Hamsters and cats make great pets, but keeping the two of them in the same house can have obvious risks. Your cat instinctively considers the hamster potential prey , so it’s important to keep your little friend as far away from the cat as possible.
By providing your hamster with a secure cage and keeping it in a separate room from your cat, you will give your two pets the best chance of living together safely and happily.
If, on the other hand, you decide to introduce your cat to a hamster, you should take some precautions even if you think your cat is peaceful and accommodating.
Wondering if your hamster will get along with your cat? Or maybe you have a cat and you want to know if it will be okay with a hamster? These are always sensitive issues, and it is good that you know the drawbacks in advance.
So, let’s see if the coexistence of a cat and a hamster is possible , and what are the steps to follow to achieve this type of relationship.
So can cats and hamsters live together?
You cannot say yes or no firmly. It depends on the temperament of the cat . Cats are predators and will hunt anything they can, sometimes just for fun. Hamsters are prey and will naturally fear cats.
But not all cats are cunning and effective hunters. Some are fearful, or they won’t mind the hamster’s presence. The hamster, small as it is, cannot get out of its cage and being in its cage it cannot influence the cat to come and get it.
Still, there are stories where a cat and a hamster got along quite well, and there are sad cases of hamsters attacked by cats, or frightened by them.
But to know if your cat and hamster will get along, you will need to know more about hamsters and cats.
- The personality of the hamster
A hamster is prey in its natural habitat. Their normal reaction to most animals is to run and hide. This means that you will panic when you see a cat and even when you see a human.
That’s part of what makes hamsters more difficult to tame than other animals.
Still, not all hamsters are the same. Some are brave and will try to fight anything that gets too close. Others are very laid back and calm, and they won’t give a damn.
Still, other hamsters will be too shy and fearful to come out of hiding when they know someone is nearby. Each one has its own personality .
Running and hiding is characteristic of hamsters , and it is a reflection that keeps them alive in the wild.
Some hamsters can get too scared with the cat and get stressed, this can lead to a number of health problems such as hair loss, digestive problems and a very grumpy hamster.
- The cat’s personality
A cat is a natural predator and that is why it will try to hunt, not necessarily to eat, since we are talking about domestic cats. Therefore, the cat will try to hunt the hamster , simply because it is there, instinctively.
In a home where the cat has easy access to food and there are not many opportunities to exercise his instincts, a skittish hamster will make very interesting prey.
The normal thing is that the cat tries, by all means, to reach the hamster. But they also learn that if there is no way to open the cage or they can’t get its paw in, it will eventually give up harassing him.
Still, expecting your cat to behave and respect the hamster is not realistic . You are asking him to deny his own nature which is to hunt small animals hiding in dark and small corners.
What to keep in mind when you have a cat and a hamster
All of the above does not mean that hamsters and cats can never live together. It looks a lot like that, yes, but there are a few steps you should take to try and make things a little easier for everyone. So, let’s see what those steps are.
- Make sure the hamster’s cage is very safe
This means a very good closed cage. Cats are very curious and determined, they will touch the cage with their paws as much as they can, and they will even bring the cage closer to them, this means that they will even throw it off the table or shelf if they can grab it well.
Once the cage falls, it can be opened and the cat can find the hamster, or the hamster can be injured when the cage falls. It is clear to you that you need a cage that is practically cat-proof.
Acrylic plastic cages are best with a cat in the house . In contrast, cages with bars provide small spaces for a cat’s claws to pass through. The hamster could be scratched.
Make sure the front door is securely in place and cannot be easily opened. You should check the same with the other doors of the cage (such as sliding doors to place food).
- Position the hamster cage so the sides are protected
Where you are going to put the hamster cage is important. Cats generally like to stand in high places so they can keep an eye on their surroundings.
But generally they are placed in the high places of the rooms in which they spend a lot of time, which are usually those rooms in which the people of the home spend more time (such as the kitchen or the living room). Cats feel a natural urge to examine everything, especially when there are other people or movement.
One tip would be to place the hamster cage in a lonely and quiet room and in a high place , such as on a shelf that completely covers the sides of the cage, would be the safest.
- Never let the cat into the room when your hamster is out of its cage
If you let the hamster lie on the floor, or are holding it in your hands, make sure the cat is not in the room and the door is closed.
Cats are curious and will try to see what you have there, or what is moving on the ground and will try to catch it.
Again, if you can, do not allow the cat into the room when you are handling the hamster. This will make all of you calmer and safer. And it will keep the hamster calm to make it easier to handle.
Some hamsters won’t mind that the cat is present, and that’s really a problem. A hamster that is not afraid of the cat will go to him and try to smell him, this almost never ends well and you should avoid it.
- Try to distract your cat or keep it away from the room or the hamster cage
As much as you can, limit the interactions between your cat and your hamster . This means keeping the cat out of the hamster’s room or cage as much as possible.
You need the cooperation of other family members, to keep the door closed when they enter, or to scare the cat if it tries to open it.
Cats are very intelligent and generally find a way to open doors and drawers that you thought were closed and safe.
If your cat is also an outdoor cat, and you know that it spends hours in the street, you can take advantage of that time to handle or feed the hamster.
- Have reasonable expectations, cats are naturally curious
Finally, don’t expect the impossible from your cat. A cat is a cat, and there is very little chance that it will leave the hamster alone. After all, the hamster is not much different from a mouse.
Cats are curious, but it can also happen that over time you lose interest in the hamster. It is the only possibility you have for the two pets to live together in your home.
How to start a peaceful coexistence between cat and hamster
If, despite the inconveniences, you want to try to get them together, first try to keep the two pets separated by keeping the hamster in its cage. The second thing you must do is “convince” your cat that the rodent is a friend, not prey.
Start by letting the cat sit next to the cage and watch its body language . If he is relaxed and wags his tail, talk to him and explain that the hamster is not a toy or food. However, if he is stiff and still hunches over to watch the rodent’s every move, let him relax.
Similarly, you can show the cat that the hamster is a member of the family by talking to the rodent and petting it. Gradually let them sniff each other, as animals rely on their sense of smell to identify and get used to each other. Separate them immediately if either party shows any hostility.
Keep doing this until you are sure your cat will not harm the hamster. This will be the time to release your hamster to roam. Always monitor all interaction . This requires patience and persistence. While it may take days, weeks, or even months before that happens.
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