Keeping a cat and a hamster in the same house isn’t easy. After all, these two pets are sworn enemies. The chances of your hamster surviving an attack from a cat are low. Moreover, hamsters fear cats, so they are likely to be stressed at the sight of one. Despite all that, these two pets can live happily together as long as you keep them separated.
Cats and hamsters do not get along. Hamsters are rodents, which cats instinctively know to hunt, antagonize, and kill. Not all hamsters fear cats, but they learn to once a cat takes an opportunistic swipe at them. Cats and hamsters can’t play together, as the rodent would get injured immediately. The only way to keep cats and hamsters together is with a durable cage, patient training, and constant vigilance.
Be sure to introduce the pets to each other so that the cat realizes the hamster is off-limits. It may still try to hunt the new pet if given the chance. However, this allows you to reprimand any poor behavior and reward the cat for ignoring the hamster. This will teach the cat to stay away. When you’re not supervising, the hamster should be placed in its cage in a different room that’s away from the cat.
Can Cats And Hamsters Be Friends?
Cats and hamsters can never be friends. That’s because hamsters are rodents, which are the natural prey of cats. If given the opportunity, even a docile and well-behaved cat may attack a hamster.
It doesn’t understand that it’s your new pet; it believes the rodent is there to hunt. According to Ecology And Evolution, cats are the natural predators of birds, invertebrates, and small mammals.
Even if your cat doesn’t attack your hamster immediately, it may do so later. Once it’s not being supervised or feels the time is right to stalk this new prey, it will pursue it. Unfortunately, that means you can’t trust the cat around your hamster at any point, even if they’ve gotten along for months.
Can Hamsters And Cats Coexist?
Although cats and hamsters are not the best of friends, they can coexist in the same house. This is only true after you take several precautions. It will also depend on:
- The age of your cat
- The personality of your cat
- The size of your hamster
- How the hamster and cat are allowed to interact
For example, some cats are lazy and won’t attack your hamster. Other cats are inquisitive and might antagonize the hamster just for fun. Your cat might be frightened of a huge hamster, while a smaller breed may be too enticing to resist. If your cat is very young (especially if it’s a kitten), it’s easier to train the cat to ignore your hamster.
Most of all, you should not allow the cat and hamster to roam freely with each other. If one is out of its cage, the other should be in its cage or another room. If they’re both out together, you should have a second person holding or monitoring the cat while carrying the hamster.
A fair distance should always be placed between the two pets. They must never be out from under your supervision. In this context, co-existing is best described as ignoring each other’s existence. There will never be a time where your hamster can safely play with the cat or vice versa. This is not only because one is a natural food source for the other. It’s also because:
- Cats play differently: Your rodent could be grievously injured by accident.
- Cats are much larger: There is no room for mistakes, and one slip-up could be fatal, even if the cat is being nice.
- Hamsters have no natural defenses: Aside from biting to ward off a cat, hamsters have no way to protect themselves from the feline’s claws and teeth.
As such, hamsters gain nothing and risk everything by interacting with a cat. You can save both of them stress by encouraging them to keep their distance. If they do so, you can enjoy a pet hamster and a pet cat at the same time. Doing anything else will scare your hamster and only give your cat a toy.
Are Hamsters Good With Cats?
Hamsters will not attack a cat. It’s rare to find one starting a confrontation with any animal. However, this doesn’t mean that hamsters are willing to be friends if your cat is. Most will fear any animal that is larger than them. This will apply to other pets, like dogs – and even you, unless the hamster is properly tamed.
With that said, some hamsters that are raised in captivity do not recognize cats as predators. They may be unable to tell the difference between friend and enemy. While this can make the introduction period less stressful for your hamster, you shouldn’t take it for granted. The hamster doesn’t understand the danger it’s in – so you need to.
This lack of fear could put your hamster in danger if you aren’t around to supervise. Instead of running from the cat, should it escape its cage, it may try to approach. This will give the feline complete access to take a swing. That will be far more traumatizing than the fear your hamster experiences at a distance.
Whatever the case, do not let your hamster and cat stay in the same room unsupervised. The cat will always look for an opportunity to pounce and attack the hamster.
Can Hamsters And Cats Live In The Same House?
It’s possible to keep hamsters and cats in the same house. Both make lovely pets and can offer companionship in unique ways. Owning one does not mean you are permanently banned from owning the other. With that said, there are some factors you should keep in mind. This mainly concerns the instincts of both animals.
No matter how well trained your cat and hamster are, you cannot undo instincts formed over millions of years. Think about the risks of keeping these two pets together, and be sure you’re prepared for the responsibility of preventing them:
Are Hamsters Scared Of Cats?
