Most animal lovers who have the pleasure of owning a pet look for ways to keep more than just one pet. However, there are certain considerations that must be accounted for in order to make the process a lot better for existing pets as well as their owners.
Cats, for example, as cute and fluffy as they are, require an extra layer of care when thinking of having another type of animal as a pet—like a hamster.
Although it might not occur to you that such an adorable kitty is capable of killing another just as adorable animal, in reality, cats are natural-born killers.
Primed with sharp claws and teeth, along with a keen sense of smell, felines have an advantage over most other animals when it comes to hunting.
Even the laziest of house cats are not fully domesticated and have a lot of their wild instincts still intact. That said, adopting another pet while having a cat can be worrisome, triggering questions like, “Will my cat eat my hamster?” Lucky for you, this is the topic of today’s article.
So, Will My Cat Eat My Hamster?
The short answer is yes, cats will eat a hamster if they get the chance to. Cats are natural predators, and small rodents like hamsters are their prey. There are ways to prevent it from happening. You just need to be very careful when trying to make these two kinds of pets co-exist.
Why Would a Cat Eat a Hamster?
Cats are carnivores, which means they eat animal meat to survive. In the wild, they hunt birds, small animals, and insects.
A good pet parent will provide their cat with a steady diet of nutritionally balanced foods so that they won’t go hungry and try to hunt their meals. Cats are skilled predators and can get their food one way or another.
As a cat owner, you’ve probably had an incident when your cat went outside, caught a bird or a squirrel, and brought it back. The cat could’ve been fed right before and wasn’t really hungry, so why did it go out hunting?
In addition to hunting for food, felines hunt to play with the prey, exercise, or hone their hunting skills. A cat can also do this because it’s teaching you to hunt and get food.
Hamsters are small, cuddly creatures, making them the perfect target for a cat trying to “play” with a moving thing or hunt for a snack.
We’ve all seen cats trying to tear apart their feather toys, after all, and that’s exactly how cats see hamsters.
Can I Keep Both a Cat and a Hamster as Pets?
It’s doable, but it won’t be easy. Cats are naturally inquisitive and like to explore all of the areas around them. This could be a problem when there’s a hamster cage within reach.
Hamsters are timid and can get scared easily, so a cat paw inside their cage won’t be ideal. As a pet parent, your role is to try to train your cat to be indifferent towards the hamster.
If your cat is excited or jumpy, remove the hamster cage and put it in another room, and be sure to lock the room so that your cat can’t go in.
Some cats are lazy or less inclined to attack smaller animals like hamsters, but even then, you can’t leave the two animals together unsupervised. An indifferent cat can decide to pounce one day and the hamster probably won’t survive the attack.
How to Make Cats and Hamsters Live Together Safely?
You can get a sturdy hamster cage made of a protective, heavy-duty material. Be sure to secure the doors and the lid of the cage so the hamster can’t get out and so the cat can’t reach in.
You should opt for a cage with smaller slats because a cat might try to insert its paw and scratch the hamster.
As previously mentioned, training the cat to ignore the hamster is a good move. This is easier done with young kittens than with older cats. But senior cats that are a bit lazy can be peaceful with hamsters as well.
If you want to take the hamster out of the cage for playtime or exercise, take them to another room and seal all the entrances so the cat can’t get in.
You can also try a hamster exercise ball, but don’t leave the cat with the hamster unattended even then. Cats can shake the ball or scratch at it, which will terrify the hamster.
How Do I Know If My Hamster Is Scared of My Cat?
Most hamsters, especially smaller breeds like Syrian hamsters, view larger animals as predators and will be instinctively afraid to approach them.
Some hamsters raised in pet stores might not be initially afraid of cats, but if a cat tries to attack, it will learn to fear for its life.
Hamsters are quiet for the most part, but when they’re scared, they tend to squeal or scream. A hamster’s heart is small and beats very fast, so a scare from a large animal might cause their heart to stop.
If your hamster stands on its hind legs and raises its forelimbs, it’s standing in a defensive position and is most likely scared. The hamster can also freeze in place in a situation like that.
Can My Hamster Survive a Cat Attack?
In case your hamster got loose and tried to run away from a cat chasing it, odds are it won’t make it. Hamsters reach peak speed of 3-6 mph, while a cat can run up to 30 mph; 10 times as fast.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that a hamster that got between a cat’s paws or jaws will make it. A cat’s bite or scratch is full of bacteria that infect the wound right away. The bite might also affect a vital organ in the hamster.
If the injury is small and the hamster is rushed to the vet’s, there’s a chance they might make it. The hamster will be put on a regimen of topical medications and antibiotics that need to be followed closely, and of course, its cage will need to be put out of the cat’s reach.
How to Protect My Hamster From My Cat?
The safest option is to completely separate the two pets from each other. Putting the hamster cage in another room inaccessible to the cat is the best thing to do if you leave your place for work every day.
If this is not an available option due to apartment living, you can take a few other precautions. Elevate the hamster cage so it’s not touching the floor and the cat can’t jump on it. There are some great designs for wall cages you can utilize.
You can also put the cage in a corner so the cat can’t get behind it, knock it over, and break it. And as mentioned earlier, a sturdy metal cage with close-together bars will protect your hamster inside.
Why Can’t Cats and Hamsters Be Friends?
In rare instances, they actually can be friends, though not as easily as two animals of the same size can. If you take your time and work on how you introduce them to each other, it can work!
Show the cat that the hamster isn’t a random animal that it can hunt. Instead, they’re another pet that’s loved and cared for. And show the hamster how to be bolder and less afraid of the larger cat.
How to Introduce My Hamster to My Cat?
This can be done by letting the cat see you petting and holding the hamster affectionately. And on the flip side, protect the hamster if it’s approached quickly by the cat and reprimand it. A firm “no” is usually enough to deter the cat from trying again.
You have to be extra careful when choosing the circumstances to get them to know each other. If your cat is too excited or intrigued, it’s best to take the hamster out of its sight. Similarly, if the hamster looks shaken or intimidated, don’t take it out of its cage to train it.
A nice way of testing the waters is to sit by the hamster still in the cage while the cat circles the enclosure. If you notice the cat preparing to pounce, sitting close to the floor, or wagging its tail, take the hamster cage away and wait for the cat to settle before attempting this again.
If your cat looks calm and curious, you can try making the two pets smell each other. The hamster will most likely have your scent from being held and touched. This usually lets the cat know the hamster is part of the family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my cat attack other kinds of pets?
Cats have a predator’s temper, after all, they’re felines like lions and tigers. This means that any smaller pets, like guinea pigs, chinchillas, and even pet birds like parakeets or cockatiels, are in danger if a cat decides to hunt. Try to keep separate living spaces for them.
What other animals prey on hamsters?
Other than cats, many animals prey on small rodents. Birds of prey like owls, buzzards, and hawks can attack hamsters and take them away. Snakes and large wild reptiles can also eat hamsters.
How to stop my hamster from escaping its cage?
Hamsters escape their cages when they’re bored or feel unsafe inside. While a heavier cage is good for safety, you need to fill it with toys and an exercise wheel so the hamster doesn’t feel the need to escape it. And make sure it locks up well before you leave your place.
“Will my cat eat my hamster?” The answer is yes. Cats are natural-born predators that will hunt any animal that’s smaller in size.
Despite the fact that cats and hamsters are not born to be friends, you can help your feline and hamster get along with some careful steps.
Most importantly, you need to keep your hamster inside a sturdy cage when you’re not around. And if you’d like to introduce your pets, do so in the right manner so both your cat and hamster aren’t distressed by it.