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Meet Cherry the Hamster, AKA Our Latest Family Member

photo 2 (3)Meet Cherry, the latest addition to the Gerson household. Thanks to Parry Gripp and his You Tube hit video “Hamster on a Piano” my daughter decided she had to have a hamster. (If you haven’t seen the video scroll down below. Its silly!) She had already visited with Jack, her school mate’s pet hamster, a pumpkin colored friend who seemed cute and totally harmless and of course, oh so snuggly and was already asking for “her own pet” after meeting Jack. Despite all of our efforts to talk her out of hamsterdom (we watched a number of videos on pet turtles, lizards and my husband even suggested a bearded lizard – ugh), seeing “Hamster on a Piano” more than a dozen times solidified her desire to own one of these critters herself.

She had to earn it. No way was I just going to run out and buy something that added to my daily responsibilities, not to mention the lovely hamster smell we would be adding to our home. So we created a hamster chart where she earned points every day for household chores and good behavior. I milked the hamster chart for as long as I could, even deducting points for not following the items outlined on the chart, just to string it out a little longer.


But Summer came to an end and it was time to take those well-earned points to the pet store. Luckily, our favorite sitter, recommended the PetSmart on La Cienega as the place to purchase our new pet. There was free parking in the back and an entire upstairs floor dedicated to small pets.  The selection of hamster cages was pretty good and while we stood there trying to decide if we needed an extra water bottle, manager Lukas approached and offered his help. Turns out he is quite the small pet afficianado. Thanks to Lukas we steered away from the smaller hamsters and ended up picking out a Syrian short hair…supposedly they are a little easier to tame or more docile, I forget which. The explanation simply echoed “less likely to bite” in my mind. The ride home was a little creepy as Cherry was in a cardboard box and was attempting to claw or chew her way out the entire time. Once we got home I was in a cold sweat trying to quickly assemble the cage so I could get the frantic hamster out of her box and into something a little more comforting….still four walls and a box, but at least there was a hamster wheel, places to hide and food. Cherry was much happier.

It’s been three days and she definitely sleeps all day and runs in her wheel all night. Plus hamster pee makes the bedding in the cage smell immediately.  I have already changed out the bedding twice. I would not recommend putting a hamster cage in your child’s room if they are a light sleeper or sensitive to smells. That said, Cherry is pretty cute and watching her race around the house in her hamster ball is …ugh ok honestly it gives me the willies because if she can run that fast IN the ball imagine if she escaped and was simply skittering around the house. I am trying to be positive and enjoy this new little pet. I’ll keep you posted.

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