Animal shelters across the country are filled with cats and dogs.
At Nevada Humane Society, we sometimes also rescue small animals commonly called “Pocket Pets.” This term is used to refer to any small mammal comm-only kept as a house-hold pet.
According to Wikipedia, there are six general criteria that qualify an animal to be considered a pocket pet:
1. Its commonality as a domestic house pet
2. No potential danger to humans or other animals
4. Overall ease of care and feeding
5. Amicable disposition making it suitable as a companion pet
6. Relatively small stature.
The most common pocket pets are hamsters, gerbils, fancy mice, fancy rats and guinea pigs.
Many children, maybe even you, convinced parents to bring one of these little guys home, only to find out that they didn’t know how to care for them at all.
Out of frustration, they end up in shelters if they are the lucky, and the unlucky ones endure a much worse fate.
Since I started working in the animal welfare field more than eight years ago, I have found a new appreciation for these special animals.
While the dogs and cats at animal shelters usually receive the bulk of public attention, there is always a population of small animals equally in need of a loving home and equally deserving. Visitors at our shelter are instantly drawn to the adorable creatures just inside our main entrance.
One of the most misunderstood Pocket Pets is the fancy rat. Domesticated rats are physiologically and psychologically different from their wild relatives. They are clean, quiet, friendly, smart, and easy to train, but they do need some special care and attention.
In fact, since they are different from the most common pets, (dogs and cats) you will have the opportunity to learn about the characteristics and behaviors of a new species of animal, which can be a fun and rewarding family experience.
The familiar “Unicorn Song” mentions “cats and rats and elephants” — while we don’t have any elephants, we have plenty of cats from which to choose.
But you may not know that we also have a large number of cute, cuddly, fancy rats, among an assortment of other pocket pets. If you are considering a new pet for your family, please consider adopting a Pocket Pet.
At Nevada Humane Society, we believe that all life is precious and these special, little lives will appreciate a new, loving home just as much as any dog or cat.