intelligent. And if they are ANYTHING at all like mice (don’t hate me for comparing – please bear with me) then I can see how they are super affectionate. Mice are incredibly affectionate when they are fully trained. I should know. I had many of them in my teenage years and I loved everything about them but all the peeing haha) .

And to be clear – I wasn’t offended by people favoring Rats over hamsters if only they gave better reasons. But to dis hamsters in general for such ridiculous reasons! Well, if I view it in a positive light perhaps what I wrote was truly taken into consideration by even just ONE or maybe 10 people or more. Maybe people who read my comment had hamsters and will rethink the tiny cages they keep them in. Maybe…just maybe I made a positive difference for hamsters out there. Not in promoting them over rats (which I was in no way doing) but that I took the opportunity where it arose to educate a local community on how to make a hamster a happier and more affectionate and enjoyable pet.

Back. Rants and Confessions.

So, I’ve been getting notifications from WordPress that I’m getting high volumes of visits. Like over 40 visits and hour for peaks. Most of which I have a feeling are spam bots. When I take a gander at the spam comments sometimes I see that WordPress has an amazing spam catcher which gets most of the spam and most of which ARE spam.

However, many of these visits are not spam but they are trolls. I either have ONE nutcase who is changing names just to plague me with annoying questions to be a jerk … for example “petco told the mesh used to make bin cages are toxic in zinc” …and other stupid STUPID comments like that. Come on people. Do some freaking research will you? GOOGLE helps. It really does. And a Petco associate is someone you take a lot of stock from? Okaaaaay.

I get a lot of the “duct tape is dangerous for rodents” comments. Even though my duct tape is not in a place my rodents could get to it. By the time my gerbils could fit their teeth and muzzles through the 1/4 inch grid squares to reach the duct tape they would be in a world of pain because they would have to had shaved off gads and gads of flesh to fit it in there.

The point is I’m getting high volumes of comments like this. When before I was getting comments that thanked me for ideas or asked for help now I get fewer of those and more trolls. All the trolls seem to type and word things in the same way so it may be the very same person who needs a life.

But because of this person or people I have decided to remove the comment feature from the pages I’ve made. And I have comment moderation on. So, when people comment initially it will be in the moderation queue. Once approved people logged in with that account or email should never have to go to the queue any longer and be instantly approved. But I see it doesn’t always work that way. Some comments MAY be going directly to spam which are NOT spam. Sorry about that.

But I was sick of getting this crap in my email daily. Now that comments are off from my “pages” I rarely get email. And when I do get comments on the posts I have to approve them and that extra step usually makes me take longer than usual to reply back if I ever do. Once again sorry about that!

The entire fiasco left such a bad taste in my mouth – almost like someone raining on my happy place. Ruining my happy place. I know that that is what happens when you begin to word things such as I have on pages such as “this is how you should do things” … or at least implied that I am very knowledgeable in that. You get the people who challenge you. If this was THAT it would be one thing. But I’m getting moronic comments over and over and I just don’t have time for that.

I haven’t posted much at all for that reason but also because I am in transition with my hams. And honestly I feel like I will be judged on here since already I have been over duct tape and bin cages and space of cages. Might sound silly to let it get to me but I have to be honest I just don’t like that feeling that I’ve got such asshats stalking my blog.

But I’m over that NOW. I’m going to post again. At least text wise. I haven’t taken a lot of pictures lately. But this is a place for ME. I don’t care if I’m hated. Or judged. Or trolled. If I have to remove the comment feature from my posts I will. I will do what I have to to keep up my postings.

One of the transitions I made was Gabriel. I keep not learning my lesson with the Kevin 82 cage. First it belonged to Bob. I got the cage specifically FOR Bob. Bob originally had the Mamble. He fell from the Mamble and was weird for a few weeks. He wasn’t injured but he was in some sort of PTSD. Actually, he may have had injuries but nothing broken and I didn’t see swelling. Anyway, I was too terrified he’d fall again in there being that he’s clumsy. So, I got the Kevin which is only 14 inches high. So it’s not a tall cage by any means.

