A Forever Friend

Image Source: Rebecca Giansante

Pet ownership is wonderful and gives some of the best feelings in the world. Having a friend waiting for you at home, to cuddle with at night (or whenever your friend wants), knowing how much they trust and love you. My family has three cats and a dog. I know I absolutely love having them, and there’s never been a point in my life where my family hasn’t owned at least a cat.  

Of course it’s a big responsibility and there can be a lot of problems involved, even something as small as your pet continually jumping onto the table when you don’t want them to, or that they’re simply bored.  Since my experience is mostly with cats and dogs, this will be focusing on them.

A very important thing obviously is toys, and that’s something you should experiment with. Try all kinds of different toys. Some pets don’t care much about the toys (dogs don’t seem to usually), but some pets are picky. My family has a cat that is only interested in strings and he just will not play with anything else, while another one of our cats will play with anything that’s movable. Each pet is different, so finding out if they’re particular or not is important. Also, I would say to be careful with catnip toys and observe how your cat reacts to it. We’ve had toys ripped open and catnip everywhere more than once, and one of our cats turns into a “mean drunk” when exposed to catnip (she hisses and attacks everything).

Also pay attention to food. Just like people, animals have likes and dislikes. One of our cats doesn’t like fish but loves chicken, while the other two like fish but not sardines, so experiment with that too and stop buying something your pet won’t eat because there’s no point in throwing away food. Pay very close attention to recall notices just in case the brand you’re buying ever shows up in one. My dog has allergies and has a lot of things she can’t eat, so that may also be something to be aware of.

It’s almost important to be aware of what’s going on with the wildlife in your area. There have always been owls in my area so we already weren’t letting our pets out after dark, but recently there’s been a surge in coyote activity. One Saturday morning, I was watching our indoor/outdoor cat who was outside and suddenly a coyote appeared on our back fence. We scared it off and haven’t seen one since, but now all our cats are indoor-only and our dog stays inside overnight.  If your pets are indoor-only this obviously isn’t a problem, but if you do have pets who spend at least part of the time outdoors, this should be taken into consideration.

Owning a pet is so rewarding. I think it’s one of the best things in the world, and I am glad to know there’s at least one less animal on the streets and in a safe home, which leads me to my last, somewhat preachy, point.  Adopt, don’t shop!