Top 10 Common House Pets
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
January 13, 2012
Filed Under Pets
Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Millions of families consider pets a member of the family.
Whether they’re adopted shortly after birth or as adults, a wide range of common house pets give their owners years of unconditional love and companionship.
The most common house pets are figured by either the total number of animals owned or the total number of households that own them. Since it’s more common for cat owners to have multiple pets than dog owners, the battle for number one depends on how you want to look at the numbers.
There are over 100,000,000 house pets in the United States. Here are the top ten most common types –some may surprise you.
10. Snakes and Lizards
According to one 2011 study, there are 4.6 million reptile-owning households in the U.S., and about 13 million total owned. Many of these pets are snakes and lizards. The pets are relatively low maintenance, as in they don’t shed, claw your furniture, wake you up, use the floor as a bathroom or beg. Reptiles appeal to people who have an allergy to furry pets or simply find them exotic, unusual and beautiful.
Loved for their hyperactive, inquisitive ways, ferrets are common house pets that frolic in mischief and love human interaction. While owners often keep them in cages so they don’t chew through the carpet when left alone, ferrets need exercise at least twice a day for their physical and mental well-being. Their high metabolism requires about 9 small meals every day, and when they’re not running up the walls, they spend about 18 hours a day sleeping. Avoid getting a ferret if you have small kids, as they can bite and lunge.
When well cared for, pet turtles can live for decades, and make fascinating family pets. They require a tank with a water heater, filter and basking area so the costs of creating a turtle home add up, but many owners who grew up with a turtle will tell you they’re well worth it.
Rabbits make playful, quirky indoor pets. They live for 5- to 10 years, and are happy to be left alone during the day so they’re a good fit for families that work and attend school. While they don’t crave the physical affection that dogs do, rabbit’s high energy and intelligence make them a joy to train and care for.
Pet hamsters belong to the rodent family, but they’re a practical and cute pet for any age group. Since they only live for 1- to 3 years, parents should prepare their children of the short life span early on. Beyond needing a cage, water, bedding, food and toys, hamsters are simple to care for and relatively inexpensive.
5. Guinea Pigs and Gerbils
Guinea pigs and gerbils and popular with children in grade school because show their happiness with little squeak and they’re low maintenance. The ASPCA recommends holding them in solid-bottomed cages, and keeping the females in separate cages from males, with at least 4 square feet per pig.
Birds are among the most intelligent type of common house pet. About 6 million homes care for over 16 million pet birds. Certain bird species, like parakeets, are highly trainable and interactive. While not as cuddly as their four-legged counter-pets, birds are known to grow attached to human owners over time. They’re also easy to clean up after and feed.
A 2011 study found over 11 million fish owning households in the U.S. with close to 160 million fish owned in all. Once you have a tank set up, fish are extremely low maintenance pets. They’re also relaxing and entertaining to watch, and a good alternative for family members with allergies.
Over 46 million homes own a total of 78.2 million dogs. Loyal and affectionate, dogs are ideal pets for families, singles and seniors. On paper, they may seem higher maintenance than other pets, but walking and playing with them regularly are healthy activities for the owner as well. Dogs are fun to train with positive reinforcement and they’ll bring an infectious spirit and silliness into your home.
Fewer households own cats than dogs, but with 86 million pet cats in the U.S. as of 2011, cats hop on the pedestal as the most common house pet. Known for their independence, cats are lower maintenance and quieter than dogs. They purr when pleased and often disappear when they’re not. Cats are typically happy to be left alone for hours at a time. They will turn a cardboard box into the best toy ever, plop their furry bodies down on anything you’re reading and train you to fall asleep while they gently knead your hair into a pillow.