Not a Pet Person

What’s a mom to do when she doesn’t love pets but her kids do? I’m excited to present today’s guest post by Christi Seidman, blogger for Growing Up Fort Collins.

Not a Pet Person

I don’t like dogs. They’re smelly. They ruin the yard, wipe their butts on the carpet, and sniff strangers where they don’t want to be sniffed. Their owners say they’re friendly, but to me that simply means they jump on people, lick faces, and tackle toddlers. Yes, they can be cute and cuddly, but I’m just not a dog person.

I don’t like cats. They’re destructive. They claw furniture, leave clumps of hair everywhere, and drag in dead rodent surprises. They pounce viciously and suddenly on their unsuspecting humans. They send my husband into red, watery eyed fits of sneezes and sniffles. Yes, they can be funny and playful, but I’m just not a cat person.

I love my children. They are also smelly and destructive, but I love them dearly.

So, what is a pet averse parent to do when the kids beg and plead for an animal friend?

Here’s what I did:

Arla the Rat

Yep, I caved in. My 12 year old daughter convinced me that she would benefit from having an animal friend, and she was adamant that she would take on the full responsibility. Here are the parameters we gave her:

1.       She can have one pet.

2.       It must be in a cage or a tank.

3.       It cannot be a snake or any other creature that eats live, squirming meals.

4.       We would take on the financial responsibility. She would take on the day-to-day responsibility.

With those guidelines, my daughter got to work. She completed extensive research to discover the best possible pet for her situation. She read books. She googled. She spoke with ‘experts’, otherwise known as her friends and the staff at a local pet store. After much deliberation, she settled on a fancy rat. Why? I’ll let her tell you:

“After much research, I decided on a fancy rat for several reasons.  They are smart and easy to train. In fact, I have litter box trained Arla. Also, they are usually neat and tidy. Not Arla! She tends to use her food bowl for extra bedding storage and puts the food, well, everywhere! Finally, like dogs, they tend to develop bonds with their owners and act socially, running to the cage door to meet any approaching human.”

Flash forward to one year later. Arla is thriving and my daughter spoils her. The rat even has an occasional playdate in the yard with Doodle, the rat who lives across the street. No, my daughter has not taken on 100% of the day-to-day responsibilities, but she has taken on most of it. We quickly learned that the enormous, tri-level rat cage was a nightmare to clean, so it is now a two person job. My husband and I have been known to rock-paper-scissors to determine who has to help with that particular chore.

And me? Have I come around to the idea of having pets?


I don’t like rats. They’re gross. They nibble fingers, chew things up, and fling food within a one foot radius of their cage. Their claws are scratchy and uncomfortable and their long tails are creepy. Yes, they are smart and easily trained, but I’m just not a rat person.

Eager to connect with other parents in our community, Growing Up Fort Collins provides a resource for local families in Northern Colorado. Christi’s various experiences as a mom have instilled in her an understanding of parenthood in our community and a genuine empathy for the different challenges parents can face. She’s delving deep into our family-friendly city, exploring a variety of kid’s activities, writing honest reviews of her experiences, and gathering feedback and opinions from other parents.

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