What’s the Best Pet for a Teenager?

Well, it’s 10:30at night on the second day of NaBloPoMo and I haven’t posted yet.  The daily prompt didn’t really light any fires for me, it asked that you retell a story that someone had recently told you.  But it did bring to mind a text conversation that I had with my 17 year old niece last night.

She is trying very hard to convince her mom that she should get a pet that is hers and hers alone, which she can take with her when she eventually moves out.  She originally texted me to ask where I got my kittens a few months ago.  I let her know that I got them at the Tampa Bay Humane Society, the same place I got my two younger dogs.  Just to let you know, this place is spectacular. The people are so friendly and the animals seem to be healthy and kept clean and well.  Not an easy feat with as many as they have at times!

Then I promptly tried to talk her out of a kitten.  In all fairness, I am a dog person, I’ve never quite trusted cats.  The only reason I got the two I have is because I am a total pushover and my kids really wanted them.  My daughter got straight As last year and somehow worked that into a visit to the Humane Society to get a kitten.  Somehow we came home with two…

I have to admit that the little beasts have grown on me and now I am very much attached to them – but don’t tell them that!  However, cats can get anywhere they would like to, including on top of the bookshelf, the desk, inside my daughter’s backpack (they stay in her room most of the time) and basically wherever you put whatever it is you don’t want them to get into.

I’m skipping the entire subject of dogs simply because the average parent isn’t going to think that a dog is low maintenance – they need and deserve as much time as you can give them, and being a teenager means you have to convince your parents that your idea is a good one.

So what does that leave? I’ve had chickens, and as neat as an idea as that was it didn’t work out.  We’ve had little pets like fish (too much work cleaning their tank and they are kind of boring) and hamsters (They bite. Enough said.) which I was not too thrilled with.  The other two pets we have experience with are a rabbit and rats.

We go our rabbit on accident – and as a result it has lived in my bathroom for about 7 or 8 months.  I would get it a hutch but it’s used to having it’s own room and a hutch just seems so small in comparison.  And as odd as it may seem I have gotten used to him (or her) being there – he runs up to me when I go in the room, and I can sit on the floor in there with him, which of course I couldn’t do if he was in a hutch. I never would have picked a rabbit as a pet but I can tell you now that they are very affectionate and really a cool pet if you keep them inside.  Not to mention the fact that they are automatically litter box trained as well as or better than a cat. The down side?  (S)he chews on EVERYTHING including the floorboards, the door, and several phone cords when left out in my room. There may be a way to stop that, but I haven’t found it yet.

So what then is the ideal?  Strange as it may sound I recommended getting rats. They are inexpensive, we got our cage for about $20 on Craig’s List, obviously they don’t eat much, and the only other thing you really need to buy is the litter for the bottom of their cage.  They seem to love attention and people in general, and I’ve never seen one bite.  And if you have the time and the inclination, you can teach them a pretty amazing variety of tricks.  Check this video out that I found on YouTube:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jo_EG7XqZQ?rel=0] So, what do you think?  What kind of pet would you recommend for a teenager?  They are old enough to take care of a pet but young enough that they still need to convince their parents that they can, and in all reality taking care of a really labor intensive pet may be a bit overwhelming at times.  Let me know what you would suggest.