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Pets of U of T: Meatball

A small but adorable companion
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By a large margin, most households that own pets decide to care for a dog or cat. Small animals, such as hamsters, are far less common. From pure speculation, this may be due to the fact that hamsters are nocturnal and sleep during the hours we’re awake and vice versa, and most people would want a pet that is awake when they are. 

Here I share some of my experiences with a hamster and perhaps shed some light on why they are an awesome companion to have!

Hamsters can drink from both water bottles and dishes!

I adopted Meatball, a winter white dwarf hamster from another family where she was born. She was only a month old at the time and an extremely picky eater. Pellets are recommended for hamsters since they ensure a diet with complete nutrition. However, she initially refused to eat food pellets and only wanted sunflower seeds. Now, she happily eats her food pellets but still leaves all the millet in her seed mix until she has no choice.

Meatball finally sort of overcoming her picky eating!

Taming Meatball was also a challenge. She had to become accustomed to my presence before she was brave enough to be picked up. Even now, at four months old, she never sits still. Seeing all the hamster videos that others post on social media, this was definitely a surprise. 

Every hamster has their own personality and ‘hyper’ is definitely part of Meatball’s!

Learning to stand just for food.

Like all other hamsters, Meatball is nocturnal, but this actually matches my schedule as a student — which is an unhealthy one. I’m often awake until 2:00 am and it’s always comforting to hear her wheel running. I definitely don’t disturb her while she’s sleeping though — if I find her hiding in her bedding, she’ll give me a look, then turn around and burrow even deeper.

Don’t bother me… I’m sleeping.

Despite Meatball’s picky eating habits and nocturnal way of life, she is a joy to have in my life. If I’m ever stressed or need a break, she’s there. Hamsters are also very low maintenance compared to cats or dogs, only needing their enclosure cleaned once a week and to be fed once a day. Like any furry pet, Meatball is adorable and perfect for mini-cuddles!

Meatball with a brussel sprout hat.

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