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Old 09-15-2020, 03:00 AM  
Fluffagrams
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Bath, UK
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

Unfortunately I think there will always be pressure on social media regardless of the pet you own... I remember it in my days of keeping fish and fairly recentely I witnessed a bit of the 'cage policing' when it came to pet birds too.

One of the problems I have found is that some people see something like a smaller cage and immediately jump to conclusions. They don't ask questions about the hamster's situation or their personality and on occasions they don't even bother to read the caption of the photos. I've seen some very abrupt messages posted and I honestly don't think they acheive anything. Feelings get hurt and then that potential to actually offer worthwhile advice has been lost. When someone told me several years ago that James would die young and unhappy because 'his cage was too small' I just deleted the post and vowed never to post a photo of one of my cages again. Had that person have taken a kinder approach, I'd have explained exactly why James was in a small cage, that I was planning to upgrade him at a later date and that could have served to better educate others than the aggressive approach they originally went with. As it was James didn't like his larger cage and had to be downgraded back to his 48L RUB where he lived quite happily for over 3 years.

Because of the lessons that James and Jessie (she was a high maintenance Chinese hamster who needed a big cage with lots to do) I tend to have a very flexible approach to my hamster care and if a hamster needs a small cage to feel secure then that is what they are given. I choose wheels based on the individual hamster and I know that this is a very unpopular view but not all of my hamsters have them. Elizabeth for example is as lazy and laid back as her grandfather James was and she has no interest in running around so I'd rather give her toys in her cage that I know she'll enjoy rather than a wheel that I know she'll ignore. The approach works for me but I think that for such an approach to work you have to have a certain degree of confidence to go against the trends.

Don't get me wrong, I think that these large, natural looking habitats look stunning and there is a part of me that would love to be able to do that but it just wouldn't work for my hamsters. It would be interesting to see the bigger picture with these cages rather than just the perfected version we see on social media... I'd like to see how the hamster actually does interact with their surroundings but also to the presence of their owner. Does a very large, more natural set up increase the prey behaviours that the hamsters exhibit for example?
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