Pets can be wonderful to have. They love you unconditionally and don’t talk back. However, there is more to having one and caring for it properly than just filling out adoption papers. Here are some things to consider as you’re evaluating your future with a furry friend.
Does your lifestyle have room for the care of a pet?
A pet is similar to having a child. They need your love and attention daily. Your dog or cat will need to have exercise, food, water, cuddles and taken outside for potty time. If you are at a highly demanding job which won’t allow for this time in your day you may need to think about it.
Can you afford pet food, vet visits etc?
Its relatively affordable to have a pet but there are expenses outside of simply buying them food and giving them water. There is vet checkups, vaccines, toys, bedding and possible grooming or boarding expenses if you need to go somewhere without them.
Do you have patience to train them?
Unless you get an older, taught pet, your cat or dog will need to be trained. Cats enjoy scratching things- anything that looks cushy or has a texture they like. Dogs will chew things. They may make a mess on your floors while they’re becoming acclimated to their new space and where their ‘bathroom’ spot is. You need to have patience and be prepared for this being a part of the job.
Have you pet-proofed your home?
Kittens and puppies or even older animals can get into things. Are your cleaning products or any other harmful substances locked up? (Yes, locked up! I’ve seen kittens open cabinets-they are curious in nature!) Have you made sure to put away any small or sharp objects they might try to put in their mouths? Always pick up hair elastics, coins and the like off of the floor the second you see it. If you have a curious animal they might try to eat it. The last thing you want is to have your pet choke on something because you were careless.
After pet-proofing, have you also pet-readied your house?
Do you have gates, crates, dishes and grooming supplies? Cat litter? Toys? Furniture covers and repellant sprays? Some furniture can be covered, but sometimes that isn’t enough. They have sprays that have a scent/taste which pets detest, to help train them to stay away from certain areas.
If you have housemates, everyone needs to agree on pet-parenting and the setup.
Be sure your family members or roommates are aware and agree to everything to do with the new pet. For instance, if you are adopting a cat and decide to have it indoors only, everyone needs to remember to shut the doors. Another example is feeding times, especially if it is a shared responsibility. You don’t want your furry friend to go hungry or wet themselves because responsibilities are forgotten.
You need to decide before adopting your new furry family member what your house rules will be. Make sure you know how you are going to train them (changing methods will only confuse your animal). Designate certain areas off limits and teach your cat or dog from the start what they aren’t allowed to do. It might be cute to see your kitten climb the blinds when she only weighs one pound, or see your itty bitty puppy on top of your dining room table but remember they will get bigger and then it will annoy you or harm furniture. Also, decide in advance if you want to have them ‘fixed’ or are open to the idea of them having babies.