Introduction: So you think you're ready to care for a Pokemon. Pokemon are magnificent creatures, more powerful and intelligent than regular animals. Each one has its own specific needs and abilities. Some Pokemon are small and gentle, perfect as household pets. Others are incredibly dangerous and powerful and require a trainer who has years of experience. The Pokemon that is right for you could be any of these. Why take advice from me? Well, as a former champion of the Hoenn league, a coordinator, breeder, and collector, I think I've got enough experience under my belt. I've worked with most species of Pokemon at some time or another, and I've been around the block a few times. You can trust me to tell you which Pokemon would make good pets for small children, and which Pokemon would be more comfortable in the battling arena. Each Pokemon has its own health, food, and housing needs. You have to have someone to show you the way, give you the info you need to make sure your Pokemon is happy and healthy. I can be that person. Remember, however long your journey with your Pokemon lasts, and whether it be a journey across continents or a journey around town, your Pokemon is a loyal companion, who will love and protect you, if you're willing to do the same. Pleasant journeys!

Evelyn "Gambler" Porter

First Pokemon: For those of you first getting started on their life long adventure with Pokemon, you'll want a Pokemon that's less work, safer to be around, and requires less experience than some of the more powerful Pokemon. Also, if you're busy and want a Pokemon that's easier to take care of, then you'll want to take a look at this section as well. Many of the following are Normal Type, as when elemental powers become involved, things require a lot more care. While all Pokemon are dangerous to a degree, these are all much less likely to injure or permanently disfigure you.

Rattata

Size: 6" at the shoulder, 1' long including the tail, 7.7 pounds

Native Habitat: Common in Kanto and Johto, rarer in Sinnoh, but still able to be found without too much trouble.

Behavior: Rattata are very nervous creatures and aren't as affectionate as many other Pokemon. When you first get yours, please realize that they aren't used to being handled at first. It may take a while to condition them to being held. If you over do it, they can and will bite or scratch you. It is inadvisable to let them play with larger Pokemon, as they are a common prey animal for many predators. Your Rattata will never be as intelligent or loyal as a larger Pokemon, but they are fairly easy to care for and they can be rewarding as pets. While I've never been a fan of Rattata, a friend of mine had his from the time he was very young. While he didn't battle with it often, it eventually evolved into a Raticate and became one of the strongest Pokemon on his team. Remember, Rattata should be kept away from children under eight years old, as they may be unable to fight the temptation to pull its tail, which is likely to result in them being bitten.

Food: Like rats and mice, Rattata will eat almost anything. However, they are healthiest when fed on a diet of grains and berries. Rattata may occasionally enjoy table scraps, but be careful not to overdo it. Lastly, Rattata will need something to chew on, to wear down their constantly growing teeth. A simple piece of wood will work, but be sure that it's sanded so Rattata won't get hurt by splinters and that there are no pesticides on it.

Housing: For their own wellbeing, it is suggested that Rattata normally be kept in a good sized cage with a closed top. The cage should be a minimum of 6'X6' for each Rattata, to allow the Rattata room to move around and play. Make sure that there are no cracks or gaps in the cage as Rattata are adept at finding ways to get through even the smallest imperfections in their enclosures.

Other Tips: Wild Rattata and those obtained at questionable Pokemon supply stores may carry diseases. Be aware that if your new pet/companion has watery eyes, a mucus-covered nose, or blood in their urine or stool, that they might be carrying dangerous pathogens. Take them to a Pokemon Center straight away. I would also advise against evolving Ratatta if you do not plan to use it for competitive battling. Raticate are much more aggressive, require more space and exercise, and live longer. An unevolved Rattata will live up to ten years if taken care of well, and a Raticate may live twice as long.

