16 votes

What is the easiest, cheapest, most low maintenance pet a person can have?

I already have 3 dogs. I have nothing against cats, but it would probably be a challenge to the pack. I can't say I care much for reptiles. Hamsters are an option. Had Guinea pigs but found them high maintenance.

43 comments

  1. [10]
    Apos
    (edited )
    Link
    The lowest maintenance is to befriend wild animals such as squirrels or small birds like tits. Once they know you, they'll spend time with you when you go outside. I go outside to read a book...
    • Exemplary

    The lowest maintenance is to befriend wild animals such as squirrels or small birds like tits. Once they know you, they'll spend time with you when you go outside.

    I go outside to read a book sitting next to a tree and the squirrels or chipmunks will climb on me. The birds sing to grab my attention. In the winter, there's a squirrel that comes and I throw it in the snow and he'll constantly come back.

    Sometimes I'll spend weeks without interacting with them but they still remember me when I come back. (I didn't know chipmunks had a good memory but they do, there's one chipmunk that didn't see me for more than one year.)

    Since they are social animals you get one to trust you and the other ones will soon do the same.

    Edit: To add a bit more, there are wild animals that are much harder like blue jays, crows, sparrows. Those don't tend to come to you, but you can still observe them and they are definitely reactive when you do stuff. I've had a blue jay come within one or two meters. It was making robot sounds. snip1 snip2.

    26 votes
    1. [2]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      I love this. I wish more people considered this before buying a pet, especially parents buying pets for their children because their children like animals. It encourages people to see animals as...

      I love this. I wish more people considered this before buying a pet, especially parents buying pets for their children because their children like animals.

      • It encourages people to see animals as wild and part of an ecosystem, not something to be bought and controlled.
      • While you will get to know and recognise individuals (and with some species they might recognise you too), it's less sad when they die. You may miss the individual, but the colony is (hopefully) still alive.
      • It doesn't matter if you or your children lose interest: the animals will still take care of themselves and you don't end up with lots of pets being largely ignored in a back room or dumped on already overburdened animal shelters.
      • You can watch species that you could never keep in your house. I particularly love watching the various corvids we get round here (Jackdaws, Rooks, Magpies, occasional Carrion Crows), because they are such intelligent, social, animals. You could never keep a flock of jackdaws, but for a little bird food, they'll come to visit every day.
      9 votes
      1. Apos
        Link Parent
        I don't tend to record videos or take many pictures, but here are a few that I took: Marmot that didn't mind getting pets as long as I didn't disturb it while it was eating grass. (I learned later...

        I don't tend to record videos or take many pictures, but here are a few that I took:

        Marmot that didn't mind getting pets as long as I didn't disturb it while it was eating grass. (I learned later that it was probably a bad idea.)

        I noticed that the weirder stuff I do, the more animals try to figure out what I'm trying to do. I once went in a forest in the middle of the night and started doing an igloo. At some point an owl came to observe WTF I was doing. At first I spotted it from the trees far away. Overtime it hopped from branch to branch until it was within two meters. It was constantly tilting it's head left and right thinking I was crazy. Sucks I couldn't take a better video, with the snow, the whole area was pretty bright but the video didn't render well.

        I once tested a squirrel with a dog puzzle bowl.

        Squirrel that managed to open the bird feeder to eat the seeds inside.

        Tit that just wanted to chill.

        Chipmunk

        9 votes
    2. [7]
      fredo
      Link Parent
      Aren't you scared of getting rabies? Apart from that, yes, that is a great idea! You know, there are still some monkeys in the concrete jungle where I live? They're small, smart, and super cute....

      Aren't you scared of getting rabies?

      Apart from that, yes, that is a great idea! You know, there are still some monkeys in the concrete jungle where I live? They're small, smart, and super cute. They jump from trees to electric posts, sometimes they get electrocuted :(

      We can't leave bananas laying around because they'll come and take it! The trick is, how can I leave bananas for them without attracting rats, bats, and cockroaches? :/

      3 votes
      1. [6]
        Apos
        Link Parent
        Squirrels or chipmunks aren't likely to have rabies AFAIK. They could have other stuff, but I wash my hands when I get back in. I also live in a northern area so I don't have as much stuff to...

        Squirrels or chipmunks aren't likely to have rabies AFAIK. They could have other stuff, but I wash my hands when I get back in. I also live in a northern area so I don't have as much stuff to worry about. (Tics are barely arriving here though they are becoming more of a problem over the years.)

