The eternal feud between cat owners and dog owners rages on. Which is better? A dog or a cat? Let us not forget the reptile enthusiasts that will definitely want to vouch for a snake or a beardie. What about rats or birds? Well, when it comes to favorites, we think this battle will never be won, but when it comes to the best pet to have during a crisis, then we may just have an answer for you. Rather, let’s just say, we will attempt at one.
During an emergency or apocalyptic scenario, you want to be mobile, with fewer responsibilities outside of the family. With that said, cats, small dogs, reptiles, and rodents are among the best pets to have with you during a crisis.
Various factors will determine which pet is ideal for your situation. Let’s look at each of these factors and how they offer an advantage in a crisis. We will also mention some of the most common pet types that fall within each category.
Ease of Care
Every type of pet requires a different amount of time and effort to keep them alive and happy. When you choose a pet at the animal welfare or breeder or even the pet shop, you naturally make a couple of assessments before you buy.
One of these assessments includes how difficult it will be to take care of this animal. This can be broken down into the following categories:
- Time investment. This could be a catch-22 scenario, depending on the apocalypse situation. If we consider the COVID-19 lockdown, you probably had a lot of free time to spend with your pet while stuck at home if you were not ill. If you, however, did get ill or were in the hospital, a time-intensive pet would not have been very happy.
- Space and movement. Apocalyptic events typically feature lockdown or isolation of some sort, either at home or in a bunker, so an animal that requires a lot of space might find it very challenging to live in a confined area.
- Animal size. The animal’s size is also important here, as bigger animals make a mess more than smaller animals, and a small space with a lot of mess is not something any of us want to face.
- Monetary investment. If caring for your animal is very expensive, it may not be a great apocalypse pet as we could assume your access to money and resources would be limited.
- Health considerations. If medicine and veterinary visits are a monthly occurrence for your current pet, it may not hold up well in a crisis where access to medication and health services could be rare.
To put it simply, a small, inexpensive, healthy pet would be a good choice during a crisis. In this category, we would list cats, small dogs, and rodents—such as hamsters, mice, and rats—as good choices.
In a crisis or apocalyptic scenario, we may find ourselves in a position where we are unable to care for our pets. In such a scenario, a pet that can move about and fend for themselves would have much higher chances of survival. Animals that are permanently caged, such as most birds, reptiles, and fish, would most likely not survive.
Cats and dogs would fare well here if they can get out of the house, as they can hunt or search for food by themselves in a worst-case scenario. Reptiles can fend for themselves pretty well if they can escape, which they will need human intervention for.
If another person has to take care of your pet in a crisis, more independent pets will fare better with the decreased attention and care.
Resilience, or in this case, an animal’s ability to recover from difficulties, is as important for animals as it is for humans in a crisis. In an apocalyptic time, we and our animals may have to face hunger, loss, trauma, illness, pain, and even death.
An animal’s ability to bounce back in spirit from such events will greatly increase its—and even possibly your—chances of survival. We have all heard the story of the dog that relentlessly traveled hundreds of miles to find his owner, or to seek help, never giving up despite many obstacles.
Let’s not forget that cat with its nine lives or reptiles who have been around for millions or years. Lastly, we all know rodents are very resilient and can survive almost anywhere (despite a human’s effort to get rid of them).
This may seem like a strange category to include, but in a crisis, every little bit helps, and an animal that can pull its weight will certainly come in handy.
A dog that can follow basic orders and assist with keeping the family safe or protecting resources would be of great help. Dogs can also be trained to seek help in a crisis, and in some cases, they can even perform trips to the pharmacy or grocery store. Dogs also serve as companion animals—along with cats—and can support their owner emotionally during isolation or even illness.
Some even say that these animals can sense your mood and can respond by being more affectionate. Talking birds, such as parrots and parakeets, can also offer their owners emotional support, especially in isolation.
In conclusion, for the four categories discussed above, dogs and cats come in at number one with a tie. In the case of dogs, smaller breeds would probably be an easier choice to take care of in terms of food and space.
In close second would be reptiles. Even though they need a lot of care to keep healthy, they are very resilient. In third place would be rats and mice due to their ease of care.
This is, however, a very rough guide, and the fact is that, if you are a cat person, you will most likely not adopt a dog simply because they score high on the usefulness grid. Similarly, if you are allergic to cats and despise dogs, then some mice or a reptile will probably be your first choice. Let me know what you think—what is your top choice of a pet during a crisis?