Yes, cats do eat hamsters, but they are more likely to attack and kill hamsters than actually eat them. To keep your cat from attacking or eating your hamster, train your cat or help protect your hamster with a cat-proof cage.
If you have both a cat and a hamster and wish to learn more about keeping both your pets safe, keep on reading.
Do cats eat hamsters?
Yes, cats eat hamsters. Cats are carnivores and are natural hunters. They have a strong prey drive that they inherit from their wild cat ancestors. Hamsters are rodents, and rodents are one of cats’ favorite prey. If a cat sees the opportunity to pounce on a hamster, it will attack.
Will a cat kill a hamster?
Yes, a can can kill a hamster. They can do this effortlessly because cats are naturally faster and stronger than hamsters. People tend to forget that cats are predators. Cats treat their toys like prey to compensate for the fact that they are not let outside. If they are in the presence of a hamster, they will use these hunting skills on it. They will hunt and kill the hamster at every opportunity.
Some cats are quite lazy and do not bother putting time and energy into hunting a hamster. Other cats are so skittish that they are more scared of the hamster than the hamster is of them. But remember that these cats are the exception to the rule. When bringing a hamster into your home, automatically assume that the cat will want to hunt it.
If my cat bites my hamster, will it survive?
Unfortunately, a hamster is unlikely to survive a cat bite. Cat bites can contain harmful bacteria that can enter the hamster’s body once bitten. If your cat bites your hamster, take it to the vet immediately. If the wound is not fatal, the hamster will be put on medication to take care of any infections and may need to be monitored.
How do hamsters protect themselves?
A hamster will stand on its hind legs with its front paws in a protective stance when it feels threatened. An aggressive hamster may roll on its back and bare its teeth. Its legs are ready to push back against anything that it thinks is trying to hurt it.
Despite all of a hamster’s efforts, it does not stand a chance against a much larger cat. Even if it tries to defend itself, the most secure a hamster is ever going to be is inside a cage.
How can I introduce a cat to a hamster?
If you decide to introduce your cat to a hamster, here are some precautions to take.
Keep the hamster inside a secure cage for at least three weeks.
It needs to get settled so it adjusts well to its new home. The differences between your home and the pet store, like the new smells and sounds, can be a traumatic change for the hamster. The hamster will need time to feel safe and confident.
Make sure the hamster cage is secure.
Plastic acrylic cages are the most ideal when you have a cat in the house. Regular cages with bars usually still have enough room for the cat to get its arm and paw through to claw at the hamster. Every door and corner or the cage should be sturdy and secure enough that you will not have to worry about leaving the hamster alone with the cat.
If your cat is stiff and alert, with its nose close to the cage, and its eyes following the hamster’s every move, your cat really wants to catch the hamster.
But if your cat is relaxed with its tail wagging and its gaze shifting in different directions, then it probably is not that interested in the hamster.
Hold the hamster while the cat is looking.
Stroke and pet the hamster while talking to it. This will make the cat see the hamster as more of a family member. The cat will also see that you value the hamster since you have not eaten it yourself. Do this repeatedly for four weeks. Make sure that whenever you take your hamster out of its cage that you can see where your cat is at all times in case it decides to try a sneak attack.
Keep repeating the process of holding the hamster while your cat is around.
Everyday, move a little closer to your cat as long as it remains cool and does nothing suspicious. Remember to still be alert; never let your guard down in case your cat’s mood suddenly changes.
Even if you think your cat has accepted your hamster as family, never leave the hamster out of the cage with the cat around.
If you have to leave the house, close the door to the room with the hamster cage.
What to look out for when you own a cat and hamster
It is possible for cats and hamsters to live together. Here are some tips to make this relationship work.
Make sure the hamster’s cage is secure.
A wired cage is not sturdy or closed-off enough to be secure for your hamster. The cat will still be able to stick its paw inside, or grab it with their claws and pull it off the table.
Once the cage falls, the cage can break and the cat can grab the hamster. The hamster can also get seriously injured when the cage falls. A cat-proof cage is your best choice, like an aquarium or a plastic cage.
An aquarium is heavy, so a cat will have a hard time moving it. It also has smooth sides that the cat cannot grab and pull. A plastic cage is going to give the cat a hard time trying to open it. It may have air holes, but the sides are smooth so the cat cannot grip it.
Make sure the cage lid is closed tightly and cannot be opened by your cat.
If you choose to put your hamster in an aquarium, it will need a mesh top. Make sure the mesh top is fixed in place and can not be easily opened by the cat. Secure the side doors as well, and make sure they have locking mechanisms that are childproof.
Choose a location for the cage that can cover three sides of the cage.
The placement of the hamster cage in the house is very important. Cats like to patrol on the floor level, but they will also prowl on ledges, such as windowsills, bookcases, and the tops of doors.
Cats usually climb onto these high perches in rooms where their humans are. In quiet bedrooms, cats usually just come in, walk on the floor, and immediately exit if nothing catches their attention. These rooms are the best place to keep your hamster’s cage. This way, you can close the bedroom door and keep the cat out if you need to. Placing the hamster cage on a shelf where three sides are covered is best. But do not place the cage in a closet or cupboard because the hamster will have no air and may become too chilly.
Do not let your cat in the room when the hamster is out of the cage.
When you are giving your hamster some floor time, make sure the cat is not in the room and that the door is closed. Cats are curious creatures that will want to be aware of what you are doing. So if you can, keep the cat out of the room to keep everyone at ease. This will also help keep the hamster calm and easier to handle.
While some hamsters do not mind a cat’s presence, be careful because this means the hamster might run straight towards the cat and into danger.
Distract your cat.
Limit the possible interactions between the two pets. Play with your cat in a different room while a family member interacts with the hamster. Cats are intelligent and will find any possible way to get into places they are not allowed in.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, let them outside during the day so they use up their energy and are tired and spent when they come back inside. Be sure you are still spending enough time bonding with your cat despite getting another pet.
Yes, cats can eat hamsters, but they are more likely to just attack and kill hamsters than they are to eat them. Cats are carnivores that have a high prey drive despite being domesticated. If your cat attacks your hamster, take the hamster to the vet immediately.
If you plan on getting both animals as pets, make sure that you put the hamster in a secure and sturdy cage. Place the hamster cage in a place that your cat cannot reach. If possible, make the cat leave the room before you take the hamster out of its cage.
Make sure you are still spending time and bonding with your cat even though you have a new pet.
Image: istockphoto.com / fantom_rd