Meowth

Size: 6" at the shoulder standing on four legs, 1' standing on hind legs, 1'04" long including tail, 9.3 pounds

Native Habitat: Common in Kanto and Johto, introduced into Sinnoh

Behavior: Meowth are normally very quiet and easy going, making them excellent first Pokemon for children and a good choice for someone living somewhere with limited space. They are independent, not needing too much care, but are still welcome to affection from their owners. They are naturally nocturnal, but will become diurnal once exposed to humans for a few months. It should be noted that they can injure and kill small Pokemon such as Rattata or Pidgey, though this behavior can be trained out of them with some difficulty. They can be taught to use a litter box, just like cats, though they prefer that it be hidden very well. Meowth are also much more intelligent than the average cat. They can understand human speech and will respond to commands (if they're in the mood to, of course). They have an unfortunate habit of stealing shiny things, but supplying them with a few small coins, candy wrappers, and even costume jewelry should satisfy their hoarding instinct for the most part. Meowth are very jealous creatures, and if you plan on having multiple Pokemon, you should get them at the same time, so that Meowth will be used to them. If new babies (or significant others for that matter) are brought into the house, make sure your Meowth gets extra attention, so it won't feel left out.

Food: Meowth are carnivorous and should mainly be fed Pokemon food specifically designed for carnivorous Pokemon. As a treat, they enjoy pieces of chicken, turkey, and tuna, but giving them red meats should be avoided. Though they are primarily predators, Meowth will occasionally eat fruits to add other kinds of nutrients to their diet.

Housing: A Meowth can be allowed free roam of your home or apartment, as long as you've carefully hidden anything shiny that might catch their eye. If you have a yard or large property, Meowth can be let outside without too much worry for their safety. Unlike common house cats, Meowth is fairly adept at fighting off dogs and other much larger Pokemon and animals.

Other Tips: Meowth are very tame and are unlikely to bite or scratch, unless they are harassed for too long. Their evolution, however, is a different story. Persian is a much bigger Pokemon and is commonly used for contests and street battling. It is common for Persian to accidentally injure their trainers because they are unused to their own size. A Meowth will live for twenty to twenty five years if left unevolved; a Persian can live from thirty five to forty.

Eevee

Size: 8" tall at the shoulder, 1' long including their tail, 14.3 pounds

Native Habitat: Very rare in the wild, they can be found in one or two places in Kanto, and a small population has been introduced into Sinnoh, but for the most part they are found through breeders and stores.

Behavior: In my opinion, Eevee is the best Pokemon for first time owners. They are common enough as pets that it is easy to find medical care and food for them, they're highly affectionate, yet low maintenance, and until they evolve, they're only about as strong as a large dog. Eevee shares characteristics with both cats and dogs. It seems to have the best features of both. Eevee can be litter box trained, or taken for walks, and it can pick up commands very quickly. Young children often amuse themselves by teaching their Eevee tricks. I would also suggest that an Eevee be gifted to any child that shows an interest in becoming a trainer. Eevee will help them learn to train and care for Pokemon, but won't be able to injure them. Eevee can bite their trainers, but not with any more force than a cat or small dog. If you later decide to go into competitive battling, evolving your Eevee will be a necessity, but the stones for their evolutions are easily found at many stores, if slightly on the expensive side. Note that two of Eevee's evolutions, Umbreon and Espeon, are spontaneous and require no stones. If you do not wish for your Eevee to evolve, you can simply tell them this; Eevee are thought to be as intelligent as a seven or eight year old child.

Food: True to their vulpine appearance, Eevee are omnivorous. There are many Eevee food mixes sold at Pokemon stores, but these mixes are usually generic carnivore diets with a picture of an Eevee slapped on the bag. While it's alright to feed them these, you should supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Each Eevee has its own preferences, but a common favorite is apples.

Housing: Eevee is incredibly affectionate, and while they should be allowed outside to play when they need exercise, it is important that they spend the majority of their time around their human family. Eevee enjoy sleeping with their owners and will make decent guard Pokemon, if only because their growl sounds very threatening. Eevee are also very curious, and will try to wiggle into small spaces to explore. Make sure to keep an eye on your Eevee, so that it won't get into trouble.

