Today over at Toy With Me, I’m talking about sex after baby. It’s surprisingly neither dirty nor particularly funny. It’s probably more honest and true than you’re used to, but I think that it’s something that warrants a frank discussion.

And, if you have an idea for a future topic for a column over there, please, drop me an email to or leave me a comment here or there.

Click the smiling beaver to be whisked away:

Or stick around and read a blast from the past:

(oh, and if you want to vote for me in either of the contests I’m up for, I’d be most tickled in a delicious way. They’re in my side bar and require registration. Grr.)


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.

102 thoughts on “The True Story Of Joey The Mean Hamster And Other Stories

  1. I have a schnauzer, bred to hunt rodents. Ever since the great gerbil massacre of ’99, it’s been my policy not to get new pets that are the natural prey of existing pets.

    One of my sister’s gerbils was named Joey. After he died, my dad and I put him in the freezer in a shoebox until we could bury him.

    A day later we went to bury him, and he was on the opposite side of the shoebox, lying in a different position. So instead of preserving his body, we had actually frozen him to death.

    Apparently that was a good thing, or our Joey may have wound up a raging asshole like your Joey. I just can’t believe he outlived the kittens. Scary.

  2. Okay, first of all, I now have a mental image of Joey the Mean Hamster waving a chicken foot around and placing a voodoo curse on two cute kittens, who are (in my mind) huddled in a corner and clutching each other for dear life. Thank you for the disturbing (yet really, really funny) thought.

    Second, you should totally do a Beaver Talk titled, “The Improbability of Spontaneous Sex After Kids” because, obviously.

  3. I feel a nearly incontrollable urge to giggle at the picture of a hamster flinging poop out of his cage. It’s too bad you didn’t bring in a “Hamster Whisperer” so Joey could talk it out with someone…

  4. Too funny! I got a hamster for my boys about 6 months ago. He lasted 4 days. Then was promptly replaced by a stinky guinea pig. Just as well – that hamster was also a bit psycho!

  5. I don’t really know why, because I have no real attachment to hamsters, but I freaking loved this story. Something about Joey surviving in the wild on his own for a couple of weeks and turning into Joey the satanic hamster had me laughing out loud and reminded me vaguely of Alex the Lion in Madagascar (I need to get out more.)

  6. not really a comment….just thought i would share my hamster story. so……my (almost) 4 yr old has been asking for a pet, with me being terribly allergic to cats and dogs we decided to LOOK(just look)at hamsters. Anyways, against my will, we left the store with a dwarf hamster and cage etc etc on sunday. I come home monday after work and she had 7 babies. yipee. now the hamster that i objected to to begin with turned into 8 hamsters that i have to care for. damn my husband and his softness.

  7. I love the story of Joey.

    Read it again.

    One day, I promise I will come over to Beaver Talk, but it is not work friendly (sob) and I forget at home because I’m old.

    However, I suggest a Beaver Talk about how to delicately address one’s preschool age son and ask him not to play with himself and then loudly announce “My weiner is growing!” to the world at large. Not that I have any personal experience with this.

      1. It is in their very DNA. I can’t imagine casually feeling myself up in public. Though the world would probably be a happier place if we all did it.

  8. Yet one more story to add to the many I’ve heard that have convinced me to never ever again have rodents as pets. Thank you. You’ve saved me from the misery and the guts.

  9. This brought to mind my sister’s two hamsters, one of which apparently ate the other while we were on vacation. My dad saw them first and shooed us away; he never shared his thoughts on whether the dead one died prior to becoming dinner, or. . .

    Well, he (claimed he) then took the live hamster to a farm somewhere and set it free. Sister was hysterical as she couldn’t undertstand whey she couldn’t keep the live hamster! He tried to explain that it was not nice anymore and would be a very bad hamster to have around . . . I never thought much about it, but now I’m afraid I’m going to dream about that damn thing (six times larger, of course) throwing itself against the side of the cage with blood dripping from its mouth and clawing at my dad! Perhaps he saved us all 🙂

    1. @Bluey Joey was an awesome arch-nemesis. I mean, he HATED me and that was kind of funny because really, most people might not LIKE me, but hate? WOW. I mean, I can’t picture anyone hating YOU either. You know?

