There are lots of different types of pets to adopt! Not all are the same; the one that is great for me may not be best for you. Every person is different and every animal is different. Take time to consider which species, breed, age and energy level are best for you and your family!
Cats are often recommended for their independent personalities, ideal for smaller living spaces and owners with irregular schedules. Dogs are often associated with houses and big back yards, outdoor adventuring and suited to owners with interest and time to spend training. Smaller pets, like rodents, on the other hand are often associated with children or first time pet owners for their easy to clean cages or pens and lower cost of care. More exotic species of birds or reptiles can run the range of low maintenance to very high maintenance (Parrots or Chameleons for example) requiring experienced owners. While some of these generalizations may be true, each pet is different and should be regarded individually with carful research to choose the right one for you and your family. Here are a few things to consider on your search.
If you or anyone in your home has allergies then fur bearing species such as cats, dogs and rabbits may be out of the question. Some cats or dogs are low or non-shedding but remember; people can be allergic to hair, dander, saliva or a combination of the three so even a non-shedding pet can still affect allergies. Lots of pet owners with allergies are drawn to fish or reptiles for this very reason.
If you live in a one bedroom apartment in a downtown high-rise then you may want to consider a cat over that Border Collie puppy. The size of your living space and ease of access to outside will inform whether you should get a dog that needs to go outside for regular walks and bathroom breaks. Most condos, apartments or townhome complexes have restrictions on pets. If you rent make sure you have landlord permission for a pet. The main reason owners surrender pets is due to “no pet” housing, so make sure you inquire before making a commitment to that pet.
What’s your schedule like?
If you constantly travel, work late and go out with friends until the wee hours of the night you probably want to avoid a high maintenance pet requiring a lot of cleaning, training and time in general. Many such owners like cats for this reason, however, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a “no-maintenance” pet. Even pets kept in aquariums, terrariums or cages need a regular schedule for feeding and cleaning and can be higher maintenance than other animals not requiring such housing.
If you’ve decided on a cat or dog, you need to research and consider the different breeds as each has its own set of characteristics and traits. Some dog breeds are real go-getters, with high energy and intelligence requiring a good deal of mental and physical stimulation while other breeds are more suited to low impact activities and become over-stimulated quickly. The same is true for cats and many people don’t realize there are different breeds. The owner who has only had Persian cats is likely to be very surprised if they decide to get a Bengal cat. Each breed will also have a host of physical attributes to consider such as coat length and care, hereditary health issues and of course size.
If you have the time, energy and patience, puppy or kitten can be a very rewarding and adorable experience! However, if you are not prepared, late night play sessions, teething, housetraining and the unbridled energy of a young pup or kitten can be a burden. Many pet owners choose an older pet to avoid the puppy or kitten phase. Some owners even prefer senior pets for their more laid back, easy going nature.