The lovable Syrian hamster.Often referred to as ‘the teddy bear’ breed of hamsters, it is no surprise that with their good temperament and adorable features, they are in high demand. 

In 1937, Syrian hamsters started to make their way to the pet trade in the UK.The hamsters were treated like toys, their cages were too small for them to move about in and they were not cared for correctly.However, whereas most animal care has developed significantly over the last 83 years, hamster care is still unfortunately tremendously far behind in the times. 

Hamsters are still known as ‘easy pets’. Many parents will get a hamster for their child as their first pet.This is where the problem with hamster treatment arises.Little children that are 7/8 years old get bored of things very easily so in order to sell more hamsters  and hamster cages, pet retailers create cages with toy- like appearances.For example, a big pet retailer in the United States, known as ‘KAYTEE’ sells plastic hamster cages that are shaped like castles, rockets, trains etc.While the cages certainly are pretty to look at, we must remember that hamster cages are meant for hamsters not for the amusement of little children. 

Pets At Home is another big pet chain, it is the UK’s largest pet retailer. Despite      preaching excellent pet care, the brand sells hamster cages that are significantly under the minimum requirement for hamster cages.The RSPCA states that a hamster cage for a Syrian hamster should be no less than 120,000 centimetres cubed.It is therefore unacceptable that the so called  ‘Large’ hamster cage has 67,260 centimetres cubed of volume- this is only 56% of the necessary size needed. 

As well as selling cages that are below the minimum requirement for hamster cages, brands will also sell wheels that are too small for a Syrian hamster. Syrian hamster wheels should be a minimum of 8 inches, unfortunately it has become normalised to sell much smaller wheels.This leads to back problems and other serious health consequences.Eventually the hamster may not even be able to use the wheel- meaning it will not exercise enough. 

What’s happening right now is disgraceful.People are very much aware of neglect in bigger animals such as dogs and cats; there  are even charities dedicated to helping  these animals.But with smaller animals there is no one to help them. Animals, no matter how small, deserve the correct care.They are a constant responsibility that cannot be pushed aside or ignored. The moment you buy an animal, you need to be ready to commit to help it live its’ most healthy and fulfilling life.Animals are not entertainment and they should not just simply be a way of parents teaches their children responsibility.They are living beings with needs and wants and lives and just because we own them it does not give us the right to be cruel or sadistic.If you are unable to give an animal the care it deserves-you simply cannot own a pet.