HOUSING A HAMSTER :: CAGE FURNISHINGS
You may opt for a basic cage which is sold in pet shops whose design consists of a plastic base and a rigid wire top. These cages come in a lot of shapes and sizes and are easy to clean. Do keep in mind that the LARGER the cage, the better for the hamster.
Hamster Nesting Material
Cedar shavings can cause the hamster allergic reactions. Pine shavings are preferable to cedar but paper based shavings are the best to use. Straw should not be used as this can be sharp and can cause injury to the hamster’s eyes or cheek pouches. The best bedding for hamsters is paper based bedding like toilet paper or tissue paper. Syrian Hamsters appreciate this type of bedding, while Dwarf Hamsters adore paper based bedding!
Hamster Food Bowl
Food bowls should be preferably earthenware since plastic bowls can be easily knocked over and chewed by hamsters. Food bowls should be refilled frequently.
Do not buy food designed for guinea pigs or rabbits, as these may not satisfy the dietary requirements of the hamster and may cause the hamster harm. Basic hamster mixes are sold in pet shops and these mixes contain grains, cereals, nuts, barley, wheat, sunflower seeds, peanuts, maize and flaked peas. Hamsters appreciate green food but too much is not good for hamsters because green food can cause diarrhea.
Hamster Drinking Bottle
A drinking bottle supplies water to your hamster in the best way, as it ensures a good supply of clean water. Drinking bottles with a ball-bearing in the tube, are best as these are less inclined to leak. Hamster drinking bottles should be cleaned at least once a week by watering the bottle and using a cotton bud to clean the gap between the bottle and the opening. To ensure that the hamster has fresh water always available, the water in the water bottle should be changed daily. Never give your hamster tap water. It is best to give your hamster bottled water only.
Hamster wheels provide an excellent means of exercise for the hamster. Most hamsters use the hamster wheel at night since hamsters are nocturnal.
The first thing to look at is the size of the product. If the wheel you buy is too small, there is a chance that your hamster will be uncomfortable while using it. Generally speaking, dwarf hamsters should use the smaller styles available. The bigger Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, are more comfortable with large wheels. If you're not really sure what to do, just go with a larger model. Having a hamster wheel that's too big isn't really a concern.
Solid wheels are best. Runged wheels can cause the hamster's feet slip through and thus you have to put a strip of cardboard weaved through the rungs. This way the hamster’s feet will not get stuck in between the rungs. Wheels can squeak after a while and this can be stopped by placing a drop of vegetable oil or some vaseline to the hamster wheel's axle.
On may also supply his/her hamster with a hamster flying saucer which is very similar to a hamster wheel.. Click here to check out the hamster flying saucer.
Hamster Balls are clear plastic with an opening in which the hamster can be placed. The hamster ball may then be shut and the hamster can run, moving the ball around the house. IMPORTANT: NOT ALL HAMSTERS LIKE HAMSTER BALLS. If your hamster does not run in the ball, it means that it is not enjoying the ball or else that the hamster is tired...also if the hamster pees in the hamster ball, that means that the hamster does not want to use it. In that case just let the hamster roam in the room and leave the hamster ball open; if the hamster ever wants to use it, s/he will go in the hamster ball on his/her own and run in it with the door open.
Furnishing the Cage
Furnishings include plastic houses, climbing blocks, wooden / plastic ladders, hamster see-saws, hamster tubes etc. The cage can also be furnished with things such as toilet roll tubes and small branches of apple wood will also give the hamster something to climb on as well as to gnaw. You can also place a hamster potty in the cage to make the cage easier to clean. Check out this hamster article about hamster homemade toys.