Out with the fur, in with the scales

Fish are much better pets than your whiskered pals


Fish are superior to cats and dogs in every way.

I know you might disagree –– let me tell you why you’re wrong. 

Don’t you hate it when you come home to find your goldfish puked on the rug again? And isn’t it especially irksome when your betta fish’s incessant barking at 4 a.m. keeps you awake? 

Of course not.

Because only cats and dogs do these awful things.

In addition to soiling your floors and ruining your sleeping schedule, your furry friends inflict allergic reactions, break items around the house and rack up one heck of a bill throughout their lengthy lifetimes. 

Meanwhile, your aquatic angels rest peacefully and harmlessly in their aquarium.

Fish, unlike their furry counterparts, don’t adhere to the rigid rules and restrictions of the mammal world. 

Fishkeeping yields a plethora of options, sure to suit anyone’s preferences. You can choose from vibrant saltwater fish or earthy freshwater fish, pond fish or tropical fish, aggressive fish or community fish, the list goes on.

With dogs, you essentially have the option for a brown one or a slightly larger and less brown one. With cats? Do you want one with fur or without fur? 

Seems a bit boring to me. 

I’m a man with taste who appreciates interesting options and possibilities, so obviously I prefer fish. But if you’re content with being simple and dull, then go ahead and stick with your mammals. 

Aquatic animals are also just better to look at in every way, too.

With options like a mandarinfish, a discus, a lionfish, an ornate polypterus or a black ghost knife, that can all be kept in anyone’s home, it’s impossible to see why people would choose other options. 

Not to mention, feasting your eyes on your aquarium’s beauty doesn’t only provide countless hours of enjoyment, but it also benefits your health. 

Observing fish’s eloquent and alien-like motion through water is proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. This is why doctor’s offices often feature large aquariums. At any rate though, watching fish is sure to be more pleasurable and healthier than watching your cat lick its genitals for 12 minutes. 

Owning a dog or a cat is stressful, and no one needs to add more stress to their already busy life. You’ve got to remember to feed them, walk them, take them outside so they don’t poop on your floor, change their litter boxes, groom them, play with them and even plan for someone to take care of them if you plan to leave your house for more than 24 hours. 

Sure, with fish there are similar, but still less taxing, responsibilities to avoid neglecting your pet. You’ll have to populate the aquarium with plants, rocks and other decor, for both form and function, as well as perform routine water changes. But the latter chore takes mere minutes to complete, and decorating –– or aquascaping, as hobbyists call it –– is one of the best parts of fishkeeping. 

You’re able to create an entire world of your own, shaping it and maintaining it like a Zen garden inhabited by all of the fish of your choosing. It is a wonderful feeling. 

Fish are also inexpensive in comparison to the massive money pit that is cat or dog ownership.

Yes, there is the sunk cost of purchasing the tank, tank stand, lighting, filtration, decor, food, water treatments and of course the fish. But if you opt for a modest setup of a 30-gallon aquarium, you’ll spend, at most, $350 or $400. 

After that initial investment though, it can cost just $150 a year to keep your fish happy and healthy, according to Geico Living. That’s just $12.50 a month, a bargain. 

So, what does it cost to own a cat or a dog? Well, you’d better open up your wallet for that. 

If you buy from a respected breeder, the average puppy will run you $300-1,500, depending on how posh you want your fluffy friend to be. Annually, that dog will suck over $1,000 from you, according to Geico Living. 

The feline figures don’t improve much, either. A purebred kitten will run you $300-1,200. Again, that price difference is depending on how much better you want your cat to be than your neighbor’s. Geico Living states that you’ll drop an annual $900 on your cat from food, medical bills, kenneling, toys and whatever else you may need. Roughly $15,000 for an animal that will inevitably cough up a hairball on your bed. What a waste.

Finally, to address the elephant in the room, cats and dogs die.

After being a member of the family for many years, one day your pet will die and everyone will be an emotional mess. Now, I am not implying that fish are immortal. That would be silly. Fish die too, but that experience is quite different. Maybe you’ll shed a tear or two while you flush Bubbles the goldfish down the toilet, but that’s it. 

No moping for months or paying for a costly cremation.

And no emotionally scarred children abruptly confronted with the idea of death. 

With a fish, you can go pick up another tiger barb or two for $3 a pop and the world keeps on spinning. 

It is about time fish and aquariums get the respect and adoration they deserve from the pet fandom. For too long they have been outshined by the gleam of funny cat videos and boop-snootin’ pups. But the feline and canine reign of terror is over. 

So just accept the fact that fish are better pets than cats and dogs and be on the correct side of history and give in to our glorious gilled overlords.

The opinion desk can be reached at opinion@ubspectrum.com.