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Old 06-21-2019, 09:06 AM   #1
Natasha95
Hamster Pup
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: New England (U.S.)
Posts: 134
Default I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

My dwarf hamster absolutely HATES it when I spot clean her cage. She doesn't have a specific corner that she uses for her bathroom, so I end up having to remove everything to find out where she's peeing. Unfortunately, that often leads me to her nest and her giant hoard of food. I try to take her out of her cage so she's less stressed, but she immediately tries to go back in. Usually, I ignore her when she wants to go back while I'm cleaning, but last night she started biting me and was very desperate to go back in, so I gave in and put her back. That was a big mistake because I hadn't gotten to her nest yet, and as soon as I did, she started freaking out, pouching all her food, and frantically looking for a new place to hide it. She spent the rest of the night "remodeling" her cage, and I could tell she wasn't happy that I'd cleaned it out. I don't remove all her bedding, just the bottom half that's soiled. I just feel so bad because she was probably feeling so insecure knowing her nest wasn't safe. But I can't just not clean her cage. Any advice?
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:42 AM   #2
Grace6446
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Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 16
Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

Hey!

First off - I totally get your pain! Khaleesi doesn’t pee in a specific corner either, and even spot cleaning in another area of the cage while she’s dead asleep leads to her teeth chattering, waking up, and coming out to investigate.

When you remove your hamster to clean, where do you put her? Ideally you could put her somewhere where she doesn’t have access to you and is safe - something like a travel case, a smaller bin with tall sides, or the bathtub! This way she can’t bite you while you work.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:45 AM   #3
Schwartzie
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 358
Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

I haven’t got my hamster yet but been chatting to owners on the forum in length about substrate and bedding. What type of substrate are you using? Maybe you can go for a substrate that absorbs the pee well and you then can leave it longer and when you have to clean you only have to do little sections at a time to not freak her out. Is she peeing in her nest on her food? If not, leave it be...you won’t need to clean it if she isn’t peeing in the nest. There are great substrates out there.....research Kaytee soft and cozy, megazorb, Fitch...so many more. They all hold the pee well and don’t smell so you only have to spot clean then do sections like a said slowly over weeks or even months.

Please could an experienced hamster owner please kindly fill in the blanks here...if her hamster isn’t peeing directly in the nest area she can leave it right or if there isn’t fresh food going rotten?

There is a thread that is very helpful called substrate in UK I think and other threads as well. I honestly think that if you switch to a better absorber it won’t smell therefore you will be able to clean in mass never.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:47 AM   #4
Schwartzie
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

...there you will be able to clean in mass never...please forgive that frightful grammar...hahahaha...sorry!
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:30 PM   #5
Natasha95
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: New England (U.S.)
Posts: 134
Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

Thanks for the quick responses! To answer your questions, I usually let her free roam because her travel cage is pretty small and I don't have any other containers. She's not usually a huge biter, but if she stands on my foot (which is our little code for "pick me up and put me back in my cage") and I ignore her, she bites me to get my attention. Also, yes, she does pee near her nest, which I think might be a sign that she doesn't feel very secure. I do use Kaytee Soft & Cozy, and I only spot clean her cage about once a month, so I'm not doing it constantly, but that also means I've given her urine time to build up, which means more to clean ��.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:35 PM   #6
Natasha95
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: New England (U.S.)
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Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grace6446 View Post
Hey!

First off - I totally get your pain! Khaleesi doesn’t pee in a specific corner either, and even spot cleaning in another area of the cage while she’s dead asleep leads to her teeth chattering, waking up, and coming out to investigate.
Also, yes! The waking up, teeth chattering (even making a weird buzzing/cicada noise), and coming out to investigate: all things she does if I don't remove her first!
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:48 PM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland
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Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

Try and avoid doing a full cage clean. Use your nose to sniff the cage and only clean it with lukewarm water, hamsters like to be able to smell their scent. When it comes to her nest and hoard, again sniff it and replace some of it and take away some of the food. I maybe do a full cage clean every 2 to 3 months, I just concentrate on the toilet area and bedding area. And even when I do a full cage clean, I always keep back some of the substrate to mix in with the new. Should you need to use more than water to clean, use a nonscented soap. I clean any awkward stains with that and toothbrushes, which are great for getting into corners.
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:11 PM   #8
Natasha95
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Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

Thanks! I've actually only done a full cage clean with soap and water once or twice since I got her in October. And yeah, I only spot clean her cage when it starts to smell. I wonder if cleaning more often would help her get used to it, or if I should do a little at a time.
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:41 AM   #9
Natasha95
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Default Re: I Really Need Advice on Dealing with my Anxious Hamster

I don't know if anyone's going to read this, but I thought I'd post an update:
I spot cleaned her cage tonight, and she did really well. She didn't hiss, buzz, or teeth chatter. She did seem a little annoyed that I was moving things around, but she didn't seem stressed out or angry. I think what helped was that I didn't take her out of her cage this time, so she was able to watch what I was doing and see that I wasn't after her food hoard. I also started out slowly, so I didn't startle her. She did bite one of my gloves, but it wasn't aggressive.
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