        I don't know much about monkeys, but if the law allows you to interact with them that's pretty cool.

        6 votes
        1. [5]
          fredo
          Link Parent
          I am not a lawyer, but I can tell you with 99% certainty that the law don't even acknowledge their existence :P

          I am not a lawyer, but I can tell you with 99% certainty that the law don't even acknowledge their existence :P

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Apos
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            One thing I do when I get to a new place is observe the various animals to try to learn their personalities. They have hierarchies within their own species, but also between other species. From...

            One thing I do when I get to a new place is observe the various animals to try to learn their personalities. They have hierarchies within their own species, but also between other species. From there I figure out a strategy.

            Last summer I put a mirror at the bottom of a tree that became a social hub. It was funny how some animals ignore it, others investigate or admire themselves. I saw a squirrel that would always walk behind it instead of in front. One of them would climb on it and stay there for a while.

            Some of them are really curious. Others just want food. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of animals are bored at times so you do anything and it makes their day. Sometimes it looks like there's nothing happening, but they are there observing what you're doing. Trying to understand the world.

            Edit: Last year I had the bird feeder next to a tree and there were two woodpeckers flying back and forth between a tree much further away to eat the seeds over there. After a while I went to stand next to the bird feeder. One of them decided to come anyway but instead of eating it landed lower on the tree staring at me. Then it started to climb to be around my height. It looked as interested in me as I was in it. Then I poked it with my finger. It was odd, but I think it was used to seeing me outside.

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Just FYI, the vast vast majority of animals can't recognize themselves in a mirror, and instead treat their reflection as if it's another animal. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test And...

              Just FYI, the vast vast majority of animals can't recognize themselves in a mirror, and instead treat their reflection as if it's another animal. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

              And it definitely appears like Squirrels aren't amongst the select few species who can, either. Just google "Squirrel + Mirror" and there are lots of videos of them either acting incredibly wary of, running away from, or even outright attacking their reflections. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FeC8TTDOm0

              So, unfortunately, I highly doubt any of the animals you have in your yard are actually admiring themselves in the mirror you set up, but are instead likely sizing up what they think is a potential rival, or inspecting what they think could be a potential mate. ;)

              4 votes
              1. [2]
                Apos
                Link Parent
                I saw those before, but I don't think it's accurate. I think they are capable of understanding once you show them. One example, one of my dogs will look at me through mirrors. Let's say I put a...

                I saw those before, but I don't think it's accurate. I think they are capable of understanding once you show them.

                One example, one of my dogs will look at me through mirrors. Let's say I put a mirror on the wall and I stand behind her, her gaze will follow me. If I motion that I'm about to touch her, she will turn around. The squirrels do the same, one of them will be on my lap and I use the mirror to look at it. Their behavior is completely different than when a real second squirrel is there. I think me being there gives them some extra context.

                It's a bit like human babies. They don't understand mirrors, but their parents show them how it works. Eventually they come to understand it. (Actually, I think a lot of humans don't truly understand mirrors. Many people don't know why the image is reversed horizontally but not vertically.)

                1 vote
                1. cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  It's most definitely possible to train animals to react to their reflections even if they consistently fail the mirror test initially, so I'm not doubting that. However, whether those trained...

                  It's most definitely possible to train animals to react to their reflections even if they consistently fail the mirror test initially, so I'm not doubting that. However, whether those trained responses counts as actual self-awareness and genuine self-recognition of their mirrored image is actually a still hotly debated topic, AFAIK.

                  See: Can self-awareness be taught? Monkeys pass the mirror test—again
                  (commentary on a series of really interesting experiments on the subject)

                  p.s. Regardless, it's still pretty cool what you're doing, and observing in the wild. :)

                  4 votes
  2. [5]
    FlippantGod
    Link
    In my opinion, low to high: A rock A sealed terrarium A bonsai tree A single snail A small aquascape (planted aquarium) A small tortoise Sealed terrariums and aquascapes are both front loaded,...

    In my opinion, low to high:

    1. A rock
    2. A sealed terrarium
    3. A bonsai tree
    4. A single snail
    5. A small aquascape (planted aquarium)
    6. A small tortoise

    Sealed terrariums and aquascapes are both front loaded, requiring research and planning before implementing. Stay in the planing stage for easiest maintenance. They can usually both support non-plant life. Aquascaping can get quite expensive. They both require ongoing electrical costs, and aquariums have some of the usual maintainence.

