Cleaning the litter box has always been the most miserable duty in keeping a pet. Things are slightly different for hamsters because sometimes they use the beddings all over the cage bottom as their toilet. As a result, thoroughly cleaning the whole cage regularly would be necessary.
In this article, I will explain why the cage should be cleaned frequently and give you useful instructions on making the burden easier.
Why should I clean the cage regularly?
Hamsters are typical small size rodents, which means that before they become popular home pets, they were food for all larger animals in the Siberian woods. As a result, they are extremely sensitive to the surrounding circumstances, and our pet hamsters just inherit that gene and habit. In the wild, the key to protecting himself is to conceal his own odor from the predators and wipe out its own trace.
A cage without cleaning for a long time would accumulate strong, foul smell, making the hamsters highly stressful and insecure. In fact, psychological pressure can lead to stereotypes and vicarious diseases, including overweight, diseases of the urinary system, heart disease, etc. On the contrary, making them feel safe can greatly contribute to their longevity. Therefore, in consideration of our little friend’s psychological and physical health, we should clean the cage often.
How often should I clean the cage?
According to my explanation, you may be highly diligent and passionate about cleaning the cage and may have made plans to wash it two times a day. But I have to stop you because the cleaning work is not the more, the healthier for your hamster. In fact, every time you clean the cage thoroughly, it means you change a whole new environment for your hamster. Thus, he or she needs time to get familiar with the new environment and gradually release themselves to make it home. Too much cleaning will make them always in extreme tense, which will eventually lead to heart disease.
So, how often on earth should we clean the cage? Well, this actually depends on your hamster. Usually, they use one corner of the beddings as their toilet, so when you change food and clean water for him, you can change beddings in that area, and this can be done one or several times a day.
But if your hamster digs all over the beddings to discharge as you observed, you may need to clean the whole cage at least once every two days. Other than that, hamsters have the habit of storing food. To prevent the food from going bad, we should change all the beddings two times a week. According to my experience, I think cleaning every three or four days is an appropriate choice.
There is no need for you to be that anxious about the cleaning frequency; after all, hamsters are adaptive creatures. Just remember the basic criterion of cleaning is that you can smell the foul odor in his cage. Fresh smell is always the first rule.
How can I easily clean the cage?
Below are basic steps of thoroughly cleaning the cage with some useful tips:
1. Prepare a temporary cage for the hamster.
In this step, the key point is to prevent the possible escape. A second simple cage is a perfect choice, but a travel box will also do good. Actually, when you have a good command of cleaning skills, any solid container with good ventilation is ok, because the fluffy will not stay long there if the whole process is done very quickly.
The trick is you can put some dry grass in the temporary tank so that the hamster will be busy with biting and chewing the stem instead of escaping.
2. Take away all the toys and food bowls.
This step is extremely important for later procedures because it makes the washing procedure easier. But you have to remember the layout to recover its arrangements later so that your sweetheart can get familiar with its cage as soon as possible.
3. Throw away everything.
Everything indicates all the beddings, lining material, bath sand, food left or hidden, etc. There are no special skills and just throw away everything in sight without hesitation. These items are a hotbed for germs, bacteria, and virus.
4. Rinse the cage thoroughly.
Wash the cage several times. You may need a brush to clean the walls and the corners. The food bowl and water bowl also need to be cleaned. If the cage is really dirty, you may use some vinegar or pet-safe enzyme cleaner, a common cleaner for human use is strongly not recommended. Our cleaner like bleach may contain chlorine, which is extremely poison for hamsters. It would help if you washed several more times after using the cleaner to make sure there is no left.
5. Dry the cage.
Dry it with sunshine is the best because ultraviolet can do the sterilization and disinfection. But go ahead cleaning in the cloudy days because we can use our hairdryer, which is even better when you use vinegar because it can remove the intrusive smell rather fast.
6. Put everything back in position.
Everything includes your fluffy. Leave him in his cage for hours so that he can get familiar with the new environment and gradually relax himself.
Remember the harm a dirty cage may cause on your fluffy one, and move on to always create a tidy environment for your tiny friend!