13

I don't recall any mention of an adult character in Harry Potter owning a familiar/pet (aside from family owls for SMS-ing) the way every Hogwarts schoolchild does.

The only example I recall of what happens to a pet that "graduated" Hogwarts was Percy's rat (aka Pettigrew in disguise) who was hand-me-downed on to Ron after Percy graduated - but that seems more a statement of how poor the Weasleys are (and a plot device to showcase Scabbers' longevity) than an example of what usually happens to pets.

So,

1) assuming that it's a pet who lives longer than his owner's graduation from Hogwarts, does canon indicate what typically happens to them once the owner becomes an adult?

2) is there canon info that owning pets/familiars is typical among adult witches and wizards?

  • This is a good question. I always thought familiars were used to enhance spells, by their presence or by supplying ingredients. They didn't seem to be used in this capacity at Hogwarts. – NiceOrc Sep 10 '13 at 4:30
19

While first years are only allowed an owl OR a cat OR a toad, but that is the original acceptance letter. There is nothing to suggest that later you can't get something better. Also, this rule doesn't appear to be followed, since Ron had a rat his first year.

1> Presumably they retain them after they graduate.

  • Percy received Hermes when he became prefect. A few years later (after graduating) he used Hermes to deliver a letter to Ron telling him not to trust Harry Potter.

2> Adults who appear to have familiars:

  • Dumbledore - Fawkes, the phoenix
  • Voldemort - Nagini, the snake; Basilisk, the basilisk.
  • Hagrid - Fang, the dog; Aragog, the acromantula; Buckbeak, the hippogriff; Fluffy, the Cerberus; Norbert, the dragon; Tenebrus, the thestral.
  • Morfin Gaunt - Snake
  • Arabella Figg - Cats (Mr. Paws, Mr. Tibbles, Snowy, Tufty)
  • Argus Filch - Mrs. Norris

That's assuming Parseltongue creatures that are kept around are considered pets / familiars. And maybe squibs don't count either (filthy squibs!).

  • 8
    I'm not sure who is the familiar in the case of Filch/Norris. – Ihor Sypko Sep 9 '13 at 19:40
  • 3
    I'm not sure Arabella Figg entirely counts, being a Squib and all. – Anthony Grist Sep 9 '13 at 21:05
  • 2
    Hagrid's animals seem to be more pets (Fang, Norbert) or animals he has the care of (Aragog, Buckbeak, Fluffy, Tenebrus) rather than familiars. He had Aragog at school, was he intended to be a familiar? – NiceOrc Sep 10 '13 at 4:33
17
+50

It seems just about certain they can keep their pets if they want.

There’s no information on if wizards typically keep their school pet after they graduate, but I don’t see any reason to think they wouldn’t, especially if they liked their pet.

Percy kept his pet owl.

Percy Weasley kept the owl he got as a present when he’d become a prefect, even after he’d graduated, moved out of the Burrow, and had a fairly good job at the Ministry of Magic. He’d already fallen out with his family (who bought him his owl) and could probably afford a new owl with his Ministry salary by then if he wanted, but he nevertheless kept his pet.

“Hermione was pointing to the nearest window. Harry and Ron both looked over. A handsome screech owl was standing on the windowsill, gazing into the room at Ron.

‘Isn’t that Hermes?’ said Hermione, sounding amazed.

‘Blimey, it is!’ said Ron quietly, throwing down his quill and getting to his feet. ‘What’s Percy writing to me for?”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)

Harry almost certainly planned to keep Hedwig.

Harry kept Hedwig after he knew he wouldn’t be going back to Hogwarts. Hedwig died soon after, but Harry seemed to have every intention of keeping her. He took her with him when leaving the Dursleys.

“Harry hurried into the hall to fetch his rucksack, Firebolt and Hedwig’s cage before joining the others in the dark back garden. On every side broomsticks were leaping into hands; Hermione had already been helped up on to a great, black Thestral by Kingsley; Fleur on to the other by Bill.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)

She was hit by a Killing Curse and Harry was devastated, which shows he would be very unlikely to give her up just because he was no longer in school.

“Wait a moment,’ said Hagrid, looking around. ‘Harry, where’s Hedwig?’

‘She … she got hit,’ said Harry.

The realisation crashed over him: he felt ashamed of himself as the tears stung his eyes. The owl had been his companion, his one great link with the magical world whenever he had been forced to return to the Dursleys.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)

Hermione probably planned to keep Crookshanks.

