Kiss and Make Up

[Hamster Tales Part 4]

Day 4
Saturday, 29 Dec 2007

They’re still squabbling when I wake up this morning, but not as much as last night.

Late morning, Pixie sniffs around the basement while Picnic uses the wheel.

I feed Pixie a yoghurt fruit drop. She spends a minute eating (and cheek-stuffing) the whole thing. Then she goes to bed.

Picnic seems restless. She’s on the wheel 10 seconds then climbs out and explores the cage for 3 seconds. Then she goes back to the wheel for 10 seconds and comes out again for 3 seconds. This happens over and over till I’m giddy.

During one of her expeditions outside the wheel, I offer her a yoghurt fruit drop.

She eats a little of it and loses interest. She tosses it onto the floor and goes back into the wheel.

She thinks it’s more fun to do her giddy 10-second-3-second routine.

I think she’s bored, so I decide to introduce her to the exercise ball.

I lower half the ball into the cage and she runs out of her wheel to investigate the intrusion. She tries to nibble at the half ball. Then she hops into it.

I lift her out of the cage and attach the other half of the ball. I put it on the floor and she starts making it roll all over the room.

I can’t tell whether she’s enjoying it or trying to get the hell out.

Most hamster owners say that their hamsters love their exercise balls.

I let Picnic roll around for one minute, then stop the ball in case she doesn’t like it. I open the ball and scoop her out.

I think she doesn’t like to be held. She’s jittery and keeps squirming. I put her back into the cage and she scoots off to the wheel.

When she exits the wheel the next time, I offer the ball again to see if she wants in again. She doesn’t. I guess she’s not ready for it yet.

The girls sleep through the rest of the day.

While they’re sleeping and not squabbling, I go out and buy stuff for the new cage.

I come home with tons of new stuff.

So far, I have spent $300 (in just four days) on cages, bedding, furniture, food, toys, grooming. This is becoming a very expensive responsibility.

But I’m excited. My girls will have their new cage tonight and they won’t have to bicker anymore because there will be more space and a new wheel.

The Goonfather and I spend three hours getting their new cage ready. He does all the drilling and installation work. I do the cleaning and decorating work.

We’re finally ready.

We move the squabbling ladies to the readied new cage while I wash out the Pink Princess Castle and put new bedding into it. (They’ve managed to make quite a stink in just four days.)

The furniture is mismatched but I can’t do anything about it. There’s no Hamster Ikea.

The girls are curious and frightened in the new cage. They want to explore and they want to hide all at the same time. They like the new aspen bedding I bought them. The wood shavings are larger and allow them to burrow underneath, creating earthquake-ridden ground in their wake.

When the Pink Princess Castle is clean and ready, we slide the tube connector into place. Now the two cages are linked and they can go anywhere they like.

Picnic finds the connector first. When she discovers that she can return to the castle, she’s ecstatic.

She carefully goes down my makeshift ramp into the castle and sniffs around. She makes burrows in the new bedding. When she’s happy with the mess she’s created, she goes back through the tube to the new cage.

Picnic hesitates in the new cage. She decides that she prefers her old home so she makes a U-turn and goes back to the castle, leaving Pixie (who’s running in the new wheel) all alone in the strange new foreign land.

For a while, Pixie enjoys her new wheel with no idiot hamster sis trying to crowd her out.

She does the 10-second-wheel-3-second-explore routine.

I leave her alone to settle in and wait for her to discover the tube connector.

Two hours later, I come back and she’s still on the wheel.

Something is wrong.

She looks traumatised. She’s sticking to the wheel like it’s a bomb shelter and Hiroshima is happening outside. She’s running on it as if it will take her to the Gobi Desert if she runs fast and long enough.

Periodically, she stops running and freezes.

But then she doesn’t know what to do with herself and starts running again.

I sense hysteria in her running. She’s not enjoying it. She’s running because she doesn’t know what else to do and she’s frightened. Maybe she’s frightened because Picnic has disappeared and she’s now all alone in this strange place.

I think of ways to help her find the tube connector so she can go home to Picnic. I can’t take her physically because she bolts when I lower my hand into the cage.

I tempt her with her favourite yoghurt fruit drop. She cannot resist it and reaches for it furtively. She nibbles at it for three seconds, then continues to run on the wheel.

Finally, I have no choice but to kidnap her.

I put an elbow tube over the wheel and stop the wheel.

(Just pretend that she’s there. I had to take this photo separately for illustration purposes.)

She has no choice but to walk into the tube although she doesn’t want to.

I quickly place the elbow tube over the connector and she walks into it.

Finally. She takes the express train back home.

When she sees Picnic lazing in a corner, I think she cries. She rushes up to her sister and they kiss. They hug kiss cuddle lick arm wrestle.

Now Pixie is no longer tense. She explores the castle curiously because I have made a few changes in it. Then, she makes about five trips through the connector tube, back and forth between the castle and the new cage.

She discovers the yoghurt fruit drop I placed at the mouth of the connector. (I had placed it there earlier to see if it would lure her into the connector.)

She finally understands the layout of the cages.

She abandons the new cage, goes back to Picnic and they cuddle hug lick kiss some more.

Both of them go to bed.

It’s 1:30 am. They’re supposed to be running about and playing on the wheel now, but they’re sleeping.

I guess they’re tired.

Squabbling and moving house can be very exhausting.

