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Old 07-07-2017, 01:20 AM   #1
Ruth Edwards
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Default Psychology of pet owners

I'm curious about why pet owners, myself included, behave the way they do. I started thinking about this from reading all the threads about people wanting to breed their hamsters and putting males and females together even when they hadnt thought much about the consequences.
No judgement in this thread at all, but just interested to know why people want to have extra pets taking over their homes, reducing the amount of individual attention each pet gets.
When Dylan and I had our first hamster, Ivy, I thought it would be nice if she had babies. I thought she was such a lovely pet it would be nice to perpetuate her. And I thought it would be interesting for my son, but I'd be taking the responsibility myself. As it was Ivy never met any other hamsters .
When we got a second hamster I loved his long fur and friendly nature and again thought it would be good to have more ( dont worry, not going to happen) and I started to look around for a suitable partner for Cotton . I was looking on gumtree and found all the ads for unwanted hamsters quite depressing. They put me off baby hamsters for a long time.
I understand why people want to be proper hamster breeders and keep records of which genes they carry etc and I would like to get one one day. But what puzzles me is this strong urge a lot of people get, especially as children, to bred their pets.
Any psychologists out there?
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

Nope. Not a psychologist. I can only think it is a similar urge to wanting to have children and complete a family or carry on your pet's genes eternally, like your own. Sadly though genes are important in pet breeding as a serious genetic illness or mismatch could cause suffering for the baby hamsters.

I think what seems to happen more often is people who had no intention of breeding getting a hamster from a pet shop who turns out to be pregnant. Many unintentional litters from that scenario.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I'm not a psychologist either but I see two possible reasons to that, apart from what Serendipity said about desire to carry a pet's genes, which I agree about. Since hammies live only two years, it's possible that many owners want to have their hamster's offspring, hoping that they will have the same personality.
Apart from that, especially when it comes to children, people just think it's interesting and cute and funny to watch the whole process and have little fluffballs crawling around. When I was a child, our dog had puppies and I was so excited, I didn't understand why my parents would give the puppies away. Since hamsters are small animals, and many owners don't even know that they are solitary, even adults sometimes think that it's just going to be a cute and interesting process to watch.
Finally, I think some people think that they can make easy money by that. They think that if they just breed two hamsters, and sell the offspring, they will earn some money without any real expenses (I talk about irresponsible "breeders", not real ones, who know that it's a demanding and complicated process). It's not the same with cats and dogs, who grow up and run around the house, if they're not sold in time. People think that if they don't sell the hamsters, they will just be put in one cage, with no real problems.

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Old 07-07-2017, 07:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I look at it that they are part of my family, I have 7 hammys who all get spoiled. Even cage cleanings I enjoy.

Forgot to mention that I owned 9 in here awhile back

Last edited by souffle; 07-08-2017 at 06:37 AM. Reason: personal details
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I am not a physiologist either but here is what I've gathered from what I've heard and read from irresponsible breeders or people who just want to breed without doing any research:

1. They want cute babies. They see pictures of one month old hamsters and want some so they breed their hams.

2. They want to make money off of selling the pups (yet they probably don't know how monetarily draining breeding is!)

3. They love their hamster's coloration and/or personality so they want more hamsters with the same physical and behavioral traits.

4. They think it is "cruel" to keep their female from having babies because "it is their nature" or "they want to take care of their offspring and humans are cruel from preventing them from doing that." I've heard this one a lot, on YouTube especially.

5. Entertainment. This reason for breeding really bothers me- people think it's "fun to watch"- especially during mating if the male is smaller than the female or the two hamsters fight when they are put together.

6. They think it would be funny if their male hamster got a "girlfriend."

7. They want to "see what happens" if they put two hamsters together. I guess this is kind of like reason #5.

I am not directing this towards anybody at all and I don't mean it to be judgemental, but i just tried to look through the eyes of a backyard breeder or a hamster owner who knows little to nothing about breeding. It makes me very sad whenever people bring more pups into the world without having an ethical reason to do so.

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Old 07-07-2017, 10:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I have a lot of pets in my home. 2 dogs, 4 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs and 5 hamsters.

I bred guinea pigs as a child. I wanted to have them from very young and I found the whole process exciting and sweet. I kept all the sows. I cried when one of my faves turned out to be a boar ...

I later (late teens) bred a litter of rabbits from my soul rabbit but got overwhelmed when one of her sons made her pregnant. It was incredible having those baby rabbits (we kept two boys and had them neutered, this was in the 70s) but I couldnt do it now. (So many unwanted/badly treated animals out there).

Personally if it was ethically great I would love to have baby animals but the reality is that it is hard work and expensive and they grow up!

I suppose baby animals are magical and very endearing and having one from birth means that you are likely to have an amazing bond with them.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I would agree that it probably has something to do (in a deeply psychological sense) with us living through the animals. The idea of passing on genes and wanting our offspring (such as our animals) to do the same. It also may be a parental instinct. Unless you're psychologically damaged, chances are you like or at least tolerate the idea of a small innocent creature needing your love and care. Here I think we see ourselves as the mothers/fathers/etc of the babies in a way.

It could also be curiosity. Humans are an extremely curious species, hence why we've advanced to the level we have. My other theory is perhaps competition/dominance. For some people, it's about having the most hamsters or being superior over their peers. I'm no psychologist, so these are just the thoughts of an amateur!
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I also blame pet stores for unknowingly advising certain species to be kept in pairs or colonies. My chinese were told to me were a dwarf species that like to live in groups. Which I know now is wrong, the female we bought was pregnant and within 2 weeks we had 9 little pink jelly beans in the cage. It was a wire cage and a couple escaped before 3 weeks and met their doom with my cat. Was not a nice experience but was a learning one.
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:23 PM   #9
Ruth Edwards
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

What an awful experience. You'd think a pet store would train staff to sex the animals, or the staff might be interested to find out for themselves.

Did you find homes for them ?
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:24 PM   #10
Ruth Edwards
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Default Re: Psychology of pet owners

I think I'm probably a type 3 but I'm resisting because all hamsters are cute and there are many looking for homes
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