Why is a mouse a great starter pet? Let’s admit it. When we buy a pet for our children many times their pet becomes our pet. This past summer I purchased a lovely little female mouse for my 3 year old daughter as a ‘reward’ for her potty training success. Although she still loves it and plays with it from time to time, she is much less enthusiastic. My five year old also has to be reminded that it needs attention. Although my children need to be poked and prodded from time to time to play with it, they are still learning to be responsible and care about something other than themselves. So from the perspective of the parent, here are five reasons that a mouse should be a top choice as a starter pet:
A pet mouse is easy to care for. Because their cages are relatively small, they can easily go a week between cage cleanings. While daily playtime outside the cage is beneficial and healthy, it’s not the end of the world if a playtime is skipped here or there. As long as a mouse has an exercise wheel, chew blocks, food and water, it will be just fine. The water bottle can hold water for several weeks if need be (although I do recommend giving it fresh water weekly) and fresh food must be given daily.
Owning a pet mouse does not break the bank. The upfront cost of purchasing a mouse and accessories will run about $35-40. After that, the ongoing cost is minimal. The cage bedding lasts for months, as does the food. If well maintained, the cage should only be a one-time cost.
I have never, ever had a pet mouse bite. As long as it is respected and treated with kindness, a mouse will return the favor. My children both handle our pet mouse (with supervision) and can hold her on their shoulders, in their hands, and pet her just like a dog!
Short Life Span
A mouse only lives 1.5-2 years. While this may sound callous to even mention, it is a benefit of owning one. The time commitment is much less than that compared to a dog or a bird that can live for many, many years. As I mentioned earlier, children can go through phases of disinterest, so a parent may not like being stuck with the majority of responsibility and care of an animal over several years. A pet, even a pet mouse, is a lifetime commitment.
A mouse cage can be moved around easily as needed. I can put the cage in my daughter’s room during the day so that she can observe her, and move it out at bedtime so that her nocturnal behavior does not keep her up. I don’t need to board her mouse at a kennel and we can easily take it on road trips with us if necessary. The cage is small and easily transported if needed.