My Hamster Cookie

Recently, I was hoping for an animal that I could talk to and watch in my free time. I thought that it would be fun to have another smaller companion, and I felt that I was able to take on the responsibility of raising a pet. However, I noted that it was impractical to choose a big domestic pet like a dog or a cat due to the huge costs of raising it and the trouble it would bring. Thus, my considerations shifted towards the smaller ones – either a hamster or a terrapin. To my excitement, my parents agreed to buy me a small pet as a birthday present. However, they warned me that a pet was a big responsibility and when I got my pet, I needed to be ready to spend time to care of it. After reassuring my parents that I would do just that, we embarked on a “learning journey”.

Firstly, we discussed and decided that we would get a pet hamster. A terrapin moved too slowly and it was harder to “read” its emotions. On the other hand, a hamster looked much more adorable and lovable. After this, we read up on the different species of hamsters. We discovered our ignorance in this area not too long after – we all thought that there was only one species of hamster. However, to our surprise, we found that there are two distinct types of hamsters – dwarf hamsters and Syrian hamsters. There are quite a few differences between them. First and most distinctly, dwarf hamsters enjoy company while Syrian hamsters despise it. For the latter, they are territorial and will kill other hamsters that are in the same cage as it. Also, when there are two hamsters of different gender in the same cage, they will start breeding and this will result in the birth of more hamsters, which would then become more of an expensive and time-consuming activity to raise the hamsters. Second, the dwarves do not like being touched by humans, but Syrians enjoy being held, and we felt that one of the joys of raising a hamster would be to feel it. Syrian hamsters are also much easier to tame compared to their smaller counterparts. Thus, after careful deliberation, we decided to get a Syrian hamster.

After making the decision, we went out on physical journey to different stores in Serangoon North to check out the prices. We took pains to look for best things that we needed at the best price – the cage, the food, the bedding for the hamster and the hamster itself. We visited countless pet shops, and finally found a cage that we liked. It was a blue, double-floored cage complete with a water bottle and a silent wheel. It was the biggest sized cage we could find, stretching 53cm in length and about 43cm in width. I was quite sure that my hamster would like the new cage! We also purchased, from the same store, a 50L bag of beddings as well as a larger wheel for the hamster in preparation for when it grows into an adult-sized hamster. However, we could not find suitable hamsters to buy. In many shops, we found that the hygiene conditions were not very good, and we were worried that the hamsters would not be healthy. If the hamsters were weak and sickly, then they would not last for long as our pet. Thus, we decided to go to a cleaner environment where we could find some hamsters that would be more likely to be healthy and active.

To solve the problem, we visited the biggest pet chain in Singapore, “Pets Lover’s Centre” (PLC) to buy the small animal. I have not visited a pet shop in years, so everything inside was quite new to me. The seemingly infinite rows of accessories for bigger animals like dogs and smaller animals like hamsters were shocking, and even finding the hamster section was difficult! Once there, I looked into the glass box containing all the small, eight-week old hamsters. They were playfully rolling and burrowing all around the box. We then searched for a colour that we liked, and found two. However, we wanted for a male hamster as many people had said that males were easier to tame and would not overheat as the opposite gender would. As a result, we were left with one option as only one out of the two were male! After observing him for a while, we noticed that he was quite active, and then the deal was set! His head and lower body is a pleasant toffee brown, and is banded with white in the middle. A brown stipe of fur stretches to join the two bands of brown, and he always has an inquisitive look on his small face. In the end, we decided to name the adorable hamster Cookie!

It has only been a day since I got Cookie, and he still seems nervous. Despite this, his cute movements and sudden spurts of boldness never fail to make us happy. I noticed that although the cage was a new concept to him, and that he did not even have a wheel to run on in the glass cage, he quickly adapted and was soon running on it as if he had done it for the whole of his life. Another interesting thing he does – sometimes, he would go into the sand pit that we provided for him and start rubbing his face profusely. This funny action all made us laugh! Later, we read online that it was common with newly bought hamsters. They would rub their faces to leave their scents around in the cage. Hamsters are short-sighted, so they rely on their acute sense of smell to “see” the things around them. They would mark different spots in their cages for their different activities, and would use their noses to sniff the places out! By the same method, the hamster recognizes who approaches their cages!

What a great and fun birthday present this has been for me!


Alex 30 December 2012 at 10:07  

Sadly, Cookie later on developed a stomach tumour, which caused him to weaken. It was a painstaking experience to see my beloved pet Cookie pass on. RIP, Cookie!

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.