So you want a Meerkat?

The decision to welcome a meerkat into your home is not one to take lightly. Allow us to guide your choice with this helpful list of the pros and cons of living with a meerkat!

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

  •  Meerkats are cute and fluffy.
  • The primary aim of any house meerkat is to eat your bathroom sealant, dig up your grouting, wee on anything that could stain, chew through the essential parts of your fridge and other electronics, and tunnel through your carpets.
  • Some meerkats can be house trained.
  • Most meerkats are not able to be house trained. They can usually be relied upon to figure out where is the first place you are likely to tread when you walk through the door, though.
  • Meerkats are very affectionate and loving to family members.
  • Male meerkats are extremely affectionate and will go off with anyone. In fact, an un-neutered male will spend most of its time getting extremely affectionate with your arm, and will get pretty cross when you try to dissuade him.
    A female meerkat will be very affectionate to people she knows and loves, and will attempt to kill anyone she doesn't. She will hide on the back of the sofa and go for the throat of your guest when they are least expecting it. Friends are hard to keep.
  • Meerkats are very small. Much smaller than a cat. Therefore when your female meerkat tries to maim the postman, the tesco delivery man, and any visitors to the house she is not already intimately aquainted with you probably won't get sent to jail.
  • Getting your post will be tricky in future, though.
  • House meerkat bites don't seem to get infected.
  • Meerkats have very large teeth for their size. Your meerkat will on occasion bite clean through your hand, just because he is feeling somewhat out of sorts today. It hurts. A lot.
  • Meerkats are very clever.
  • Therefore they wait until you leave the room before carefully dismantling your laptop piece by piece and weeing on the remains. They are very stubborn and once they decide to destroy something they can not be sucessfully distracted until it's finished.
  • Meerkats are cuddly and playful.
  • And clingy and annoying. They never leave you alone. Attempts to go to the bathroom in peace and quiet are met by tactical bathroom raids, barking and screeching outside the door, attempts to tunnel through the door, and general hysteria and panic.
  • Meerkats eat spiders and other insects.
  • Meerkats eat insects, but they don't eat the legs. These they leave strewn liberally around your house. They also eat pot plants.
  • Meerkats are very social.
  • They cannot be left alone. Ever... And considering that your female tried to disembowel the last sitter you left them with it's going to be tricky when you want to go on holiday. Don't think you can bung them in a cage either, they go quite quite mad being caged up.
    (Mad meerkats are just not as much fun as they sound.)
  • A meerkat costs less than, say, an elephant.
  • But a hell of a lot more than a hamster. In all of startup costs, house repairs, and lawsuits. And they steal all your haribo.

 

Here's a photo of my hand immediately after a meerkat bite (I washed the blood off first). You can see there are a lot of small puncture wounds, but they go deep, as you can see from the swelling. If the meerkat wanted to it would rip (remember, they like me!). After this, the hand becomes very bruised and takes about a week to go down.