Well in case anyone has ever wondered, you can buy hamsters in Shantou. This is mine.
You buy them, along with guineapigs, rabbits, a variety of birds and many, many goldfish, on the road at the base of Walking Street (步行街). They cost 15-20rmb and they’ll charge you for the cage which is impossible to make the poor thing live in. The vendors work on the side of the street, and you buy the feed from them.
I bought a pair of Russian ones back in my first winter here but they both died within a week (one drowned in the water bowl and the other either died of a broken heart or the cold). After returning from a trip to Hong Kong (to see my bro off) with a hamster cage, water bottle etc, only to find the remaining hamster dead, I couldn’t bring myself to buy another for another two years. But in May I took the plunge and it’s not dead yet although I desperately need to go buy more food before it starves - do hamsters starve if they live on green veg and carrots?
For anyone who loves dogs and cats, dogs are expensive and pedigree, being a staus symbol (we have money to waste on an animal!), although you don’t need a license any more. Well-bred cats can also be bought, or you can steal one from the street cats, or there’s a cat shelter (has been mentioned before) or really any small shop with a cat outside will sell you it or tell you their friend’s phone number.
I love neither dogs nor cats, I love hamsters, so I have a hamster, and intend to get it through the winter alive. I’m sure I’ll tell you if it dies.
(There are petshops for cats and dogs or you can buy them from near Walking Street too.)