Hamsters are naturally scared of cats, as well as other big pets in the home. These rodents consider animals of greater size to be predators – and they’re usually right. A cat will be a special kind of threat, since it:
- Moves quickly
- Stalks low to the ground
- Is willing to stare down its prey for long stretches of time before it pounces
Hamsters will have an ingrained fear of predators like this. Even the smell of a cat may upset your hamster. You will know it’s scared if it screams or squeaks. Like most rodents, they have tiny hearts, and long-term exposure to stress can be harmful.
Do Cats Want To Eat Hamsters?
Depending on the cat, it may attack the hamster to eat it. Cats rely on a diet of animal proteins and vitamins, and they cannot digest plant matter. They’re also skilled hunters and tend to enjoy the food they’ve caught themselves. If your cat isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs from its regular meals, you can expect it to eye up your smaller pets.
With that said, a well-fed cat may still attack a hamster. Many felines hunt for sport and practice, not just a meal. Providing more food can reduce your cat’s chances of hunting the pet rodent, but it won’t prevent it.
Do Cats Want To Kill Hamsters?
A cat is more likely to toy with a hamster, not kill it outright. However, that doesn’t mean your pet rodent will be safe after a few swipes. The cat may go for the killing move after a few seconds or minutes if the:
- Cat is hungry
- Hamster puts up a fight
- Cat is particularly excited
Cats that are inexperienced with hunting may take longer to reach this point. If your cat was hand-raised or weaned early, it might be confused about how to kill its prey. This can buy you time to retrieve the hamster before it’s too late. Other cats, though, will go for the kill immediately.
Just because your cat didn’t finish off an escaped hamster doesn’t mean the rodent will survive. Cats can inflict serious wounds by playing with the catch. These may become infected later on, causing serious health issues. That makes it vital to establish safeguards for both pets to ensure this never happens.
Do Cats Want To Attack Hamsters?
More than anything, cats will try to attack hamsters for fun. Even domesticated cats are known to hunt for sport. If they have no intention of eating or killing their prey, they may still:
- Toy with it until it drops of exhaustion
- Carry it back to you as a trophy or to teach you how to hunt
- Injury it for practice and entertainment
- Chew on a portion of it for flavor
- Scratch it up to stretch the joints and muscles in its paws
Bored cats are even known to play with cat food that doesn’t resemble prey at all. It’s a natural instinct to engage in stalking, hunting, and fighting behavior. This not only ensures the cat is entertained.
It ensures the cat is primed for the next hunt, whether or not it’s provided with a steady diet by you. If presented with a hamster, which is live, interactive, and a fast runner, your cat will be unable to resist the challenge.
Do Cats Go After Hamsters?
If your cat doesn’t try to catch or eat the hamster, it may still chase or stalk it. This is often the first (and last) warning an owner gets. A well-behaved cat that’s never bothered the hamster may sit and watch it for a long period. Then, unexpectedly, it:
- Crouches low to the ground and wags its tail
- Starts creeping toward the hamster
- It jumps to its feet but doesn’t advance
- Feigns a swipe at the hamster
- Sprints toward it, only to stop halfway
- Jerks toward like it might run but hesitates
- Wiggles its hips like it will pounce, then stops
This happens when your cat is trying to decide how likely it is to catch the hamster. Felines are clever predators and understand that (generally speaking) they only have one chance to catch prey. A prolonged hunt isn’t their style, and they opt for quick bursts of energy that end in devastation for the prey.
Your cat may be inexperienced in hunting and testing out the bounds of its skills. Your cat may also have seen an opening, only to watch it close, so it aborted the mission. This is a dangerous situation, and you should not treat it lightly. The cat should be removed from the hamster’s space, or the hamster should be put back in its cage.
Even if your cat does not prey on your hamster right away, it will do so when given enough time to strategize and attack. According to the National Academy of Sciences, these little ‘false starts’ are a part of the hunting process, even for domestic cats.
This becomes even worse if the hamster realizes it’s being stalked and takes off running. The cat is likely to chase and try to pin the hamster as quickly as possible. This can be deadly all on its own, even if the cat didn’t intend on killing it.
How To Introduce Cats To Hamsters
Keeping your hamster in a cage and never letting it meet the cat seems like the safest choice. However, introducing the two can actually reduce the chances of the hamster getting killed later on.
