Can Hamsters Recognize Their Owners Can Hamsters Recognize Their OwnersWant to get a hamster and wondering if hamsters can be potty trained? Do hamsters need a litter box, and will they use it effectively?
The answer is yes! Hamsters need a litter box, and it’s not very hard to train a hamster to use one. Hamsters usually learn to use their litter tray quickly and even prefer using it! Litter boxes work well with hamsters because hamsters are natural latrine animals.
This means that they prefer relieving themselves in the same area, in their natural habitat.
When you litter train a hamster, you are convincing it to make waste in a container that is easy for you to clean. Since hamsters also like to clean their surroundings, they will learn to use the litter box relatively easily.
Litter training a hamster has many benefits. It’s easier to keep the cage clean and substantially reduce bad smells.
How to Litter Train Hamsters
When you begin training your hamster, place the litter box in the corner of its container. Make sure to place the box where it prefers to relieve itself. If you have recently placed your hamster in a new enclosure, wait until the hamster creates a latrine corner, then place the box.
You can also take some soiled bedding or waste and place it inside the litter box. This will help the hamster understand what the container is for. You might have to repeat this step until your hamster understands what the container is for.
You can also sanitize the rest of the hamster’s cage. This will reinforce the message to make waste in the container.
Hamsters are extremely scent oriented creates. Let the little critter sniff and explore this new area you have made and use it in its own time. Don’t ever force your hamster to use the litter box. It can scare them as they are also very sensitive.
If your hamster gets dirty using its litter box, never bathe it. Hamsters usually clean themselves; however, you can give them a sand bath if necessary. Be patient with your hamster, and remember, like all animals, they also require a few tries before developing proper toileting habits.
It’s normal to encounter problems as you litter-train your hamster. It will take time for the little creature to get used to its litter box.
You may notice the hamster hiding food in its litter tray or sleeping in it. This may indicate that it is unhappy with its current sleeping space. It may also imply that the sleeping area is too small, and they may need more space to hide food and feel comfortable.
If your hamster’s enclosure is too large, it may create multiple spots to relieve itself. In that case, either consider placing your hamster in a more compact space or place numerous litter boxes.
You also need to ensure your litter box is the right size and design. If your hamster prefers the box and takes a liking to it, only then will it use it regularly. Also, make sure the litter box is safe for your hamster.
Pros of Litter Training Your Hamster
There are several perks of litter training your hamster.
It makes clean-up easy as you have to dump the contents of the container and re-fill it. This is better than scooping out bedding from different areas of the cage.
Litter training your hamster also separates the hamsters living area and toileting area. Hamsters prefer cleanliness as they are naturally clean and tidy animals. An enclosed litter space also helps the litter absorb the waste’s odor.
However, this should never be a substitute for cage cleaning. It’s imperative to clean your hamster’s cage regularly for it to stay healthy.
Litter training your hamster and reinforcing it to use the litter tray is undoubtedly an investment of your time. But it’s worth the effort as your hamster has a clean living space separated from its toileting space, and routine cleaning is also easier.
What Kind of Litter Box to Use?
When litter training your hamster, make sure you find the right equipment to do so. You can buy commercial litter boxes from the pet store or order them online. These litter boxes are usually covered and keep smells within the box. You can also purchase high-cornered litter pans for your hamster.
These litter boxes are made of plastic, are usually durable, and are easy to clean. Remember, you will have to replace the litter box after intervals of time as hamsters tend to chew on them.
It’s also relatively easy making your litter box. Homemade litter boxes help you save a few bucks, and your hamster gets a cute, customized litter box.
When making your litter box, be careful to use suitable materials. Also, as said above, there is a chance the hamster might also chew the litter box or try to destroy it. If your hamster is prone to chewing, keep a close eye on it the first few days you introduce the litter box.
How to Make a DIY Litter Box
When making your hamster litter box, start by getting a small yet sturdy plastic container with a lid.
Next, cut a two to three-inch hole in one side of the container. The spot should be one inch above the base. This is so that litter doesn’t scatter in the cage.
After cutting the hole, sand the edges of the container so there are no sharp points or uneven surfaces that can harm your hamster.
Make sure the litter box is the right size and can easily fit into a corner of the hamster’s cage. It’s essential to place the litter box in a corner as hamsters usually relieve themselves in a corner. This will make the transition process much more manageable.
Other Options for Litter Boxes
Hamsters are not picky animals. Multiple items lying around the house can be repurposed as litter boxes. Some DIY options include:
A small-sized ceramic dish can also be placed inside your hamster’s cage. If the dish is white or sheer, you can also easily monitor your hamster’s activity, such as when it is making waste and how much. Make sure to add sand or hamster litter to the tray so your hamster can use it easily.
An old Tupperware box can also be repurposed as a litter tray. You can take a pair of scissors and cut a hole through the side of the Tupperware box so your hamster can quickly get through.
Make sure to sand the box so there are no sharp edges to hurt your hamster. Also, if you notice your hamster gnawing on the box’s side, you must replace it.
If you don’t have Tupperware, you can use glass bowls or dishes as litter trays. This is a good idea for smaller-specie hamsters such as dwarf hamsters. Try not to use this method for larger hamsters such as Syrian hamsters.
This is because glass bowls and dishes are usually compact, and larger Syrian hamsters might find it uncomfortable. Also, remember to use sand or hamster litter so your hamster does not slip on the tray and can use easily.
What Kind of Litter to Use?
Wondering what kind of litter to place inside the litter box? Always use litter especially formulated for hamsters and small animals. These litters are safe and healthy for the hamster to use. They are dust free and don’t contain any harmful chemicals or substances.
Always remember never to place wood shavings or sawdust inside the litter tray, especially from cedar or pine. This is because pine and cedar contain volatile oils that can harm your hamster. These oils are why both pine and cedar smell so good to humans.
Litter that is safe for hamsters is usually made from plant-based materials such as straw, paper, or wood pulp.
Don’t ever make the mistake of using cat litter for hamsters. This is because cat litter is designed for cats and can cause health problems for creatures like hamsters.
Cat litter can contain sand and clay that can enter the hamster’s ears and eyes. It can cause scratches and other damage.
Hamsters also tend to swallow or chew litter. So, if they ingest cat litter, it can cause severe conditions that can quickly become fatal such as intestinal blockages. Cat litter also usually contains chemicals used to cover ammonia’s odor. These scents and chemicals are also harmful to hamsters.
That’s why sticking to litter created for hamsters, and other small animals is essential. Putting cat litter in a hamster’s litter tray should be avoided at all costs.
So if you wonder if hamsters need a litter box, they do! You can easily buy one or make a DIY litterbox at home. Also, remember that potty training hamsters require time and effort.
But hamsters can be potty trained and simplify your cage-cleaning routine! It may take up to six weeks for a hamster to learn how to use its litter box. Positive reinforcements and consistency are your keys to success!
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more