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10 Cute and Small Pets Your Children will Love

Renuka Savant Jan 30, 2020
It's no secret that children absolutely love pets. If you think your kids are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a living being, this PetPonder post suggests 10 small pets your children will love.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
―Anatole France
Expressing affection towards everyone comes naturally to children―our preconceived notions and prejudices begin to cloud this tendency only as we grow up.
Children, on the other hand, seem to harbor no qualms when it comes to having a friendly banter with a stray puppy, a frog, or even a flowering plant, for that matter.
You see, it is quite apparent that we are born with an innate ability to love all forms of life, that is, until our so-called good sense takes over, and we begin to build a fortress around us, seeking protection from the elements.
It's really unfortunate how we as parents, from the goodness of our hearts, begin to shield our children from loving and understanding animals―all under the guise of being protective.
Children can certainly do well by learning about other life forms and cherish their existence. And the best way to do so, besides taking frequent zoo trips, is to keep a pet themselves.
If you've already signed up for getting a pet for your child, the next bothersome issue would be choosing the right pet. We're giving you an array of options, along with the pros and cons of each to help you come to the right decision.

Small Pets For Kids

Keeping a pet is a humongous responsibility, and parents are in the best position to judge whether their child is actually ready for it. As easy as it is to deny a child the right to keep a pet, we humbly suggest that you do give it a deep thought before you make the decision.
Pets are known to have a definitive impact on the way a child's personality shapes up, especially if he/she has been hands-on in caring for the pet.


A hamster is a small, furry pet that is also considerably easy to care for. However, take note that they are prone to biting when they get agitated, with the females being particularly aggressive.
Syrian hamsters are recommended for the reason that they are slightly bigger in size, which makes them easier to handle. It is advisable to keep a single hamster or same-sex pairs to avoid breeding. Hamsters are prone to fighting among themselves, so it is better to keep a single one per cage. Their average lifespan is 2 - 3 years.
Upkeep and Maintenance
A hamster is housed in a cage, which also includes his playing area and bedding. They are rodents, which means that they have teeth that constantly grow. These must be kept in check by providing appropriate chew toys to gnaw their teeth on. Hamsters groom themselves, so one really doesn't need to bathe them.
What to Expect
Hamsters are extremely cute to look at, but do not respond well to cuddling, as is the case with small animals. It is best to observe them in their cage―they love to scurry around and play with the toys provided to them.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are utterly adorable to look at, and that's not even their best feature.
A huge positive is that they do enjoy interactions with humans to a certain degree, as long as it is calm and peaceful. They live up to 5 years, so keeping one needs a solid commitment. They can be kept in pairs, but ensure that the male is neutered, as guinea pigs can rapidly grow into a huge brood.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Keep them in cages that are sufficiently large to hold their bed and playing area. Long-haired guinea pigs require regular brushing and trimming sessions, whereas short-haired ones are relatively maintenance-free.
Provide them with appropriate toys and food for them to chew on in order to keep their teeth trim. Guinea pigs primarily feed on hay, so in case someone in your family is allergic, this won't be the perfect pet for you.
What to Expect
As mentioned before, guinea pigs don't mind being handled, but it needs to be done carefully, as they are delicate little creatures. Always place a towel in your lap before the guinea pig settles on you―this will give them a warm and soft spot to settle in.
Light petting is fine, as long as your child does not smother it with affection. Guinea pigs tend to defecate and urinate rather frequently, so be very careful to protect your clothes while handling them.

Mice and Rats

Not all parents are fond of them, but mice and rats do make decent pets for children. Mice are smaller compared to rats, with an average lifespan of 1 - 2 years as against the rats' 2 - 3 years.
These critters have a very friendly disposition, and tend to form a bond with their humans. They don't mind being carried around by someone they trust―this quality gives them the name of 'pocket pets'.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Their requirements are pretty much similar to the earlier mentions in terms of the cage, bedding, and toys. Grooming is minimal, as rats are fastidious cleaners themselves. Being rodents, chew toys are necessary to keep their dental growth in check.
What to Expect
As friendly as they may seem, it is crucial that the children never go overboard while expressing their affection, or tease or harass these small animals. It is your duty to lay down ground rules for handling these pets, and ensure that all their early interactions are monitored.


Fish are highly popular pets, both from the children's as well as the parents' point of view. Goldfish, in particular, are inexpensive and sturdy, which makes them suitable pets for children.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Provided you keep a small fishbowl, this is one hassle-free pet. It is always better to start small and let your child become familiar with the routine of keeping a single goldfish before graduating to a bigger tank. The fish needs to be fed a pinch of food twice a day, while the bowl needs weekly cleaning.
What to Expect
Fish bring zero cuddle-worthiness to the relationship, which can be a downer to some. That said, fish are excellent pets for beginners, as they are low-maintenance and make for clean companions.

Other Options


If you're okay with the idea of a chirpy, feathery mate for your child, by all means bring home a bird.
Birds like parrots and parakeets are suitable for children over the age of 8. Bird cages need to be cleaned on a regular basis, and they must be provided clean water and food daily.


Not everyone is comfortable with keeping reptiles at home, but if you're game, geckos can be a sound choice. However, note that quite a few species can be expensive to keep; plus, every interaction needs to be monitored by the parent. Therefore, these are not highly recommended.


Rabbits can make fine pets for children aged 10 years and older, as they need to be carefully handled.
They have a cheerful and calm disposition. Keeping their enclosure clean is a task on its own, and not all children will be willing to do it. Consider all the pros and cons before you decide to bring home a rabbit.

Cats and Dogs

There comes a time in every parent's life when they are pestered by their children to bring home a kitten or a puppy. Nothing matches the popularity of these two animals when it comes to keeping pets.
It really depends on how willing you are to look into their upkeep, as cats and dogs are family pets who need a lot more in terms of care, attention, and expense. Plus, their longevity means that bringing home a cat or dog should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Points to keep in mind

  • Bringing home a pet is a major decision, and you as a parent, ought to think it through. Firstly, be clear that this is not just a passing fancy with your child―every pet equals to a commitment of at least a year.
  • If you utterly dislike keeping any kind of pet, it won't be a good idea to bring one for your child. There will invariably be times when you have to care for it―and if you're not up to it, you can't really expect your children to be.
  • Clear out all your doubts with someone who has the same pet as the one you've chosen, to familiarize yourself with its day-to-day routine. Breeders will also answer your queries, but remember that they do have an animal to sell, so there.
  • It is entirely your duty to ensure that you and your children respect the animal you've brought home. Every animal has feelings, and we must respect its choice regarding its resting hours and mealtimes, or times when it just doesn't wish to be around you. Remember, any form of disrespect to the animal qualifies as abuse.
The idea behind bringing home a pet is to acquaint your child with a fellow living being. Your child has a lot to learn from this experience, and it is up to you to make it worthwhile.