When I got Penny I put her in the Mamble and Bob smelling her became like a new ham. He was suddenly active and wanting to come out all the time. I found the used Rabbit cage and meshed the bars so he couldn’t slip out and this gave him a lot more space and it wasn’t as high as the mamble but still higher than the Kevin but narrower than the Mamble so less open space up high to have to cover with hammocks. So, it was safer for him. He loves his cage. I could never move him out of it. He just is super content in it.

Okay, so I had this empty Kevin 82 now. I put my hybrid dwarf Strawberry in there to give him a big upgrade in space. He seemed to love it at first. He was all over the place. Active like never before (he is hardly ever out until midnight) but then within the next week he was back to being super reclusive and even stopped coming out much at night. I gave it some time. Over a month. But no change. I put him back in his originally bin cage and he went back to being his normal self. Still lazy but back to coming out and doing his thing at the usual times. I vowed to never move him from his bin ever again.

So, empty Kevin again. So, I adopt a chinese hamster Gabriel. I put him in the Tamburino after a short stint in a smaller bin cage to not overwhelm him with a big jump in space that for years he wasn’t used to having. He took to the cage well. Loved it. Seemed to be active during the day and night. But I got it in my head to give him an upgrade.

MISTAKE AGAIN. It got to the point I’d only see him in his sand box and his Flying Saucer and any other time he was buried. He wasn’t going into his hammock of platforms or into all the little fun things I made him like his spoon ladders or hanging cup or basket. He may have been in the very early hours of the morning perhaps but I’m insomniac and I’m up really late and I wake up in the middle of the night and early morning hours too and poke my head in there when I do and I do not observe much going on except his FS or Sand box.

So, this weekend I did a MAJOR overhaul of the room. We needed more space too. That’s a long story but I knew it was long coming when I initially put the hams in that room as a temporary thing at the time months ago. I put Gabriel back in the Tamburino and within two days I’ve noticed he’s out even in the day time again. I was in there this afternoon and there he was like old times – wandering about. OH HAI GABE! Long time no see you like this!

Is the Kevin cursed? I don’t know.

So, this is where I’ll get judged but at this point I don’t give a damn.

We were noticing this odor from Penny’s bin cage. I would clean out her litter 2 times a day to combat it. It was so strong. I stopped giving her mealworms to see if that would help. It did. But still there was odors. Not as strong as before but still there. Well, the bottom half of the bin cage doesn’t have much ventilation. Just the front panel. So, I made two more windows in it on the sides. But still odor was trapping in. I notice that Penny did nothing down there but sleep. She didn’t make use of the rest of the area at all. I wouldn’t either if it stunk so darn bad!

In the future I will make a large back meshed panel and give it a try again but at this point I realized that in this cage the bin cage wasn’t healthy. If she used the top bin for sleeping AND playing it would be fine. It has a large mesh panel in the front and the top and the back and very ventilated. But for Penny it was just not enough space. She’s not even 70 percent as active as she was months ago. She has slowed down a lot. Or “calmed down” more so. She mainly likes to climb around in her hammocks and platforms and wheel and flying saucer. So, I set up the Kevin 82 for her. Made it look more awesome than ever before. She has her hanging jungle gym back up and several platforms and the FS and the Wheel and a dig box and her litter box. And her heart platforms I had made her DIY in there and I am amazed by how much more space there is in there than I had initially thought. When I had Bob in there I didn’t utilize space in there well. I guess you get really good.

So, I did this and she was ecstatic. Checking our her hanging tubes and her hammocks and bridges and platforms and platforms. She was happy to have BOTH the FS and the Wheel in there. I see she nightly she goes back and forth from the wheel to her FS. Pretty much she’s acting like she did when she first got in her bin cage. She loved her bin cage – at least the top part for activity. But the bottom was just not safe for her. It just wasn’t.

Not because it’s a bin cage. Not because of the duct tape on the outside that was out of her reach. It was because of ventilation issues. It was just causing the bacteria in her pee I guess to just multiply so rapidly that the odor was just horrific. We were about to take her to the vet for fear it was a health problem and her pee was an indication. But now that she’s in the well ventilated Kevin I haven’t smelled anything like that.

