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What little furry pet to buy for 9yo?

(25 Posts)
plipplops Thu 17-Nov-16 16:24:29

DD really wants a pet. I'd like something that can live in a smallish cage, ideally in her room (so not one to keep her awake all night). Something she can handle (she's quite nervy round animals generally but very gentle and I think it would be good for her, but don't really want a biter!)

Any thoughts?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 17-Nov-16 18:47:24


Firstly, does your DD have any allergies?
Do you expect her to do the cleaning/feeding (but bear in mind that as the adult you are responsible legally and morally for the care)
How small is "Smallish"? for the cage

Your descrption of what you wanr rules out:

rabbits -need loads of space and a rabbit friend
guinea-pigs- need 2/2+ and more space than you think
hamsters- nocturnal
mice- nice but really quick, and males STINK but you can make really lovely mouse-houses, but get females.
rats- need a huge space and a group of 2/2+

what about gerbils?

though any rodently/lagomorph can bite, they don't choose to most of the time but the potential is there.

If you want a pet that is 'good for her' then you need to consider if its good for the pet. Really it would be better in a living room/family room.
Most USA Rescues don't permit guinea-pigs to go to a house where they'll be kept in a childs bedroom. They get overlooked and the risk of allergies, the smell if they're not kept clean and the risk of escaping, combined with the pet getting bored and unsocialised means a lot come back.

BTW, if someone recommends fish, look into their care thoroughly, they are hard work.
Same with exotic reptiles.

Good Luck !

plipplops Thu 17-Nov-16 20:07:58

Thanks for your reply, v helpful.

No allergies, and I agree I'm veering towards a gerbil. Our house is small but we're hoping to move somewhere bigger in the next year where we'd have a family room (or similar) where it could live. She has her own room and if it wasn't nocturnal I think she and her sister would play with it a lot. By small cage I mean not a guinea pig size hutch.

Whilst it would be her responsibility to keep clean, if it didn't happen I'd resentfully and huffily do it.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 17-Nov-16 20:47:24

My DD asked for a pet when she was 9yo too , one of her friends had a hamster....

But I kept guineas from 9-22yo myself so we got piggies. (I've never kept hammys but my NDN used to breed them. They escape like Houdini)
Roll on a few years and I rediscovered the love of piggies, we've kept a series of piggies over the last few years.
Now DD has 3 , I have 2.
You might surprise yourself and instead of huffily cleaning the cage you fall in love with the beady eyed twitchy nosed ones grin

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 19-Nov-16 20:30:23

If looking at hamsters, bear in mind that most of the cages you see sold in pet shops (especially the big green one) are far too small. A good rule of thumb is that a hamster needs 360 square inches (2322 square cm) of floor space (shelves don't count - we're talking about the cage's footprint)

This is a really good cage, for instance

This is unacceptably small

This is about as small as you can go without compromising welfare

You could also make a DIY cage - they tend to work out cheaper and are more likely to fit the space available. 'Bin' cages are the most popular type, and are very easy to make

For children, I'd recommend a Syrian hamster rather than any of the dwarf varieties - they're larger, easier to handle and less prone to health problems (e.g. diabetes is a big problem with dwarf hamsters). However, they are nocturnal and so I wouldn't recommend putting one in a child's bedroom unless (a) your child is a heavy sleeper, and (b) you invest in one of the quieter wheels e.g. Silent Spinner or Karlie Wonderland!

PolterGoose Sat 19-Nov-16 20:34:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floralnomad Sat 19-Nov-16 20:40:06

Don't get anything if you are expecting a 9yo to clean it out properly , you need to be aware up front that it's your pet to look after . Rats make excellent children's ( and adults ) pets , although you need more than one and a fairly large cage .

rubydarling Sat 19-Nov-16 20:42:57

You can't get just one gerbil, you would need a pair (same sex obviously). They are social animals and a reputable pet shop will not sell a singleton.
They are not strictly nocturnal but keep very erratic hours. Mine chew and scamper loudly at random hours 24 hours a day. They would be dreadful in a bedroom.
Even a fish tank needs a filter which will hum at night.
I suggest that very few pets are good in a bedroom. And you will need to be happy to be the one to do the cleaning <bitter experience>

mortificado Sat 19-Nov-16 20:43:05

As Pp said, a cat! Independent loving littleish arseholes grin

Mum2jenny Sat 19-Nov-16 20:44:35

Guinea pigs would be my vhoice. My DC loved them and they were easy to look after

rubydarling Sat 19-Nov-16 20:46:20

And it is hard to handle gerbils. Frisky little buggers.

PolterGoose Sat 19-Nov-16 20:52:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whowherewhywhat Sat 19-Nov-16 20:54:28

Do you really think a cat is easier than a hamster? And can you get one easily for Christmas?

PolterGoose Sat 19-Nov-16 21:00:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tierny Sun 20-Nov-16 20:16:09

We have various pets - my personal favourites are Guinea Pigs, but they would need more space. If you want a small animal that doesn't need a huge cage, is friendly, sociable, not asleep all day, and don't stink, get a pair of female mice. They are so cool to watch and easy to handle. They don't bite or stink like hamsters. We have 3 in a gerbilarium type cage and they are cleaned out every 2-3 weeks. They don't even smell of you use the right bedding. Gerbils would be my last choice - they destroy EVERYTHING you put in their cage/tanks, stink, and the 2 we had bit us- alot !

