So. Your kid wants a pet. Last week he lost his homework. And she couldn’t clean her room to save her life. But, those big eyes. And those annoying pleas. “A pet, any pet,” might be the only thing on your little ragamuffins’ list of Santa Claus. So, you have to come through, right? Or maybe your sweet but wild heathen is begging for a puppy. You know between school, work, soccer, ballet, and the fact that you just don’t want one, that a rescue dog is a terrible idea right now. Ugh. But, since your kid is too young for a father-daughter tattoo as a means of bonding, you’re going to get that puppy.
If you’re here, it’s because you’ve resigned yourself to getting some sort of pet. But, what? If you want a pet that’s easy to care for, there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, some people will tell you that chickens are easy pets. Maybe they are… until you go on vacation and no one wants to chicken sit. Shoot, even everybody’s starter-pet, the hamster, comes with issues. All it takes is one night of forgetting to latch the cage after playtime and the next thing you know, you have a hamster infestation. (It’s true. We know a guy. *shudder.*) Some pets are easier to care for than others, however, and we’re here to help you wade through the options.
Easy Pets To Take Care Of
Fish are easy, right? They can be, as long as you don’t go balls-to-the-wall and get a giant aquarium. It’s also important that you prepare your kiddo for that fish’s inevitable death. Fish are easy because they really only need a bowl (or empty rum bottle), some water, and some food. What gets tricky is when your kid’s tiny little fingers pinch off too many flakes. Their fish might overstuff themselves… or it’ll just muck up the water. You haven’t lived until you’ve attempted to change the water in your kids’ fish’s bowl while they watch in horror. But, honestly. Fish are easy.
Did you know that most “hermit crabs” you buy in a pet store aren’t actually hermit crabs at all? It doesn’t matter, though. Your rugrat will say they want a hermit crab, you’ll go to the pet store and there will be an aquarium full of crabs with a sign that says, you guessed it, “hermit crabs.” Crabs require the literal least amount of work possible and very little space. Those tiny, handled aquariums you see near the crab display? Yeah. That’s all they need. Plus, your kids will have tons of fun buying new shells and decorating them for their new little friends, and changing out colored aquarium rocks. Just pray you never see the hermit crab out of his shell. It’s nightmare fuel.
Hamsters and Guinea Pigs
A rodent is a rodent is a rodent, right? Wrong. First, know that Guinea Pigs are better than hamsters. Why? They’re bigger and easier to find when your kid lets them go in the house, plus they’re smarter and make cuter sounds. But both rodents are relatively easy to care for, as long as you remember to feed/water them, change their bedding and occasionally get them out for exercise. “Uh.. exercise?” Yeah, dude. Just get the dumb plastic ball and let them roll around the living room for a while.
“Don’t bearded dragons eat crickets?” Yes. Yes, they do. But only as a treat. You’ll only regret the crickets if you let your kid drop them in the tank. Bearded dragons are further down on the list because they require a bit more set-up. You’ll need to get a heat lamp. Some dragons do like to be taken out and “played with.” Just learn the signs of a stressed-out dragon and then watch for when they display those signs.
Leopard Geckos require virtually the same setup, care, and maintenance as a bearded dragon. The biggest difference? They don’t have a cool name, like “dragon.” Both “lizards” can live an incredibly long time, however, so make sure you’re ready for that kind of commitment.
When some of us were kids, we got bunnies. They turned into giant, flat bunny loafs that left poop nuggets literally everywhere and occasionally had diarrhea that our moms made us scrub up while we gagged. Nowadays, though, when kids ask for rabbits or bunnies, they’re talking about mini bunnies. They live in cages roughly the size of two hamster cages and, hot damn! they’re trained to use a little fucking litter box. It’s disgustingly adorable. Rabbits also live a long time. And, they only use their litter boxes when they’re, you know, near said litter box. In other words, every time your kid takes out Thumper to play, they’re going to be sweeping up poop nuggets. Still. Rabbits are fairly easy… and terrifyingly cute when eating strawberries.
Yes, litter boxes are gross. Yes, there will be hair everywhere. And, yes, your new furball may scratch up the couch. But, still!* Adopting a young but full-grown cat can be such an awesome experience. If you start with a kitten, you might have more fun at playtime, but you’ll also have to litter train them. Finding a cat that already knows its way around the sandbox will greatly improve your new pet situation. Plus, even full-grown cats still enjoy “the nip” and chasing around literally anything. Best of all, they’ll “choose” someone in the family and serve as a personal cuddly buddy and space heater for that person. And, unlike their arch-nemesis, the dog, they can survive relatively alone for a few days when you go on vacation.
*This inclusion was definitely not made while claws kneaded into a thigh, just inches away from the babymaker.
Turtles are at the bottom of our list for easy pets for one reason and one reason only: There are a ton of different kinds of turtles! Those teeny tiny turtles are adorable and easy to care for, but shouldn’t be handled because of salmonella. That could turn into a big fight. Larger turtles are fun to watch but require a bigger, more complex set-up. In both instances, regular feeding and fresh water are all they technically need.
Easy Pets That Barely Constitute As Pets
“Sea Monkeys aren’t actually animals!” We won’t tell if you don’t tell.
“But, what if it spills?” They make a spray for that.