    A bonsai tree might not be an animal, but the maintenance is very light, regular (which helps), and relaxing. It responds to improving skill and is a fulfilling artistic outlet. All around an excellent choice.

    Okay, you didn't like any of those? How about a tortoise? I personally have never had a tortoise, only a turtle (a disgustingly dirty pet) and have long felt the grass might be greener on the other side.

    Tortoise advantages: terrariums are much, much easier and cheaper than aquariums. There are many types, and the level of care varies somewhat. For example, a dry habitat is easier than humid. You don't need to worry about potty training. They won't damage furniture or kill rodents. They won't run away (don't leave it unattended outside). Some can hibernate under certain circumstances. They don't eat as much as most mammals, and food can be quite cheap.

    Obviously anyone looking to buy and care for a pet needs to do their own research; I can't tell you how to raise a tortoise, I can only recommend you look into it. The last thing to consider is lifespan.

    In this sense, a tortoise can be quite high maintenance. It will probably outlive you. This is great if parting is hard for you, or you want a faithful companion for life. It is less great if you get bored of raising such a wonderful animal ten years down the line. It also means complications when moving. At some point, you will probably need someone to take care of the tortoise when you are no longer able. Because I generally dislike pet stores, you might investigate if receiving a tortoise from someone else is common, and if so consider that avenue.

    11 votes
    1. [4]
      mat
      Link Parent
      I would argue this is not low maintenance. I've had various aquaria over the years and while I've mostly had a great deal of fun with them, none of them have been low maintenance. Rather the...

      A small aquascape (planted aquarium)

      I would argue this is not low maintenance. I've had various aquaria over the years and while I've mostly had a great deal of fun with them, none of them have been low maintenance. Rather the opposite. Once you finally get them stable, sure, they can tick over with maybe an hour a week of messing about changing water and so on, but they're a lot of effort even then - schlepping buckets around, conditioning tap water and suchlike. Smaller tanks require less moving around of stuff but they're considerably less stable so if something goes wrong it goes wrong fast.

      Not to mention the cost of lights if you want your plants to actually grow. Horticultural LEDs aren't cheap to buy and even factoring in the low power draw of LEDs they still eat power. I guess if you live somewhere sunny and can find a spot near a window that's less of a problem, although I have also found sunlight is often an invitation to algaetown.

      7 votes
      1. FlippantGod
        Link Parent
        I'd like to expand on planted aquariums as low maintenance. reduced filtration and media demand compared to normal aquariums reduced lighting esp. compared to reptiles and amphibians is easily...

        I'd like to expand on planted aquariums as low maintenance.

        • reduced filtration and media demand compared to normal aquariums
        • reduced lighting esp. compared to reptiles and amphibians is easily achievable
        • scheduled maintenance, unlike many household pets
        • running costs are limited to water treatment, cleaning supplies, media, tap water, and electricity which are all very low compared to veterinarian care and other common household pet expenses

        Nano tanks are volatile, but reduce maintainence time and cost in every area.

        • reduce filteration and filter media again
        • reduce lighting again
        • less expensive equipment
        • less plants/hardscape to buy
        • less water to treat
        • faster and easier to clean
        • less space

        If necessary, an overflow will address volatility with minimal burden on the system.

        1 vote
      2. Akir
        Link Parent
        It appears that society as a whole has really expanded the role of pet caretakers and the requirements for owning pets. I remember when I was a kid that we kept rodents in small cages maybe the...

        It appears that society as a whole has really expanded the role of pet caretakers and the requirements for owning pets. I remember when I was a kid that we kept rodents in small cages maybe the size of a CRT monitor, but now I'm hearing from people that you need giant hutch-sized cages and part of it needs to be filled with stuff so that the animals can burrow and you also need to invest in toys with different textures to mentally stimulate them.

        1 vote
      3. FlippantGod
        Link Parent
        Reducing light can slow growth, easing maintenance and reducing costs for lights and electricity. Don't obsess over vivid reds and expedient growth...

        Reducing light can slow growth, easing maintenance and reducing costs for lights and electricity. Don't obsess over vivid reds and expedient growth...

  3. [9]
    vord
    Link
    Maybe since you're already 3-deep in dogs a 4th would be relatively easy? All rodents (mice/gerbils/hamsters/rabbits?) are going to be comparable to guinea pigs. Fish might work if you go about it...

