What Companion Animals are Considered Low Maintenance Pets?

What Companion Animals are Considered Low Maintenance Pets

What Companion Animals are Considered Low Maintenance Pets? Photo credit: Flickr User: West Zest

The other day I received an email from a supposed pet care expert with information that was so misleading that I could hardly believe my eyes. It appears that some of these “experts” in the field make the claim that certain cat breeds are considered low-maintenance pets. As far as I am concerned, there aren’t any animal companions who could accurately be described as “low maintenance”. At least I have never run across a kitty who, in all honesty could wear a label claiming that attribute.

To make these cats more appealing to dog-lovers, the cat breeds who were featured are depicted as felines who, like the canine species, are devoted to their humans and as fun loving as puppies. This gets me wondering if these “experts” have ever lived with cats. Since feline aficionados know that kitties are just as devoted as canines to their guardians and also thrive on having fun, how can this comparison be realistically made?

Among the breeds listed as “similar to dogs” were the Manx, the Abyssinian, the Burmese, the Maine Coon (due to their size) the Turkish Angora, the Sphynx (since they follow their owners around) and for folks who want to have a cat whose sociability level resembles that of a dog; it was suggested that adopting a rescued kitty would fit the bill.

In the article, the temperament and personality of the featured cats were compared to canine behavior. To name a few, for example: Although the Manx lacks the appendage that allows them to show their humans affection by wagging their tail, these kitties quickly form strong bonds with their human companions. Similar to canines, one of the Manx’s goals is pleasing their guardians. Some of their favorite pastimes are going for walks on a leash, taking a ride in the family car, following their people around the house, fetching toys and playing in water. It is also rumored that the Manx is so protective of their guardians that they will growl at intruders.

The Abyssinian is touted as having athletic proclivities similar to human sport’s stars. These are high energy felines who excel at running and jumping and require an abundance of interactive play with their guardians. Similar to canines, the Abyssinian is regarded as an extremely loyal feline companion.

The Burmese is a cat whose loyalty and loving personality makes the breed ideal for families with children. Much in the same way as dogs, Burmese can easily be trained to sit patiently and wait for their dinner. Since they are highly dependent on their humans, they thrive on their guardians’ attention, so if a Burmese guardian is planning to be away for more than a few days, it’s critical to have a loving cat-sitter to take care of them.

Since the Maine Coon cat is one of the largest breeds, their size and weight make them as big as many of the smaller canine breeds. Since they are devoted and loyal to their human companions and thrive on playtime, their temperament makes this feline breed quite similar to the canine species.

None of the feline breeds featured are low maintenance cats. They all require regular interactive play time, an enriched environment to challenge them, different degrees of grooming, nail trimming, fed a high quality species appropriate diet, clean litter boxes and regular veterinary care. But most importantly; all cats need respect, attention and and abundance of love.

There are no domestic companion animals that are low maintenance pets. But if someone is looking for one, that meets this description, I highly recommend that they find a “pet rock” with whom to bond. What’s your opinion? Share it in a comment.


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What Companion Animals are Considered Low Maintenance Pets? — 16 Comments

  1. Having read a lot about the cat breeds, I have come to the conclusion that writers and breeders (sometimes they are the same people) like and need to separate the breeds out and publicise them. They need to give each breed a specific character and a definition which delineates and separates the breed from the next one.

    I think this underlying objective is behind the need to discuss some cat breeds as dog-like. I have never fully understood it because all cats occasionally have some characteristics of the dog and vice versa.

    Although I might be somewhat cynical, I do not believe that the cat breeds singled out as dog-like are any more dog-like that other cat breeds or the random bred cat.

    All breeds of cat have very similar characteristics and the character depends largely on the individual cat and that rule applies to any cat, purebred pedigree or random bred moggie.

    That is my “realist” assessment and I’m sure there are a lot of people who will disagree with me but it makes sense. Breeders of cats breed mainly for appearance and when they breed for character what they are looking for is a confident and friendly personality and not a cat that behaves like a dog. A confident cat will interact well with his or her human companion and other animals and will be playful. A confident and outgoing personality makes for a good “pet”. And a lot of the traits that are publicised as being particular for a particular cat breed are really just expressions of confidence. Also the personality of a cat depends largely on his or her upbringing and the environment in which she has been raised and lives.

    It is not really about churning out cats that are all of the same character and appearance which is the impression that cat breeders give when they describe a breed’s character.

    You could also argue that it is not a good idea to encourage people to believe that a cat or dog is low maintenance because as you say there are not really low maintenance. Good quality cat and dog caretaking requires quite a lot of input. I’m sure that a lot of people do not provide enough input and they could just as well say that their pet is low maintenance but how healthy is their cat or dog on how content are they?

