Gizmo Cecil The Littlest Indulged Furry

May 2002 - August 2004

Gizmo was eager to join our family of Indulged Furries. Unlike the other hamsters who scurried under the cage bedding to hide, Gizmo crawled right into our hands as we were checking out the available hamsters at the local pet store.  He was a very inquisitive, friendly, and gentle hammy. He was always eager to come out of his cage for playtime, even though he lived in a giant 3-story palace.  Not only would he crawl into your hand if you put it in his cage, he would also climb to his cage door as soon as it opened because he knew someone was there to take him out to explore.  We never worried about Gizmo biting us, he just wasn't a nippy hamster.   

Gizmo baby
During my first days at home, my favorite activity was getting out of my cage and exploring my surroundings. Dad's legs were always  warm and cozy.

Of course, living at the pet store with all the other baby hamsters means you have to share everything. All the  cage mates paw through your food bowl, play on your wheel, and try to get all the best sleeping spots. Gizmo with full pouches The best part of being adopted into the world of Indulged Furries is that you are pampered with the best of everything. And being a naturally solitary creature means you get everything to yourself.  The first thing I learned to do is Stuff My Pouches until not even the smallest seed would fit.  Oh, what a wonderful feeling to have hoards of food to cache all around your cage! As you can see, I was a champion pouch stuffer.  I was also an expert at avoiding those pressed pellets of unknown plant material that "contaminate" your food mix.  Why on earth do they put those in there, and do they really expect an Indulged Furry to eat them?!  Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, "chewies" - the dehydrated sweet potato pieces in the food mixture are the best. Gizmo eating corn Even better is when you're treated to sunflower and pumpkin seeds that your human has unshelled!  Oh, the life of an Indulged Furry! I wish you all could experience it (in your own cage of course). I realize a hamster must chew and gnaw to keep their teeth properly worn down, but let's be honest, when it comes to food, the real pleasure is in the tasting!  Proper dental care can be achieved by gnawing on your chew stick, not seed shells.  

Along with the favorite items in my food mixture, I was always excited to see the extra special treats come out.  I don't mean those packaged sugar-filled things they sell as "treats" in the pet store (yuck!). I mean honest-to-goodness Hamsterrific Whole Food Treats.  My favorite Hamsterrific treats were fresh corn on the cob (locally grown and fresh picked, of course), bits of fresh strawberry, grape, cucumber, and room- temperature mealworms....yes, mealworms. Gizmo eating mealworm They're warm, wiggly, crunchy, and a great source of protein.  If your human offers you a mealworm treat, be aware that they are stored in the refrigerator to keep them from maturing into beetles (mealworms are "baby" beetles), and they are much tastier and more "lively" at room temperature.  If your human is squeamish about mealworms, take them while they're still cold and "lifeless", and store them in your pouch for a while.  They'll warm up and become quite tasty.  I recommend using your sharp incisors to nip the head off first, otherwise they'll wiggle about in your pouch and your human won't let you out of your cage until they are sure you've eaten it. And remember, the special treats are only special if they're enjoyed on occasion....don't Over Indulge.  

Remember how I said that during my brief stay at the pet store I had to share my little display cage & accessories with all the other baby hamsters?  Don't be sad for me, after all, the other hammies did keep me warm and feeling secure.  But my Indulged Furry life was nothing like that pet store cage!  In my new home I had one of the biggest hamster cages in town, and I even had a home-made "Hamsterrific Playland". My 3-story cage was spacious (31 inches wide, 15 inches deep, 30 inches tall) and had a variety of accessories.  And my humans didn't limit themselves to shopping in the "hamster" department, they searched high and low for all sorts of cage accessories.  The standard "hamster" accessories included some plastic climbing toys, a house, a Sphinx-shaped hide-out, and a bendable wood stick climbing arch.

Smokey watching Gizmo

But I also had a tree-bark tunnel from the "reptile" department that I could fit under and climb on top of, and fluffy bedding from the dog toy section.  You know those dog chew toys made of tightly wound & knotted cotton string (like doggy dental floss...we all have to take care of our dental hygiene).  Well, if your human takes is apart and cuts the string into 3-inch long strips, it becomes heavenly bedding material.  

I could arrange my bedding into a big "igloo" of cotton fluff, then tunnel into the middle of it for a peaceful snooze.  I don't know how I could have slept if not for my cotton string bedding.  How is a soft, cuddly hamster expected to sleep on scratchy tree shavings (even if they are aspen)?!  The cotton string comes in both natural and multi-colored varieties, and it's nice to have the decor changed every once in a while.  We won't mention the need to change the bedding on a regular schedule,  as that would be a rather personal matter best left to private conversations between you and your human caretaker.

