Remember when you had a dog when you were a child and then he disappeared suddenly and was replaced by another? Remember how your mom told you that your old pet had been sent to a farm to live because he needed more room than you had in your home? And remember when you finally figured out the truth, that your dog had died because that’s just how long dogs live – a maximum of 12 years or so?
It’s hard when a pet, which is a beloved member of the family, dies after a few years of being a significant part of your life. So if you’re looking for a pet that lives as long as you do, or at least for a good number of years, then you probably have to choose a turtle or a tortoise, because they can live for 75 or more years. However, not everyone considers a tortoise a pet, unless you prefer the reptilian kind and don’t really feel the need to cuddle or play with them.
Photo courtesy of Virginia State Parks
If you like backtalk and some color around the house, you could go in for a parrot, a cockatoo or a macaw – many of these birds can live for 60 or more years, and they give you quite an earful too if they can talk. It could become embarrassing if the birds repeat the choice epithets you’ve uttered when you hit your leg against the sofa or cut yourself inadvertently, but on the upside, you always have someone to talk to and a voice greeting you as you walk into an otherwise empty house.
Photo courtesy of Riza Nugraha
Again, you can’t really cuddle your bird, so if you’re looking for a warm-blooded mammal that lives long, then go for a horse. Of course, if you own a horse, you need a farm or a large open area where you can exercise and ride him and where he is happy and content. City life is not for your horsey, so when you live in the hustle and bustle of streets filled with traffic and in apartments that can be covered end to end with a dozen strides, your best bet for a pet that lives long is a dog or a cat.
Cats live a year or so longer than dogs, but with a feline or a canine, you get to enjoy 10 to 15 years of companionship. The downside to owning a dog is that they require considerable grooming, training and looking after, so most people prefer a cat. But then again, dogs are more people-friendly while cats tend to be disdainful of the entire human clan.
My Sisfur Majel lived 18 years!
If you want a pet in a cage and one small enough to hold in your hand, go for a rabbit, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster or a mouse – they live for 2 to 3 years, and make ideal pets for children who tend to outgrow their interests faster than you can find them new ones.
The choice of a pet boils down to the kind of animal you love the most, but then, considerations like age, space and cost do add to the mix and make the decision more complicated. It’s best to weigh all the factors involved, and then do what’s best for yourself and your pet.