View Full Version : what's a best first pet...

Blue Skies
June 27th, 2009, 12:49 PM
a guinea pig or a hamster?

My kids are dying for a pet. The closest we had were two beta fish (in separate bowls) which became the ward of DH after two weeks. They finally went to their final resting place a few months ago after taking up residence on the kitchen counter for almost two years - (I should have put them in the same bowl for a few hours...that might have hastened their...well you know).

I grew up with dogs and loved having them as a pet. But given our work schedules, it would be unfair to the poor pooch. DS and I are allergic to cats, so they're pretty much out of the question.

Also out are: ferrets, rats :eek:, rabbits, more fish, horses, llamas or anything exotic that we can't pronounce.

(I had a hamster as a child. I let it out of the cage one day, it scurried along my bookcase, my Children's Bible fell on it and it died. :()

June 27th, 2009, 12:56 PM
Death by Bible, :eek:.

My DD1 guinea pig just passed away on Monday. :( It was almost 4 years old, so they can live a while. Plus, they require more room than a hamster, larger cages. No more guinea pigs for us (mainly because DH was the one who always cleaned out the cage due to its size.)

I like the hamster idea. But remember, cleaning the cages takes a lot of work, plus feeding and watering every night. I think pets are great for kids because they teach responsibility.

Also, we had a lot of animals growing up and one of my favorites was a lizard.

Blue Skies
June 27th, 2009, 01:09 PM
So sorry to hear about DD1's guinea pig.

My thoughts, too, were the size. DD is leaning toward the guines pig. I told her that she would have to clear out about a hundred or two or her extensive stuffed animal collection before I would consider adding to it with a live 'one'. Are guines pigs noucternal?

I like the hamster idea because it is more compact. She wants something to cuddle, so I'm not so sure of the lizard - though I think DS would probably go for that. Unless, or course, you can cuddle a lizard...?

Thanks for the feedback!

June 27th, 2009, 01:51 PM
Depends on how much noise you want. When my sisters & I were kids had mice, hampsters, gerbils, cats, a dog, and a guinea pig (not all at the same time).

Guinea pigs (in my experience) make great alarms - anytime someone got up during the night -"weeat, weeat, weeat" went the guinea pig :rolleyes:. But it never escaped from its cage.

Now hampsters, on the other hand, are escape artists - I even bought an "escape proof" cage - hah... they just worked harder to get out - should have given them names like David Copperfield & Harry Houdini :rolleyes:

Blue Skies
June 27th, 2009, 03:26 PM
That's all I would need - the little hamster getting loose amongst all the webkins, beanie babies, Big Dogs and all the other furry friends...

Blue Skies
July 1st, 2009, 10:04 AM
UPDATE: we went to Petco on Monday. It looks like the hamsters are in the lead. We looked at the 'escape-proof' cages and thought of ways to super escape-proof them. DD knew about the Houdini tendency of the little critters - she's been doing her research. Now we have to narrow down which type - dwarf, teddy bear, short hair...it's all so confusing!!;).

July 1st, 2009, 02:06 PM
Question about allergies - you and DS are allergic to cats. Any chance you'd be allergic to a hamster?

When we were in the search process for cats (all of one hour at the Humane Society :rolleyes:) I went with the kittens I thought would turn into short haired cats. I read someone (on-line, so you KNOW it's gospel truth :p) that allergies were a consideration for short hair vs. long hair. :)

I like hamsters. I'd have a hamster (and a guinea pig) if we didn't have cats. :D Let us know what you end up with!! I'm amazed at the restraint you showed going to Petco and coming home empty handed (did I mention our one hour search process at the Humane Society?)

Blue Skies
July 1st, 2009, 02:21 PM
Yes, for once, we actually ended up just looking. We're going away at the end of the month for a short vacation in the Adirondacks, and we don't want to burden anyone with caring for our new pets. So the newest additions will have to arrive in August.

I didn't think about the allergy issue with hamsters. (I *won't* be touching them, they'll be DD & DS responsibility you know...:rolleyes:). I guess I assumed since they're so small it shouldn't be a problem, but perhaps it would be an issue for DS. Thanks for the info on long hair vs short hair. I'll do more research on that. Better yet, I'll have DD do more research...since she's all bored and everything...

They looked into travel cages for the little guys...they want to bring them to Nana's house. Don't know how her two cats will feel about them though....

July 1st, 2009, 02:29 PM
(I *won't* be touching them, they'll be DD & DS responsibility you know...:rolleyes:).


Uh huh.... it works that way in our house too. :rolleyes:

Blue Skies
August 23rd, 2009, 11:14 AM
DD and DS are now the *proud parents* of a female short hair hamster. Today is three weeks since her arrival. She’s cute enough, and the kids love her, but she looks eerily a little too much like the rat who cornered me in the basement at work a few months back. (:eek:)

So far the kids have been very good at taking care of her – not too much nagging :rolleyes:*er* I mean reminding them to feed her. They’re been slow to handle her since DD was bitten on the third day – a good one too, drew a nice amount of blood. So caution is the word around here which is just fine with me.

