Before you get your pets: common reasons people rehome
Rehoming a pet can be a very painful decision, and there are occasions where it is unavoidable and in the best interests of your pet and yourself. However, the vast majority of rehomes could have been avoided with a little forethought or more research into the pets needs and how you can meet them. This article goes into some of the most common reasons rodents get rehomed.
My child has lost interest
No child should ever be solely responsible for the care of a pet. That pet is also the adult's responsibility and as such if you are not prepared to take on the feeding, socialisation and cleaning out of the chosen rodent(s) for the entire span of their lives then do not buy them.
Additionally, the attitude of rodents as 'disposable' is one that needs challenging - teaching your child to get rid of a living creature because they have grown bored of it encourages them to shirk responsibility and expect quick, easy fixes to problems.
My landlord doesn't allow pets anymore!
If you are renting, either get pets specifically written into your contract or do not get them. Verbal agreements mean absolutely zero. If you have it written into your contract, then the moment your pets are challenged you get out your contract and get quoting. If you have nothing written down, you have no defence.
I'm moving home
An event in your life that can be anticipated, should have been planned for - don't take on a pet if you are going to be going to University or having a gap year during its lifespan.
If you are renting, just ensure that your new home accepts rodents. Caged pets are much easier to get written into a contact than anything freeranging. Never just accept a verbal agreement though - it must be written down.
Although not all life events can be anticipated, the majority can still incorporate your pet with a little extra effort.
I'm having a baby
Having a baby is undeniably a huge lifestyle change. it doesn't have to mean the end of pet ownership though. Make sure you have steps in place for your pet - those with a high number of pets may want to see if they can get a friend to help with cleanouts and feeding for a while.
I want a dog or cat
You already have responsibility for a pet. If it isn't compatible with getting a dog or cat then wait a few years until your pet has passed on.
Would you consider rehoming your dog or cat because you've decided you now want a horse?
It is always advisable to have some contact with your chosen type of pet before taking on one as your own. You can't always anticipate allergies however, but a lot are treatable. There is a large range of bedding and substrates you can try and doctors can give you advise and medication that can control your allergies. It doesn't have to end in a rehoming.
I don't have time for them anymore
The majority of these cases are more 'I don't want to spend time with them anymore' rather than a sudden lack of it. Not everyone finds rodents interesting, and they will grow up quite swiftly. Have a think about the time you have available each evening and ask yourself if you will still want to spend some of it with your rodent each night a few years down the line?
Rodent lifespans vary a great deal, and you can always adopt an older animal from rescue if you think your life will only have time for a pet for the next year or so.
They outgrew their cage!
So many rehomes come with a cage 'that needs upgrading, but I never had the time/money'. Do not buy starter cages. They serve no real purpose other than giving pet-shops an excuse to sell cages that are not big enough - and they are at least honest. Plenty of cages are sold as suitable that are vastly too small for anything.
Research your pet, buy the best and biggest cage you can and if lack of space is ever going to bother you - don't get the pet. Remember a lot of rodents are social, you also need to be prepared for a fallout to mean you have multiple cages. If this is going to bother you, then rodents probably aren't for you.
I can't afford them anymore.
Rodent food and bedding isn't that expensive - the main outlay is the cage and any vet bills. Most good vets will do a payment plan and if you are a low income some help may be available to you. However, if money is an issue for you then it is better to wait until you are in a better position to support a pet.
They aren't mine!
Sometimes parents end up with a pet after their child goes to university. There are also cases where tenants abandon their animals and the new owner finds surprising furry additions in their home!
The former, as their parents it can be your responsibility to take up the animals care even if the child is question is legally an adult. Make sure your child is still making a financial contribution even if they aren't in a position to still home them.
The latter is more tricky. If you aren't in a position to support a pet but none the less have one forced upon you - then it may be your only choice is to rehome it ethically. Just please, ensure you research the pet and do your own checks before handing it over. NEVER offer a rodent free to a good home as this encourages impulse buys at best, and a free meal for a reptile at worse.
Christine, of Crittery Exotics
Crittery Exotics was setup in 2007 to provide a useful resource regarding common and exotic rodents and small mammals. It is run by volunteers in their spare time around work and family life.About Crittery