  2. well im happy with just moggies although other pedigrees i guess are prob preferred. I choose moggies as they are just as good as anything. Also i believe they get not a good deal, when pedigree sell for over 300 i mean whos got that money. Not me thats for sure.

  3. A brilliant article Jo and why would anyone want a cat to be more like a dog? If people like dogs then let them have dogs and just let cats be cats.
    They are totally different species and we cat lovers have cats because we want and love cats, I love dogs too but having had both, much prefer to live with cats.
    You made me laugh at the end of your article ‘I highly recommend that they find a “pet rock” with whom to bond’
    Exactly my sentiments!

  4. LOL Ruth,

    Well, pet rocks are very low maintenance- I think they make great companions for folks who don’t have the time to dote on a live animal companion:) I had to giggle at your comment there!

    I love dogs too- but the feline species is just super amazing.

  5. I agree that pet rocks are the only low maintenance uh-pets if-you-will. Even fish require attention. I can’t think of any pet that does not require human attention. Even outdoor farm animals need the aid of their human owners. Just can’t think of anything that is self-sustaining except animals in the wild, and even some of them need attention from time-to-time even though they probably don’t get it.

  6. The words expert often makes my skin itchy! I have read so many “expert” opinions on cats and laughed right loud. The latest one is a cat food commercial where a “Vet” says that cats are not active so they need a diet that fits their sedentary life style. She needs to come to visit my house and she would change her mind. The cats do sleep and laze around but they also play tag, Chase the rings, and many other sports. Recently a new toy arrived and the last rescue, Jake, goes and gets it and brings it to me for a rousing game of catch the feathers.
    No offense to the “experts”, I would just like them to live with the animals they talk about. They would change their minds.

  7. You can never give too much attention and care but you can give too little. I wonder what the minimum amount is and I wonder what percentage of cat owners are below the minimum.

  8. Michael- I think that the operative words are “owners” vs “guardians”- when pondering your question.

    I would bet my bottom dollar that guardians are high up on the scale of care and attention they give their cats- but no so much on those that consider themselves “owners” (basically speaking here).

    • Yes, that’s a very good way of describing the difference. Sometimes I use the word “owner” because that is by far the more commonly used word when writing about the domestic cat. I would say that the phrase “cat owner” is used about 90% of the time on the Internet and the phrase “cat guardian” is used about 2 or 3% of the time. This might signify something. It might signify that people do not care for their cats enough or provide enough input-I’m not sure but the way people talk about their cats must carry some significance.

  9. I don’t believe in low maintenance pets. Even such creatures as guinea pigs, hamsters, frogs, fish and turtles need regular attention. They also need a caretaker that is committed to providing appropriate nutrition, mental and physical exercise, as well as an ideal environment. I agree with the pet rock comment. I have often told folks that if they are looking for a low maintenance pet or a “shedless” pet, they should get a stuffed cat/dog. Being the caretaker of any animal is a priviledge and should be entered into with the utmost respect and committment.

  10. The article you quote seems to make the assumption that dogs are low-maintenance pets and they’re not, from what I can see. They need to be walked to do necessary biological functions and exercise and they crave the attention of their owner or pack leader. So what’s so different? My kitties have all come from the shelter or were found abandoned and they have a wide spectrum of needs, responses, and behaviors–very different personalities. I do feel based on my experience with them that what most helps a cat define his or her own personality is the degree of socialization s/he has with the guardian. Maybe it’s just that we get to know each personality better as we interact with our kitties, but I think it’s also the kitties having more opportunities to explore ways they CAN act and react to their environment and companions, human or otherwise.

  11. Low Maintenance?
    What in the h-ll is that?
    I’ve had many, many cats and some dogs. I’M LOW MAINTENANCE in comparison.
    Who would want a companion animal that wasn’t high maintenance? Without personality, not mischievous, or demanding? Life would be boring for me if I wasn’t “surprised” every minute of every day!
    Well, maybe my son, with his god awful snake that he claims has a “super” personality!


      That’s an interesting thought. I wonder if some people are lower maintenance than some cats? That question never occurred to me until you wrote that sentence!

    • I am as well, Dee. I’m afraid that My Mukaluck, twenty, is not going to make it through tonight, and even though, I don’t require much physically, emotionally tonight is very difficult. She’s on the couch with me–she has never jumped up here before (she used to sleeping on the bed w/the other four cats w/me.)

    • Hi Caroline I’m glad your Mukaluck made it through another night, every moment with a very old cat is precious and a cat choosing her own time to say goodbye is so much better than you having to decide for her.
      What a very emotional time for you though, sending you love and strength xx

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