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Tuesday, December 06, 2011  

Cage Rage

After Bucky's death, our house was hamster-free for six days. It would have been less, but the house was also human-free for five of those days.

Last year, after getting a belt promotion in karate, M. Edium chose as his reward (and spent some of his savings on) a new cage for Bucky. Unlike the basic starter cage we got for him at first, this one had brighter colors, several elaborate pathways, and a little visiting tank on top where you can open the lid and pet your hamster if he feels like going up there. I also hated it. I knew while I was struggling to put it together for the first time that it was going to be a bitch to clean, because the roof and all the side segments would come totally apart as soon as I removed just one of them. Fortunately for me, Bucky also hated it. After we moved him in, he went from being a happy, active little critter to a miserable, nervous dust-bunny who spent all his time trying to gnaw through the neon-green bars. He seemed much happier once we moved him back to his old, white-barred cage. And so was I, because that cage took me only ten minutes to clean every time. I felt a little bad for M. Edium, though, working so hard to get a cage his pet hated. But then he said Bucky could have little vacations in it, and everyone was happy because he never did.

When we brought home the hamster that Trash and I both assumed would be called Bucky Junior or Bucky 2.0 ("I prefer just Bucky," M. Edium soon corrected), the barely-used cage was still down in the basement. And we figured that since new Bucky was going to have to get used to a new cage anyway, it might as well be the one M. Edium had earned. No reason not to, right?

I put off cleaning it until the hamster-cage smell was perceptible from down the hall. I should have put it off longer.

The first issue is that new Bucky is kind of an asshole. He hates to be touched, let alone picked up, and will dart away if you try. If you do succeed in catching him, he'll sink his teeth into your finger with intent to kill. The only way to get him out of the cage is to lure him into his exercise ball, which he enjoys for about ten seconds before rolling it into a corner to sulk and to try to fill it with as many little turds as possible.

This ended up being a surprisingly large number, given what a task the cage-cleaning turned out to be. First of all, I did my best to keep as many pieces together as possible, only to have the whole thing collapse into its individual elements like a house of cards. the spiral ramp has to be detached from the ceiling, which is a step I would have skipped except for how he seems to think that's his bathroom. The fancy wheel is fully enclosed and has an entrance so tight and twisted that the only way to get rid of the tiny little turds he's filled that with is to stick it under the bathroom tap and hope for the best. The water bottle it came with leaks horribly, so the aspen shavings on that whole end of the cage were totally soaked. But at least that was better than the reason I originally thought the aspen shavings were soaked.

So between disassembling, cleaning, rinsing, and drying all of these fiddly little bits and then putting them all back together (which isn't any easier the second time, or the third), digging out the old water bottle and hanging it from the bars, getting rid of the soaked bedding, and tipping a very reluctant Bucky back out of his poo-filled ball, the whole process took me about 45 minutes. Even better, this cage somehow gets smellier faster than the old one, so I'm going to have to go through the 45-minute process much more frequently than I had to do the ten-minute process. And for a new hamster who's a dick.

M. Edium isn't as sad any more about his original Bucky dying as he was. I, however, am much more so.

posted by M. Giant 9:51 PM 2 comments

2 Comments:

Sounds like it's time to upgrade to a cat. MUCH lower maintenance!

By Blogger Deanna, at December 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

Thank you for reminding me why I am NEVER letting my children get a damn hamster.

- JeniMull

By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 7, 2011 at 11:21 AM  

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