10 Clear Ways Hamsters Show Affection

how hamsters show affection

Ways Hamsters Show Affection

Have you ever wondered if your hamster likes you or how they show affection? Hamsters, while not particularly social animals, are able to communicate through a variety of both vocal and body language signals. If you know which signs to watch for, you will be able to tell if your hamster is comfortable with you and showing you affection.

How do hamsters show affection? Hamsters can show affection through both vocal signals and body language. You can tell that your hamster is affectionate with you if you see or hear:

  1. Stretching
  2. Yawning
  3. Squeaking/Chirping
  4. Clicking
  5. Cooing
  6. They come to you
  7. They stay with you
  8. Eating near you
  9. Relaxing at your touch
  10. Showing off

It can take patience and hard work to get your hamster comfortable enough with you to where he or she is affectionate with you. Not only is it helpful to understand hamster communication, but it is also rewarding to see clear signs that your hamster is comfortable with you. Read on for more information on each of these signs and what they may look or sound like.

Hamster Signs Of Affection Towards Human


You may be surprised to see that one of the ways hamsters show affection is by stretching, but in order to understand the reason behind this, we will need to look at things from a hamster’s point of view.

Hamsters are prey animals. They are very small, very vulnerable, and have very few defenses at their disposal. In order to stay alive, hamsters must remain vigilant and alert to any potential threats. 

If you’ve ever faced a potential threat, you will have felt that surge of adrenalin. At that moment, your senses sharpen, and you are able to hyper-focus. You may stand perfectly still, watching and listening for any change in movement. Or you may run or react aggressively. Everyone will respond differently when feeling threatened, but one thing almost no one will do when faced with a threat is lazily stretch. 

A hamster who is comfortable enough to stretch in your hand is a hamster who is feeling safe and familiar with you. 


Yawning, like stretching, is another sign that your hamster feels confident that he is safe with you. Yawning expresses that your hamster is relaxed and is feeling at peace – often, this sign, along with the previous one, will go together.

If your hamster is feeling relaxed when she’s with you, consider this an accomplishment in your relationship. It will usually take a significant amount of time and patience for a hamster to form a secure bond with her human. 

Squeaks and Chirps

Hamsters have a number of vocal sounds that they can use to express fondness and comfort with you, as outlined in these next three signs of affection.

If your hamster lets out a single squeak or chirp as you walk toward her cage, this often means that he is excited to see you – especially if he makes this expression as he runs to the door of the cage. While squeaking can mean many things (most of them expressing a negative feeling), single squeaks and chirps are usually an expression of excitement and happiness. 


When a hamster grinds her teeth together to make a slight clicking sound, you can assume she is content. Many compare the clicking of a hamster to the purring of a cat, a sign that your hamster is happy and appreciative of your company.

Hamsters tend to be more conservative with this clicking noise, and some hamster humans may never hear the sound coming from their pets. This means that while you can assume you have a happy hamster when you hear her clicking, don’t assume that your hamster is not happy if you never hear this sound. 


The next sound, cooing, is even less commonly heard than the previous sound. So again, if this is a sound that you never hear from your hamster, it doesn’t mean that your pet is not happy to see you.

Cooing is just as it sounds – a quiet, almost vibration-like sound that your hamster can make. If your hamster is cooing around you, this means she is feeling at peace and fully trusts you, which is saying a lot for a small prey animal. 

Coming to You

Hamsters are solitary animals, so if your hamster willingly comes to you, it is a sign that they like you and that you’ve cared for them well. Hamsters are one of the few mammals in the animal kingdom who prefer to live alone instead of in a social group – this trait is especially uncommon for vulnerable prey animals.

Hamsters are very territorial, and if approached by another of their kind, a fight will erupt. All of this to say, your hamster is quite content to live alone and actually prefers it. 

If your hamster willingly comes to you when you approach her cage, this is a sign that your hamster actually enjoys spending time with you (saying a lot for a hamster!). One way to encourage this relationship with your pet is by offering treats at the cage door. Building a bond with your hamster is all about trust and patience, but winning them over is a lot easier with treats. 

Staying With You

Similar to the last sign, if your hamster prefers to stay with you when it is not expected of him, this is a good sign that he is happy to be spending time with you. If you are holding your hamster on your lap and he is content to sit peacefully without trying to run away, you can assume he feels safe and relaxed with you. 

Eating Next To You

Have you ever seen your hamster stuffing food into his cheeks, storing the morsels for later? A hamster’s cheeks can stretch all the way to his shoulders, and hamsters in the wild store food in these pouches until they go back to their burrows where they feel safe.

When you offer most hamsters a treat, they will typically take it before scurrying off to nibble on it alone in a corner. Eating can be a vulnerable act, as the hamster is taking some of his attention from his surroundings and focusing on the task at hand.

If your hamster comes to you for a treat and happily eats it while staying near you, you can assume that they feel safe and content to be around you and to be vulnerable with you. 

Relaxing At Your Touch

If you try petting your hamster when you first bring them home, they may very likely try to run away from you. Does this mean that hamsters don’t enjoy being pet? Not necessarily – again, imagine this scenario from your hamster’s point of view. A human with a hand two to three times larger than your own body is reaching for you from above – how threatening this can seem to your little pet. 

If you introduce yourself very slowly to your hamster and you teach them that you will respect them if they run away from you, there is a good chance that you will eventually earn their trust.

You may find that a hamster who trusts you actually quite enjoys your gentle petting. If your hamster relaxes her body (or stays relaxed) instead of tensing up at your touch, you can assume that they enjoy your touch and feel safe with you. 

Showing Off

While all of the previous signs of affection are endearing, this one is quite so. A hamster who enjoys your company and is happy to see you might just start showing off for you when you approach the cage or come into the room.

What does this look like? If your hamster is already on their exercise wheel, you may find them suddenly running even faster. If they are sitting and chewing on a toy, you might find them hopping around and finding another toy.

If they are relaxing and looking around, you may even see them spin in a little circle at the sight of you. Exactly why a hamster may start showing off for you when happy to see you isn’t entirely clear, but it typically accompanies a happy and excited hamster. 

Has Your Hamster Shown Any Of These Signs Of Affection?

Have you seen your hamster’s behavior in any of these signs? If so, congratulations! You have developed a positive, trusting relationship with your pocket pet. If you haven’t, don’t fret.

If your hamster is new to your family, it will take time for them to adjust and feel comfortable in their new home. If you’ve had them for a while and they still seem standoffish, try going back to the basics and showing them that you are safe and you will respect them if they run away or hide.

Because of the nature of hamsters, it will usually take time before you can develop a trusting bond with them, but that time is well worth the wait in the end.

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