Yes, this is about a gerbil
, not a hamster
. I figured it was close enough.
My first gerbil was named Curiosity. I was ten. It was a fully-grown gerbil, a black one. Black was what I had wanted.
I had made preparations far in advance. I borrowed and read every book about small rodents that I could find in the library. My father helped me make a wire cage, two square feet of space for my gerbil to enjoy. Finally, my mother took me to the pet store and we brought home my gerbil.
I took Curiosity into every room of the house, showing my new pet around. I let it scrabble around on various surfaces while I held its tail. I brought it outside.
I thought the animal would like the grass. My mother warned me that the nearby cat was surely a threat, but it looked like it was ignoring the gerbil. I was in the midst of telling her so when the cat snatched the gerbil right out of my hand.
My mother and I screamed, and the cat ran across the yard. My father came to our call, and he threw what he happened to be holding -- a hammer -- at the cat. (My father later admitted that he probably could have caught the cat but he felt it would have been more traumatic since the gerbil would probably have been unsalvageable.)It escaped under the house to eat my pet.
I ran into the house, screaming and crying. I climbed up on a chair because I felt like the floor was covered several feet deep in dead black gerbils. I had nightmares about a giant black gerbil coming to take its revenge on me.
My mother quieted me down by calling the pet shop that sold me the gerbil. The lady there told her that after we left, they got a brand new litter of baby gerbils. I can't remember whether I went with my mother to get the new pet, but I remember my delight in the tiny white and dark-gray gerbil, whom I named Critter. Critter lived nearly four and a half years, which is a ~33% longer than its expected life span.
I never took Critter outside.