There are lots of reasons to use a wire cage for your hamster. They provide excellent air flow, they are easy to customize by connecting accessories to the wires, and you can buy them from most pet stores. Does that mean they are the best choice for all hamsters? No, unfortunately it is not that simple. To begin, most wire hamster cages aren’t big enough by themselves. You need to buy cage door adapters to connect several cages together via tubes, much like how modular hamster cages are joined together.
Another option is to go a hybrid route of connecting the wire cage to a modular cage. This multi-module solution can dramatically extend the amount of space available for your hamster to roam. When purchasing a cage door adapter, you must ensure that it fits tightly on the doorway and does not have any gaps that your hamster can squeeze out from. Monitor it closely for bite marks too, and replace it if it is too damaged.
Perhaps you live in a small apartment and you lack the space for a multi-module setup. Not to worry, there are multilevel wire cages you can look into instead. Just make sure you look for ones designed for hamsters, not rats or mice. Otherwise, the spacing of the bars might be too far apart, and your hamster can squeeze through. If you are worried, bring a measuring tape with you to the store and measure the space between bars. For Syrian hamsters, the spacing cannot exceed 3/8” (1.0 cm). For dwarf hamsters, the spacing cannot exceed 3/16” (0.5cm).
Next, examine the upper levels of the multilevel cage. Does it have narrow platforms or full floors? Platforms are not a good idea; hamsters lack depth perception and can fall off them. Rather, look for ones with full floors so your hamster won’t ever have a nasty tumble.
Unfortunately, multilevel wire cages have second level floors made out of (you guessed it) wire which is harmful to your hamster’s feet. You will have to cover it completely using fake needlepoint canvas or other soft material. These covers can be cut to size and affixed to the floor or sides of the cage with cable ties. For additional comfort, place soft bedding material on top of the cover. We have written a review on the best hamster bedding if you want to learn more.
It’s not enough to cover only the upper floor, the ground floor needs some care too. Most of the time the ground floor or base of the wire cage is made of cheap material, however sometimes there will be a wire insert. Since we’ve established that running on wire is painful to your hamster, you will need to cut out the bottom or cover it up just like the top floor.
Hamsters love to climb and if your wire cage has horizontal bars within reach, you can bet your hamster will try to climb it. Many hamster owners have varying opinions on whether this is a cause for concern or not. On one hand it gives your hamster an opportunity to exercise and have fun. On the other hand, falls can sometimes happen which can lead to a serious injury. If this bothers you, find a cage with vertical wires and provide your hamster tubes or ladders at designated locations for climbing.