Hestheoneandonly Wed 30-Nov-16 13:09:22

Budgies - ours basically have free flight of the lounge most of the time (windows closed) happily sit on your shoulder (esp if you have treats) and tweet away to you (we have never managed to teach them to speak beyond a muffled hello). fantastic personalities and very easy to keep.

Diggingupdaisys Wed 30-Nov-16 13:31:38

Very easy to care for, they tell you when to feed them, if indoor cat you need a litter tray but that's it. Monthly spot on flea and worm treatment yearly vaccination and vets if ill. Affectionate and interactive they cuddle up to you and talk back. Independent they can come and go. Best companion you can give a child.
My children have a cat who they all adore much easier than any caged rodent. I had cat, dog and rabbits as child. The cat was the best and easiest by far!

froglou Wed 30-Nov-16 16:12:30

I have lots of different pets (reptiles, small furries and fish) and have worked with most kinds of animals. By far the easiest (and cheapest) is the crested gecko closely followed by the cat.

Geckos are nocturnal so id say cat, they need neutering, yearly injections, monthly flea treatments and working every 3 months. If you feed them the right food it's not too expensive either, stick to dried food not wet as wet food is expensive! If you let your cat out make sure you're prepared to wait up to shut them in at night and you're prepared for any presents they may bring you!
You should look at rescue centres if you are looking for a cat as they can best match you with a cat that like being stroked and touched (some do not!!)
I will also say you get out what you put in, if you shut your cat out all the time and only pay attention to your cat when it suits you don't be surprised if your cat looses interest.

greatpumpkin Wed 30-Nov-16 16:20:46

I would go for a cat too. We got guinea pigs for my dd a couple of years ago and while they are cute, the care involved is a lot more than a cat and they are a lot less friendly than most of the cats I've lived with.

froglou Wed 30-Nov-16 16:27:28

Also FYI if you're wondering why I wouldn't recommended the others. I don't have any kids as of yet so this is from an adults perceptive, which is equally as important seen as legally pure responsible for the animal.

Small furries
Hamsters need a lot more space than people think they do, especially if it's a Syrian hamster, it also hurts when they bite. Rabbits don't like to be picked up, guinea pigs can be noisy, both need a lot of space and should be kept in groups rabbits should be in a pair and guineas should be in pairs or groups. Guinea pigs get easily stressed and are prone to ringworm, they develop if fairly easily and it can be spread to people. They need spot cleaning daily, a full clean minimum once a week, if not they can get mites which are a pain to get rid of and rabbits can get flystrike. Rabbits need neutering and yearly vaccinations regardless of if they indoors or outdoors. If you did still want a small furry if actually recommended rats! They're the cleanest and friendliest of them all!

Gold fish get to 1ft in size and need big tanks! If you look at temperate or tropical fish they're still a lot of work as they need a 20% water change weekly which doesn't sound a lot but it's finding the time and the water bucket can be heavy(especially for me as a pregnant lady!) and the filter changed and cleaned once a month. If the ammonia levels in the water are wrong from not cleaning over feeding or overstocking it can actually kill off all your fish. They're also not very interactive for a child but are great to look at!

I would only recommended geckos, crested geckos are nocturnal which is the only reason I wouldn't recommend for you otherwise they need spraying twice daily,a heatmat, only cleaning once every couple months. Leopard geckos are also great and aren't nocturnal but they need live feeding which means live bugs in the house in a big smelly tub!

Yawnyawnallday Wed 30-Nov-16 16:34:22

Wait till after Christmas.

sashh Thu 01-Dec-16 05:41:19

I'd be looking at mice, they do tend to be active at night but you just disconnect their wheel and then they are quiet.

I handled mine a lot from being young so they were quite well behaved, the vet complemented me on how well behaved one was.

They are smelly and it is difficult to get a large cage for them, they can get through small spaces including the bars of a hamster cage.

You need at least two because they are social animals.

Advantages - they will never answer to their names so you can give them outlandish names, I had a Dr Squeak but rejected 'slim cheesy' for another.

Fairly easy to care for.

Sociable - seeing three mice running on a wheel together is a bit of a laugh, especially when one tries to run the other way. And don't think two wheels will solve anything - it won't.

The get excited when you rearrange their home after cleaning and explore.


The smell
They are not the most intelligent so you can't teach them tricks like you can a rat
They only live about 2 years. One of mine lived three years but in the end was completely blind and spent most of her time asleep.

BratFarrarsPony Thu 01-Dec-16 05:47:25

a pony

BratFarrarsPony Thu 01-Dec-16 05:50:01

seriously a cat would tick all the boxes and not have to live in a smelly cage.

froglou Thu 01-Dec-16 07:45:02

I can't believe someone's suggested taking the wheel out of a cage at night. Nights when they're awake and is the time they actually use there wheel and they need it as they run up to 7 miles a night?! You've also got the noise of them scratching and burrowing and there teeth on that metal water bottle will drive you insane. If noise at night is an issue don't get a nocturnal pet!

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