    Maybe since you're already 3-deep in dogs a 4th would be relatively easy? All rodents (mice/gerbils/hamsters/rabbits?) are going to be comparable to guinea pigs.

    Fish might work if you go about it right. Keeping fish is consistent work to insure you don't have a giant green cesspool in your house. Hell, to avoid rapid death of many fish you've gotta setup a tank weeks in advance to get the bacteria cycle going. Lots of testing for ph and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. But once you have a stable tank, keeping it stable is pretty easy, especially for a larger tank. We have a 5 gallon with 1 guppie and 1 mystery snail, and a 30 gallon with some catfish and tetras. We had a rough start, setting up impromptu at beginning of COVID lockdowns. Mainainence now is replacing about half the water in each tank about once a week, feeding the fish, and keeping the filter clean. We swapped to live plants from fake and that made maintainence way easier.

    Whatever you do, don't get a betta. Betta fish are some of the hardest to keep alive for beginners, even if they had a healthy start. What happens to them in pet stores is cruel.

    Also, for anyone considering fish, please don't buy Glo fish. Yes, they look cool. But they're literally patented. If they reproduce in your tank, and you care about intellectual property law, the only legal thing to do is kill the offspring.

    And the law of snails is: You either have one snail, or infinite snails. If you want more than one you need a predator.

    8 votes
    1. autumn
      Link Parent
      Depends on how well the fourth dog gets along with other three for the "low maintenance" factor. When I got my second dog, he had to be separated from my other one at all times because it took...

      Maybe since you're already 3-deep in dogs a 4th would be relatively easy?

      Depends on how well the fourth dog gets along with other three for the "low maintenance" factor. When I got my second dog, he had to be separated from my other one at all times because it took years for them to be comfortable around one another. That meant two walks instead of one every time they needed to go out. Then I got a third, and she has to go out twice as often because she's very small (11 lbs) and has a tiny bladder. Thankfully I have a fenced in yard now and they get along fine, but it means I can't leave her at home for more than 4-5 hours.

      Dogs are also expensive to take care of. Food and vet bills make up a majority of their cost, and you'll probably want to take them to at least one basic manners class, not to mention boarding/dog sitter if you want to leave town without them.

      7 votes
    2. fredo
      Link Parent
      I had fish years ago. I find them high maintenance, at least if you're concerned with their health. Another dog might be convenient, but it would exponentially increase the amount of noise and...

      I had fish years ago. I find them high maintenance, at least if you're concerned with their health. Another dog might be convenient, but it would exponentially increase the amount of noise and chaos around the house!

      4 votes
    3. [2]
      pseudochron
      Link Parent
      I'm wondering why you think this is? I started my aquarium last year with a betta and it hasn't been overly high maintenance or difficult. I follow /r/bettafish and it seems like many beginners...

      Whatever you do, don't get a betta. Betta fish are some of the hardest to keep alive for beginners, even if they had a healthy start.

      I'm wondering why you think this is? I started my aquarium last year with a betta and it hasn't been overly high maintenance or difficult. I follow /r/bettafish and it seems like many beginners have success with it. Most websites that list the best fish for beginners have bettas in the top ten.

      I do agree that it is cruel that most pet stores keep betta fish in small cups. I've seen that there are some stores that do better and keep them in individual tanks though.

      And the law of snails is: You either have one snail, or infinite snails. If you want more than one you need a predator.

      This is very true for some snail species but not all. With mystery snails it is easy to spot and remove the eggs before they hatch. And nerite snails will lay eggs in a freshwater tank but they won't hatch unless they're moved to brackish water.

      3 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        We kinda learned the hard way about Bettas. Many/most from pet stores are in terrible health to begin with. New fish owners still getting tanks under control are gonna struggle with helping...

        We kinda learned the hard way about Bettas. Many/most from pet stores are in terrible health to begin with. New fish owners still getting tanks under control are gonna struggle with helping recover. Failing means some seriously disappointed children (in our case an early death talk with a side of euthenasia).

        Tetras and catfish are damn near invincible by comparison.

        And lastly, for our home which has cats, the large flowy betta fins triggered some aggressive behavior that the small-fin fish didn't. That added stress made it extremely difficult to keep our betta alive.

