So you’re ready to add a pet to your family. But which pet is right for you? Just because that puppy or kitty is sooooo adorable, does that mean it will be the right fit for your family? Let’s consider a Bengal Cat, a Husky, a Pug and a few other species.
The Bengal Cat
The Bengal is exotic looking, sleek and a little larger than most cats. He’s a cross between a small Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic shorthair. He loves to interact with his family members. But did you know that he is really active? He loves to run and climb and play fetch. When he decides it’s time to play, he will find things to climb and may literally run across the house, bank off of the walls, and run back across the house, repeatedly. He will bring you a cat toy and expect you to throw it for him, repeatedly. He would most likely train much easier than most cats as well. He also may love water and may join you in the shower or tub! If you are looking for a docile lap cat, this is not your cat. Be sure to have lots of tall cat trees, and this cat would benefit from contained access to the outdoors—through large windows or an outdoor cat enclosure. He is also a very social cat, so if you are gone for the whole day, plan on getting more than one.
Does this sound more like a cat or a dog? Would he fit in your family, or would you be better suited to a more docile, aloof feline?
The Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a beautiful breed, often with striking black and white markings and blue eyes. Here are some things that many people don’t realize when purchasing/adopting this breed for the first time. Huskies are usually very friendly and, therefore, are not appropriate for being guard dogs. She loves to run (She was bred to pull sleds all day!) which often means a loose dog is a gone dog. Her endurance also means that she needs lots of exercise to behave appropriately in the house. She loves to dig—even in your prized flower garden! She is very social. If you are gone all day, she will need a buddy, some time at a doggy daycare, or some other way to socialize. Huskies can live in any climate, but take care when it is really hot. They have a double coat designed to keep them warm in the cold sledding climates. Lastly, Huskies may have rather forward personalities, so the owner needs to know how to deal with her desire to be in charge.
Some things to think about before buying a Husky include: Do you have the time to socialize and exercise her? Are you willing to deal with her digging and running away? Do you have an appropriate enclosure for her? Are you willing to learn to train her if you are inexperienced? Do you like walking/jogging/biking daily or several times a day? (She’ll need it!) Can you go to a dog park or some other large area to exercise the dog if you don’t have a nice-sized yard?
The Pug became very popular after Men in Black. They were bred to be companion dogs. They love to please their owners and they love to snuggle. They do shed all year round, but require little maintenance with their coat. They are sensitive to heat, and their little bulging eyes can be easily hurt by bushes. They generally love kids.
The Pug would be a great choice for limited space. If you live in a hot environment and exercise outside for lengthy periods of time, you may be better off with a different breed. Also take care if your yard has many shrubs or bushes. If you’re looking for an awesome lap dog or a dog for someone with limited mobility, the Pug is a good choice.
- Macaws are VERY loud. They may not care that you sleep from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am. They don’t realize that your downstairs neighbors sleep during the day. They are intelligent and easily bored, and, therefore, need a lot of attention. They live 50 years or more and tend to like one person. Are you tolerant of your sleep being interrupted? Do you live in an apartment with thin walls? Will you be able to provide this bird with enough attention and/or enrichment activities? What will you do with her if she lives longer than you? Be sure to remember that the she will need to be able to connect with the person who agrees to care for her after you’re no longer able to do so.
- Sugar gliders have become very popular in the exotic animal pet industry recently. But did you know that they are nocturnal? So when you are trying to go to sleep, they are just waking up, and they are very active when they are awake. They also like to throw their excrement. Does that sound as cute? They are often mistreated if they are captured from the wild. Be sure to investigate the person you are purchasing your pet glider from.
- Even goldfish have minimum tank requirements and need aerated water to survive well. Putting them in those small fishbowls may actually kill them. Do you want to spend the money on a large enough tank with an aerator? Will you clean the tank regularly?
My point is not that pets are awful; they are awesome! I am trying to save pets’ lives. Most pets are surrendered to shelters because of behavioral issues. Really, it’s not that the pet is behaving out of the ordinary for the type of pet that it is. The problem is that people, often unintentionally, don’t realize what they are signing up for when they get a pet. Find and talk to other people that own the pet that you want to purchase or adopt. Ask them questions like: What are the drawbacks or difficulties in caring for this type of pet? What is required in the care of the pet in order for it to thrive? What are typical behaviors for this pet? How much will it cost to care for the pet? How long will the pet live?
If you choose to purchase or adopt a pet, it is extremely important to know what you are signing up for before you buy or adopt. Having pets can decrease stress and create a lot of laughs, but you are taking on a great responsibility.
If you do your research, purchase or adopt a pet, and you’re still in over your head, please seek help! It is better to seek help as soon as you know that you can’t fix an issue yourself, rather than letting the issue get worse. Your veterinarian can often suggest where to look for help. There are also generally clubs, rescue associations and/or trade associations for many pet types. And of course, Brynn’s Critters offers training and other services that can drastically improve your relationship with your pet.
Lastly, once you are ready to make the commitment and you have decided what type of pet fits your lifestyle, of course, go enjoy your pet!