Dads everywhere spend roughly half of their waking day fielding and deflecting requests from their kids to get a pet.
Normally, these pleas include a demand for either a dog or a cat, but for some dads, that’s just not in the cards. Maybe they have allergies. Maybe they “know damn well” that they’ll end up being the only one who “takes care of the dang thing.”
So we’ve gathered a nowhere-near-complete list of potential pets (that aren’t cats or dogs), ranked by how much a dad will mind them being ignored by his kids who clamored so loudly for them in the first place.
Ferrets are cute (for weasels) and slinky, but they are not for dads. They bite, for one. And when you close your eyes and imagine the kind of guy who has a pet ferret, a dad is about the last thing you would think of. So ferrets fall pretty low on the list for dads (assuming they can even get one: ferrets are illegal in two states.)
Teacup pigs, or micro pigs, or mini pigs, are small pigs. They’re smart, inquisitive, and cute (read as- small). But dads aren’t really here for “cute.” They tolerate cute, but they don’t seek it out.
One of the main problems with teacup pigs is that there’s no real way to know if you’re dealing with an actual pig that will stay small, or just a baby pig sold by a disreputable breeder that’ll balloon into a massive bacon factory. Dads should play it safe and go with something a bit more conventional as a pet.
Hamsters are the perfect mid-tier pet for dads. They aren’t too high maintenance, it’s fun to watch them run on the wheel, and you can keep them in their cages all day without feeling too guilty. The biggest downside is that they don’t particularly live long, and dads of hamster-having-families are constantly forced to navigate their kids through the grieving process every two years or so.
A chameleon isn’t exactly a pet you can interact with, but they’re pretty low-maintenance once you sort out the food and heating lamp situation. And they’re cool. They can make the living room feel like a zoo exhibit. These guys usually can hang around for five to ten years, and again, they change colors. They’re cool. Dads will mess with them for hours at a time just for that.
Guinea pigs are sociable, soft, pet-able, and manage to live a good five to seven years, meaning you won’t be hosting bi-annual funerals in the backyard like you might with other similarly caged pets. You can also teach them tricks (they’re notorious for jumping), which can give dads the “training a pet” thrill they’ll be missing in a dog-less household.
But the best pet for a dad is also the easiest. Because dads would just prefer to deal with…
Goldfish will always be the ultimate dad pet, excluding a dog or a cat. Why? Because they’re so easy.
The kids will actually enjoy feeding them (at least at first), but outside of cleaning the tank and dropping some food in there every day, goldfish can just chill and do their own thing. And, between your dad and you, if the goldfish unfortunately shuffles off the mortal coil, a dad can just buy another one and his kids will be none the wiser. Goldfish are really the greatest dad pet.