  10. Voted for you on Divine Caroline – man, do they want some data or WHAT?

    I gave Sydney a hamster once. She put string around it and took it for a walk around the house.

    The hamster didn’t like it.

  11. Hamsters are sooo creeepy. But I begged for one when I was little. Got it, loved it for a day, dropped it on its head, cried about how it hated me, got over it. Quickly forgot he existed. No idea what my parents did with it.

  12. This post brings back all my rodent memories from childhood –

    1) The hamster that went down the heating vent and roasted to death

    2) The hamster that met with the cat behind the couch and keeled over of a heart attack on the spot.

    3) The posessed gerbil that I adopted from Mrs. Banedes third grade class that left holes in my hands with his yellow fangs.

    4) The rat that I used to sneak to school in a tote bag.

    5) The rat that I used to take to the food store with me, nestled at the nape of my neck (only his tail showed from behind my long earrings).

    6) The bunny that froze to death in his hutch the winter.

    I could go on and on and on and on. When my kids ask me for the 700,987 thousanth time why they can’t have a hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, etc. I am going to whip out this post.

    1. @DG Just send your kid to Aunt Becky’s house. We have 2 cats, 2 dogs and a rabbit. Your kid can totally get full of The Animal here and go home where peace and quiet abound. And bring me with.

  13. This reminded me of my kitten, Coco. When I was 8 my cousin decided to see if cats really always land on their feet. He kept throwing her higher and higher and flipping her til she landed on her head. (fucker) She was really bad off, the vet didn’t think she would make it. She did, but was really mean after that. She would attack your feet without warning, she would hide under the couch and wait til you were distracted and jump up and bite and scratch your face. We lived in terror, my parents included. It was horrible because she had been really sweet. One day she ran away, I’m pretty sure my dad had something to do with it. My cousin is still an asshole.

  14. You’ve got the best stories.

    I had a fantastic pet rat for a couple of years, and because that experience was so great, I decided to get another one. And if one is fun, then two will be funtastic! Until one chews off the face of the other. Then it’s not so fun. :/

  15. When I was 14 or 15 I worked in a pet store. I was supposed to be in charge of dogs and kittens, but one day the “rodent” girl called in sick, and this was added to my duties. I was supposed to go around, and clean all of their cages, and put fresh bedding down for them, food and water. Two gerbils had died, and the rest of the gerbils buried them in the bedding. SICK. Obviously the “rodent” girl, had been half assing her job becuase they had been dead awhile. Clearly a long while. It was completely gross. I have sworn to never, ever, ever, have a rodent. I cannot stand them, after that day.

  16. Hamsters are stinky. So are beta fish, hermit crabs and any other smallish thing that I will end up caring for. Our dog is lucky he finds food once in a while.

  17. Poor little Joey. Do you think that in Hampster Heaven they run around on giant hands (instead of clouds)that they can bite and shred till their hearts content?

  18. I love your blog and voted it for all awards on the side bar. I think you are a very talented writer, and so very funny in a way only people who have also been deeply sad can be. I don’t think I read any post by you that I didn’t truly love, which is quite exceptional. Wish I knew you when I used to live in Naperville, we could have gone out for a coffee or something…

    Being 7 weeks postpartum myself, the Beaver Talk did strike a cord with me today. My thoughts exactly! Just much better expressed 🙂

    1. @Cristina Aw, thank you so much for voting and for your sweet comment. Don’t tell anyone, but I kinda teared up. And now? I’m mad that you don’t live closer. You should TOTALLY move back here.

