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The True Story Of Joey The Mean Hamster


Back in my senior year in college, I was broke as a joke, but since I had a three year old, it meant a lot more than I couldn’t buy Ramen or another 30-case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, it meant that I could barely afford Christmas gifts for him.

I should have known better than to accept a second hand hamster, but there I was, nodding my head stupidly “YES” to my classmate when she offered me her rejected hamster, citing that she didn’t have time to play with him anymore.

How could I pass this up?

I’d owned various hamsters and assorted small rodents when I was a child, only to watch them meet their untimely demise at the jaws of my cats.It’s a fucking wonder I’m not more twisted than I am.

Where’s Sid? AAAAH! There he is! DEAD! NO! And NOT NANCY TOOOO! NOOOO!!

Sometimes, the hamsters would even eat their babies before I could stop them, only adding to the macabre situation of Rodent Gloom and Doom in my house.

Anyway, I’d remembered loving them before, well, they died and figured that Ben would too. He’d play with them, help clean their cages, and feed them little bits of his dinner just like I used to do!

Problem was, though, that Ben couldn’t have given less of a shit about the hamster, who he’d named Joey. This wasn’t one of my brighter ideas, considering Ben preferred planets to people, but we managed.

Joey lived a peaceful hamster life until one day he chewed free from the plastic house he lived in. I assumed that he would get lost in my parents house, possibly finding all of the skeletons of his contemporaries and didn’t give it much thought beyond feeling sort of sad for a moment.

I’d been down this road before, I knew that looking for him was useless, I mean it wasn’t like I could call him by name and he’d come running for me. And since he was approximately the size of a cotton ball, he could literally be anywhere.

One day a couple of weeks later, I was hastily plugging out a blog post on my father’s laptop when I heard some squeaking. Assuming the radio was tuned to some weird NPR program about ancient Siberian squeaking, I continued blogging. Eventually my bladder tapped me on the shoulder and I got up and headed for the bathroom.

It was there where I saw my two kittens, Finnegan and Atticus playing with something in the corner. Upon further inspection, I realized that it was a puff-ball that looked remarkably like…Joey.

Shit! I thought as I grabbed his little body up. Fuck! They got the hamster!

Now, just because I didn’t go on a Hamster Finding Mission didn’t mean I wanted him to die like that, so I carefully put him back in his cage on a heating pad offering a prayer up to the heavens that I hadn’t just killed another hamster.

I hadn’t.

What I had done is turned this sweet puff-ball of a hamster into a raging asshole. Walk by his cage and he would throw himself at the bars, punching at you. If you stood near his cage for too long, he’d start to fling his poo at you.

Oh yes, the new Joey flung poo.

He’d also bite the shit out of your fingers if you were stupid enough to try and touch him, leaving large puncture wounds where your skin had been mere seconds before. He liked the taste of blood.

Joey the Adorable Puff Ball had turned into Joey the Mean Hamster.

His brain had been re-hardwired to hate.

I dutifully changed his litter, gave him food and water, and frantically googled “dwarf hamster life span.” The relief I felt was palpable when I learned that he was nearing death.But no. Not Joey.

Joey not only got outlived the top end of his expected lifespan, but he doubled it. He graduated college with me, got married with me, followed me through 3 different moves, and he even managed to somehow place a voodoo hex on the two cats that mauled him. Because those kittens? Died before he did.

Joey The Mean Hamster lasted until right after Alex was born, torturing guests at my baby shower by pelting food and poo at anyone who stopped to say “What a cute hamster!” His fur became sort of grayish white, his nails approached Howard Hughes lengh, and he got pretty dilapidated looking.

But he was alive and you weren’t going to forget it for a second.

He died one night shortly after, and you know what? For all of the pounds of my flesh he ate and liked, I was kinda sad. It was like losing your own personal Archenemy. Maybe I wasn’t his friend, but it was really hilarious to have someone hate me so much.

Something that hated me that I had to take care of.


Rest In Peace, Joey The Mean Hamster. Gone, but never forgotten.

No matter how hard I try.

28 Comments to

“The True Story Of Joey The Mean Hamster”

  1. On May 29th, 2008 at 11:23 am Kyddryn Says:

    Ah, the Doofenschmirtz Principle – everyone needs a Nemesis, even if it’s a platypus…erm…hamster.

    My Grandfather had a pony that tried to kill me many times, usually by throwing me into a pile of poop or stepping on my foot and leaning all of his weight on it. Sigh. I miss that ill-tempered lout.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  2. On May 29th, 2008 at 11:25 am SciFi Dad Says:

    Wait… You:
    1. Had a kid during college and finished your degree AND
    2. Had hamsters named Sid and Nancy?

    You are so much cooler than me. So, SO much cooler.

    (Plus, I’d have flushed his ass down the toilet after the first biting incident, which makes you nicer too.)

  3. On May 29th, 2008 at 11:29 am Melissa C Says:

    I worked in a pet store for a while in high school, and nobody would go near the dwarf hamsters without asbestos gloves. Seriously… those little fuckers would launch themselves at anything you put in their cage with the hatred of a thousand suns! Pure evil… I never sold any because I always showed people what happens when I put a hand in the cage!

  4. On May 29th, 2008 at 11:43 am honeywine Says:

    Yet another reason why I’m not a rodent person! If I want to play with vermin, M.’s sitting right there on my sofa!

  5. On May 29th, 2008 at 11:58 am kc Says:

    I hate hamsters – but I can appreciate Joey’s spunk.

