26 Oct
You Might Have Too Many Pets if They Start Eating Each Other

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

On a routine trip to the pet store to get dog food, my 10 year old fell in love with the hamster/gerbil/guinea pig section. Now she is DYING for one.   The problem is that we already have a dog and a cat and everything I have read confirms my suspicions that the cat will eat the thing. So is there a cat proof hamster home out there?

I explained that we have to respect our current pets that were here first and not tempt them with meaty chewables and I thought that worked. But this morning I woke to a full page letter wishing me all the luck in “finding” a hamster.   What should I do?

Signed,

We Love Dogs, Cats and Rodents Too!

________________________________

Dear Animal Lovers,

I am going to tell you a very unfortunate story and I only hope you will learn from my wise words. When I was a kid, I had the chance to bring home the class guinea pigs for the summer. This was an honor indeed!

And I made sure those guinea pigs had the most fabulous summer (sun bathing, frolicking, water skiing) – right up until the day they got eaten by our two dogs.   There is nothing worse than having to explain to your teachers why you are coming back from summer vacation with an empty guinea pig cage.

Dogs and cats are always going to be very interested in eating hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils. So there is always a risk of little Herb the hamster becoming your kitty cat’s next meal. I would advise a cage with a very secure top. Ask your local pet store what to buy. And I would put something heavy on top of it to make sure no one gets out and no one gets in. Like a big fat hardcover book. Because your Kindle ain’t keeping anyone out of that cage.

And one more tip on animals:   If you ever get bunnies and let them run around your yard, they, too, will be eaten. I know. I’m not a fast learner.

Good luck to you.

Kelcey, TMH

22 Responses to “You Might Have Too Many Pets if They Start Eating Each Other”

10.26.10#1

Comment by Sally.

Have you ever heard of Zsu Zsu pets? All the fun of a hamster and none of the mess! You can spend tons of money building your Zsu Zsu pets an “environment” and spend hours watching them run around and make noise, just like the live, meaty variety. The big difference is that you can turn them off at night and they aren’t nearly as tasty to the cat.

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GrandeMocha Reply:

My cats love the Zhuzhu pets! They get more out of it than the kids do.

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10.26.10#2

Comment by Calliope.

I don’ know, I’m not a parent, but when I was growing up, any time I asked for any kind of pet, the answer was simply “no.”
Yeah, it sucked and the first thing I did when I moved out of my parents house after college was get a pet, but no was no and that was that.
I think your child is lucky that she already gets to have a cat and a dog. All I got was a couple little fish that I forgot to feed and they died.

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Christen Reply:

We managed to raise 6 hamsters (and protect a dozen baby hamsters that we gave away) all in a house with 3 large dogs and 3 (hungry) cats. It can be done, but ONLY if everyone is committed to maintaining the safety of the hamsters. For us, this meant keeping kids’ bedroom doors closed ALL the time. It was quite an adjustment and we had more than one moment of HORROR as we realized a cat had found an open door, but we kept them safe from feline and canine harm for many years. It can be done. The cats do actually figure out that the hamsters belong. From my own childhood, I have a picture of my cat and my hamster touching noses (with VERY close supervision.)

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10.26.10#3

Comment by Christy.

Methinks you need a new house rule. No Rodents. Works for us!

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10.26.10#4

Comment by hokgardner.

We have a firm “No Rodent” rule in our house. And each time the kids ask, I go on a rant about their creepy feet and how they escape and have babies in the sofa cushions.

Asking mom for hamsters and hearing my response has become a regular comedy act in our house. Now the kids ask just to get a rise out of me.

But they are also very, very clear on the fact that we are never getting rodents for pets.

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10.26.10#5

Comment by Karen at French Skinny.

“Oh, I want one too but Daddy is allergic. Oh well.” works really well in our house.

Zhu Zhu pets rock. And don’t smell weird.

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JubanMama Reply:

Agreed.

My brother and I wanted a dog growing up but my parents had us convinced that we were both allergic. So we never got one. Instead, we got guinea pigs, which are quite possibly the dumbest pets ever: they stink, are nasty, and don’t really play much.

By the way? I’m not, in fact, allergic to dogs and neither is my brother. Somehow, even when I was a teenager I was too stupid to figure out that I wasn’t allergic to dogs, and that somehow having guinea pigs was OK.