Hamsters might escape their cages, or cats might gain access to the room where the hamster is kept. Laying down the ground rules in advance can help prevent this from getting out of control until you can secure both animals. For example, the cat:
- Will be aware of the hamster’s presence, so it’s never a surprising treat to investigate
- Can be taught that it’s off-limits, so it’s unlikely to approach it later
- Can be reprimanded for poor behavior, so it knows you’ll be upset if it touches the hamster
The success of this strategy depends on the temperament of your cat. Some cats are aggressive and will attack your hamster no matter the kind of training you provide. Other cats are lazy and laid-back and don’t bother to attack hamsters. No matter the case, these tips can make your cat at least hesitate before causing trouble:
Help The Hamster Acclimatize
Moving to a new home is stressful for hamsters. Even if it doesn’t fear cats, it might react in terror when presented with yet another change. To make sure yours will react calmly during the introduction, give it time to settle in. Allow the hamster to remain in its cage, in a room separate from the cat, for 3 to 4 weeks.
Observe Your Cat
Now that the hamster is safely in its cage observe your cat’s movements. This helps you determine whether or not it’s the right time for an introduction.
If your cat is relaxed and mellow, then it’s less likely to get riled by the sight of a hamster. If it’s anxious, pacing, or currently play-fighting its toys, wait until it’s exhausted itself or winds down.
Hold The Hamster In Sight Of The Cat
Teach your cat that the hamster is a family pet. At the least, the cat should know this rodent is under your protection:
- While holding the hamster, carefully put it in your cat’s line of sight.
- Hold it steady, and be ready to pull it away.
- If you can have a second person hold the cat, that’s even better.
- Speak softly to both pets and gently stroke the hamster, so the cat knows you’re affectionate with it.
- If the cat tries to stalk, pounce, or swipe at the hamster, reprimand it with a firm “no.”
- If the feline appears too keen and watches too sharply, then back the hamster away and gently reprimand the cat.
- If the cat reacts passively or ignores the hamster, praise it and offer it a treat
You only need the cat to recognize the hamster, understand its smell, and resist the urge to harm it. As long as it knows what the hamster is and that it’s not allowed to touch it, that’s good enough.
Repeat The Process
You can train your cat to coexist with your hamster by repeating the above tip several times. Hold your hamster in sight of the cat and pet it gently. You can move closer to the cat while holding the hamster but stay on guard. Your cat can change its mood anytime without notice. Eventually, the cat should become so used to the sight of the hamster that it’s willing to ignore it.
Stay In The Room
Even after teaching your cat to appreciate other pets, never leave them in the same room unsupervised. Your cat’s natural hunting instinct might come into play at any time. As long as you are always present, you can break up a potential fight or discourage bad behavior. The cat will also be less likely to misbehave in front of you.
How To Keep Cats Away From Hamsters
After training your cat to avoid hamsters, you will still require safeguards. Cats are tricky creatures, and hamsters can live for between 2-3 years. That’s plenty of time for your cat to discover an opening while you’re busy elsewhere. Use these tips to make sure the hamster remains safe no matter what.
Keep Your Hamster In A Secure Cage
More than anything, your hamster needs a cat-proof cage. It should be roomy, comfortable, and fun but also prepared to withstand a curious cat’s prodding.
- The cage should be enclosed on all sides, with no open lids or doors.
- The bars should be close together so a cat’s paw is unable to slip through.
- Secure the door with clips or small ties, so neither the cat nor the hamster can open it themselves.
- Make sure it’s too heavy for a cat to push off a table. Otherwise, secure it in a corner or in a bookshelf where a feline can’t get leverage.
Keep Your Hamster In A Separate Room Away From Your Cat
It’s best to place your hamster cage in a room your feline can’t access. This ensures it can’t stare your hamster down, poke at its cage, or frighten it by walking around at night. Of course, that also means it can’t knock the cage around or find a way inside.
A different room even lets your hamster explore outside its cage. Running around on the carpet or exploring a small obstacle course is a great bonding activity for you both. Just make sure the underside of all doors are sealed or padded with blankets. You should stay with the hamster at all times and return it to the cage before opening the door.
Use An Exercise Ball
If your hamster must be outside its cage, but you can’t hold it all day, consider a hamster ball. These little exercise balls allow your hamster to stroll through your home while safely contained. The cat will be able to see the hamster, but it won’t be able to interact with it.
Make sure the lid of the ball is tightly sealed to avoid any dangerous situations. This trick may also be limited to lazy or older cats, as young and energetic ones will smack around the ball. That can be stressful to your hamster.
Cats and hamsters can live in a house together as long as you take precautions. Cats see hamsters as prey, meaning they can pounce at any time. This can’t be trained out of them, but you can give your hamster a safe cage, its own room, and a well-controlled introduction to limit the danger. Most cats and hamsters learn to ignore each other.