        2 votes
    4. [4]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Freshwater shrimp > snails for algae control, btw. I think they're nicer to look at but there are some pretty snails out there as well Also assassin snails will eat all the other snails and are...

      And the law of snails is: You either have one snail, or infinite snails. If you want more than one you need a predator.

      Freshwater shrimp > snails for algae control, btw. I think they're nicer to look at but there are some pretty snails out there as well

      Also assassin snails will eat all the other snails and are pretty good at living in small groups. My last tank had four and it was a pretty consistent four although I'm fairly sure it wasn't always the same four.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        vord
        Link Parent
        Oh yea, we intend to get more mysteries and an assassin when we can source an assassin. We know we can't rely on getting the eggs out in time as @psuedochron mentioned. We're really big fans of...

        Oh yea, we intend to get more mysteries and an assassin when we can source an assassin. We know we can't rely on getting the eggs out in time as @psuedochron mentioned.

        We're really big fans of snails..wife's favorite creature. We do intend to get a few shrimp as well. We have a gold mystery in the small tank named Gary. Most active snail we've ever seen, and does an amazing job cleaning.

        Had another blue/black Mystery named Elvis, but we suspect they were aging cause died after about a month. Store had gotten a few bad batches prior to ours.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          pseudochron
          Link Parent
          Mystery snails lay their eggs in a pink clump above the water line, and they take 2 to 4 weeks to hatch. They're pretty hard to miss unless you're going several weeks without checking on your tank...

          Oh yea, we intend to get more mysteries and an assassin when we can source an assassin. We know we can't rely on getting the eggs out in time as @psuedochron mentioned.

          Mystery snails lay their eggs in a pink clump above the water line, and they take 2 to 4 weeks to hatch. They're pretty hard to miss unless you're going several weeks without checking on your tank at all.

          Are you saying that you're planning on keeping mystery snails and an assassin snail in the same tank, and relying on the assassin to keep the mystery snail population in check? I don't think that would work too well; the assassin will likely kill all of the mystery snails, not just the babies.

          1 vote
          1. vord
            Link Parent
            I've got 2 young kids, Bipolar Disorder, and a nasty procrastination habit. A 4 week gap between changing water and checking surface can and will occur. So yea, we're intending to see which can...

            I've got 2 young kids, Bipolar Disorder, and a nasty procrastination habit. A 4 week gap between changing water and checking surface can and will occur. So yea, we're intending to see which can win the breed/prey race. My money is still on 2-3 mysteries starting out.

            I think our current record is 6 weeks. "We gotta do the fishtank" was a recurring refrain. Tank was fine, just took a bit of extra cleaning.

            That said, if we had done that in the first 6 months of tank's life it woulda been disasterous. Adding in the living plants help tremendously there.

            1 vote
  4. [2]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    Perhaps if you're looking for something low maintenance you should avoid getting another animal? I really cannot think of anything that wouldn't require daily consideration. Please, don't get a...

    Perhaps if you're looking for something low maintenance you should avoid getting another animal? I really cannot think of anything that wouldn't require daily consideration.

    Please, don't get a cat. Cats are not low maintenance unless you want basically nothing to do with them and to hardly ever see them. Also, better to keep your cats inside, for the birds, so that's at least one litter box to keep clean.

    My honest recommendation would be a jarrarium. They're pretty cool, can be as low maintenance as you want, are literally sourced from pond scum so who gives a hoot if something goes wrong, and making one is very easy and cheap.

    7 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Also, offtopic, but I want to share a funny story about a cat I once had. It's often recommended that if you're going to let your cat roam outside, you should put a bell on them to give the local...

      Also, offtopic, but I want to share a funny story about a cat I once had.

      It's often recommended that if you're going to let your cat roam outside, you should put a bell on them to give the local wildlife a fighting chance. I completely endorse this, but I have also experienced firsthand just how little difference bells can make.

      When I was a kid, I had a rather large cat. He wasn't fat, just a big, muscular mackerel tabby. He was allowed to come and go from the house as he pleased using the same little door as our dogs did, and not having to keep a litter box for him was wonderful, but there was a downside:

      He wouldn't stop bringing us critters. Inside the house. Alive.

      It didn't matter how many bells I put on his collar, how much it started to look like he was wearing a tambourine, he. would. not. stop. bringing. critters.

      There were some weeks when all five mornings before school would be spent chasing something, a mouse, a rabbit, maybe a squirrel or chipmunk, around the house. It got so bad we invested in nets to help catch the animals he would let loose.