P.S. – Be careful with this one. Once I left home for college and no longer had to put up with my parents’ Fascist no-pets policy, I went ahead and bought my little brother the iguana he had been asking for.

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Momof4Luds Reply:

I’m kinda with Calliope on this one – it’s OK for kids to learn that sometimes the answer is “no.” Just “no,” without reasons or justifications or little white lies about allergy. Just like they won’t always get a medal for participating in life, they won’t always get what they want.

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10.26.10#6

Comment by writingmama04.

I had a very curious cat that ate all my fish in my aquarium – she dove right in and scooped them out. Never underestimate the curiousity of these creatures. If you do go with the rodent, be vigilant. Cats will find a way.

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Nicole Reply:

My cat killed and ate a few fish out of our tank too. Then one day he killed them all when he knocked loose the hose that returned to water to the tank from the filter. It basically flooded my living room. Needless to say the only reason he survived my fiancee’s rath was because I kicked him out of the house and he ran away for a few days. Damn cats…

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10.26.10#7

Comment by Finn.

I find a simple “We have enough animals” works wonders. They’ll keep asking, but just hang tough.

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10.26.10#8

Comment by dusty earth mother.

It’s time for straight talk. Tell the spawn, “We cannot get a hamster, because Fluffy will rip him to pieces and eat his blood, guts, and fur. And I don’t want to put you or Hammy through that.”

Then again, this might sound really cool. They are kids, after all.

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10.26.10#9

Comment by annie.

If you do get a hamster, make sure you get a male. I’ve had more than one friend who got a female and had babies soon after. Those stores hold regular orgies after hours….and sometimes mid day in front of small children.

Oh, and the moms sometimes eat their young. That’s a scream you won’t soon forget. Yeah, I’d go with the zhu zhu pets!

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Andrea P. Reply:

Oh, we made sure we got a male…two of them. A month later my sister comes screaming out of her bedroom “the hamster is exploding! His insides are everywhere!” Turns out, we had a female and a male and they were breeding like, well, hamsters. Fifteen little “explosions” later, a trip to the pet store, a new cage separating the mom from the babies, a second set of explosions a months or so later and a return trip to the store to take them all back…and boom. No more asking for a pet hamster. Problem solved.

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10.26.10#10

Comment by Kim - Mommycosm.

Um, add bunnies to your list. That’s what my dog ate. Well, he didn’t exactly EAT it and put it out of its misery. He basically chewed on it while it cried like a baby.

Yep. Gonna need therapy for that flashback. Thanks a lot;)

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10.26.10#11

Comment by Marinka, TMH.

Personally I see nothing wrong with getting the hamster. Survival of the fittest is a lesson best learned early in life. Or death.

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10.26.10#12

Comment by sarah.

If you do get a rodent, be careful about using something heavy to keep the top of the cage on. Brick + guinea pig = certain death. My parents just let that one slip recently, they told me Patches was just old…

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10.26.10#13

Comment by Mom again.

My daughter begged to bring home the school bunny trio. We finally let her have them home for a weekend. We insisted on referri g to them as breakfast lunch and dinner the whole time. And keeping her bedroom door closed against the cat. And wouldn’t let her leave the house for any reason lest the cat somehow get in to them. And refused to help care for them in any way especially regarding bunny poo (the cat was already enough animal poo work for IMO). She was over it by Monday morning.

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10.27.10#14

Comment by rojopaul.

The comment about bunnies immediately transported me back to poor Salt and Pepper (one white and one black bunny) that my sister and I got one year from “the Easter bunny”. They were in a heavy duty cage in the front yard at night. Salt (my sister’s bunny) somehow managed to “run away.” Pepper was unfortunately eaten in the night by who knows what. Mom and dad said it was a dog. I vote for for no rodents or guinea pigs. A dog and a cat are enough. And if not, the allergy thing works wonders!!

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10.28.10#15

Comment by StephanieG.

My folks gave in to the “we want a rodent” request, in spite of the fact that our poodle ruled the house. Somehow, we ended up with a hooter rat, who had white hair (fur?) and ugly red eyes.

The dog never cared, but he became a burden for all of us eventually.

He got out of his cage somehow and managed to live in the house for some number of months, scaring the bejesus out of all of us at one time or another.

I don’t remember how he met his demise. For all I know, he’s still there, tormenting my mother in her old age. That’s what she gets for giving in!

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11.04.10#16

Comment by Roberto.

I supported your story 100% because me too have experience the same tragedy.

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