Like with any pet there are pros and cons, owning mice as pets is no different. No matter how much you love your pets there are times when you realise that you are tied to them, or maybe there is an aspect about caring for a certain pet that you do not enjoy. I have owned mice for many years and although I thoroughly enjoy it, there are some aspects I could do without.
Although, I fully understand it’s part of the process and you cannot have the good without the bad, and vice-versa. So I thought I would do a short write up of some of the pros and cons as I see them, maybe this will help you decide if mice are for you.
Feel free to leave any comments with any additional thoughts, or maybe point out how mice compare with keeping whatever pets you have.
Pros of Keeping Mice as Pets
Fun and Interesting to Watch
I have lost countless hours just watching my mice play and explore around their cage. Mice are very active and curious when they are awake and will move around a lot. Sometimes they do some funny things like hanging off parts of the cage, gripping for dear life with their little claws, or look like they are playing tag with other mice – giving them a nudge and running away.
Great for Children
Giving a child the responsibility of looking after a pet teaches a lot of life skills. Learning to care for a living creature, feed, clean and play with are all important areas of responsibility that helps a child develop. Mice are fairly easy to look after as pets go, especially as far as small animals go. It’s a good lesson too to teach them that there is nothing to be scared of. Mice are often depicted on TV as animals to be scared of, to run away from, or to treat as pests and catch in mouse traps!
There are not a lot of costs associated with keeping mice. You can pick up the cage second hand if you are OK with that. There are always hamster, rat, or other ex-rodent cages for sale online. Otherwise a brand new cage is still very affordable, just check out some of the housing reviews I have written up. The food and maintenance costs are not high either. There are lots of ways to prepare food yourself as treats, and their routine diet is made up mostly from food mixes bought from pet stores.
Easy to Handle
They may require some taming at first so they are comfortable with you. But once your mice are familiar with you they are easy to pick up and handle. They tend not to be too jumpy or quick moving when being handled, they do enjoy running up and down you arm, and will escape if let free. But held carefully in your hand, your mice will usually be happy to be stroked and fussed.
Do Not Hurt Anyone
Mice rarely, if ever bite people. If they are not treated well, or are put in threatening positions then they are left no choice. But generally speaking, you should never have a problem with them biting, you can let friends hold one no problem. If you do notice one of your mice starting to bite when handled it many be a sign that it is in some discomfort, seek medical treatment if you think there is a health issue.
Cons of Keeping Mice as Pets
Unfortunately mice can be a bit smelly. The males are a lot worse than females, so if you live in a small apartment, or will be keeping their cage in your room you should choose females. It is a bit of a downer really, and visitors are usually very quick to notice the smell as they are not used to it.
I know it’s part of being a pet owner, but it goes down as a con because it is not fun cleaning out their cage weekly. You can get this down to a fine art and have it only take around 15 minutes when you have done it a few times. I save up bits of cardboard like toilet roll tubes throughout the week, this is an inexpensive and easy way to place some new accessories in their cage each week. Especially as they have probably chewed through whatever you put in their cage last week.
Mice have a life expectancy of around 1.5 years. This can be a bit upsetting, especially for children that have become attached to them. Although it is a lifetime to the mice (literally) 1.5 years is not all that long to us. I have many fond memories of previous mice I have owned, and there are plenty I wish were still alive.
Some People Are Scared
It seems far fetched to mice owners that anyone would be scared of them. But due to the way mice are portrayed in cartoons and TV programs, a lot of people are scared of them I find. This means that your friends and family might not be as keen as you are to have them out of the cage when they are around.
I may be a bit bias, but also because I have owned mice for many years I have a good understanding of them. I think the pros outweigh the cons in regards to owning mice as pets.
OK, they are not like cats or dogs, you will not get a lot of affection and a pet that will follow you around and keep you company. Rodents are a different type of pet, more of a spectator partnership on the most part. But this does not take away from how fascinating they are to observe, and interact with.
I would love to hear any feedback and comments if you agree or disagree with any of what I have written above. I am sure there are many more pros and cons if we dig deeper, but I think these points cover the main topics.