If the issue is about ability, yes – yes, you can feed your hamster with some of your cat’s food. Reliable sources have it that the proteins injected in cat foods are beneficial for hamsters. When a hamster is heavy with a child or is lactating, it needs lots of proteins. It wouldn’t be a mistake to give them a bowl of your cat’s food every other day. Also, baby hamsters will dig in with enthusiasm when you present cat food to them.
Also, and from time to time, you can mix your hamster’s food with dry cat food, and the nibbler will gently eat it. The argument boils down to this – at the end, give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and hamsters what belongs to hamsters.
What Your Hamster Should Eat
You need to get your hamster food that is high in quality and bought from the store. Also, it should have been manufactured specifically for hamsters – not mice, cats, or rats. Even when you narrow it down to this, you will feel overwhelmed once you get to the store. In this part, you will get presented with some of the serving options you should take up. Learning the best-of-the-best diets will get you giving your hamsters safe foods and treats:
1. Pelleted Diets
In every bite of a pelleted snack, your hamster gets the experience of a balanced diet. This dietary detail is why they are the most recommended for your hamster. While they come in numerous shapes, many look like cookies, cereals, or small biscuits.
A hamster is one picky animal – when you give it a mix of loose seeds, it may eat up only its favorite items. Pelleted mixes prevent that choosy behavior from happening. In the long run, however, some hamsters may choose not to eat the pellets because they may become monotonous.
To ensure that the hamster sticks to the diet, you need to inject supplements of different items. When you do that, remember that the bulk of the food should be the pelleted mix.
2. Seed Diets
As you browse the store’s shelves, it is essential to pick a loose-seed mixture diet. Your pick should be one that contains dried vegetables and grains, alongside some seeds. Ensure that the diet includes a variety of foods. Some of this type of diet have pelleted food as part of their mix.
As you feed your hamster this mix, ensure that your animal has emptied the bowl before adding any more. This will reduce the hamster’s picky behavior.
3. Fresh Treats And Farm Foods
This last dieting option draws your attention to human food. The options provided here are safe. But, remember not to give the people food above the 10:1 ratio, that is, ten parts of your hamster’s regular diet should include 1 part of the human food. Avoid giving the animal junk food and focus only on healthy items such as fresh veggies and fruits, and whole grain. Avoid seed/honey sticks and yogurt drops as they may be too sugary for your hamster. If yours is a dwarf hamster, you may already know by now that it is prone to diabetes. Here is a table of fruits, veggies, and other food items that you can serve your hamster:
|Specific Food Item
|Specific Food Item
|Apple, with no seeds (toxic)
|Unsalted and almond-less nuts
|Sweet potatoes (moderately)
|Cooked whole-wheat pasta
|Whole sugarless cereal
You can also consider smearing some peanut butter into your hamster’s bowl. However, you should be careful because of its sticky nature. The butter can get stuck in the inside cheek pouches, posing a risk for severe problems. Occasionally, you can throw in a piece of wood (skinny). This will help shed off the ever-growing frontal teeth.
What Your Hamster Should Not Eat
Since we have looked at what hamsters should eat, it is also good to look at what they shouldn’t. The foods mentioned here are not exactly toxic, but they could be if taken in large amounts. If you think your hamster has ingested many do-not-eat foods, follow the necessary measures, and get him to the vet. If the hamster hasn’t come across the foods, take precautions.
Almonds that are bitter and unroasted have a toxic element called cyanide. Also, all almonds have moderately-high fat content. Giving your hamster an occasional piece is okay, but it shouldn’t go beyond one almond a week.
2. Whole Stacks (Celery)
These food items have a stringy texture that can cause choking to your hamster. The precautionary measures of serving celery are removing its strings and dicing or cutting it into smaller pieces. This way, it becomes a safe snack.
3. Dark Chocolate
Of the many elements in this sugary bar, there is one known as theobromine. In large amounts, this component is toxic, and indeed, you would want your hamster spared from any near-death experience, wouldn’t you?
Even with moderate amounts of garlic, your hamster may experience blood disorders or even indigestion.
5. Uncooked Kidney Beans
These are a NO-NO – they are incredibly toxic to hamsters. Completely avoid them.
6. Iceberg, Lettuce
Apart from diarrhea, this food item will provide minimal nutritional benefits. As mentioned in the section before, there are other greens and leafy vegetables to offer your hamster.
Feeding your hamster with this relative of the garlic will result in red blood cell damage.
These items are usually high in fat that hamsters can’t accommodate them. If they are salted, they could make the hamster get dehydrated. To be safe, feed your hamster a human-grade, unsalted peanut once a week.
9. Seasoned Or Spicy Products
Seasonings and spices may create tumult in the hamster’s intestines, and this could result in diarrhea.
10. Sugary Food Items
These are full of calories, and they have very little nutritional value. Also, an excess of sweets may make the hamster develop diabetes.
11. Tomato Leaves
These are toxic and should be kept away from hamsters.
12. Unwashed Vegetables, Foods
Pesticides may be resting on the skins of these foods. Indeed, those chemicals pose a lot of danger if ingested by your hamster.
How To Keep Your Hamster Happy And Healthy
You will agree that the cuteness of hamsters goes without saying. Among the many pets, hamsters are the ones whose care is relatively easy. While it sounds simple, caring for hamsters can be complicated as you have to set a couple of things straight. In this guide’s part, you will be taken through three parts of a how-to program so that your hamster stays healthy. Remember, everything takes time, effort, and sprinkles of perseverance. Read on.