Next Up: The Food Dish is for Pooping

Squabbling Sisters

[Hamster Tales Part 3]

Day 3
Friday, 28 Dec 2007

My babies sleep through the day again, mostly, although one of them wakes up to use the wheel briefly a couple of times.

I’m naming them Picnic and Pixie.

Picnic is the larger of the two, which makes her look fat by comparison.

But, of course, she’s really tiny. Roborovskis are the smallest hamsters in the world.

But because she’s bigger, it must mean she eats more than her sister. She also seems to sleep more (but this is largely conjecture since I am still having trouble telling them apart).

So I call her Picnic because picnics are associated with eating and sleeping (idling), lol.

The other one is Pixie because she’s smaller (slightly) and she’s cute as a pixie.

They’re both equally cute, really, but I can’t name them both Pixie, can I?

I can’t really tell them apart when they’re alone because they look exactly alike in terms of facial features and colouring. I need to study them when they’re together to discern distinguishable differences, but they’re seldom together unless they’re sleeping, and when they sleep they roll up in little balls in the basement and I can’t see them.

People at the hamster forum advise that my cage is too small. Roborovski hamsters need really large spaces.

So I go out and buy a giant plastic container.

The Goonfather says he will help me link the Pink Princess Castle to it so I don’t have to throw the castle away.

It’s past midnight, around 1 am. Picnic and Pixie wake up and scramble to the wheel once again.

But tonight is different. Tonight, they’re squabbling. They squeal at each other, chase each other around, claw at each other and refuse to share the wheel.

I check with people at the forum and they say that Roborovskis are very territorial, therefore need a really large cage with two of everything.

Such a pity, since they were perfectly fine sharing the wheel last night. And they still sleep together in the same bed.

They have this routine tonight.

1. Picnic runs on the wheel while Pixie hides in bed.
2. Pixie gets up and walks into the wheel.
3. They fight. Picnic chases Pixie out. They play catch around the cage.
4. Pixie hides in bed and Picnic returns to the wheel.
5. Picnic gets tired and goes to bed.
6. They fight. Pixie chases Picnic out. They play catch around the cage.
7. Picnic hides in bed while Pixie goes play on the wheel.
8. Rinse and repeat alternating hamsters.

They kind of take turns antagonising each other.

I go insane with worry because there’s a lot of squealing and paw fights. I’m afraid they will hurt each other.

But I don’t want to separate them yet because the new cage is not ready and I don’t want to deprive either of the wheel for the night.

According to experts from, the use of Clomid in combination with coumarin-type anticoagulants can cause a significant increase in the anticoagulant effect. In case of simultaneous use of these drugs, close monitoring of the patient is recommended.

I shall have to buy a new wheel tomorrow and set up the new cage real quick.

Next Chapter: Kiss and Make Up

Two Hamsters and a Wheel

[Hamster Tales Part 2]

Day 2
Thursday, 27 Dec 2007

They sleep through the whole day.

They sleep through the whole evening.

It’s worrying. I wonder crazily if they’ve died of trauma.

My pets have no name yet. They keep hiding in the basement and I can’t see them clearly enough to name them.

I cannot touch them, either, because all the hamster guides say I have to let them settle for three days before interacting with them. But I inadvertently rouse them at 9 pm because I need to change their water and open their wheel for business.

The Goonfather had said not to allow them access to their wheel until they’re toilet-trained because he doesn’t want them to poop in the wheel.

But I think what the heck. They need their wheel or they’re going to stay in bed for the rest of their lives.

For toilet-training, I had given them a little toilet hut and put toilet sand into it, supposedly to make them poop in there.

After one day, there’s no poop in the toilet hut. But there’s poop in the food dish. The Goonfather picks the poop pieces up and throws them into the toilet hut.

I hope they get the idea soon.

I let them get used to my scent by letting my hand linger in the cage for a minute. I try to tempt them with a tiny piece of dried fruit but they’re not interested, so I let them alone.

At 1 am, the Goonfather turns off the bedroom light to go to bed. I’m still at my computer doing stuff.

15 minutes later, I hear a sound coming from the cage. I get up to investigate.

Awwwww. My widdle hamster has discovered the wheel.

I do a quiet celebratory hop and dance, and squeal in excitement soundlessly so as not to wake the Goonfather.

I am choked up with joy and pride even though a hamster running on a wheel is about as unremarkable as kilometre-long Toto queues during Chinese New Year.

But I don’t think my reaction is all that melodramatic. After all, I haven’t seen them move from their bed for 24 hours.

I sit there and watch my cutie get used to the wheel. She start-stops every few seconds as if trying to learn how to manage the wheel. After 10 minutes, she gets tired and retires to the basement.

I go back to my computer.

At about 2 am, I hear another sound and rush to the cage.

Both of them are at the wheel.

I want to scream with happiness. I want to wake the Goonfather so he can witness it but he has to work tomorrow.

I sit there for an entire hour watching them share the wheel. It’s so cute I’m dying from cuteness overload.

I am amazed that I can just sit there and stare at them for over an hour without feeling bored.

Once in a while, one of them will come out of the wheel to sniff around, drink some water or groom herself.

I feel compelled to sit there and not ever go away because I don’t want to miss any single moment of cuteness.

But I finally reluctantly leave them to go to bed because it’s already past three in the morning and I need to sleep.

I guess there is always tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Squabbling Sisters