      I vividly remember one cartoonish event. As a friend and I walked back to my house from a nearby convenience store, my friend stopped, pointed, and exclaimed "Aw, a bunny!" And indeed, there sat a bunny, in front of a bush, but I did not get a good look at it, because the very next moment out from the bush leapt my cat, capturing in his mouth and dragging the squeaking bunny back into the bush, to never be seen again.

      7 votes
  5. HotPants
    Link
    We have a stray cat that visits us nightly. It's very low maintenance. We just put out dry food each night, and it shows it's appreciation by scurrying away whenever we get near. But a possum is...

    We have a stray cat that visits us nightly.

    It's very low maintenance.

    We just put out dry food each night, and it shows it's appreciation by scurrying away whenever we get near.

    But a possum is also sniffing around the food bowl, so now I am worried about leptospirosis.

    Guess there is no free lunch.

    7 votes
  6. [2]
    eladnarra
    Link
    Isopods! Assuming you're not afraid of creatures that look a little like bugs, they're super cute. The different species come in all sorts of colors and patterns. Some look like living fossils,...

    Isopods!

    Assuming you're not afraid of creatures that look a little like bugs, they're super cute. The different species come in all sorts of colors and patterns. Some look like living fossils, and many roll up like armadillos.

    I loved pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare) as a kid, and they're the species my partner and I recently started with. A friend caught them for us in their yard.

    Cost to get them: free if you find them in your backyard, while starter colonies of a common species/morph can go for around $10-$20.

    You can keep them in a small sterilite container with ventilation holes, and they just need substrate, dry leaves, sphagnum moss, and maybe some cork bark as a hide.

    They're easy to care for, generally. Just need moisture and food every so often, plus a source of calcium. There's also food you can buy for them.

    7 votes
    1. fredo
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Wow, those are really interesting! I don't have an aversion to bugs, but as a male I was trained by society to become an expert in killing cockroaches. I'll look into those, thanks!

      Wow, those are really interesting! I don't have an aversion to bugs, but as a male I was trained by society to become an expert in killing cockroaches. I'll look into those, thanks!

      2 votes
  7. [2]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I treat my carnivorous plants like they’re pets. They’re actually fairly high maintenance as far as plants go, so low maintenance compared to all animals. And if you get Venus fly traps they still...

    I treat my carnivorous plants like they’re pets. They’re actually fairly high maintenance as far as plants go, so low maintenance compared to all animals. And if you get Venus fly traps they still move so it’s animal like in that sense! My pitcher plant is doing good work on the local wasps. They’re absolute suckers for the fake nectar.

    6 votes
    1. fredo
      Link Parent
      I literally just listened to a podcast on the Venus Flytrap! I'm pretty sure I live on a climate that would be most suitable to it, they might even catch some bugs without my assistance! I don't...

      I literally just listened to a podcast on the Venus Flytrap! I'm pretty sure I live on a climate that would be most suitable to it, they might even catch some bugs without my assistance! I don't really care much about plants, though, and my wife already have a bunch of them, way more than I'd like, to be honest.

      4 votes
  8. [3]
    mat
    Link
    In my experience of having done it a few times, dogs and cats get on just fine. In that the cats mostly ignore the dogs and the dogs do what they're told by the cats. Depends on the dogs/cats in...

    In my experience of having done it a few times, dogs and cats get on just fine. In that the cats mostly ignore the dogs and the dogs do what they're told by the cats. Depends on the dogs/cats in question of course.

    Spiders, snails, ants etc. All easy to keep and very low maintenance. Also if you must rodent, get degus not hamsters/rats/etc. Degus are social and diurnal (they're active in the day, not the night) and they don't scent mark with urine so there isn't piss everywhere all the time. They can be trained to come by name as well, which is neat. They're pretty cool if you can find them. Never keep them alone though, they get lonely.

    But the thing with very low maintenance pets is they also tend to be less interactive. A spider might only need feeding once a week and it's environment cleaning out every month or so - but it won't do much for you. You might as well have a plant at that point. A fourth dog won't add a great deal more work over and above three but it will give you a lot more back.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      The problem with degus is they need lots of space (assuming you want to keep them happy, not just alive). There really aren't many (/ any) ready-made enclosures you can buy that are big enough and...

