Mice actually make good pets – Sentinel and Enterprise

About cute pets: I’m not allowed to have a cat or a dog, but my parents will let me have a small pet, like a gerbil, hamster, or even a mouse. What do you recommend? Animal lover

Cute Animal Lovers: These three are definitely popular pets, but don’t forget guinea pigs (kiwi), rats, chinchillas, rabbits and other exotics. And there is a large variety of reptiles that end up at a sanctuary. John McGivern, administrative assistant at the Manchester (N.H.) Animal Shelter, notes that guinea pigs and rats are the top adopters from his shelter. “Rats definitely like to go together in pairs,” he said. “Guinea pigs can go alone, or with someone else.”

Many rescues and shelters have definitely had a growing presence of small animals since the pandemic, and many people are “incredibly dedicated” to adopting small creatures. “People like them for kids,” says McGovern. “Or they’ll come in and sit with the little animals for 30 or 40 minutes.”

Some animals prefer smaller sizes and find them “satisfying”. “They won’t run around like a cat or a dog and can be very cute, cuddly and entertaining. Apart from cleaning, they are very easy to care for,” she explains. “Rats are very neat, and guinea pigs and rabbits can be litter-trained.”

We asked our Be PAWSitive Facebook community, and found lots of big pet owners who made room for little ones, too. Cap Corduan of Fitchburg is a fan of hooded rats and finds them sympathetic. “If you make them little cribs, they keep them tidy, and only use one corner for their bathroom,” she says.

Robin Weed of Fitchburg is a very experienced rat owner and enthusiastically notes that these pets are “intelligent, affectionate, clean, social, compassionate, funny, and loving. Just like a puppy.” “

According to the American Pet Products Association, 6.7 million households have kept small animals in recent years (compared to 65M with dogs, 45M with cats, and 11M with fish). But this number is increasing. Forbes Advisor to 2022 reports that 30 percent of Gen Z own a guinea pig or rabbit, which is double the number of millennial small pet owners (15 percent).

Currently, our family (Boomers and Gen Zs) doesn’t include any mammals smaller than Winnie, our orange cat tin, but I’ve owned mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs for years and can attest to that joy. Can bring this small pet parents. Just remember, all the relatives (or ancestors) of small pets are in the wild. However, over thousands of generations they have been bred to be polite and friendly. Just give them gentle handling, constant socialization, proper food and clean shelter, and enjoy your little friends.

Sally Cragin is the director of Be PAWSitive: Therapy Pets and Community Education. Direct questions to 978-320-1335 or email sallycragin@gmail.com.

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