Thinking about a furry addition to your family? As we all know, getting a pet is a long-term commitment. You have a moral obligation to conduct in-depth research into the qualities and requirements of your prospective pet to ensure you are capable of caring for them.
There is always the risk that your pet develops a health problem and so you must be financially able to pay for vet bills. If you plan to adopt an animal from a shelter, you should also be prepared for the fact that they may be psychologically scarred from their previous home.
However, these are certainly risks worth taking as having a pet will provide much enjoyment for all the family.
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Generally speaking, cats are low maintenance. They are independent animals and will sleep for around 15 hours per day. However, just because of their independent nature this does not mean that they can be left to their own devices for long periods of time. They are also very curious and playful by nature so you should commit to spending some quality time with them every day. During this time, you should play with them, indoors and outside, using appropriate toys or sit with them on your lap.
Cats still have a lot of natural instincts left over from their wild ancestors. One of these instincts is to scratch their claws on hard surfaces. If you plan on having an indoor cat, they will most likely scratch your furniture to sharpen their claws and mark their territory. Punishing them for doing this does not work. Instead, you should provide them with scratching posts and praise them when they use them.
As well as a scratching post or two, your cat will require toys and a few warm places to sleep. You can buy most cat accessories online as well as flea and worming medication, for example at www.petfleas.co.uk. If you live in an apartment but plan to take your cat outside, a harness is an essential purchase. Try your cat with the harness around your flat first so that it gets used to it.
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Dogs are much more dependent on their owners for attention than cats, and they make excellent companions. It is well known that all dogs, whether a Great Dane or a Chihuahua, need regular exercise. You should be prepared to take your dog out on at least one long walk or a few short walks every day so they can release some energy and do their business. If you are worried your family will not have the time to walk your dog this much you could inquire about dog walkers in your area.
Dogs are very obedient animals and so they take well to training. However, if you decide to get a puppy, you and your family must be prepared to be patient while it learns. There are lots of local services that provide training for puppies and owners so that you can make the most of your relationship with your new furry friend.
Your dog will need a bed or two, an appropriate lead and a selection of toys. When choosing toys, it is a good idea to get items that are designed to be chewed on as this will stop your dog from chewing on your shoes.