As all good Hogwarts students know, the school allows you to bring an owl, toad or cat along with you for your stay. Or in Ron’s case, an old rat. But who is the best pet from the wizarding world? Is it even fair to rank them? Probably not – but for a bit of fun, let’s do that!
Some ground rules first – we’re only counting actual pets, not animals being studied in Care of Magical Creatures or some of Hagrid’s other ‘friends’ such as Aragog the Acromantula. Also, seeing as Newt Scamander has a whole case full of creatures, we’ll only count Pickett the Bowtruckle as a pet, as he was usually with him at all times. Also, if we named them all, this list would be many miles long.
With these rules firmly established, on we go.
If we're starting off with our least favourite, that honour goes to Scabbers the rat, due to not actually being a rat, but an Animagus traitor in the form of Peter Pettigrew, who sparked a chain of events that led to the return of Lord Voldemort. Fair enough, wouldn’t you say?
Yes, little Scabbers may have been a Weasley staple for many years, becoming a hand-me-down pet for Ron from Percy, but as it quickly came to pass, it was a bit more complicated than that.
And even before we knew Scabbers was actually Pettigrew, was he even that great anyway? He usually just slept – and he didn’t even have the courtesy to turn yellow when Ron was testing some magic. Although, that might’ve been because Fred and George gave him a bogus spell...
Surely you all remember Binky! Lavender Brown’s rabbit who was tragically killed by a fox? And Lavender thought Professor Trelawney predicted his demise even though she just said something quite vague? Ah, yes, good old Binky. We hardly knew ye – hence why you are so far down this list.
All of Mrs Figg’s many, many cats
Mrs Figg’s secret life of a Squib and a confidant of Albus Dumbledore came as a shock to us all, but even more entertainingly, we found out that Mrs Figg’s cats served as her mini, fluffy spies. Yes, Mr Tibbles, Snowy, Mr Paws and Tufty weren’t just the innocent pets of an unknowing neighbour.
What’s more – Mrs Figg even had dealings with cross-breeding Kneazles; cat-type magical creatures with a knack for finding untrustworthy folks. Figgy was a furtive one.
He was purple, he was fluffy, he was called Arnold. What’s not to like? This was Ginny’s little companion, a miniature Puffskein (or Pygmy Puff), bred by Fred and George. We didn’t know much about Arnold, but we liked the sound of him.
This tiny owl was more like a feathery orb of energy, but we admired his enthusiasm greatly. Gifted to Ron from Sirius (as an apology for, you know, the whole Scabbers thing), Pigwidgeon joined the gang at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, affectionally nicknamed ‘Pig’ if he was being stupid – which he often was.
Despite being a latecomer, we warmed to Pigwidgeon greatly, even though he mostly annoyed Ron, but did so in an adorable, tiny-owl sort of way. And he was certainly more fun to have around than Scabbers...
The brilliant thing about Fang was the fact that despite being Hagrid’s loyal dog, he wasn’t daring, he wasn’t particularly helpful, he wasn’t really very brave, he was just a big slobbery boarhound.
Fang mostly spent his time waiting for Hagrid to come home, or getting excited if anyone else came to visit the hut. He was a dog of simple needs, but we loved him for it.
Poor old, ancient Errol was the Weasleys’ family owl – a grey, tired, bedraggled fellow who tried his best, bless him. Never forget the time Mrs Weasley sent Harry an enormous fruitcake and package of assorted pasties – when Errol consequently needed five days to recover from the ordeal. This guy was a trooper. Respect to our great owl veteran.
Norbert (later known as Norberta)
Never were the words, ‘But Hagrid, you live in a wooden house!’ so desperately needed to be heard. Nonetheless, this did not deter the gamekeeper from keeping an actual baby dragon (a Norwegian Ridgeback to be precise) in his home – possibly forgetting the fact it would grow up to be considerably larger. Norbert seemed adorable at first, all scaly and small, only emitting sparks here and there, but it wasn’t long before Harry, Ron and Hermione convinced Hagrid that Norbert wasn’t some sort of fire-breathing fluffy kitten – and he really, really had to go to Romania, like, now.
But for sheer comedy value, we give Norbert this noble placement, and for the fact he was one of the first magical creatures we met in Philosopher’s Stone.
Neville’s toad Trevor was a rebel with a cause. Just one cause: getting away from Neville as much as possible.
Fair play to Neville for shunning the more popular cat/owl choice, though – justice for toads!
This adorable Bowtruckle sent mass ‘awwwws’ throughout audiences worldwide upon the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And who can blame us? Newt’s little green, twiggy friend, who liked to live in his coat pocket, was just a total dude, and hopelessly devoted to Newt.
We couldn’t bear to see them apart – the thought was just too painful. Of all of Newt’s magical creature buddies, he was our pick of the bunch.
Buckbeak may have been large and unwieldly (a bit like Hagrid himself) but instantly won our hearts with his sass and class. The magnificent Hippogriff quickly became a fan-favourite, not least because he knew how to (literally) swipe back at Draco Malfoy, but also for his fervent faithfulness to Hagrid, and later Sirius. Big is beautiful, and Buckbeak was certainly that.
Trust Hermione to choose a cat that was almost as smart as her. Crookshanks, who is actually half cat, half Kneazle, practically saved the day in Prisoner of Azkaban, ‘ratting out’ Scabbers from the off, and was just generally immediately loveable. That big orange fur, that lovely squashy face, that inner wisdom, the fact he always seemed constantly exasperated by the surrounding humans: Crookshanks was an instant, fluffy legend.
How on earth did he stay cooped up in the Magical Menagerie for so long without an owner?!
A loyal pet is a wonderful thing, and you don’t get more loyal than Fawkes the Phoenix, who not only stayed true to Dumbledore ‘til the end – but was a symbol of hope for all at Hogwarts.
The gorgeous scarlet and gold bird, who has the power to die, then live again, is probably one of the most significant magical creatures there is, helping Harry in times of darkness with his healing tears and soothing song.
Was there ever any doubt? Sure, we’re biased. Sure, she was the main character’s pet so we saw her the most – but it’s difficult not to adore Hedwig, the gorgeous snowy owl who saw Harry through so many difficult days. (And Merlin knows how she managed to find a Sirius-in-hiding all those times!)
Hedwig wasn’t just an affectionate messenger with oodles of personality. She symbolised so much for Harry – and served as a gentle reminder of the wizarding world when he was trapped at the Dursleys’ over the summer holidays. When Hedwig tragically passed in Deathly Hallows, it was perhaps one of the cruellest blows of the lot – but as J.K. Rowling explained once, Hedwig had to die to represent the loss of Harry’s childhood.
And special thanks to: Hermes, Percy’s owl, Frank the Thunderbird, Fluffy the three-headed dog, who we’re not sure really counts as a pet, and of course, Newt’s gold-grabbing Niffler – a bit too independent to be deemed a pet, but nonetheless, a true hero among men. And Nifflers.
So, there we have it. A whole lot of pets – but in the end, we had to stay true to the late, great Hedwig. Who is your favourite pet? Who did we miss out? Who did we rank too low?
Let us know if we ruffled some feathers!