Hermione also had Crookshanks at the Burrow after she knew she wouldn’t be going back to Hogwarts, though she didn’t take him on their camping trip/ Horcrux hunt.

“The silence was shattered as the bedroom door flew open with a wall-shaking crash. Hermione shrieked and dropped Secrets of the Darkest Art; Crookshanks streaked under the bed, hissing indignantly; Ron jumped off the bed, skidded on a discarded Chocolate Frog wrapper and smacked his head on the opposite wall, and Harry instinctively dived for his wand before realising that he was looking up at Mrs Weasley, whose hair was dishevelled and whose face was contorted with rage.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

Hermione was preparing to leave on the camping trip when we see Crookshanks last, and she didn’t have him with her then. It’s likely she left him at the Burrow, but probably still intended to keep him. She was also quite attached to him, so it’s unlikely she wouldn’t want him back after the war was over.

Ron likely planned to keep Pigwidgeon.

Ron also had Pigwidgeon with him at the Burrow, after he already knew he was quitting school for a Horcrux hunt, so wouldn’t have been planning to go back to Hogwarts.

“Harry opened his eyes. He was lying again on the camp bed in Ron’s dingy attic room. The sun had not yet risen and the room was still shadowy. Pigwidgeon was asleep with his head under his tiny wing.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)

Ron also presumably left Pigwidgeon at the Burrow for safekeeping, but didn’t seem to have any intention to not keep him.

Neville had his toad, Trevor, until at least his sixth year at Hogwarts, but Trevor isn’t ever mentioned after that. (Neville is also the only one we see with a toad - no other named students or adult wizards have one.)

We do see adults with pets whether or not they’re from Hogwarts.

Adult wizards do sometimes have owls for sending messages, but some also have some more unusual pets.

The Malfoys had a peacock.

In addition to their eagle owl, the Malfoys also had at least one peacock.

“The yew hedges muffled the sound of the men’s footsteps. There was a rustle somewhere to their right: Yaxley drew his wand again, pointing it over his companion’s head, but the source of the noise proved to be nothing more than a pure white peacock, strutting majestically along the top of the hedge.

‘He always did himself well, Lucius. Peacocks …’ Yaxley thrust his wand back under his cloak with a snort.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

The Potters had a cat.

The Potters had a cat, which may have been one of their pets at Hogwarts, since they were young enough to have a living pet from their school days, though neither of them were mentioned as having a cat at Hogwarts.

“You know it only rises about two feet off the ground, but he nearly killed the cat and he smashed a horrible vase Petunia sent me for Christmas (no complaints there).”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher’s Tale)

Newt Scamander had three Kneazles.

Newt Scamander had three pet Kneazles. Though it’s never specifically mentioned, his are likely “pure” Kneazles, unlike Hermione’s cat.

“Newt Scamander was awarded the Order of Merlin, Second Class, in 1979 in recognition of his services to the study of magical beasts, Magizoology. Now retired, he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly, and Mauler.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

There are some other adult wizards who have pets as well - the Dark Lord has a snake (Nagini), Dumbledore has a phoenix (Fawkes), Hagrid has an entire menagerie of magical creatures of varying degrees of legality, and there may still be other named adult wizards who have pets that I haven’t listed.

Some magical creatures can be pets (likely by adult wizards).

In addition, some magical creatures can legally be kept as pets. Most of these were never owned by any named wizards in the series, but they’re confirmed as legal pets in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The majority of these magical creatures don’t seem like anything a Hogwarts student (or even homeschooled magical child) would have as a pet, so the fact that these creatures would be kept as pets shows that at least some wizards own pets as adults. It seems a safe presumption that most of them would be owned by adult wizards, as there are often more requirements in caring for them, such as maintaining certain spells.

Crups:

Despite their viciousness towards Muggles, Crups can be kept as pets by wizards who prove they can control one.

“Crup licences may be obtained from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures on completion of a simple test to prove that the applicant wizard is capable of controlling the Crup in Muggle-inhabited areas. Crup owners are legally obliged to remove the Crup’s tail with a painless Severing Charm while the Crup is six to eight weeks old, lest Muggles notice it.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fire Crabs:

Fire Crabs shoot fire out of their rear ends, but can be kept as pets with a license.

