As animal lovers, we often like to share our lives with more than one sort of animal. How do you manage keeping hamsters and other pets
Are you looking to become a multi-animal home? Either adding a hamster to existing pets, or another pet to a pre-existing hamster.
Hamsters and other hamsters
Some people can worry about having more than one hamster in the same room, especially if they are different sexes. Generally hamsters are not bothered by sharing a room with other hamsters. Sometimes you may hear male and female Syrians calling to each other when the female is on heat, but the are not usually distressed by each others presence.
This becomes a different matter if a hamster escapes. A wandering hamster can receive wounds to their paws when walking across the other cages. Hamsters of different species should never share a cage or playbox as they will fight. Hamsters do not need ‘playdates’; they cause unnecessary stress to hamsters and can result in fights or unintended pregnancies.
Hamsters and other small pets
Hamsters can also live in the same room as other small pets, for example mice, guinea pigs, rabbits or gerbils. Some parasites and illnesses can affect all small furries so make sure you seek advice from your vet if one pet becomes ill to check whether it may cause a problem for the others. Remember that all these animals have their own different needs for nutrition and enrichment so you will need to feed them different foods for optimal health. Wild rats have been known to attack and kill pet hamsters so ensure your rats are securely caged.
Hamsters and cats or dogs
Commonly questions about pet compatibility centre around cats and dogs with hamsters. I recommend that you keep them separated. Ideally keep your hamster in a room where the dog or cat doesn’t have access. This is especially important for when you are not able to supervise, for example when you are out or asleep, so that the cat or dog doesn’t try to get into the cage or tip it over. If you are unable to separate them, you can keep the hamster cage up too high to reach with no access for climbing. Using a glass tank would add an extra layer of protection as it is harder to tip or push. A fine-meshed lid reduces access through the roof. If possible weigh the lid down, or secure it some other way so it can’t be lifted off by a determined predator.
If your hamster escapes, you must exclude your cat or dog from the area until the hamster is found. Both can catch hamsters, and even a soft-mouthed dog can scare a hamster by lifting it.