My daughter nagged for a hamster for her fifteenth birthday and despite my better judgement I allowed myself to be convinced, to be fair she's looked after it well but the cage my partner originally bought for the baby hamster quickly became unsuitable as the Syrian Hamster grew on a seemingly daily basis.
The Ferplast Combi 1 cage is designed so it can be fitted to other cages, this is done using the holes in the side of the cage which accommodate a plastic tube. The idea is hamster can run along the tubes and get some fun and exercise into his boring little life, while inside the cage itself is the noisiest wheel known to man and a little house for him to chew (sorry, I mean live in...). A feeding bowl and water bottle is included in the pack as well as detailed instructions on what other Ferplast cages you should buy to enhance your hamsters living space.
The cage didn't last hardly any time, it quickly got to the point where the hamster was having to drag himself through the tube as he grew far too big for it and as he expanded with age (as Syrians do!) the cage just suddenly looked unfairly small. He made his displeasure known by chewing straight through the cage while we were all out one day and apparently a known flaw with this particular cage is that hamsters can get hold of and chew an area near the water bottle, which is exactly what he did.
He chewed the house to pieces within two weeks even as a small hamster and didn't like to sleep in there, he used to pull his bedding out of the house and make a nest of it near the wheel - that made the cage look even smaller so eventually we took the house out and tried to condition him to keep his bedding in the corner where the house had been. Yeah, that worked...
It's not a bad cage and for what we paid (around £25) we've been happy with it - the problem is it's too small for a grown Syrian hamster and although you can connect it to other cages this won't really make this particular area any bigger (although obviously your hamster would be able to enjoy running around the other sections). We bought Froddo a new cage, one with three levels which is much larger than this but still makes use of tubes and other things to bring him some entertainment - he loves the new cage and it's obvious it's better for him. It hasn't stopped him trying to bite out though!
Having had a hamster when I was younger I was well aware their Houdini-like abilities regarding escape, especially with metal-barred cages. So I wanted something comfortable for the hamster, easy to clean and hopefully a little harder to escape from.
Enter the Ferplast Combi 1 Hamster cage, designed with Dwarf hamsters in mind
The cage consists of three main pieces. The base which is a sturdy blue plastic with circular holes one at either side and two at the front. The floor inside this base has tiny ridges for gripping so the little furballs don't go sliding when they do their usual mad dash around the cage.
The second part is the clear plastic top that fits neatly onto the base and is (supposed) to be held in place by two plastic clips however I found them to be too rigid and couldn't bring myself to press them into place for fear of cracking the plastic of the cage (it was certainly making some worrying noises when I tried!). Around the perimeter of this clear section are long, thin air holes.
The third piece is the sheet of metal bars that sit on top covering the large opening. This is held in place by a plastic twist level. This barred hatch is the main access into the cage and so is easy to lift off when refilling the food bowl or lifting out the hamster.
The cage came with:
Hidey-home:- A smooth-cornered little (mine was blue) house complete with slanted roof. This little hamster house comes in two pieces (top and bottom) and clips together firmly. (please note despite the slanted roof, my hamsters have all attempted to climb on top and then slide off - it is not so tall as to cause injury should your hamsters do the same.
Drinking bottle:- I didn't like the drinking bottle we received with the cage and my hamster seemed to struggle to use it, even being a dwarf hamster. It is an open-topped bottle (I assume for easy filling but instead you just end up spilling it. Rather than the ball-release mechanism common in water-bottles, it has a metal (for want of a better word) nipple that hangs down and acts (kind-of) in the same way as a ball-release but personally I can't imagine hamsters enjoying rubbing their tongue against it to get the water out. It seemed a little too sharp for my liking.
We don't use this and instead replaced it with a small round ball-release bottle (however this was not designed for the care and so we had to and use strong string, threaded through the air holes, to hold it in place - which worked fine).
Food dish:- This was large, orange plastic in an oval shape and fluted out at the bottom (supposedly to stop "tipping". It did the job okay but in the end I felt it took up too much room in the cage and was too large for my dwarf hamster's needs.
Wheel:- This kit does come with an exercise wheel that clicks onto the blue base at a specific place. The wheel is clear, sturdy plastic, with grooves for gripping and works very well. We used it for a while but then I decided I wanted to add additional things to the cage and it took up too much room so I removed it and purchased a separate Exercise Centre (review written). However if you did want to use it, there was no problems. The only down side is that is can only be put in one place on the cage's base which is quite limiting.
Windows:- The round holes I mentioned in the base are designed to allow you to "build up" the cage with additional Ferplast modular units. Until you decide to purchase these extras, you need to close these holes off with "windows." Using the firm but flexible, plastic rings as a "seal", you click clear "windows" into the holes so the hamster can see out but can't get out.
Plastic tube:- Now the two holes in the base at the front are designed for a plastic tube (supplied) to fit. Again using the flexible plastic rings to seal the pieces together (comes in pieces) and then the completed tube is attached to the cage so the hamster can run through it. The tube is strong, durable plastic and has several small air holes along the top and was the right size for dwarf hamsters.
[Growing The Cage]
This type of cage is designed to allow you to build up your hamster cage. With all these "holes", "seal rings" and "tubes" you can mix and match and build up your cage with the help of purchase-able accessories so you can buy additional tubing that can go through each of the holes creating a maze like play area or different modular units.
So rather than spending loads of money all at once for a large super-deluxe cage, you buy this base unit and can then add to it over time. I liked this feature as it meant whenever I had some spare cash I could treat my hamsters to additional modular pieces.
This cage is so easy to clean. With it mostly being sturdy plastic, and because it comes apart right at the middle each piece can be swept out and washed clean without much fuss. The only issues are if you don't have the "windows" in because maybe you have other modular pieces connected - so you would disconnect them and then (as I have done) can end up tipping up the cage to remove the sawdust/waste and it spilling out of the holes when you didn't expect it.
It is great for easy wipe down and the only trouble I had with awkwardness was having to remove the tube and break into pieces everyday when one of my hamsters took it upon himself to use it as a toilet!
This has been home to a few hamsters over the years and each one has enjoyed it, attempted to escape and failed miserably :)
Amazon sell this at around £27.00
We bought it from Pets at Home for around this price, however from checking Pets At Home website, looks like they may no longer sell it (though each store is different).
Ferplast have the whole modular range on their website, nothing has prices so I'm not sure if you are able to actually buy anything direct from them.
A great starter cage that can develop into a serious super cage if you want to go the whole hog and get some additions.
This cage is designed for Dwarf hamsters though rather than the larger Syrian hamsters.