Butterscotch: the 21st century pet

For Christmas, my four-year-old asked Santa to bring her two white mice and a purple cage. Santa, being the omniscient and clever old elf he is, brought just the purple cage.

(He also thoughtfully left a note explaining that he was pretty sure mom and dad weren’t as keen on the mice as our daughter but had fulfilled the purple cage wish in hopes that we could all decide upon the perfect inhabitant together). Nice work, Santa.


The purple cage is super cool. I’m pretty sure if the Jetsons had owned a hamster instead of Astro, this is what his cage would have looked like.:

(Note that this is the Extreme Challenge edition–clearly targeting 21st Century parents aiming to cultivate Mensa-level rodents for their above-average offspring.)

Here’s the 360°, external hamster wheel (of which our non-Mensa quality rodent only goes 90º back and forth in hopes of accessing nearby wall, thus ensuring escape from tormenting captors).Here’s the snazzy, spiral access ramp to the wheel:

Next stop, pet shop!

We made sure the parameters were clear in advance, she had two choices: 1. a large hamster, 2. a small hamster. NO mice, NO  gerbils, NO guinea pigs.

Here she is checking out the large hamster (note look of complete indifference on child’s face)






Clearly option 1. wasn’t cutting it. On to option 2: the Robo.












Since acquiring Butterscotch, we have taken him out for handling and observation on a regular basis. He also has been exercising diligently on his external hamster wheel.

Since beginning this blog entry, I have learned that Robos are not only the smallest but also the fastest breed of hamster.

Now taking bets on how long before Butterscotch’s cage renders him bright enough to find his freedom…

I’ve got a mouse problem!

I vaguely remember my first pet. I was three, my older brother was six and he had his very own hamster in its very own cage in his room. I wanted one too. My mother got me one. When she took it out of the carrier and let me hold it, I like to think I was so excited that I gave it a really big hug . What my mother reports is that I held it a little too tight, it bit me and I did what any swift thinking kid in survival mode would do, I wung it against the wall.

OK, it’s a dark story and it’s haunted me my entire adult life but it’s time to make amends. Fast forward 35 years. Around this time, last year, our cat, Mugi, died. Mugi was a cat effervescing with personality. My dad used to call him the Japanese Samurai cat, since I brought him back from Japan and he settled in with my dad for the next five years wile I lived in un-pet-friendly housing. For the 12 years we had him, Mugi spent his life moving around, attracting a sizable fan base of neighbors, family and friends wherever he roamed. Needless to say, he left a major void when he departed and we’re not quite ready to fill it with a kitten. So this year, I thought we’d get a hamster instead!

Hamsters are great. They instill core values like communal, modular living

exercising and keeping fit

and outta the box thinking

they even come with their own catchy little theme song!

Ah yes, a hamster, the PERFECT pet for my longing brood. The only problem, I needed to introduce them to a hamster before they could start begging Santa to bring them one.

Being the ever resourceful mom, I planned an outing to the local PetCo (if you’re ever looking for a rainy-day activity, I highly recommend it). We meandered through the fish, lingered by the reptiles and then bee-lined for the rodents.

As I stood fawning over the various hamster displays: “awww, look guys, look at this cute Teddy Bear Hamster, don’t you just want to take it home and snuggle with it?” or “Hey guys, a dwarf hamster! This is as big as it ever gets. Look how cute it is!” My four year old was sticking like a suction cup to the display cages behind me. I’ll give ya one guess what was in them…

It’s not that I don’t like mice, I’m quite fond of them really. And I shouldn’t be surprised that my daughter loves them too. After Good Night Moon, her second favorite book was Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice. It’s just, I’m a first time home owner and I don’t want to be responsible for a first time mouse infestation. But how do you diffuse a daily discussion on the attributes of mice. And when you ask your child what she’s going to write and ask Santa for and she replies: “two mice, a white one and a brown one, and a purple cage to put them in.” I’m stumped.

C’mon, hamster’s are cut too, right Santa?

Ho, Ho, Ho!



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