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Old 09-02-2017, 08:56 AM   #1
LokiWolf
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Default Zim, the hamster friendly cat

I often forget how long it has been since I properly talked about Zim to the hamster community. Almost no one from back then is still active on these forums and I am getting misunderstandings when I offer up my experiences owning a cat and hamsters together. To set the record straight, this is Zim.

Zim was discovered by my parents walking their dogs in 2008 during a terrible thunderstorm that had raged all night and into the morning. He was estimated to be about 4 weeks old by a vet and it became thought that wherever his mother had been keeping him and his siblings had flooded and in the middle of moving the kittens, Zim got left behind. Zim was given to me to raise and I did so, forming a very deep bond between us. The trauma of that time stayed with him for many years in the form of being afraid of thunder and bad rainstorms, he has at the present time finally almost completely gotten over this fear.

2011 comes by and I decided after months and months of research that I wished to own a hamster, specifically a Roborovski. I had my eye on a head spot female in a store that continued to be unsold and completely alone in her cage. I bought her and brought her home, keeping Zim locked out of my room while she settled in a glass tank with a locking screen top. She settled and I decided to open my door for the first time since getting her to let Zim inside, ready to throw him out if he showed any negative behavior towards her. Zim came in and saw her in the tank going about her business and was terrified of her, fleeing my room. It took some time for him to realize that she couldn't break out of the tank and attack him and when he did figure that out, he started to like her. I named her Charlotte.

Charlotte when I got her was depressed and lonely and I first thought she would settle over time and start to come out of her shell more, but she didn't and she'd been alone for much longer than I had her as she'd been stuck in that store for several months all alone before I got her. She somehow struck up a relationship with Zim through the glass of the tank and it was fascinating to watch.

Zim would come up to the tank and press his nose to it in greeting, this was how he greeted anyone he liked; he would go up to another cat and touch noses or go up to a human and press his nose to a finger, often getting upset if you didn't let him greet you in this way. He would rub against the tank as he would give a friendly rub to another cat, this was a different behavior than one used to scent mark. He would curl up next to the tank and purr, often taking naps there. Zim was by no means a very brave cat, he can usually be described as a scaredy cat, but he grew very protective of Charlotte, chasing away my parents' cats if they so much as looked at her funny, chasing was not normal behavior for him. How did Charlotte react to him? Whenever she noticed him, she would run over to the side of the tank he was at and play in that side. If Zim would put his paw on the glass, she would come over to it and put her paws on the other side. She never did this for any other cat and she didn't even do anything similar to me.

I later got Charlotte a cagemate named Scarlett and they hit it off splendidly and Charlotte's loneliness disappeared and she became more active and was playing more than ever. But even with a cagemate she would still interact with Zim through the glass. Scarlett for the most part ignored Zim, and the same would be true with four male Robos I later adopted, they all ignored him.

From studying hamsters, Zim started to do things he never did before. He would burrow himself under blankets like he saw the hamsters do with bedding. He started grooming himself different, closer to how a hamster would, and nothing is more hilarious than watching a cat try to groom his face with two paws as a hamster would do and fall flat on his face. He developed a taste for hamster food and treats and I had to keep upping my game at securing the food as he'd try to break into it to eat all the seeds and it wasn't good for him at all.

Charlotte passed in her tank from old age in 2013, I'm sure Zim could smell the scent of death and knew it was her. He mourned her loss, becoming less active, didn't eat as much, was sleeping more for a time, and never again put his paw up to the tank like he would do with Charlotte. It wasn't change or feeding off my emotions, whenever change happens he would hide and whenever he fed off my emotions he would constantly stay at my side. This was different, this was grief and I'd only seen him behave similarly when some of my parents' cats that helped raise him passed away.

When all of my hamsters passed away, he was visibly upset and grew upset again when I removed all the cages from my room. He really enjoyed living with hamsters and never in that time tried to open a cage or showed any aggressive or negative behavior toward never any of them. I never took any hamster out of their cage while he was in my room as I didn't want any accidents to happen.

When I tell people about my experience I make sure to inform others that all cats and hamsters are different and just because things worked out for me, doesn't mean it will for them. If Zim wasn't the cat that is, I wouldn't have trusted him as much I did back then. He is unique and things worked out the way it did because of who he is and how he behaves.

Zim turned 9 years old earlier this year and still very healthy, not showing any sign of aging. He still sometimes shows the behaviors he learned from studying hamsters years ago.
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Currently hamster-less, but still have my 'wanna-be hamster' cat named Zim.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:35 AM   #2
dreamtree1234
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Default Re: Zim, the hamster friendly cat

LokiWolf, I am sorry that you have been getting misunderstood when offering your own experiences to others on the forum. I do not know anything about it or how it came about, but coming to know and respect the other members on our forum, I just have to assume that the members who misunderstood were just trying to kindly inform other hammy owners not to have cats and hammies living in the same room with one another in order to avoid any possible accidents or stress to either animal from happening. Unfortunately, there have been hamster owners who have sadly lost their hams due to their other pets eating or harming them in some way so it is strongly advised to be extra cautious in cases where prey and predators coexist in a home. Because it is extremely rare for a cat to be like Zim and a hammy to be like Charlotte, these two types of animals shouldn't typically be in the same room for the wellfare of each even if closely monitored. However, since you stated that your experience was due to the fact of your exceptionally hammy-loving cat Zim and the unforgettable bond she had with your hammies, I feel that you have done your best in offering your own personal experiences with warnings that things could and most likely will go differently for others with different individual pets. I personally wouldn't feel safe putting prey and predator together, but in your specific case with Zim and your hams it all turned out great and wonderful bonds were created as the result. I can tell that you are an incredibly loving hammy and cat owner, and you would never want to put any animal in harms way. We all are here for one another and each other's animals so the very best we can do is give our best opinions and offer our experiences to one another. I have to say that Zim is a truly exceptional cat and it was truly touching that he and Charlotte formed such a unique and unbelievable bond with one another. I know that there have been many cases of unlikely animals forming bonds that go well beyond what is expected. Thank you for sharing your story of your beloved pets with us. It is quite touching and heartwarming, indeed. I know that it must be truly sweet to see Zim acting as a hammy all these years later. I wish your one-in-a-million cat the happiest of happy belated 9th birthday, and I'm so pleased to hear that he is still thriving and loving being a "hammy-cat", lol! Rest in peace, Charlotte. You were truly special and unique, too!
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Last edited by dreamtree1234; 09-07-2017 at 11:59 AM.
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