Photo: PxFuel

Being a first-time paw-rent is an incredible experience and a huge commitment. Pets can teach you values and lessons outside the classroom. Also, they bring you an innumerable amount of joy. There are a few domestic pets you can consider as first-time paw-rents.


If you’re a busy parent and your kids are bugging you to get them a pet, hamsters are a great start for the family. They are also great pets to have if you want to teach your children the value of commitment, patience, and responsibility.

They can be litter trained in the cage and are generally more manageable as compared to dogs that require daily walks and weekly baths. In this way, hamsters require lesser maintenance but can also act as a furry companion for you and your family.

Smaller hamsters such as Winter Whites can be skittish and might be challenging to handle. We recommend getting a Syrian hamster, as they are slightly bigger in size.


Cats are great companions, especially if you want a lap pet that is mellow and calm. Even though they are independent by nature and easier to take care of than dogs, they require as much attention in terms of interaction and playtime. Owning a cat can be expensive as they require toys, litter trays, scratchboards, food, and grooming essentials. Veterinary bills for vaccinations, sterilisations, and other health protections can be costly as well.

As a first time paw-rent, having a cat can be slightly overwhelming at first and you might be unfamiliar with the veterinary procedures they have to go through, the products they require, or the right way to toilet train them. You might even find it challenging to understand their temperaments.

Nonetheless, it is important to evaluate your lifestyle before choosing a suitable cat for yourself. If you’re busy and are seldom at home, you should look for a kitty that is able to stay home alone for over eight to 10 hours with a coat that is easy to maintain.

However, if you’re always home and want a full-time companion, you can go for an active cat that is playful, affectionate yet independent at the same time, so that you can have a good rest while they spend their time alone.

Busy paw-rents can consider breeds like Russian Blue and British Shorthair. The Russian Blue cat is very affectionate and independent—they will entertain themselves while you are at work and will not throw a fit for leaving them at home, but instead, they will welcome you back with a purr or maybe even a kiss. Their blue coat also requires little maintenance.

Also, British Shorthair cats are very adaptable and calm, making them great lap cats. If you want a furry feline to spend time with you after a long day at work, this breed is for you.

However, you spend a lot of time at home, you can consider getting a Persian. They have a beautiful coat of fur that requires daily brushing, Plus, they’re very particular about the cleanliness of their litter box—if it’s not squeaky clean, they will most likely avoid using it. Thus, it requires constant cleaning throughout the day. Yet, their affectionate and easy-going personality makes them great pets for first-time owners.


These small green reptiles are great starter pets because they are easy to maintain. Unlike cats, dogs, or other small animals that require social interaction with humans, playtime, training, and consistent grooming, Terrapins do not require any of those.

However, the only hassle could be cleaning their tanks, but it is an essential routine to keep your Terrapin clean and happy as they eat, sleep, defecate and bask in the same tank all day.

However, if you choose to own a Terrapin, you have to ensure there is enough room to house them because they can grow relatively large, up to 22 cm over time. Also, their diet comprises mainly of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. You can also feed them commercialised Terrapin food to ensure that they consume a balanced diet.

Even though terrapins are easier to keep, they require the right equipment, daily sustenance, a clean environment, and as much commitment. But if you would like to start small, getting a Terrapin would be ideal.


Getting your first puppy can be an exciting experience and all dogs, no matter the breed requires patience, time, affection, and attention from their paw-rents. Veterinary bills, food, toys, grooming, and training can be expensive in the long run and it may not be an ideal choice for first-time owners.

But if you are determined to own a cuddly and furry pup as your first pet, there are some breeds that are slightly easier to take care of—Poodle, Pomeranian, Maltese, Pugs, Boston Terrier, Bichon Frise, and Labrador Retriever.

These breeds are generally friendly, easy-going, and playful, making them ideal pets for first-time owners, as compared to German Shepherds or Huskies that require the right training and exercise to keep them engaged.

This article first appeared in Pets Magazine, 2 Feb 2017