      1. Becky, I TOTALLY would. Except that I’m in Germany now. And they have PAID MATERNITY LEAVE here (like 2000 dollars PER MONTH for a WHOLE YEAR, and I get to keep my job too). I know. I KNOW! But if I’ll ever go back there for work or whatever, I’ll definitely send you an e-mail. Unless I forget. Which is unlikely, because you’re high up there in my Safari Bookmarks Bar, next to the local weather web page, and I read your blog every day 🙂


        1. Please forgive the all caps there. I got a bit carried away with enthusiasm for this new German law that says that the state will pay you 67% of your salary for a year if you want to stay at home with your new baby…

  19. Bwa ha ha hah ha ha…Sid and Nancy. Awesome. I had a pair of rats I wanted to call Hall and Oates, but my boyfriend at the time said no. They hated me too. So I fed them to a snake. (I don’t have the kind of patience it takes to continue to clean up the poop of something that bites me every time I try.)

    Being broke has never really had an effect on my ability to consume PBR. Because if I couldn’t afford a 30 pack (at the bargain price of $12.95!) I could find someone who was willing to share. Sometimes they had food, too.

    1. Personally, I could think of no more fitting tribute to Hall & Oates than to name a pair of rats in their honor. Especially if one of the rats has a porn-star moustache.

        1. There was one black rat and one white rat. The black rat had curly hair, including his whiskers, thus looking like a mustache. Actually, he looked like he had been permed.

  20. One of the women I work with used to have gerbils. Of course they weren’t ‘sexed’ correctly at the pet shop so she ended up with more than expected.
    5 of them lived for over 5 years . . .
    I should have told her to get a snake.

    Personally I like dust bunnies, they never bite. If they make too much noise I can always vacuum.

  21. My day is complete. Neil blogs about kicking a dog and you wrote an angry hamster. These are the kinds of stories that are worth sharing at the water cooler so that my friends who don’t blog will be inspired to. Or perhaps they’ll just continue to shun me.

  22. Those things mate like mad! Not that I blame them. I would if I could too.

    I had a hamster invasion in my apartment building. My downstairs neighbors had hamsters, apparently of a different sex and they escaped. Every day I would come home to hamster shit and nearly dead hamsters from my cats torture of them (my cats never liked to kill them, just TORTURE them). They would die soon after from heart attacks I imagine. Finally we had the exterminator come around. The cats had to be boarded and I had to through out all cupboard food because poison is no better for me than for the cats.

    Good thing I liked the neighbor at that time. I DID hint at about how much food I lost and the cost of boarding cats, but somehow he never got the hint. He was just like uh yeah, totally sucks doesnt it? Good thing we didnt have to pay for the exterminator eh? It would have been futile for me to just exterminate my apartment alone.

  23. This is gold!! I had a gerbil that chewed out of its cage similarly..I found him dead in my bedroom months later. I wasn’t as scarred as i should have been either. Going over to Toy With Me now. Thanks for the giggle! ~Susan

    1. @Susan For all of the rodents that escaped from my care, I only found a small fraction of their carcasses. I wonder if there’s some small rodent graveyard in my parents house somewhere.

  24. Hahahaha oh this was funny – did you really have hamsters named Sid & Nancy? It sounds like Joey held on as long as he did out of spite – “You WILL continue to take care of me!! I laugh in the face of hamster life spans!!”

  25. My childhood pet hamster, Snowball, bit through my dad’s fingernail one night because dad had the audacity to try and remove the squeaky wheel from the cage. I hated that thing. Such a terrible birthday present (not that rabbits were better…they growl and attack too!)

    My lovely husband build an elaborate lego tunnel system for his roommate’s hamster about a year ago, and it died the next day. Score one for the legos!

  26. Hi Aunt Becky,
    Sorry to hear about your history with hamsters + other pets. Yeah, I find that I can get oddly attached to pets, even ones I mostly didn’t like. My parents had a blackish cat that would mostly: give you dirty looks, demand to be let out + refuse to get off my bed, and do other jerky little things.

    But after she passed on, I still kind of missed her being around. Dang. sometimes my family’s pets can still be kind of lovable, even when they are freakin’nearly 100% B*stards! XD 🙂
    I love your site + your responses to our comments! “Should I skull-drag her ass….”
    Oh man! That’s a great phrase of yours! You’re so cool!
    Have a Nice Day,

  27. …This is me, laughing at your misfortune.

