Four things you should ask yourself before getting a pet
No matter how small your pet is, the responsibilities of being a pet owner are still significant.
Getting yourself or others a pet is a huge decision. No matter the size, all pets deserve the most love and attention.
However, cases of pet abandonment have been on the rise — usually because owners can no longer afford caring for a pet or are bored of their pet.
You might like to get a pet for yourself as a new friend for the new year. But here are some questions you should ask before you get one.
1. Do I have enough money to fulfil its needs?
Financial stability is the first thing that you should have before owning a pet.
Just like us, pets need healthy and good quality food, which tends to be pricey. It also would be nice to be able to provide them with treats and toys as a reward for good behaviour.
And that’s not all! It is best to set aside some cash in case your pet needs a trip to the vet.
There was a time when my cat, Smokey, wasn’t feeling too well and looked like he was in pain. He refused to be picked up and barely ate.
When his condition didn’t get better, I brought him to the vet, where I found out that he was just being a little dramatic – he was in discomfort as he couldn’t fart.
Needless to say, I was confused and speechless.
First, I didn’t know cats could physically fart. Second, the bill cost a whopping $180.
Owning a pet isn’t cheap, and even the tiniest hamster requires a proper environment and sufficient food to thrive. You have to be financially ready to provide for your pets.
2. Do I have the time to commit to my pet?
Apart from money, giving attention to your pets is important.
Most pets enjoy spending time with their owners. Cats, dogs, bunnies and even birds will form an attachment with the people around them – which is why having playtimes or walking your pet is important. Such activities will keep your pets happy and healthy both physically and emotionally.
Not only does playtime keep your pets happy and healthy, it is a great way to encourage good behaviour. Pets use their playtime to let out all their pent-up energy and explore their natural instincts.
You have to ensure that you are willing and able to set aside time for your pets – especially if you only have one pet, since their only interactive playtime and exercise would be with you.
3. Who’s helping you care for your pet?
Caring for “high-maintenance” pets like rabbits, dogs and cats may get overwhelming if you do it alone. These pets are more suitable for families, where one person is not the sole caregiver.
There will definitely be days when you are too busy or exhausted to entertain your pets. You will most likely also have to spend time away from them for holidays and work or school trips.
That is why it is best to have someone who will look after your pets when you need them to.
Whenever my family goes on vacation, we pass a house key to someone we trust – usually my grandparents – to feed and clean after Smokey.
Alternatively, if you do not have anyone to look after your pets, pet hotels are available.
4. Do I have the patience if my pet misbehaves?
Training new pets will take a lot of time, effort, and most importantly, patience.
There will be times when your new pet does something that upsets you. It could have accidents outside their potty area, scratch sofas and beds, chew up your earpiece or even unintentionally cause you harm.
It is expected for it to cause some damage since it is still exploring their environment and have yet to know the rules.
That is why correcting such behaviours is important and will benefit both you and your pet in the long run.
Once, my mother had just gotten a new sofa and did not want Smokey to lie on it as she was afraid he would leave scratches. To train him, we would simply carry him off the sofa whenever he jumped on it. It took about a month for him to finally understand that he was not allowed on the sofa.
If you find it hard to train your pet even after some time, it is best to visit a vet as it may have behavioural issues.
Having a pet around can bring you so much joy. Besides providing companionship, a pet keeps you active and healthy. Having a pet is also a great way for kids to learn about responsibility.
However, a pet isn’t a toy you can get rid of when you’re bored. You have to ensure that you, or whoever you are gifting the pet to, are ready for this long-term commitment.
Also, it’s always best to adopt instead of shop as there are many lovely pets in shelters and foster homes waiting to be adopted.
To us, a pet will only be a part of our lives. But to these furry (or feathery) friends, we are all that they know.