      Also if you must rodent, get degus not hamsters/rats/etc. Degus are social and diurnal (they're active in the day, not the night)

      The problem with degus is they need lots of space (assuming you want to keep them happy, not just alive). There really aren't many (/ any) ready-made enclosures you can buy that are big enough and suitable for degus, so at the very least, they need a significant initial investment to build or adapt an enclosure.

      they don't scent mark with urine so there isn't piss everywhere all the time.

      That's not true. In a well designed enclosure that's cleaned regularly it's not a problem, but they do do it.

      As with most animals, they can suddenly become high maintenance if they suffer from treatable illnesses. Also, in many cases, illnesses are more likely to be successfully treated if caught early, and you're more likely to spot them early if you give them frequent check ups, monitoring their weight (weight loss is often one of the first indications that something's wrong), checking their teeth, fur, and so on, and above all, spending time with them observing their behaviour.

      All in all, I agree with @hungariantoast. If you're looking for a low maintenance pet, don't get a pet. Just because something can survive without attention doesn't mean it's getting sufficient mental enrichment and living a happy life.

      5 votes
      1. fredo
        Link Parent
        After researching I don't think degus are a thing in my region and I'm not looking to import a rodent :(

        After researching I don't think degus are a thing in my region and I'm not looking to import a rodent :(

        1 vote
  9. Bullmaestro
    Link
    Definitely cats. They're highly independent as animals and all you really need to do is feed them, leave them out something to drink and potty train them to ensure they don't shit in the house....

    Definitely cats. They're highly independent as animals and all you really need to do is feed them, leave them out something to drink and potty train them to ensure they don't shit in the house. Professional grooming is tougher though, because cats can bite and claw at the groomer.

    Guinea pigs or rabbits may seem low maintenance but they're surprisingly not...

    2 votes
  10. smores
    Link
    We… erm… rescued? a gerbil two years ago, and now we have three. You have to get at least two, because they’re highly social and get depressed if they’re alone. Both my fiancée and I regularly...

    We… erm… rescued? a gerbil two years ago, and now we have three. You have to get at least two, because they’re highly social and get depressed if they’re alone. Both my fiancée and I regularly forget they exist because having two dogs means we can’t take them out of their enclosure regularly, but they are happy as can be. We have a very large enclosure for them, with multiple levels and toys and huts and such. They regulate their own food, water, and exercise, so we give them like three days of food and water at a time and they’re good to go.

    2 votes
  11. [5]
    fredo
    Link
    What about rats?

    What about rats?

    1 vote
    1. [4]
      hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      I've never had rats, but I did have mice at one point. I think this advice applies to all rodents, but of course do some research before you decide. I would suggest you only get a female,...

      I've never had rats, but I did have mice at one point. I think this advice applies to all rodents, but of course do some research before you decide.

      I would suggest you only get a female, preferably two so they have a playmate. Males smell really badly and they shouldn't be caged with another male because they're territorial and will fight viciously. I learned both of those things the hard way. And you don't want to mix male/female for obvious reason :)

      Maintenance is basically daily feeding, replacing water every couple of days, and cleaning the cage periodically. They're a lot of fun and I miss having mice, but now I've got cats and toddlers, so this isn't a particularly safe environment for mice anymore.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        fredo
        Link Parent
        In my language we don't have a different word for mice, they're all rats. What's the difference?

        In my language we don't have a different word for mice, they're all rats. What's the difference?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          hamstergeddon
          Link Parent
          I can see why your language might not distinguish between them. They're separate species, but rats are basically just really big mice. This is from a pest-control website, but it gives a good...

          I can see why your language might not distinguish between them. They're separate species, but rats are basically just really big mice. This is from a pest-control website, but it gives a good breakdown between the differences -- https://www.orkin.com/pests/rodents/mouse-control/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-mice-and-rats

          And out of curiosity what's your native language (if you don't mind me asking)?

          2 votes
          1. fredo
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Sorry, I'd rather not disclose this information right now. So they're small rats? I get it. I think I'd like small rats.

            And out of curiosity what's your native language (if you don't mind me asking)?

            Sorry, I'd rather not disclose this information right now.

            So they're small rats? I get it. I think I'd like small rats.

            2 votes
  12. river
    Link
    Maybe some kind of digital pet, what's the modern tamagotchi?

    Maybe some kind of digital pet, what's the modern tamagotchi?

    2 votes
  13. river
    Link
    A cactus

    A cactus

    1 vote