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Figuring out animal affection is never easy, and we’re hardly the first to ask how do you know if your hamster loves you. However, if your hamster comes running to see you, if they’re often trying to get your attention, and if they stick around after you give them a treat, they definitely enjoy your company.
Hamsters are tricky little critters. Cute, cuddly, and almost ridiculously energetic, they’re one of the world’s favorite pets for a reason.
However, it’s one thing to keep a hamster, and another altogether to get it to love you. Today, we’re going to dispel some preconceived notions you might have about hamsters and their showcases of affection.
Down below, you’re going to find a wide variety of ways in which your hamster may (or may not) be showing how much it likes you. Of course, not every hamster behaves the same, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t tick all of these boxes.
We’re also going to presume that you’ve covered all the basics already. A good hamsters’ cage, some food, a water bottle, toys – the usual.
How Does A Hamster Show Affection?
First things first, it’s important to mention that – as nocturnal and shy as they might be – hamsters of all kinds (including Syrian hamsters) do enjoy spending time with humans. Provided, of course, that they actually like said humans in the first place.
A hamster can show its affection in a number of ways:
- Showing off by running on the exercise wheel or playing with their chew toys right in front of you
- Attempting to get your attention whenever you’re close by
- Looking for you when they hear your voice
- Sticking around and spend time with you after finishing their treats
- Stretching out and yawning around you
- Reacting positively to being petted and lifted
- Attempting to get into your hands and to climb up onto you
Generally, if your hamster is doing any of the above, that’s a good sign. Not all hamsters are comfortable doing all of these things. Their personalities differ just as much as ours do!
And no – it’s not enough to just set them loose with some food and water. You will need to spend time and effort to get one to crawl into your hand.
Can Hamsters Recognize Their Owners?
Hamsters can absolutely recognize their owners/handlers. Since they’ve got poor eyesight, however, they primarily rely on scent to figure out if you’re their favorite person.
It’s crucial that hamster owners familiarize their animals with their scent as early as possible.
How Can I Tell if My Hamster Is Happy?
If your hamster is showing signs of affection towards someone, and if they’re active and energetic, they’re almost certainly perfectly happy.
Try to find out whether your hamster is grooming themselves, and whether they’re collecting and storing food somewhere. A distressed hamster won’t spend energy on these activities, so that’s a surefire sign of their happiness.
Do Hamsters Like When You Talk To Them?
While it’s highly unlikely that a hamster will ever understand the things you say to them, they may enjoy the sound of your voice. Especially if they have the chance to relate it to your scent.
After a time, it wouldn’t be odd at all if your hamster came running at the sound of your voice!
How To Get A Pet Hamster To Like You!
Getting a hamster to like you includes lots of patience and lots of interaction. You’re going to need to take it slow and let them get a sense of your scent first. Then, follow this up with lots and lots of veggie treats.
Here are the exact steps you need to take to get a hamster to like you:
- Every day, wash your hands and get your hamster to smell them – this will allow your pet to get a sense of your scent as soon as possible
- Offer treats to your hamster – apples, pears, strawberries, dandelion greens, carrot tops: the list is rather long and varied
- Gently stroke your hamster’s fur when they finally let you
- Put your open palm down and see if your hamster tries to get inside – if they do, repeat this over the course of a couple of days before attempting to lift them up
It’s crucial, of course, that you don’t scare your hamster during this process. Since these animals have very poor eyesight, they might interpret your quick movements as those of a potential predator.
If you’re a responsible pet owner, take it slow and steady, and don’t grab or pick up your hamster until you can get them to repeatedly crawl into your hand.
If you do all the above and keep track of the potential signs of affection we listed before, you’ll have a reliable way of knowing if your hamster really loves you. It’s easier than you might think, long as you’ve got treats in your hand.
Eventually, you may just end up with a hamster climbing your shoulder, and that’s not something you want to miss out on!
- Bartlett, Patricia Pope – The Hamster Handbook (2003)
- UK’s National Hamster Council – https://hamsters-uk.org/
- Animal Diversity – https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Cricetinae/#behavior