A proper cage is one of the first things you need to buy after you have decided to have a hamster as a pet. Same as any other living being, a hamster need a place where he will be spending most of his time.
It is crucial to pick the right cage for your hamster. There is a great variety of cages on the market which differ in size, material, type, and design. Be careful about the size especially if you have a large Syrian hamster that won’t feel comfortable in a cage that suits a Chinese or Dwarf hamster. Hamsters need plenty of room to run and play. Important elements such as cleaning, safety, and ventilation should be considered when buying a cage for a hamster.
I hope this article will help you to find the one that will be just perfect for your little furry friend.
Hamster’s Cage Basics – Size
Once you start searching for the right size, you may end up confused with different recommendations.
Official animal/hamsters organizations /associations usually suggest 2 square feet wire cage or 24 x 12 inches and 12 inches high aquarium ( Human Society of the United States) or even larger such as 30 x 15 inches and 15 inches tall ( RSPCA- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, UK )
According to websites and forums dedicated to hamsters advise you to get much bigger cages or tanks – minimum 450 square inches or 40 gallons but preferably larger.
So who is right? Well, the answer is not so simple. The truth is that when it comes to hamster’s cage- the bigger, the better. You will not make a mistake if you buy a bigger cage.
When it comes to glass cages or aquariums always pick the longer cage rather than a taller one. Your pet needs a lot of space to run and play and height does not mean anything to him/her as glass cages usually do not have levels.
Before you decide on the cage size, first think about where you will place it. It is important to find the right place in your home.
Not only to fit in with the rest of the furniture but also to find the place where your hammy will feel comfortable. That needs to be a quiet and dry place.
Pay special attention to lighting- the room where the cage is placed should be the room where lights go off at the same time every evening (more or less of course).
Also, think about all kinds of sound sources. Hamsters are very sensitive to noise in general but also to high-frequency sounds which we cannot even hear.
That is why it is better to keep the hamster’s cage away from the TV, computers, source of running water, etc.
After that, think about hamster’s breed you have or going to have as Syrian hamsters need much more space comparing to other breeds.
Finally, you can check what official organizations have to say about the cage size and I am sure you will make the right choice.
What Happens if Hamster’s Cage is too Small?
If you put your hammy in the cage too small for him/her your pet will be very stressed out and unhappy. Don’t be fooled by that little body and tiny legs, these animals run staggering mileage every night.
Although they will use the wheel for running, they still need a great deal of space to feel comfortable. Especially take care of the cage size if you have Syrian hamster. These guys are bigger than other breeds and require more space.
Can a Cage be too Large for Your Hamster?
NO. loud and clear. You cannot make a mistake by placing your little friend in a cage too large. He/she will be thrilled.
Types of Hamsters Cages
There are 3 different types of hamsters cages (based on the material used to make them) :
- Glass ( aquarium )
Each type has its own pros and cons but the most important elements are the safety of your hammy, ventilation and cleaning.
If we are talking about purpose, there are cages where your hammy will live and travel cages, you will use in case you are taking your pet out of the home for any reason ( travel, vet visit, moving to another house…) If you have the opportunity, take the travel cage with handle, it is easier to carry around
Cages with connecting tunnels are especially interesting if you have plenty of room. They are usually wire or plastic cages.
A wire cage with plastic tray is the easiest for cleaning. You can simply remove the upper part of the bars and clean the plastic bottom. If necessary you can wipe the bars too.
You can use either bleach or antibacterial dish soap ( put two tablespoons of bleach or dish soap into the medium size spray bottle ) or if you want to use more natural things, vinegar is a perfect choice.
Remember – the more complicated cage, the harder the cleaning. If you have different tunnels, tubes, attachments and compartments, maintaining hygiene will not be so easy.
Ventilation is very well in wire cages. Thanks to a great deal of open space, air circulation is great so air quality is good. This is very important especially during the summer months when the temperature is higher.
Wire cages are safe as long as the space between bars is not too big. For example for Syrian hamsters, the space between bars should not be bigger than 1/2 inch and for other breeds even less than that.
Also, pay attention if you have a wire cage with several levels as your little furry pal could fall from the great height and end up injured.
Plastic cages usually have more attachments and compartments so they appear to be more difficult for cleaning. Moreover, you should clean these cages more often than other types as air circulation is smaller due to the fact that plastic cages are entirely closed except for the upper part -grid.
Due to lousy air circulation, the ventilation is not so good, especially inside the tubes and tunnels. Condensation and poor air quality are usual problems in plastic cages.
On the other hand, this type is more secure when it comes to air drafts, comparing to cages with bars. Never ever leave this kind of cages on the direct sun as the temperature inside of the cage will be much higher than regular air temperature which can harm your pet.
When it comes to safety, as plastic cages are almost completely closed, your hammy will be pretty safe, unable to escape.
One more advantage – plastic cages allow you to see your pet’s activities and play better then in the wire cage. This is very important to children who like to watch their tiny furry friends playing .
Glass cages or aquariums are not so difficult for cleaning but they are heavy and pretty massive in a large number of cases. So moving them for cleaning every time can be rather challenging.
Same as a plastic cage, an aquarium also has poor air circulation but ensures great protection against air drafts.
Aquariums are generally very safe places for hamsters. Your pet cannot escape easy ( always make sure that lid is placed properly ) and these cages are chew-proof. Just make sure that you do not put any item inside which would help your pet to climb to the top of the tank.
Also, your furry pal will be well protected from another house pet or a small child.
Aquarium also provide perfect view on your pet, same as plastic cage.
The Best Rated Brands
Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal Small Animal Home – very good reviews from the users. A wire cage with tight space between the bars, ensuring your pet cannot just squeeze through and run away. Plenty of room for exercise, a large base.
Midwest Critter Nation with Stand – also comes with great reviews, a safe place for your hammy, two doors so you can have full and easy access for feeding and cleaning.
Ware Manufacturing Home Sweet Home Pet Cage for Small Animals – simple but quality habitat for your furry friend. Two-piece design, easy to clean. No small parts that could be chewed on or swallowed by your hamster. Durable product made of stainless steel and high-quality plastic ( base).
Living World Deluxe Habitat – all in one product. A wire cage with plastic bottom comes with a balcony, access ramp, food dish, water bottle. Well ventilated habitat, perfect for your hammy. Suitable for large hamsters.
The choice is really immense. Cages come in different colors and shapes. They can be bought empty or with different amenities, attachments, compartments.
Always remember that cage will be home for your furry pal but it also should be simple for you to clean it. Also bear in mind that the most important characteristics of one cage you should focus on are size and material.
If you are keen to learn what you should place inside of the cage and how to set up the home of your hamster, please read our article ‘What does my hamster need in its cage- cage set up’