My sister is getting a Syrian Hamster for a christmas present. It isn't like we suddenly just decided to get it for her though, she is coming to pick it out with us and she has had two hamsters before. She knows how to take care of a hamster and is very responsible. Our last hamsters were dwarfs. One passed away from old age when she was 3 and the other lived to be about 3 and a half. At first, we kept them in a plastic cage with complicated tubes going in every direction. It was tons of fun to watch and it gave them lots of exercise, but it was just too hard to clean. Then, we bought them a 10 gallon glass aquarium from Petco. I am sure their lives wan't quite as fun, but their cage was much easier to clean! We also found a silent wheel at Petco, and it actually works really well. This time, we are going to go for a bigger, solitary breed. We chose the Syrian, or teddy bear hamster. I have been wondering about a few things. First, should we get a male or a female hamster, is there really any difference? Second, what kind of cage should we get? I think a cage with less complicated tubing might be okay, but I won't be the one cleaning it. I worry about a wire cage too, since we have cats who might enjoy messing with the poor thing. A 10 gallon tank would be safest and easiest to clean, but it wouldn't have anything to climb on. And, do you recomend a bowl for them to drink out of or the hanging waterer? Finally, does Petco or Petsmart have healthier hamsters with more cage selection and more reasonable prices? Thanks for the advice!