Looking for a cute and cuddly pet that is perfect for some hugs and snuggles? Small animals can make for great companions when you want a pet that is easy to care for and interactive. Read on for our picks of the 10 best small pets that love to cuddle!
Small and Cuddly Family-Friendly Pets
Having a pet that the whole family can enjoy and bond with is important when choosing the right small animal. Here are some great options for small pets that are gentle, enjoy being held, and make great additions to family life:
Rabbits: Rabbits are very social animals that bond closely with their owners. When properly socialized, rabbits love to snuggle and often will lay in your lap for pets. Make sure you get your bunny spayed/neutered to reduce aggression. Dwarf bunnies tend to be especially good with children.
Guinea Pigs: Guinea pigs, or "cavies," are gentle, social rodents that enjoy human interaction. They love to be pet and taken out for cuddles. Make sure you get at least two, as they are happier with a friend. Give them lots of hay and room to run around.
Chinchillas: These super soft, furry rodents are very trainable and bond closely with owners. They love treats and scratching behind the ears. Be prepared for regular dust baths to keep their coat healthy.
Rats: Though they have a bad reputation, rats make smart, clean, and very affectionate pets. They recognize their owners and love to be cuddled and played with. Opt for female or neutered males, who are calmer.
Degus: A cousin of chinchillas, degus have soft fur and bushy tails. They are active and social, and require lots of toys and exercise. Once accustomed to handling, degus enjoy snuggling in robes or hoodies.
Sugar gliders: Though exotic, these tiny marsupials bond very closely with owners and love to snuggle in bonding pouches. They require lots of hands-on attention and live 15+ years.
Apartment-Friendly Pets that are Cuddly
For those with limited space, small pets can be a great option when you want a cuddly friend. Here are some apartment-friendly pets that enjoy being held and hugged:
Hamsters: Syrian or "teddy bear" hamsters are solitary, nocturnal rodents who sleep during the day. When awake at night, they are very interactive and enjoy being held. Make sure their cage has 6+ inches of bedding to burrow in.
Gerbils: These active, social rodents bond closely with their owners. Unlike hamsters, they should be kept in same-sex pairs or groups. Handle them frequently so they get used to human interaction and cuddling.
Mice: Though small, pet mice are very intelligent, clean, and bond readily with their owners. Gentle handling when young will result in mice that enjoy crawling into hands and pockets for snuggles.
African pygmy hedgehogs: Though exotic, "hedgehogs" are growing in popularity for pets. When socialized properly, they will bond with their owners and even fall asleep in your hands. Make sure to give them plenty of activities.
Chinchillas: Their soft fur and inquisitive nature make chinchillas ideal for apartments. Give them lots of ledges, platforms, and toys in a large cage. Spend time cuddling and interacting with your chin daily.
Guinea pigs: Fun, vocal cavies thrive in cage environments. Get a large cage with ramps and tunnels. Hold, pet, and even brush your guinea pigs frequently to socialize them.
Small Pets that Show Affection
For the right owner willing to put in time and patience, small pets can be very loving and affectionate. Here are some pets known for forming close bonds and enjoying cuddle time:
Rats: Though rats have an undeserved bad reputation, pet rats are very clean, intelligent, and affectionate once socialized and handled frequently. They bond strongly with their owners.
Rabbits: Spayed/neutered bunnies often love to snuggle with their trusted owners. Breeds like Rex and Mini Lop are especially good companion rabbits. Rabbits require lots of space and exercise.
Guinea pigs: Guinea pigs, or cavies, are very social herd animals. They love attention from their owners, and enjoy being pet, fed treats, and taken out for cuddles.
Chinchillas: With ultra-soft fur and a curious nature, chinchillas bond closely with their owners, especially when handled frequently from a young age. Make sure to provide safe ledges and toys.
Degus: Though not as common, degus are highly intelligent and active. Trusting and well-socialized degus enjoy crawling into robes and bonding with their owners.
Cockatiels: These small parrots bond very strongly with people when hand-fed and handled often. Cockatiels will snuggle, preen, and want to be with their owners.
Hedgehogs: Though solitary and nocturnal, African pygmy hedgehogs will bond with owners who regularly handle and interact with them. Make sure they have plenty of activities.
Advice on Keeping Small Animals as Pets
To make sure your small pet stays happy, healthy, and affectionate, follow this essential advice:
– Do thorough research on the pet's needs before bringing them home. Make sure you can commit to proper housing, diet, vet care, etc.
– Handle young pets frequently so they become accustomed to human touch. Give them positive reinforcement with treats and praise.
– Make sure to dedicate time every day to interact with your pet. Cuddling and playing helps form a close bond.
– Provide an appropriately sized habitat with plenty of enrichment. Small pets need room to run and burrow.
– Feed a balanced, high quality diet suited to the specific pet. Fresh food and clean water is key.
– Schedule annual vet visits to keep your pet healthy. Seek medical care whenever they show signs of illness.
– Shower your small pet with love and attention! Trust and handling will lead to a cuddly, affectionate companion.
With proper care and socialization, small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, rats, chinchillas, and even hedgehogs can become cherished, huggable pet companions. Do your research, and be prepared for lots of cuddling!