Other Tips: Eevee need plenty of exercise to be happy and should be played with and taken for walks regularly. Unlike a dog, Eevee do not need leashes, and to my knowledge there is no area that enforces Pokemon leash laws. Eevee also need to be brushed frequently, as their long fur can become matted and filled with vegetation and dirt. Though they may seem very cat-like, Eevee actually enjoy the water to a certain degree. They cannot swim, however, and shouldn't be placed in water higher than their head. Eevee will live for up to thirty years, and it can live longer depending on what it's evolved into. There has been a recorded case of an Umbreon reaching sixty three!

Caterpie

Size: 5" tall, 1' long, 6.4 pounds

Native Habitat: Common in Kanto and Johto, very rare in Sinnoh and Unova.

Behavior: In all honesty, Caterpie is not a very exciting Pokemon. Their intelligence is about the same as a chihuhua's, meaning that they can understand a few basic commands, and can recognize their owners. Caterpie doesn't require much attention, or much of anything at all. Caterpie will be content to sit around all day eating leaves and making nests for itself out of the webbing it produces. Most children will be bored with it and the Caterpie will end up sitting in a back corner. However, that isn't to say that Caterpie is a bad Pokemon. If you are interested in becoming a trainer, Caterpie isn't a bad choice to have on a starting team. If trained on a regular basis, it will eventually evolve into Butterfree. While not the strongest Pokemon, Butterfree is a fair choice on any team if used correctly, and it doesn't take much battling for Caterpie to evolve. Note that Caterpie doesn't really like being played with, but if you have a small child, it certainly won't hurt it for it to be included in tea parties and the like. Just make sure that Caterpie is comfortable around every member of your family, including other Pokemon, as when they are frightened, they can release a truly horrible smell from the antennae on their head.

Food: Caterpie eats almost nothing but leaves and flowers (its favorite being the Vermillion flower, which is easy to obtain if you live in central Kanto). They may also occasionally eat fruit, but it's not necessary for them to eat any.

Housing: Caterpie should be kept in a tank (an aquarium tank with some rocks and things would be fine) at least a few feet wide and long. Caterpie doesn't need very much space, as long as it can move around to adjust its silk spinning. When there are people around, it can be taken out and left on a couch or lap. It probably won't move from that spot very much if you give it a pile of leaves.

Other Tips: Caterpie is incredibly low maintenance, but this is one Pokemon I would advise that you evolve. In its unevolved state, Caterpie only lives a couple years. Even if you don't have the necessary space to take care of a Butterfree, you should at least allow Caterpie to evolve into a Metapod, extending its lifespan by a decade. Metapod is even easier to take care of than Caterpie (see below).

Metapod

Size: 2'04" long, 8" wide at the widest point, 21.8 pounds

Native Habitat: Can be found in Kanto and Johto, though it's harder to find than Caterpie. It can rarely be found in the White Forest area of Unova.

Behavior: While Metapod can technically move, it almost never will; if threatened it will simply harden its shell. Any children or small Pokemon you have will almost certainly be unable to hurt it, unless they take a flamethrower to it. Metapod will mostly just sit wherever you put it. They are more intelligent than Caterpie, but by how much it isn't known. If you go out for a few hours, your Metapod would probably appreciate being left on the couch with the TV on.

Food: Metapod doesn't have a mouth and doesn't require food. You can occasionally dribble a few drops of water on its shell, which it will absorb.

Housing: You can keep Metapod in the tank you had it in as a Caterpie, leave it on a soft surface, or even let it sleep with you. Metapod won't get into any trouble, and may even appreciate being covered up with a blanket occasionally. It's bigger than Caterpie, but even in apartments where Pokemon aren't allowed, the apartment manager will probably not mind your Metapod, since they don't eat or excrete waste and can't damage the furniture, walls, and floor.

Other Tips: If you choose to evolve your Metapod, make sure you have enough room and experience to keep its evolved form, Butterfree. Butterfree is not a beginner's Pokemon, as it can actually be somewhat dangerous and requires a lot of care. Metapod can live up to fifteen years if kept healthy and happy.