The most common cage for hamsters is the wire cage. It’s a lightweight cage made of spaced metal bars and a plastic base in which you put the hamster bedding. A big benefit of the hamster wire cage is that you can more easily reach in and touch and play with your hamster.
But before you buy a wire cage for your hamster you should learn how much space there is between the wire bars that make up the cage. Why? Because some hamsters – in particular dwarf hamsters — can squeeze between the wire bars and get out of their cages. Smaller hamsters need a wire cage with metal bars that are closer together than a half inch.
If you have a typical Syrian hamster, a wire cage with about a half-inch between the bars would be okay because the bars would then be close enough to keep the hamster from escaping.
Another reason to consider the space between the wire bars is if you have other pets. If the spaces are too large, a pet such as a cat may try to stick its paws through the space. This can severely frighten your hamster and in some cases the cat can actually cut your hamster.
Something else to think about if you want to buy a wire hamster cage is air circulation. Having space between the wire bars is a good thing because it lets a lot of air get into the cage. That’s good for your hamster because hamsters like to get a lot of exercise, especially by running in their exercise wheels. Also, since hamsters use their bedding for a bathroom, odors and fumes can build up. With air moving through the wire bars, the odors can all be scattered.
On the other hand, you don’t want too much air moving through your hamster home. For example if you put it near a window, too many breezes can come blowing through the cage. Since a drafty cage can be dangerous for your hamster’s health you need to think seriously about where you will locate your hamster’s wire cage.