The Kevin 82 is a downsize for her. Despite what some wanted to believe the double decker bin cage wasn’t a downgrade from the Mamble. It was actually an upgrade overall in space. But she was barely using the extra space down below probably because it was full of nasty vapors every time she used the pot.

Do I feel bad about putting her in the Kevin? Nope. Not one bit. I don’t see that she’s unhappy. I see her acting as usual if not a bit more “busy” probably because it’s new and she loves newness. Unlike most hamsters she actually loved cage cleans and rearranging. She gets bored easily.

Will she stay in the Kevin forever? No. We will be moving in May. We plan to find a house to rent this time. A nice sized house hopefully. For our boys and for our pets. When we look for a place to rent I will want a room or area devoted for my hams and that means I want a space for the play pen to be set up always. Not to have to be broken down daily. And I want it to have space for the hamster ball to have a good area to roll. And I want Penny back in the Mamble. I will be altering the mamble however. I will be finding a way to make the top of the cage open up like a massive door to help with cleaning. Major DIY there.

But for now this is the best alternative. I can’t do the Mamble here in that room. We’ve had to put so much in there that space is now a serious issue and the Mamble wouldn’t fit. The bin was a problem as I just stated.

For the record though – the Kevin is a marvelous cage for a Syrian. Bigger is always better but damn – I forgot what a great cage it is. For dwarfs or Syrians. But if you have a dwarf it’s probably best to keep them in the cage they get settled in (as long as it’s a cage with adequate spacing of course). They seem to not take change as well as Syrians do.

Bob won a contest I didn’t Enter him in.

In USA the best animal bedding available is CareFRESH. It’s made by recycling paper – making it into pulp and drying and resulting in incredibly soft and absorbent bedding. It’s been a favorite of mine not only for those reasons but also because it helps us in this house full of allergy ridden people. Aspen is a cheap, safe, and nice smelling choice but it has triggered unwanted nasal issues with us all. Carefresh also comes in cute colors. I keep hoping pink will be one soon. If it’s not already – I never see it anywhere for sale so I’m not sure.

Well, the company (Absorption inc) has a great product but they are also nice people. Recently, a photo of my hamster Bob with my son holding him was stolen from Hamster Central forums and used without my permission in a CareFRESH cutest pet contest AND it won. The guy who did it (after some investigating I soon found out who) – is a 14 year old boy who on his Youtube account “likes” videos on “How to win contests”. He’s a compulsive shopper for his hamsters (aren’t we all but to the point where this guy is probably spending hours yanking other people’s hamster pictures (WITH THEIR CHILDREN IN THE SHOT) and entering them illegally as his own to contests JUST to win…) and this particular contest was for a 3 dollar coupon for CareFRESH which he couldn’t even use in Scotland where he lives.

So, I stumbled upon it having the company liked on my “incognito” Facebook I keep to stave off unwanted family and old acquaintances from finding me – and guess what pops up on my news feed? MY photo with MY son and MY Hamster. I went on a rampage with the company wanting them to remove it. They promptly did and were incredibly apologetic though my rampage wasn’t AT them – it was toward this person at the time I had no idea who it was and the idea of the dark sides of the internet. I won’t get into the emotional side effects of this event. This post is to state that the reaction of CareFRESH was genuine. I was probably on the phone with a manager for 30 minutes if not longer just discussing what sort of creep would do this.

Then I receive this package in the mail with their products. Bedding, Food, Litter, and that cool Crinkle paper. It wasn’t even their fault but they were so kind and generous!
I couldn’t not make a post about that.

As for Mr. Evan Carrie from Hamster Central – I wrote him a private message telling him how what he did was wrong and how it made me feel. Never got a response back from him. I don’t think he gives a damn to begin with but he’ll also do it again. I think he is an immature contest junkie. I can say that because I was once 14 and I didn’t steal offline or online. So, age is no excuse for that personality trait.

 

For a little bit more detail and about the emotional aspect of this I’ll link my other entry on the subject from my other blog >> here<<