When thinking of getting a pet for companionship, there are several things to take into consideration: maintenance, space, cost, and attention needed for the pet. People first need to decide how much time they have for maintaining of the pet. There are three main levels of maintenance: low maintenance, medium maintenance, and high maintenance.
Somebody who has little time might want to choose a pet that requires little maintenance. Pets that fall into this level are fish, ant farms, and worm farms. Requiring a minimal amount of attention daily, they can be fed and watered once a day. This type of pet in addition does not require any veterinarian care. This type of pet is unable to offer any comportment of companionship.
For a person who has a little more time for a pet, one requiring a medium amount of maintenance might work well. Birds, lizards, iguanas, snakes, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, hermit crabs, and turtles are pets that can be fed and watered in the morning and then in the evening there can be a little more extra care taken of them. Then once or twice a week the pet's accommodation needs to be cleaned. These pets usually require a minimal amount of veterinarian care. These pets are capable of offering some companionship.
Someone who has a great deal of time for maintenance of a pet might choose one that requires a high amount of maintenance. Cats, ferrets, and dogs are generally the type of pets in this level of maintenance. A cat needs water and food daily, their litter changed as needed and a little loving every day. A cat requires less attention than a dog would because cats do not need to get out and run as much as a dog would. Cats are content on prowling around the house while alone, going to the bathroom in a litter box, and rarely even needing to get out of the house.
Ferrets need a little more attention than a cat. Even though ferrets can be kept in a cage, they need time to run around out of the cage at least three hours a day. Ferrets are extremely curious, energetic pets, who will find holes that no one knew existed. They require careful supervision while out of their cage, as long as the house has been checked for hazards. Unlike puppies and kittens that "grow up," ferrets retain a kitten- or puppy- like personality most of their lives.
Dogs do not use litter boxes, unless trained to do so. If it is a housedog, there will be a need for the dog to be let out several times daily. Dogs need time out of the house to get their energy released, either by letting them run in the yard or by taking them on a walk. Dogs can stay in pens while alone at home during the day, but more than eight hours at a time -- every day -- is a little boring for the dog.
If someone is always on the go, dogs are a little more difficult to take care of. If a person is not home for ten to twelve hours and the dog is in a kennel, the dog can become rambunctious getting into trouble, but more for attention than for anything else. Somebody who works part time or has time to go home during lunch to let the dog out is a good candidate for a dog. Some dog owners have doggie doors allowing dogs to come in and out of the house without having to worry if somebody is home. The dog is able to get outside to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom as often as needed.
So someone's choice of pet depends on how much time they have for maintenance of the pet. The more someone is gone during the day, the less appropriate a high maintenance pet is. For somebody who is going to be home every night and wants a companion, cats are a great choice because they can be physically held and pet. In many ways, this could also be done with the pets that fall into the medium level of maintenance.