Gizmo in his bedding

Oh, I must mention my Wodent Wheel. Actually, I had two Wodent Wheels - one for my 3-story cage, and one for my playland (could an Indulged Furry have any fewer?)  Wodent Wheels are fantastic inventions, Wodent Wheel and I'm not saying that because of some marketing ploy or kick-back.  In my opinion, this is the best wheel available, and the only wheel suitable for an Indulged Hammy.  No squeaking cheap metal wheel or wire running surfaces are anywhere to be found on this wheel.  And no open areas spinning around to catch a paw or nose!  The metal axel holds a solid plastic back, solid running surface, and 4-opening front.  A drop of vegetable oil keeps it running smoothly and squeak free.  What hamster wants to listen to a squeaky wheel while getting his or her nightly exercise?!  When it's clean and well-oiled, a hamster can cruise at top speed on this wheel - Wheee!!

No Indulged Furry could be happy in only one home. Sometimes you just need to get away from the old place and have a change of scenery.  My playland was a safe place to stretch my legs, have lots of room to run, climb on some different accessories, and just "get away from it all". As you can see, some of the other Indulged Furries liked to watch me, but I didn't mind. 

Playland Bentley watching playland

I'd even come to the edge of the cage and sniff noses with them.  They were a gentle bunch, and I new I was safe in my playland.  Occasionally the Goofy Golden Retriever named Bentley panted on me (uggh, doggy breath), but he couldn't help himself.  He was obsessed with watching me. And I mean Obsessed.  You know how Golden Retrievers can be....how shall we say this nicely...."focused"! Well, he stared at me for hours, watching me run on my wheel, scurry around the playland, eat my dinner.  He'd even forgo chomping on his ball while he watched me. Gizmo in ball I was proud to think I could captivate a Golden Retriever so much that he didn't need something in his mouth.  Eventually he'd get tired and fall asleep beside my playland.  If I really wanted privacy, I could always go inside one of my accessories for a little nap. 

Being the inquisitive and active hammy that I am, I'm always up for an excursion through the house. I'm a master of the Hamster Ball, and once my humans figured out a clear ball is better than a colored one (how was I expected to be able to see clearly while inside a blue ball?) I was exploring the house on a nightly basis.  The cats didn't bother me.  Felix (shown here watching me in my ball) and  Smokey would just stop by for a little sniff, then scoot off for a cat nap.  Ed was terrified of me...I was so intimidating looking in my ball. Actually, Ed is afraid of his own shadow, so I can't truly claim intimidation here.  There are no photos of me and Ed because he always ran away whenever I got near him.  Gizmo on keyboardI loved making that rather football-shaped furry hide scramble away from me!  While I was exploring one night, I heard a lot of rat-a-tat-tat and clicking noises and my humans talking about "The Internet".  I thought an Indulged Hammy should try to figure out what it is, since there might be some essential items on "The Internet" that my humans  aren't aware of or forgot to purchase for me.  Of course my desires were indulged and I was let loose to run on the keyboard (the thing making all the rat-a-tat-tat noises) I tried to type on the keyboard, but I couldn't get from one letter to the next without making too many typing mistakes. So, I've left "The Internet" for my caretakers, and I have to believe they have indulged me as best they could.

Gizmo Gizmo lived a great life of hamster luxury, and lived to be a little over 2 years old. He had the largest cage we could find, plenty of soft, clean bedding, safe places to climb and hide, a Wodent Wheel, an exercise ball, and plenty of good food and fresh water.  If you're thinking of owning a hamster, please provide him or her with the best cage facilities you can, and always give it great care.  These are incredible, fun little critters, but they need to be cared for properly.  There are several good books about hamster care, and some good information on the internet.  A note of advice: on Gizmo's last day, he was unable to move his hind legs and unable to get around his cage.  We decided to euthanize him, but I was surprised and dismayed to find that there are very few vets who will provide services for hamsters. If you're planning to own a hamster, or own one now, be sure to find a vet in your area who will treat your hamster if it needs care - even if that care is just to help it to a peaceful and pain-free passing.

Take care little Gizzy.  Run on that big Hamster Wheel in the Sky, and eat lots of sunflower seeds, "chewys", pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and of course Mealworms!!!

Gizmo