So, the kids have been putting pressure on to get a pet. It’s all part of childhood right? And denying them would be cruel.
But which animal are you going to go for? Here is my round up of the best of a bad bunch based on experience .. just remember that animals do live for many many years and if you do get one you are responsible for that pet for the duration of its life and like marriage, it’s something that shouldn’t be entered into on a whim. Just like husbands they need a lot of looking after and it’s not always that easy to get rid of them.
Most parents tend to start with a small caged creature. Fine. As long as you don’t already have a cat and actually realise that these creatures are nocturnal. We have done the hamster thing, honestly, yes, they are cute but I don’t really like keeping small animals in cages. And cleaning out the thing is just another chore I could do without. No matter how much I scrubbed I could never get rid of that calcified wee stain in the corner of the cage.
We have now progressed to guinea pigs. My daughter is absolutely besotted with them and the novelty definitely hasn’t worn off, she gets a lot of joy out of owning them and that kind of makes it worthwhile. But – the cleaning out bit again is a right pain. And no, it’s too much for most kids to undertake by themselves, they might be able to ‘help’ but accept that the bulk of the work is going to be down to you. They are quite cute, they sit still for cuddles but that’s about it. Supposedly you can put a harness on them and take them for a walk around the garden – see the photo below. They don’t do much else. Ours are kept inside (they need to be in a warm environment) but they do like going outside in the summer. They smell. They also eat lots and when my daughter gets them out of the cage I have to clean up poo pellets dropped all over the place.
Cats are my favourite choice of pet hands down, independent and self reliant our cat doesn’t ask for much from us, she likes a bit of fuss but other then that she is quite solitary and an accomplished hunter. During the mousing season expect to find all kinds of innards and entrails across your garden, or living room… Cat whisperers claim they are ‘presents’. I do find it disgusting but at the same time relieved that she keeps the mouse population down. I honestly don’t think a mouse would last 5 minutes if it got into our house (a bit like a loose hamster 😥) Also, my cat is an accomplished masseuse. If I am lying down she walks across my back kneading with her paws and her purr is incredibly soothing. (If she remembers to withdraw her claws)
Dogs on the other hand are fun and do get the kids out. They interact a lot with the kids and are totally dependant on their human friends. I am not a natural dog person, I don’t like big dogs and quite frankly I find some breeds scary and think it is questionable whether these breeds should be kept with children at all, but on the whole I enjoy smaller, unthreatening canine varieties. My eldest daughter has a miniature sausage dog. He is cute and we are all very fond of him and love it when he comes to stay but I have to be honest I am slightly relieved to hand him back each time because he is a huge commitment and a lot of work. It’s not easy to be spontaneous when you have a dog and you are restricted in terms of where you can go. And people say “hey! Isn’t it great having a dog, it gets the kids out walking!” Yes, but no. Initially yes, but the novelty soon wears off, and before you know it you are having to bribe them to step out of the door. And then there is the poo. I cannot cope with picking up mounds of steaming poo with nothing but a thin plastic membrane wrapped around my hand. Sorry, but I can’t. It makes me heave.
We have also inherited some stick insects from a mummy friend of mine. They are easy in terms of maintenance, just pop them in a mesh cage with some ivy and spray the ivy regularly to keep it all moist. Pros – easy to care for. Cons – they really don’t do very much other then grow and shed their skins, the kids lost interest in them very quickly. They just sit on the dining room windowsill and that’s it basically. It’s like watching paint dry.
I’m not even going to discuss reptiles because these creatures freak me out and it don’t think I could sleep at night in a house that had a massive snake downstairs that was capable of wrapping itself around me and crushing me to death. Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t get it, I’ve studied with interest the sort of person that keeps such creatures, we have come across them at summer fetes ‘showing off’ their reptile friends to an astonished crowd. I shouldnt be derogatory (or generalise) but they seem rather odd individuals. And hey, tortoises are relatively harmless.
As I’m not keen on caging creatures, that rules out birds too… although some people let them fly around their living rooms. Like when my father in law rescued 3 cute greenfinches, which grew up to live on the curtain rail before being released… or the recuperating pigeon named Delilah that perched on the kitchen door. Our son has expressed a desire for an ostrich- he is going to be disappointed.
So, there you have it, a quick round up of pets r us. Or pets that I have experienced owning throughout the years. Don’t forget, if you are thinking of getting a pet for your kids please consider using a rescue centre first and rehoming an unwanted animal.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, if you have any experiences with pets that you would like to share then please do comment on either my Facebook page (the link is here) or on the bottom of this post. Are you considering getting a pet for your kids? Have you a favourite pet that you enjoyed owning as a child yourself and is still with you now? Which pet appeals to you most?
Thanks for commmenting and reading,
Enjoy your weekend,
From Jules, Milly, Raisen, Ginger and 4 rapidly growing stick insects 🐜 x