I ran the clean cycle on our electric oven this weekend. It heats to some insane temperature (900+ degrees F) for 3.5 hours to burn off all the residue on the oven walls & floor. Based on a previous thread, I put my pizza stone in as well to burn off the grease, which worked as well. I had the kitchen fan (which vents outside the house) running, and a window open, but the house did fill with that lovely smell of burning organics about half an hour into the cycle. Two hours into the cycle, I walked past the hamster cage, and noticed that Stuart was laying on his side, legs splayed, mouth open, which isn’t his normal sleeping position.
So did the fumes kill him? The oven manual says that you should move birds out of the area when using the cleaning cycle, but nothing about other pets. The odor was definitely present, but not eye-burning strong or anything like that. He had plenty of food & water in the cage. We can’t remember the last time he was seen alive (very busy last week), but it certainly was more than 24 hours previous to the discovery. He was almost 2 years old, which apparently is getting along in years for a dwarf hamster. The cage is in the family room, about 30 feet from the oven.
FWIW, I too ran the self-clean cycle on my oven this weekend. While cleaning, I noticed some mouse droppings under the oven. After cleaning, I noticed said mouse running around on the counter near the oven. I’m not sure how close hamster biology is to mouse biology, but here’s hoping that this little anecdote helps you look your daughter in the eye without guilt.
BTW, I also have four cats that were unaffected. Four lazy, worthless cats, apparently.
From what I’ve read, the lifespan of a regular hamster is about 18 months. I would hazard a guess that your daughter’s dwarf hamster died of old age. It’s sad that they have short lifespans, but there’s not much you can do about it. Even if you hadn’t cleaned your oven, it’s quite likely that the little beastie would have died. IANAVeterinarian, though. Get another hamster or not, and move on.
I’ll be in the next handbasket after yours. I think the OP should hope his daughter hasn’t noticed Stuart’s extended nap, and rush down to the nearest pet store and get a replacement… who will live to a miraculously old age, roughly double the normal hamster lifespan!
I see no way this could go wrong
(more seriously, I have no idea whether there’s a connection. We’ve run the self-clean oven a few times and the guinea pigs seem unharmed, but they might be less sensitive (and they’re longer-lived animals).
The open window was in the kitchen - the only draft would have been from the window to the kitchen fan, and didn’t go anywhere near the cage.
Sunday morning, my 4 year old walked up to the cage, ran her hands to wake up the hamster, then announced “Dad! I think the hamster is dead!” All three girls were sad, but seem OK with it - this isn’t the first hamster we’ve lost. We just told them that Stuart is in heaven now, with Little, Swimmy, and Grandmom.