Say hello to Jasper the Hamster!
We got him from the local petstore on 15 January last year after much deliberation on how to teach the kids more about pet care and responsibility (other than household chores). I grew up taking care of a slew of dogs and puppies while my brother had his share of two tanks of gold fish. It is an experience that I would love my kids to have and well, a year and a half later, it isn’t all too bad.
Our Syrian whitey is a little pamper ball of fluff – he dines on a mix of Versele-Laga complete pellets and Nature hamster mix which I get from Pet Lovers Centre in IPC. It has grains, sunflower seeds, oats and whatnots – I threw in some pea flakes and freeze dried meal worms the last time. Occasionally, we give fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and protein such as cheese (he loves loves Gruyere), boiled chicken or wet cat food, guava, jackfruit, cucumber, capsicum, bok choy and salad leaves. Of course not all at one go but just 1-2 selection of these yummies. Once in a while, I buy a bag of whole walnuts – with the shell and all – and let him have a go at cracking it open.
We build a homemade cage for him – current commercial cages were not up to standard – and I felt he needed more space for the sort of toys and accessories we wanted to put in for him. This one is done from a Tesco storage box – I could out holes on the sides and tops and fitted grills from Daiso with ties. The result is a pretty airy yet see-through cage with plenty of space to hang stuff from, etc.
So how does it work? Well, the kids take turns minding him – since Eva is older, she is responsible for ensuring that his potty gets cleared out once a week and that his water bottle & food bowls are filled up. We clean his homemade cage once every two weeks – this includes a full change of his bedding (wood pellets from Cats Best and paper bedding from Critter Care), a wash + dry as well as a change of his food, etc.
He is fine on his own for a few days if we need to go away but if it’s more than four days, we usually drop him off at my mum’s place with some bedding and food. Mum loves the fact that he answers to his name and that he’s quite fuss-free.
All in all, so far, it isn’t all that bad. :]