High and Low Maintenance Pets - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I remember reading a survey somewhere about which pets are the easiest to have/take care of and which ones are the hardest to have/take care of. I don't remember much about it except that it listed birds as a lower maintenance pet, which I totally disagree with, having had birds for 9 years.

Here's my question: In your experience, how would you rate different pets in terms of how easy or difficult it is to take care of them?
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#2 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 03:06 AM
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Weim: high maintenance
A plant shaped like a weim: equally high maintenance
A statue of a weim: no maintenance.

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#3 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 03:44 AM
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Just the pets I've had:

Freshwater Fish-easy

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#4 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 04:20 AM
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There's a difference between the way people DO take care of their animals and the care and maintenance the animals should be getting.

Dogs: high
Cats: medium
Fish: very high
Cold-blooded (lizards, turtles): very high
Rabbits: medium
Pocket pets: medium-high
Birds: high

Outdoor pets
Sheep: high
Goats (meat variety): medium (actually my pick for someone wanting to teach their kids "responsibility"--lots of physical labor and routine, but the goat won't be destroyed by training mistakes)
Goats (milk variety): very high
Chickens: low, with bursts of high
Bird feeder: low
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#5 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 04:43 AM
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We have an aquatic turtle, and i'd say he is pretty easy. We're upgrading to a much bigger tank very soon, which he desperately needs, but once you have that initial investment (tank, filter, heater, light, etc)....i just throw some food in every other day, sometimes give him feeder fish and meal worms, change the filter pads occasionally, and of course pay attention to make sure nothing weird is going on. He seems alot less fragile than fish.

He doesnt shed.

He doesnt make any noise.

He swims over to the side of the tank and waves whenever i walk by. Its really cute.

I don't have to clean up poop, the filter takes care of most of it.

He's really really cute!

Our cats are pretty low maintainance....scoop out the poop from the box every other day or so and flush it. I free feed (i kinda have to, as i'm away alot), so i make sure they have food and water. They like attention, but are not too needy. We briefly had a kitten....and i remembered why i did NOT want to get a kitten. LOTS of work. But the older cats are fine. One sheds more than the other (she's medium haired)which i really hate, and brushing doesnt help that much (i can brush her for twenty minutes, then run my hand across her back and get a handful of hair! ugh!). I can give them attention while i do other things, like read or watch tv.

We've had guinea pigs and hamsters in the past, and i've found them both more work than either the cats or the turtle, mostly because it stresses me to have prey and predators in the same home. I couldnt give the little furry guys the kind of freedom i thought they needed to thrive, without worrying they'd get eaten. And because they were caged, in order to interact with them meaningfully, it was a whole process of making time to focus solely on them, make sure the cats were elsewhere, etc. Plus i did not enjoy cleaning out the cages, and my house kinda smelled like a petstore (not in a poop way, but in a pine shavings sorta way.)

I would love to have lots more animals but i'm at my personal limit. My son would like to have a bird, but i don't "do" birds...i know i could never live up to that responsibility. I'd like to have a couple rats, but we're then back to the whole prey/attention/cleaning cages stuff i didnt enjoy. There are so many animals i'd enjoy having (reptiles, a tortoise, snakes, a DOG) but its not going to happen any time soon. I do plan on putting some simple fish in the small tank we have now when i move the turtle to his new one---probably just rosy reds or feeder goldfish or something. I (accidentally) killed a couple of gorgeous fancy goldfish last year (Tip: dont buy fish from walmart on impulse, fill a little tank full of water from the tap and dump them in. I'm such an idiot.) I felt soooo guilty, i dont think i can ever get goldfish again.

The turtle is my favorite. They need alot of space though.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#6 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 10:00 AM
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I have only had dogs, cats and gerbils. I would say of those three, dogs are the highest, gerbils in the middle and cats are lowest.

Like a PP said - scoop the box daily, feed them twice a day and pet them when they come sit on my lap. They play occassionally, but my guys are pretty old now. One gets groomed quarterly as he is long haired and we go ahead and shave him down to reduce the matting and clumping. The other keeps himself pretty darn clean - never had to bath him. Hairball meds a couple times a week. And one cat is on thyroid meds twice a day.

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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#7 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 10:51 AM
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We have a cat, dog, fish and a leopard gecko. The dog and cat are fairly high maintenance (less so the cat who is just squawky), and the fish and lizard both require about the same amount of care - low I would say. We clean both tanks bi-weekly, inspect daily, feed (and water the gecko) daily. The gecko's food is more specialized (crickets, and they have to be maintained) and needs to be bought weekly.
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#8 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 11:49 AM
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The animals I have had (some of these are in the distant past):
Dog - high
Bird - medium
"Pocket" mammals (hamster, gerbil, etc) - med/low
Newt (after all is set up properly) - low
Fish (freshwater, small tank, only 3 fish at a time) - low

Me , 36 year old RN and future AP mom in training . I am wife to one wonderful husband and "mom" to one great rescue pup :.
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#9 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 12:24 PM
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I feel some fish can be lower maintenance but not all of them. The fish we have now is fairly low maintenance.
I think a dog is high maintenance. Our dog requires a lot of maintenance and interaction daily.
Our cats are medium to low. As long as they are fed they don't need too much more effort daily.
I had guinea pigs and a rabbit growing up and I think I would consider them medium maintenance.
My parents have a bird and for daily maintenance it is low. He requires a lot of interaction though. I would not say birds are easy pets.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#10 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 12:51 PM
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We have only had cats and freshwater fish. The fish require a lot more thought and effort than the cats. Scoop, feed, love. Pretty simple.
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#11 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 01:04 PM
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Of all the animals I've had.....cats were the easiest. Well, maybe rats were easier.


Dogs- HIGH!!!
freshwater fish- HIGH!!!
Reptiles- HIGH!!!!
whites tree frogs- LOW
rabbits- medium
rats- low
cats- low to medium (unless you run into medical problems, but I'm talking about healthy animals here)
birds - large birds are SUPER DUPER HIGH!!!!!
little birds (ie, finches) medium
snakes- medium-high
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#12 of 13 Old 03-11-2007, 02:30 PM
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I've grown up with/lived with a lot of animals in the past. Now, I just have cats they are by far the easiest, cleanest and honestly when you consider the amount of work you have to put into them and what you get out of them to me they are good deal . These are the animals I've had and would rank, assuming ONE pet of each type (I actually was down to one cat for 9 months!). I am considering overall day to day maintenance.

Cat--low to medium (if I keep mine in full coat I consider them medium, if shaved, definitely LOW )
Fish (freshwater goldfish one in tank) medium

Growing up, we had two dogs (one at a time, one after the other) and they honestly SHOULD have been higher maintenance than they were. Our last dog was so high energy, he should have been the kind who was exercised an hour or two a day. My parents didn't have the time to devote to him (my brother bought him and then left for college : typical story huh?) so instead he followed up by generally being a trouble maker, chewing up everything (he actually CHEWED UP A WALL...no joke). Kind of makes me wish that I knew what I now know about dog care...I think now a lot of his behavioral issues could have been easily corrected (he was the kind of dog that walked you...I never walked him as I was a kid, but went with others when they walked him. You people on this forum AND watching the dog whisperer have really offered me some insights. I definitely realize that I don't have the time available to commit to having a dog anytime soon!

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#13 of 13 Old 03-12-2007, 04:46 AM
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~ Low - corn snake
~ Low - freshwater fish
~ Low-Medium - cats
~ Medium - small birds
~ High - large birds
~ High - dogs
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