Not everybody was destined for pet-parenthood. Some people are far more invested in their social lives, while others may rarely be at home. Many people juggle demanding personal hobbies, or 60-hour work weeks that consume all their time, or maybe just wouldn’t consider themselves a dog person or a cat person but still want a pet of some kind. Whatever the case may be, if a puppy or kitty doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, here are a few alternative low-maintenance pets that require minimal time and effort to care for!
Fish: While not every kid may have dreamt about owning their very own goldfish, there are more options available than a glass bowl with an orange minnow. Imagine a glorious aquarium for your home, one where you can slowly collect tropical beauties that will dazzle your visitors and give you the comfort for having living creatures in your home. The sky (well actually, the top of the tank!) is the limit with the fish you can purchase, be it starfish, glowing reef fish, seahorses, mini turtles and frogs, depending on if you have a fresh water or salt water tank. If you want to go really low-maintenance, opt for a Beta Fish, since these creatures are content in small bowls, and eat inexpensive food only once a day. Aside from sprinkling food on the surface, and the occasional aquarium cleaning, a fish is almost an effortless kind of pet.
Warning: exotic fish can be expensive depending on the species.
Birds: Yes, birds chirp, sing, squawk and make noise; but humans do as well, so cut them some slack! The good news is, plenty of birdies are actually on the quieter side of the noise-spectrum. Finches, Budgerigars, and Canaries all have softer sounds and are less talkative than parakeets, parrots, and other bird species. Though you will need to buy a cage and birdseed, and be willing to clean the cage from time to time, birds make cheerful companions that do not demand long daily walks at the end of your work day.
Warning: Canaries and finches do like to fly around, and would do best with a larger cage, so bear that in mind when considering your spatial limits.
Lizards & geckos: These crafty reptiles require very little attention from their pet owners and little variation in their environments. They do not necessarily need to be fed every day, but rather every other day, and in some cases, food can be left out for them to access whenever they please. Their cages must be cleaned from time to time, but they don’t need to be let outside or exercised.
Warning: UV ray lights can be an expensive item to purchase for a reptile’s cage. Not every reptile is easy to care for, especially as some (chameleons in particular) will not drink water from dishes, but require a mister once or twice daily, or a droplet tool.
Turtles: Turtles are like lizards and geckos in that they neither require affection or attention from their owner. They are happy to be left alone, or be handled in short spurts. They don’t require a ton of space, and can be fed every few of days. Be careful before you get a turtle, as some small creatures can turn into 20-inch long reptiles that weight up to 30 pounds, in which case they WILL need more space to wander! One upside of feeding turtles is that they tend to eat vegetables and fruits that you can simply add to your grocery run without making a special trip to the food store!
Warning: Turtles and tortoises tend to live a long time, so unless you are willing to keep the creature for the next 20-40 years, then maybe this animal is not for you.
Note: We also considered listing snakes in the “easy pet” list, but not many people would be willing to handle thawed or live rodents to facilitate feeding.
Plants: Some people find they are better at cultivating plants then they are at raising animals, and no animal can compete with a plant with it comes to low-maintenance living. Water and sunshine (and maybe the occasional conversation –talking is good for plant growth!) are all your sweet little geranium will need. For maximal ease, choose a staunch succulent which barely even needs watering, since it is a desert plant that can withstand long days of scorching sun. If animals aren’t for you, but you like being surrounded by living things, buy a pot and raise a plant!
Warning: People may think you are weird for calling your gerbera daisies your “pets.” Just be ok with that.
Plush pets, wall hangings, and posters: If having to water a plant feels like some unnecessary “neediness” that is harshing your mellow, then it is time to go lifeless. Get a teddy bear or a plush cat toy. Then you can cuddle, play with and adore this kind of “pet” without one SHRED of effort or sacrifice on your part. Better yet? Get a poster, wall-hanging or a calendar of cats, that way you don’t even have to touch them or deal with it at all. There is always a way to incorporate pets into your life without the slightest inconvenience!