“Fire crabs are exported as pets but a special licence is necessary.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fwoopers:

Fwoopers are another creature that can be kept but only by licensed owners.

“Though at first enjoyable, Fwooper song will eventually drive the listener to insanity8 and the Fwooper is consequently sold with a Silencing Charm upon it, which will need monthly reinforcement. Fwooper owners require licences, as the creatures must be handled responsibly.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Ghouls:

Ghouls aren’t generally bought as pets, but families who have a ghoul sometimes choose to make it their pet.

“A Ghoul Task Force exists at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to remove ghouls from dwellings that have passed into Muggle hands, but in wizarding families the ghoul often becomes a talking point or even a family pet.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hippogriffs:

Hippogriffs can be owned legally, once their owner properly conceals them from Muggles.

“Those who own a Hippogriff, for example, are bound by law to enchant the beast with a Disillusionment Charm to distort the vision of any Muggle who may see it. Disillusionment Charms should be performed daily, as their effects are apt to wear off.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Kneazles:

Kneazles are considered (at least by Newt, who has three himself) to be quite good pets if they like their owners. They require a license, but Hermione would likely not have needed one since she and the shop owner thought she was buying a cat.

“A small catlike creature with flecked, speckled, or spotted fur, outsize ears, and a tail like a lion’s, the Kneazle is intelligent, independent, and occasionally aggressive, though if it takes a liking to a witch or wizard, it makes an excellent pet. The Kneazle has an uncanny ability to detect unsavoury or suspicious characters and can be relied upon to guide its owner safely home if they are lost. Kneazles have up to eight kittens in a litter and can interbreed with cats. Licences are required for ownership as (like Crups and Fwoopers) Kneazles are sufficiently unusual in appearance to attract Muggle interest.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Puffskeins:

Puffskeins are actually easy to take care of, and are a very popular pet.

“Spherical in shape and covered in soft, custard-coloured fur, it is a docile creature that has no objection to being cuddled or thrown about. Easy to care for, it emits a low humming noise when contented.
...
This tendency has made the Puffskein much beloved by wizarding children for many generations and it remains a highly popular wizarding pet.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Runespoors:

Runespoors were kept as pets by Dark wizards, though it’s unclear since these were Dark wizards and in the past, whether this is actually legal.

“The Runespoor, though not in itself a particularly vicious beast, was once a favourite pet of Dark wizards, no doubt because of its striking and intimidating appearance. It is to the writings of Parselmouths who have kept and conversed with these serpents that we owe our understanding of their curious habits.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Streelers:

Streelers are snail-like creatures that can change colors, and that ability is the main thing that makes it interesting as a pet.

“The Streeler is native to several African countries, though it has been successfully raised by wizards in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It is kept as a pet by those who enjoy its kaleidoscopic colour changes, and its venom is one of the few substances known to kill Horklumps.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Winged Horses:

Winged horses are, once concealed from Muggles, allowed as pets.

“As with the Hippogriff, the owner of a winged horse is required to perform a Disillusionment Charm upon it at regular intervals (see Introduction).”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Many of these creatures would be fairly difficult pets, so it’s likely they’d be owned by adult wizards, especially since there are often licenses required and the Ministry would be less likely to give them to children. (Also, it’s unlikely that Hogwarts would allow their students to bring a Hippogriff to school with them.) The only magical creature that’s mentioned as a good pet for children is the Puffskein.

5

From what I understand, Errol has been in the Weasley family for a very long time. Errol is a very old bird, and you could infer that he's old enough to have been either Molly's or Arthur's owl while they were in at least their sixth year at Hogwarts. However, there is no proof to be found that Errol was bought before Arthur or Molly left Hogwarts. Still, the Weasleys must have gotten him before Fred and George were born, or he wouldn't be so old. Also, Hermes was given to Percy in his fifth year, and Percy still had him after he left Hogwarts. Scabbers was another pet that lasted long after his first owner left. However, these are all just examples from the Weasley family. I do not know of any other families who've kept their owls, cats, or toads after they have left Hogwarts.

0

Warning: no explicit canon support, just speculation.

I think that every wizard family have at least an owl, for their postal work. Even the Weasleys have an old one. I guess a man living on hiw own like Slughorn would have one for his convenience. Yes, there are other ways of communicating, like the floo powder, but I guess it's more expensive than just ink and paper (please don't start a debate on the cost of feeding an owl, Hedwige can hunt on her own when needed)

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