First Part – Creation Of A Joyful Space For Your Hamster
1. Ensure That The Basic Needs Of Your Hamster Are Met.
Just like humans, hamsters have needs that need to be met. They include healthcare, food, and an excellent place to live. Failure to take care of these items means that the animals will be unsatisfied. Here are some of the fresh points you should look at:
a) Always ensure that fresh and good food is provided to the hamster. Take the initiative of gathering up carrots, veggies, and leafy greens to make fresh food for your pet.
b) Whenever the nibbler looks ill, take them to the vet.
c) Buy them a couple of chew toys. The teeth of a hamster, like many rodents, grow throughout their lives. Getting them wooden toys will help in shredding the teeth, which would have otherwise killed them or prevented them from eating well.
d)The hamster’s cage should be in a place with hamster-friendly temperatures. If the environment is in the 70 – 80 Fahrenheit bracket, the hamster will enjoy the optimum numbers. Anything above 90 or below 60 could affect the animal severely.
2. Ensure That The Hamster’s Cage Is Large
The cage is where your hamster will get to spend most of its life. It is their little island, and so it should not be tight. Let it be spacious enough so that the nibbler can explore, move around, and exercise as much as they want. Here are the specifics and details you should look at:
a) The cage should at least be 1.414 by 1.414 feet, that is, approximately 2 square feet. Getting something that is two by 2 feet – 4 square feet – is good enough.
b) If you can, leave glass aquariums out of your list of choices.
c) If you have many hamsters, the cage should be more prominent.
3. Ensure That The Enclosure Is Outfitted With The Needed Trappings
Having an appropriate and spacious cage is one thing, but making it a happy place is another. Look at the following pointers to know what to include in the enclosure:
a) Any substance that is similar to wood shavings, such as sand, should be in the cage. This will help to blanket the cage’s floor. Remember, hamsters are burrowers, so ensure that the wood shavings go deep. Avoid pine or cedar shavings – these may be toxic to the nibblers.
b) Include something soft as a bedding item. If you’re too much in love with the hamster, get them a new towel. If not, pick an old piece of cloth and set it up in the cage.
c) Ensure that there are a food dish and a water bottle.
4. Ensure That The Cage Sits In A Quiet Room
Hamsters are delicate animals – just look at their cute and chubby faces! A quietly safe place will serve the hamster well as they will not live in danger or feel anxious. This should be a priority, or otherwise, all the previous plans will be rendered useless.
a) Avoid the kitchen or the family room. Items like the TV, fridge, or microwave may produce noises that disturb the peace of your pet hamster.
b) Do not put the hamster near or next to other family pets such as cats and dogs. Hamsters are prey to other pets – and the animals will try to get to the nibbler.
c) Ensure that the place you keep the cage is out of reach of small children. An unsupervised child may open the cage and let the hamster take off. Also, they may feed the hamster with some toxic human food.
Second Part – Giving Your Hamster Star-Class Entertainment
1. Get An Exercise Wheel For Your Hamster
This should have come to you already since the wheel is the most popular hamster toy. Not only does a hamster wheel provide entertainment, but also, it helps them to keep fit through exercise. Here are some pointers that you should have in mind as you get the wheel:
a) Each hamster in the cage should have a wheel.
b) Any wheel that you choose should fit your hamster. The hamster shouldn’t have a wheel that is either too small or too large.
c) Always work on ensuring that there is proper maintenance of the wheel. From time to time, take the exercise-entertainment tool out, then do some servicing. Check out if the wheel is rusty. If it is, purchase a new one.
2. Create A Tube System In The Hamster’s Cage
It’s not about ventilation – it’s about making the hamster happy. Creating the tubing system will work well if you have enough space. The hamster will enjoy making their way through the system. Apart from keeping them active, the brains will be stimulated.
a) The tube’s diameter should not be right such that the hamster does not find it troublesome to penetrate. Also, the tube should not take much of the cage’s space.
b) You should get the system changed from time to time.
c) Ensure that there are comfortable rest-or-sleep places within the system.
3. Provide Your Hamster With Various Toys
Take the tube system and the wheel as significant toys. Other minor ones can entertain your hamster and keep them busy. Here are some no-spend options that you can go for:
a) Boxes – cardboards are right hiding spots for hamsters.
b) Popsicle sticks
c) Toilet paper rolls
Third Part – Increase The Interactions Between You And Your Hamster
1. Take Your Hamster To Your Hand Often
Many hamsters are solitary animals, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t fancy a little companionship. Check out the following fine points on how to befriend your hamster through handling:
a) Hold your hamster with gentleness. You should let the animal rest in your hand. If it doesn’t give you jitters, allow them to crawl on you.
b) Make sure the handling is done every two days, or, if you can, every single day. Avoid neglecting him so that he remains emotionally unaffected.
c) If you can’t keep up with the handling, get a relative or a friend to provide the warmth.
2. Ensure That The Handling Happens With Care
As mentioned in the previous part, you need to handle the hamster gently and carefully. Otherwise, you may inflict some injuries on the animal which may be fatal:
a) Avoid being rough.
b) Focus on the handling lest you drop and kill the hamster.
c) Ensure that the animal does not protest before you pick them up. If the hamster does, give it time to rest and be comfortable.
d) Before and after handling the pet, always wash your hands.
I’m Christopher Benjamin, a dedicated Animal Nutritionist at Ethos Veterinary Health with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Michigan State University. My lifelong passion for animals led me to establish AnimalsData.Com. Here, I share expert advice, educational resources, and inspiring stories to empower fellow pet lovers worldwide. Join our community as we celebrate the beauty and diversity of our beloved animal companions!