In American kid's series based around school (especially kindergarten or elementary school), it's not uncommon for classes to have a pet. It's usually a relatively "low-maintence" caged animal like a hamster or a snake. They're sometimes a Team Pet but oftentimes are a background character who is referenced when it's relevant.
The class pet allows the usually young students to learn about life and responsibility. There will usually be an episode where one of the characters is asked to take the pet home over the weekend. Another common plot is the pet dying unexpectedly either from natural causes (as rats and hamsters only live around 2-4 years) or from being in the care of a Chronic Pet Killer. This will teach the characters (and audience) about death. Sometimes a character will even try to "free" the pet from its cage into the wild in a well-intentioned attempt at helping them.
In real life, very few schools allow class pets anymore for ethical, health, and budget issues. When they do, they tend to be short-term animals that are usually released later, like caterpillars, designed to teach kids about the life cycle. Aquariums with fish are also still common in classrooms for this reason. Despite this, class pets still appear in media.
Not to be confused with a Teacher's Pet, which refers to something completely different.
- In the Full House episode, "Bye Bye Birdie", Michelle is excited for her first day of preschool, wherein she meets Dave, the class' pet bird. When she opens the door to his cage, Dave flies out the open window, and despite her best attempts to bring him back, he doesn't come back, making her classmates angry at her. Feeling bad for her, Danny, Joey, and Uncle Jesse bring Michelle a new pet bird, Sammy, which she gives to the class to replace Dave.
- The Moose and Zee shorts Class Pet Time are about a class pet.
- Linny from Wonder Pets is a Guinea pig class pet. The series started out as shorts depicting her doing stuff around the class when everyone was out.
- The one classroom Pokey Oaks Kindergarten from The Powerpuff Girls has Twiggy the hamster. The Bully Mitch likes to hurt her. In the same episode, she gets flushed down the toilet and into a sewer (with got toxic waste dumped into it) that warps her into a monster.
- In one Timothy Goes to School, episode Lilly wishes to take care of the class pet. She gets passed over because she's too forgetful.
- Speedy from Recess is a class pet hamster who suddenly dies. It's eventually revealed that there have been various "Speedy"'s, as hamsters don't live long. The teachers replace him when the old one dies.
- The Loud House has at least 3:
- "Along came a Sister" has Frank/Frances the tarantula
- The Coach mentions in the yearbook episode that another class has a hamster whose name is spelled with an "ie" or a "y".
- Lana and Lincoln rescue live frogs from being dissected. They all end up in a tank in Lana's class.
- Bubble Guppies plays with the trope. Mr. Grouper adopted Bubble Puppy for Gil, and Gil spends the most time with him, but Bubble Puppy has a doghouse at the school and is treated like the class pet.
- As Told by Ginger: Ginger's little brother has a naked mole rat for their class pet.
- In The Simpsons there is occasionally a class pet present at Springfield Elementary, usually a hamster. The plot of the first part of "Who Shot Mr. Burns" begins with the burial of one such pet, which led to the discovery of oil in the school grounds. One episode featured a pet snake that got loose and had swallowed some of the kids, including Milhouse.
- In the Bob's Burgers episode "Adventures In Chinchilla-Sitting", Louise is asked to take care of the class chinchilla for the weekend. Wayne, a kid who is obsessed with the chinchilla, comes to the Belchers' home to take it back, which leads to the chinchilla getting lost.
- Invader Zim: Zim once turned the class hamster Pipi into a rampaging Kaiju.
- On Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Star gets sent to detention for freeing the class hamster.
- Subverted with Liz from The Magic School Bus. She's Ms. Frizzle's pet who she brings to school, not an actual class pet.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: Chris Morris was the class hamster until Gumball and Darwin took him to live in nature, in his desire.
- On American Dad!, a flashback to Hayley going on her first rampage from being dumped in elementary school ends right before we see her murder the class hamster. According to Stan, the hamster's autopsy showed that it was pregnant when she killed it.
- In the Rugrats episode, "Pre-School Daze" (as well as the short-lived spin-off of the same name), Fuzzbo is the pet guinea pig of Miss Weemer's preschool classroom. In Fuzzbo's debut appearance, Angelica puts him in Harold's clothes in an attempt to move Harold out of the seat closest to Miss Weemer (besides the one Susie is in), causing Harold to jump out of the seat. Fuzzbo later finds his way out of Harold's pants and escapes from the classroom, spending the rest of the episode wandering through the school hallway.
- This comes up in a episode of Charlie and Lola with the latter of the two getting to take home a guinea pig named "Bert". Through some hijinks, she loses Bert and searches through the house with Charlie to find him. While looking for him, they find out that Bert was actually a she, as she had babies.