This article title may seem like a no brainer. But when I consider that a great number of pets are re-homed before they are one year old, for various reasons, I think maybe this subject could use some thought.
When deciding on what pet to get, whether you’re parents with kids, a young professional couple, or retired, some consideration as to what pet will work best in your environment is the best start. Sure, we all have our favorite animals, and we all want the type of pet we love most in our lives, but consider the future and be certain you can make the commitment for the long haul.
Just like when you have kids, having any type of pet in your household is not just cuddles, cuteness and rosy times. There are yucky necessities, injuries, expenses and health issues to avoid. In short, you have a great deal of responsibility for that innocent life.
What kind of home do you have?
Firstly, ask yourself these questions. Do you rent or own? Is it an apartment on the tenth floor, or a townhouse, or a detached home with a yard? Is there Property Management or a Strata Council (sometimes one in the same)? What kind of square footage do you have, enough for a large dog? Is there a balcony? Where will you put the potentially smelly litter box? How many flights are you willing to travel up and down, over and over, to take Spot outside for pee time?
All of these questions are pertinent when considering a pet. Basically, if you don’t have enough room, a large dog isn’t the greatest idea (there are exceptions, IF they are exercised sufficiently). If you have Rental Property Management, they will have rules as to the size and number of pets you can keep. If you don’t have a yard, don’t get a high energy breed of dog, unless you are able to take that dog out at the very least twice a day for a couple of vigorous hours.
If you love cats, but a have a small apartment, don’t exceed two, as they will need a scratching post, litter box, food space and dish space. Keeping one cat box clean is enough of a chore, but if you have two boxes, or more than two cats using one box – be prepared for your apartment to take on that unique ‘stinky old lady’ smell in a matter of hours.
What is the atmosphere of the home?
Is your home busy, chaotic, quiet, or of medium traffic, or full of couch potatoes? Some pets are low key, and mellow, and a chaotic household could go both ways with them, tolerable or not. Many cats are naturally skittish or nervous, and a busy home could keep them permanently stressed or freaked out. Some pets are high strung, and a home where there isn’t enough stimulation or exercise available will drive them cuckoo. This also plays in to selecting the type of pet you get, or breed and age in dogs.
What are the possible dangers in my home?
Cats are incurably curious daredevils. Many of them will not be able to resist the urge to jump off a balcony, at least once (hopefully only once), so consider that. Contrary to popular belief, cats can be very clumsy and very often don’t land on their feet, so if you’re on the twenty-third floor, enclose the balcony, or just don’t let kitty out there.
Some dogs will chew anything and everything, or at least sample said thing. Are there a lot of choking hazards or potentially lethal substances in easy to access places? Dogs and cats can easily open cupboard doors with a paw if not latched. Some will learn to open regular room doors and unlatched outside gates as well. They are not dull witted and if the motivation is strong, they are determined.
If you have a dog or a cat of any age, never leave toxic substances on a low level. Keep them in the garage if possible. Anti-freeze is yummy to a dog, don’t ever leave it exposed. That is a slow and painful death for a dog, cat, or ferret.
Be aware that ALL pets love to chew! Most pets – ferrets, kittens, puppies in particular – will at least give the cables and cord a try. If you don’t want to come home to a crispy critter, or possibly to a fiery crater where your home once existed, then protect those tantalizing, string like, chewy electrical bits. There are several types of cable/ wire/ cord coverings to choose from located at hardware stores and computer shops that sell hardware.
All animals are naturally innocent, curious and exploratory. It’s your job to make sure their adventures (and your house) will not come to a tragic end. Be aware of the physical and environmental state of your home when considering a pet of any kind, and protect them in every way you can.