Tiffany Key had hamsters in the past from the early 2000’s on and off. One day she went to a local pet store and saw her young daughter fall in love with Syrian hamsters. As Tiffany went to purchase a hamster (later named Barry) at the local store, an employee mentioned cage upgrades.
Tiffany then joined a hamster Facebook group where she started to learn more about hamsters and their care. Through her learning, Tiffany found a community of Hamster youtubers where she learned more tips for hamster care.
Tiffany upgraded her cage to a tank and upgraded the flying saucer to a 28cm Trixie wheel and the sawdust to paper bedding. Realising that her tank was just under the UK’s minimum of 80x50cm, Tiffany then upgraded to an Alaska cage.
Barry was a much loved hamster and was very spoiled, one night Tiffany accidently ordered the wrong bedding for Barry that turned out to be scented bedding. Tiffany then took to the hamster group to ask if it would be safe just for a day or two and got a response saying that it was ok to use just for the time being. The next day, Tiffany asked her partner if he had seen Barry to which he replied no. Tiffany then checked on Barry to find him cold and limp. She tried to warm him up as the vets suggested but unfortunately, Barry passed away.
After the passing of Barry Tiffany then went on to adopt a hamster named Yeti. Yeti’s enclosure was upgraded from the Alaska cage to the Ikea Detolf. After 2 years, Tiffany then decided to foster a hamster who was living a horrible life with no wheel and a dirty little cage. As the hamster was 2.5 years old it was unlikely he would be adopted, so Tiffany gave this hamster the life he should have had and named him Chewie. This was the point when Tiffany became more active within the hamster community, becoming the Information Admin on multiple hamster Facebook groups, and setting up her own hamster Facebook page.
Over the months Chewie started to decline, becoming less active. Chewie stopped grinding his teeth down making it harder for him to eat. Chewie was taken to the vet to have his teeth cut under anaesthetic and given painkillers. This worked for a while with Chewie perking back up but unfortunately, he started to decline once more. A decision was made to have him put to sleep due to his health rather than monthly visits to the vet which would have caused unnecessary stress for Chewie.
Tiffany then wanted to extend her platform and joined the TikTok hamster education community, where she helps educate many people young and old on hamsters on her page @TiffanyandPets and hopes one day to educate on other rodent care.
After yeti died (of old age), Tiffany got two gerbils from an ethical breeder and is starting her new journey, she is still helping the hamster community but would love to help the wider rodent community in the future.