    Dwarf hamsters aren’t exactly known to be uber-friendly anyways (trust me, I work with them every day. For every nice hamster we get there’s three mean lil’ bitches that accompany it). We have this one hamster that’s perfectly fine and loveable – as long as you don’t touch its food bowl. Then it comes charging at you and attacks like its life depends on it. Trust me, he’s not starving. He’s a hamster with fat rolls.

    I kind of like him. I kind of want him.

    1. @Nyx I think you need that hamster. And then you need to blog about what an asshole he is. Because everyone who came over? LOVED Joey. Seriously, he was such a jerk that you kind of had to love him.

  28. sid & nancy? you kind of asked for them to get dead with those names.

    if joey was a movie his voice-over would be a really thick jersey accent and he’d tell everyone “AH, GO FUCK YASELF” and flip them the bird as they walked by. then he’d fling poo.

  29. I had a hamster as a child. His name was Doodle. He lived in a cage beside my bed and was very friendly. I would often let him out of his cage and he would play in the covers with me (I was 7). Sometimes, he would snuggle close to me and go to sleep while I was reading. I didn’t know this was weird behavior for a hamster. He didn’t fling poo or curse my name or anything! Though, he too met a tragic end. One night I fell asleep reading a book, with Doodle curled up beside me. I woke up to a flat-as-a-pancake Doodle under me the next morning. He was sent to his final resting place in an envelope.

    You know, maybe really bad people are reincarnated as hamsters. I better check my karma!

  30. I used to work in a pet store, and yes; the dwarf hamsters were evil little demons. To the point that we could not even feed them without heavy leather gloves because they would fling themselves at anything you put in their cage and bite! We ended up refusing to sell any of them except as food for snakes.

    I’ve had regular hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and rats without any issues tho… the rats were definitely the smartest ones. Highly entertaining when my mother’s friend would visit who was (unknown to me) afraid of rodents and I was wearing my pet rat on my shoulder. Good times! She wouldn’t get off the table until I swore he was in his cage, in my room, with all doors closed and locked! LOL

  31. “What I had done is turned this sweet puff-ball of a hamster into a raging asshole.”

    Now that… THAT made my day.

    As for the poor cannibalized hamster babies, I had a similar experience with my rabbits.

    It all began with my brother bursting into the house and announcing that two of our rabbits, who had separate cages for a reason, were happily playing leap-frog. About a month later, nine little blobs of black and white were born.

    Problem is that their mother was actually pushing them out of the cage and onto the floor, and by the time I had come into the shed, six had already died from the fall and two others were crawling across the floor, squeaking, and begging the powers that be for mercy. The third, however, was the worst as he had been strangled and was now limp and hanging from the cage.

    Mother Nature sure can be a bitch, huh?

  32. ooohh, someday I have to send you the tale of Jerry the Hamster, which I cannot publish publicly lest people think I am some horribly rank drug-crazed monster.

    But holy shit, it is funny and weird and still makes me laugh. WHich just proves the horrible monster part, minus the drugs.

  33. Best small pet? I know this may make some fo you cringe in fear and say ewww no effin way! IMHO it’s the rat. Ive owned gerbils and hamsters. They all pale in comparison to the rats Ive owned. Ive never been bitten, or the target of a “poo barrage” as it were. They remember you from day to day, they are intelligent and sweet. When it’s time for a pocket sized pet again, we will be getting another rat.

    1. @igster I think rats are sort of cool, actually. I can’t conscience getting another rodent so long as I have cats, because that’s not fair to the rodent, but I think rats are neat.

  34. I thought I was the only one whose cats had eaten their hamsters and whose hamsters had eaten their babies!

    Did you ever pick one up by its tail (actually, I think this was a gerbil) and then see it scurry across the floor just to realize you were still holding the tail? Yeah. I still remember the feeling of a nearly weightless rope of hair in my fingers.

    Those little fuckers are so nasty.

    1. @Alicia Holy BALLS! I thought that I was THE ONLY ONE that happened to! All my life, I thought it was only my gerbil that had a tail that came off!

      *shudder, shudder, shudder*

      Never. Ever. Again.

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