As we learned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, first year students are encouraged to bring a small animal along with them for their time at Hogwarts. While all of the conventional pets are represented throughout the series, the advantages and disadvantages of each is barely touched upon. What significance would each pet have on a student’s experience at Hogwarts?
Owl: The owl is the most popular type of animal among Hogwarts students and is the sidekick to the novels’ protagonist; this may be because having an owl as a pet is highly useful for the purpose of delivering mail to and from the student. Also, owls have the independence to help them hunt and provide themselves with food, which would save the owner the trouble of buying it food. Despite their utility and convenience, owls have several disadvantages as well. While their independence is helpful in some circumstances, it would also cause them to be away from their owner at many times, so an owl is not the best choice for a student who seeks companionship. Many owls are not as friendly as other pets, so they would not be a strong match for a student who is looking for a pet to cuddle and dote upon.
Cat: Like owls, some cats can be very independent, while other cats can be highly reliant on their owners. One substantial benefit to owning a cat at Hogwarts is the fact that they can be trained relatively easily; this would prevent a great deal of clean-ups. With an “outdoor” cat, a student would experience a similar separation from their animal as owl owners, but with an “indoor” cat, the student would be extremely close to their animal. Unlike owls, cats can be slept with and played with, providing more of a companionship than with an owl. Although a cat would be more transportable than an owl, it would still be difficult to bring a cat to class and the Great Hall due to its size.
Rat: With the exception of Scabbers, most rats would be easy to maintain and care for. Rats are small enough to carry in one’s pockets, so a student could bring a rat with them around school. However, rats are difficult to train and would therefore cause a great deal of accidents, which would be inconvenient to clean up. Also, rats do not live for as long as cats and owls (again, with the exception of Scabbers), so it most likely would not last the duration of one’s Hogwarts career.
Toad: Toads are relatively rare at Hogwarts. Like rats, toads can be easily transported but would also be nearly impossible to train and would not live as long as larger pets. Along with this, many students may not feel comfortable touching or being around an amphibian, so this pet may not be as favorable with other students as the others.
Each pet has advantages and disadvantages that are dealbreakers in terms of which one a student should choose. Which pet would you bring to Hogwarts with you?