  6. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:02 pm Mrs.Spit Says:

    I have a cat like Joey. It bothers me that I feed it and talk to it and change it’s litter. Just seems wrong. He hates us so.

  7. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:03 pm Katie Says:

    I wish I had read this post before we bought our “male” dwarf hamster who then gave birth to 5 babies a week later and then promptly ate them all. This cracked me up. Out last hamster we picked up with oven mitts because he bite anything and everyone-including the cat who stuck her paw in the cage.
    Thanks for making me laugh

  8. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:30 pm lindz Says:

    poor lil guy..

    hamsters are lovable, I actually bought a mean hamster from the per store, I think I ended up calling him prick when I actually found out how mean he was, thankfully he lasted less than 2 weeks.(I know, its sad to say that!) but its hard to have a mean pet no matter how big, or small.

  9. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:38 pm gingermagnolia Says:

    My son has a rabbit. A RABBIT that growls when you go near it’s cage.

  10. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:47 pm Doc Says:

    How on earth does a hamster fling poo?… That would scare the poo outta me. Give me nightmares.

  11. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:52 pm Tony Says:

    I had a rodent called a Degu near the end of highschool and begining of college. It was the only pet I ever had that I was actually *waiting* for it to die. It definitely had the Joey syndrome, only it was far bigger, smarter and meaner than any rabid hamster.

  12. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:56 pm Coco Says:

    Hamsters are the worst pets EVAH. I say that with all the love of a former hamster-obsessed adolescent. They’re stupid, stinky, boring, and they die with annoying regularity.

    However, I do enjoy that Joey fought off two cats and then became a serious hamster Badass.

  13. On May 29th, 2008 at 12:59 pm Jenn Says:

    Sometimes the only thing I can think of to say is that you have the best blog ever.

  14. On May 29th, 2008 at 1:15 pm Don Mills Diva Says:

    Wow. He flung poo at you?
    That is one badass hamster.

  15. On May 29th, 2008 at 1:20 pm deena Says:

    My Sister In Law had a hamster that survived cancer. He had an absess removed and the little thing lived another 2 years. She was devastated when he finally died. A hamster…can you imagine that? This one didn’t bite.

  16. On May 29th, 2008 at 1:31 pm Kristen Says:

    live-in arch-nemesis! hahaha He sounds just like a cartoon.

  17. On May 29th, 2008 at 1:41 pm Kristine Says:

    Noted as reason #876 not to let child have a rodent for a pet.

  18. On May 29th, 2008 at 2:18 pm b Says:

    You named your hamsters Sid Vicous and Nancy? Your coolness meter just creeped up a notch. The MC had hamsters..Jack and Truck. One day I tried to catch Jack so I could clean his cage…he bolted..I grabbed his tail purely by accident…and it came off in my hand. I called my wife crying..and she laughed until she was crying too.

  19. On May 29th, 2008 at 2:21 pm Betty M Says:

    Have to say the poo flinging would have had me pretending to be some pet liberation nut and releasing him into the wild somewhere far far away my cats being too unreliable to guarantee a swift despatch.

  20. On May 29th, 2008 at 2:29 pm Heather Says:

    This post is made even funnier by the comments! Damn.

  21. On May 29th, 2008 at 2:57 pm Heather Says:

    We had Salty the Psychotic hamster when I lived at home. She was supposed to be a he, but s/he had a big ass litter of little rodents before we discovered the truth. A big ass litter of little rodents that were loose in the house — they all turned up eventually. After she had the litter, though, she went freaking nuts. She’d try to knock the top of the cage off WITH HER HEAD by hamster-running and jumping head-first into the cage top. She ended up in a hamster coma. I’m serious. We took her to the vet, who told us to keep her comfortable on a heating pad, and that was pretty much the end of her. Apparently tiny rodents have a lot of pent up rage, huh?

  22. On May 29th, 2008 at 3:14 pm tash Says:

    Dude, you’d be mean too if two house-sized cats cornered you in the bathroom and no one offered you vicodin or a drink afterwards, wouldn’t you? I would. I’d fling feces too.

    My hamsters also ate each other. I really don’t get that. Why these animals are marketed toward children is beyond me.

  23. On May 29th, 2008 at 5:13 pm Sara Says:

    That is totally the only kind of rodent I would ever allow into my home. Just to prove why I hate rodents so much…

    Or I hate them cause there once was a rat named after me. Whatever!!

  24. On May 30th, 2008 at 9:37 am Amanda Says:

    OMG…you have me laughing so hard over here…I have never heard of a hamster being such a bastard!!!

  25. On May 30th, 2008 at 10:47 pm Emily (Apron Strings) Says:

    Wow. Flinging poo AND drinking HATORADE … Joey was one mean son of a hamster! Thanks for the laugh!

  26. On June 1st, 2008 at 12:11 am trish Says:


    *wiping tears from eyes*

    Thanks. I needed that.

  27. On June 2nd, 2008 at 9:52 am mandy Says:

    That’s hilarious!

  28. On June 6th, 2008 at 9:04 am chicory Says:

    I had a hamster that was tormented by cats once. Except, he never tried to escape, that damned cat FISHED him out of his cage. I rescued him from where they’d hidden him (the laundry basket) and put him back in his cage, and made a new lid, but he was broken. He spent his time building elaborate nests that he then hid in the very bottom of. I never saw him unless I was changing his bedding — at which time he’d set out scraping all the bedding into a huge pile and chewing up anything I put in there to make the pile bigger, and dragging all of his food to the bottom of his bunker, before hunkering down again.

    He was dead a week before I noticed the smell and dug him out.

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