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What Small Pets Are Affectionate?

Last Updated: 27.02.20


From guinea pigs, hamsters and chinchillas to ferrets, gerbils and rats, the world of small pets is full of affectionate creatures looking for a place to call home and an owner to love. You can find more info here about these pets and the ways in which they express their affection to humans.


Guinea pigs

As far as small pets are concerned, guinea pigs are among the most popular ones right now and for a good reason. They are very easy to look after, cute, and they can be very affectionate. The amount of affection you can get from these pets depends a lot on the behavior of the owner.

If you are a person that is gentle to these critters and patient enough to wait until they adapt to their new home, you should end up with a very affectionate animal. If, on the other hand, you lack the patience and you are not as gentle with your guinea pig, you can risk making it feel in danger and become afraid of you.

From a scientific point of view, guinea pigs are indeed shown to be affectionate animals since they live in very bonded groups. This is why, if you find that your critter is not affectionate and you have treated it gently, the reason for this could be that it is missing interaction with a group. The more guinea pigs you have, the happier each pet will be.

Above all, you need to know that guinea pigs are prey animals (even if they may look cute and cuddly), so it is in their nature to be in a constant state of fear. This is why the first weeks together are the most important, and you should leave them to settle in their home and get to know their surroundings.

Talk to them but do it softly so that they don’t get scared of you and let them sniff and lick your fingers through the bars. You will need to be careful during the first days since they might mistake your fingers for food, or get scared and bite.

Overall, guinea pigs can get very affectionate but they do require a bit of work. As long as you are always gentle and careful that you don’t freak them out, the bond between the owner and the pet will soon become very strong.




While it may be hard to picture rats as affectionate pets since they tend to be presented as foul creatures in popular culture, they are actually very friendly, clean, and affectionate. Rat lovers worldwide can attest against the disease-ridden reputation that their favorite pets have, and will quickly show to any potential new owner just how playful, clean and smart they are.

Domesticated rats are very different from wild rats, and comparing the two is similar to comparing a dog to a wild wolf. Rats are less likely to bite than hamsters and guinea pigs, and just as cats they spend a lot of time grooming themselves, not to mention that they are also a lot tidier than guinea pigs.

The bond between a pet rat and their owner is very strong, and if you want to keep them happy it is best to buy them as a pair since these rodents are social animals that need companionship.

Rats are also very smart, which makes them very easy to train since they are so eager to learn and adapt. They will quickly learn to see you as a friend and because they like finding warmth and shelter, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if cuddling your new pet will soon become your favorite activity.



Because they are nocturnal pets that are often the first choice for young children looking for a critter to look after, people can be surprised to learn just how affectionate hamsters can be and how much they thrive on human interaction. The only thing that is difficult is to gain their trust.

Hamsters can’t connect with a large number of people the way other pets can, instead they are most happy when spending time with just one and sometimes two owners. The critter will know the owner by his or her smell and be very fearful of those it does not recognize.

Because they are so tiny, it can be difficult to learn how to show affection to them and realize when they are reciprocating the love. You can start by gently stroking the fur of your hamster in just one direction, or handing it some vegetables or pieces of non-sugary cereal.

In turn, the pet will begin to perch on the owner’s shoulder and many hamsters love to sleep in shirt pockets so that they can be close to their human friend. Hamsters will often show when they want to interact with you by standing up on their hind legs when they hear your voice or when they can smell you near the cage.



These mischievous and sweet pets are undeniably adorable, playful, curious and affectionate. Watching ferrets play is a joy in itself, but once you join in on the fun, these small pets are guaranteed to lift your mood no matter what. Because they are so full of energy and verve, you will need to provide them with plenty of ferret toys.

Because ferrets are very sociable, it is recommended to have more than one critter but that is not as essential, such as in the case of guinea pigs. With that said, having more than one is not good just for the other pet, but for the owner too since the fun factor will be increased.

Even when they do have another ferret to socialize and play with, they still crave attention from the owner. Many ferret owners describe them as very friendly and affectionate animals, and some are amazed at how smart they are.

These critters are very good at adapting and solving problems, and once they have something that needs to be figured out, they will show surprising persistence. This is why when playing with your ferrets it is best to use challenging games, puzzles, and toys.



You shouldn’t let yourself be fooled by the gerbils you see in pet shops because these pets need to feel comfortable with their owner before they show any sign of affection. They are prey animals so it is normal for them to be skeptical and scared of humans.

If they have been bred well and they become used with the owner, gerbils can be very affectionate rodents. When they are happy they purr like a cat, and you can even feel them vibrating in your hand.

It is important to get your gerbil from good, reputable breeders since the critters that you usually find in pet shops are not handled well, and it is not unusual for them to bite and even run from humans.




While it is true that chinchillas do not like to cuddle, they are still very loving with their owners even if they show it in their own way. If possible, you should leave them out of their cages since they are naturally curious and they enjoy spending their time exploring their environment.

Chinchillas are also the perfect pet for people who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the care of their furry pal during the day. Chinchillas spend most of their day sleeping, so you can go to work without feeling guilty since the pet will be resting happily in its hut.

Unlike other rodents which have a lifespan of just a few years, chinchillas have an average lifespan of 10-15 years, and some can even live up to reach 20 years. This means that you can have a much deeper and long-lasting relationship with your pet chinchillas.




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Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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