The only thing I’m concerned about – and I haven’t let the kids know my concern – is that she seems to be losing her hair in a couple of spots. One tiny patch on her snout, and two tiny places near her hind legs. Any one ever had an experience with this?

August 23rd, 2009, 11:20 AM
Congrats Blue Skies!!

Pets are the bizz....no idea though why the hair is going patchy...ring the vet and
they will advise you over the phone,

Ever thought of the pussy cat as a pet? Can vouch for them myself...great little
clean creatures and not too demanding if you are busy.. wouldnt be without my
two cats especially now that the kids have deserted me!
Enjoy the little animals anyway...its great for kids to have pets.

Blue Skies
August 23rd, 2009, 12:29 PM
Hi Lizzie,

Cats would have been the ideal choice if DS and I weren't allergic to them :(. My mom has two cats, and my children adore them, but my DS is not allowed to pet them unless he washes his hands immediately afterwards (which is a hard thing for a 9 YO to remember). Otherwise he winds up with puffy eyes, sneezes constantly and is occassionally on the verge of an asthma attack. We give him Claritin before he visits her, and about 70% of the time its effective - if he remembers to wash his hands. As for me, I can only spend an hour in my mom's place before my eyes start to swell up and the sneezing begins.

I know for my mom (who is a widow), her cats are her dear companions and I'm happy she has them. It's interesting how different their personalities are, and they're awfully fun to watch. But they're not in the cards for us I'm afraid.

mum of three
August 31st, 2009, 08:18 AM
If your hamsters cage is one that has the metal bars on it the bald patches on her snout are probably from were she has been biting the cage.

I have to syrian females and both have cages that have bars on them as they love to climb the bars and swing on them. One has a baldt patch om her snout from biting the bars and rubbing her teeth on them. The other one does not do this so no patches. Have no idea why they would have patches on legs though.

edited for spelling error

Blue Skies
September 1st, 2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks mum of three, that’s exactly what we’ve been noticing over this last week!! After we treated her bedding with a flea & tick powder recommended by the pet store,(we thought she might have mites), we noticed her biting the metal bars on the top of her cage. Her head was tilted as she gnawed, and the bar was rubbing in the exact same spot where her fur was missing!!!

DS found this remedy on-line to repel her from biting on the bars. We rubbed lemon juice on the top bars of her cage, and it seemed to have worked. We didn’t treat the side bars as she seems to really love to bite on them and they don’t seem to hit her like the top bars do.

Are there any negative long term effects to this habit? As long as we know she’ll be safe and healthy, we don’t mind a little missing fur on her nose…. As for the fur on her hind legs, that was my mistake – I think I was noticing any little imperfection in her fur and attributing it to this problem. Her fur is fine in that area.

Thanks again for the input…it’s good to know that our hamster isn’t peculiar in her rodently habits!

mum of three
September 2nd, 2009, 10:55 AM
I don't think there would be any negative effects. we have had our Peppa since february and she has had a baldy patch since about march and it does not bother her in the slightest. She may look a bit silly but she is fine and extremly tame and loveable.

I think its the escape artist in them that has them chewing on the bars. I personally am not changing her cage as she loves to swing on the top bars.

December 18th, 2009, 08:03 PM
DS found this remedy on-line to repel her from biting on the bars. We rubbed lemon juice on the top bars of her cage, and it seemed to have worked. We didn’t treat the side bars as she seems to really love to bite on them and they don’t seem to hit her like the top bars do.

Have you also given her stuff to chew? If I remember correctly their teeth keep growing & they need to gnaw to keep them a reasonalbe length (if I've misremembered, blame it on my graying hair :p)

Anyway- my hampsters enjoyed chewing up toilte paper tubes, and the paper towel tubes - & sometimes, as a "treat" I'd spend my $ to get them the "chew sticks" from the store.

The habitrail ball was a good investment too.

Blue Skies
December 19th, 2009, 03:50 PM
We have given her toilet paper/paper towel rolls (even industrial strength ones that I have at work!) and she does chew on them. He cage is loaded with things to chew on - applewood flavored sticks, chew 'toys' in the shape of ice cream cones, chew 'things' that look like loofahs. She seems to rotate her favorites. But, she still likes to chew on the bars.

The lemon juice worked in the begining, but it doesn't seem to faze her any more. We're just resigned to the fact that, as a hamster, she's gonna chew. The kids aren't as worried about it as they were in the beginning (you know, new parents...:D), and we've grown to love the bald spot on her nose.

Thanks for asking, snafu.