Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Owning pets.

After something happened recently involving really irresponsible owners, and a missing cat, and a replacement cat. I wanna just talk about how much of a responsibility it is to own even something like a cat or a dog.

Now, I'm not the most knowledgeable with animals, I'm not stating I am, but when it comes to caring for an animal it's a matter of common sense and putting yourself in their shoes.

Let's start off with Ferrets (Only cause they're my faves).
Everybody loves them, but can you really handle them? I tell people it's like eight to seven years of owning a small, hyper puppy that's hard to train.
It took me months and months of looking up ferrets and convincing my mother that this ferret at the petshop was THE animal I needed in my life. And she most certainly was. After begging and trying to prove to her that ferrets are not what they seem, I got Rikki, as a very early birthday present.
Right off the bat, I was prepared, I knew what to get her, and what she needed, and how to prepare my room. Ferret proofing your room/house is still an ongoing battle after owning Rikki for three years.
She wasn't a biter, she was already 4 months when I got her, so she was already litter trained and not nippy. That was one hurdle I didn't have to leap.
Ferrets get into EVERYTHING! If there's something on the floor, like a hair brush, it's GONE. The cup of water on the night stand? Knocked over and all over the place. The plate of food on the night stand? Well if it's something they want, it's all going to the stash spot. Potted plants? FORGET IT!
Me and Rikki on a walk at the river.

Did you know that ferrets are Obligate Carnivores? They only eat meat. I bet you thought they ate berries or something if you classified them as a rodent. They are Weasels. Naturally ferrets would eat bugs, eggs and mice and other things they could catch or stumble upon. They have a very high prey drive.
Most people feed ferrets things with lots of filler. Ultimately the best diet to feed them is a mixture of oils and meats and bones and eggs and so on and so fourth. I personally feed holistic kibble because it is easier on my budget, and with just one ferret, a lot of it would go to waste.
Rikki will get things like pureed turkey and chicken dinners, (Baby food) as a treat.
Vet bills for ferrets are very high. They're exotic animals, and vets don't always know the most about them. So not only does it take time and effort to FIND a local Ferret friendly vet.  Luckily Rikki hasn't needed to go to the vet other than for shots and the likes, thank god. But I've got a Visa for just in case for a vet bill. One swallowed elastic band could ultimately mean $300+ or death. It's really really sad, but some owners have no choice but the later.
I always try to discourage most people that want to own a ferret. It's tough, but it's so rewarding to hear those dookdookdooks! and seeing the ferret war dance. Or see how big their coats and necks get in the winter.
It is a worth while pet to own when you have the time and money and effort to put into them.
If you're interested; check out this group of people, that taught me everything there is to know about ferrets.
Ferret Harmony

As a kid, I really wasn't a responsible pet owner. I don't know why the hell my mom wouldn't just give the dog back that I snuck home some how or another. We went through a lot of dogs that would eventually be re-homed cause a nine year old couldn't handle the responsibilities of owning it.
Now that I've grown up a lot, I still snuck my dog home, but I have a much healthier, happy house with a canine.I am going to say I got incredibly lucky to have such a loyal, loving dog in my house like I do. There's been no training needed really. Anything I've taught her has been taught in a day.
All I can really say about dogs is you need TIME. TIMETIMETIME to spend with them. You can't just keep them in a crate and take them out when YOU want to interact with them. You can't just toss them a bowl of food and water and stick them outside on a chain.
What I often see is people getting these crazy energetic mutts that they only got for their name or breed or mix, not really looking into the pros and cons of their traits. These guys usually find new homes
King the Alaskan Malamute; Adopted after the original owner could not handle him anymore.
This is very common for this breed.
After a bit of love, King has turned into a great family dog.
Huskies. How many well trained huskies do you know?(And just because your dog knows how to 'sit' and 'shake paw' doesn't mean it's trained when it eats your couch or takes off out the door when it's open) I  can only count... one. The rest are all terribly trained dogs, because nobody wanted to claim alpha over a cute little puppy. And Huskies will take that and run and never look back. These dogs NEED to run, it's in their blood. Keeping these dogs on a chain is terrible. These dogs need to work on a daily basis to be happy. Other breeds like Border Collies and German Shorthaired pointers and hounds and spaniels all need to work!  They were bred for a job, and not house life. They need something to keep them busy, otherwise they will take it out on you, or your house, for that matter.

Everybody thinks cats are easy pets to own. I know from owning one, it's really not rocket science. You put food and water in a dish, you scoop kitty litter at least once a week, and you pet it and play with it when it wants to. (And with some cats, You just LEAVE THEM ALONE OR FACE CLAWS!)
Every single cat is different. I've never met any cat with the same personality. Every single cat has their quirks. FatCat for example; He flings litter and poop about everywhere around his litter box. We're going to try to solve this problem by buying, somehow, a bigger litter box. He won't go in something with a lid.

Did you know that Cats are ALSO Obligate Carnivores?
 Cats are just like ferrets in a dietary sense, except cats can catch big game like rabbits and chickens and birds and stuff. The best food to get them is Holistic kibble if you're not going to feed them raw. I know the price of holistic foods, but when you're feeding your cat things with grains and so on, it's going to take a toll on their body eventually. I would rather pay $18 a bag of cat food than $150 for a vet bill because I wasn't feeding my cat the right food.

Although, I had a cat live to be 21, she ate the junkiest food forever, lived outside untill she was 16, and was declawed and spayed. She ate canned food around the end of it. She smelled like death and so on and so fourth. We were expecting her to die when she hit about 16. But she still played with you sometimes. And she really was a grouch if you pet anywhere but her head. What a scary cat she was..

Cats are resilient animals, but they shouldn't have to be because we know that.

Everybody thinks rodents are a great starter pet for their kid. In my personal view, hamsters are terrible pets. The only lesson your kid learns from it is that if it dies it goes in a shoebox in the ground and then goes to hamster heaven. Or it ran away to the circus. Often they'll be miss-treated, neglected and over-loved by some child mauling it. The best starter pet is something the entire family takes care of as a group and team.
Many people think that that cheap pine bedding is good enough for their little pet. Pine bedding ultimately kills them in the end. It causes respiratory problems after living in it for long periods of time.
I own rats. Rats are my favourite small pet to own. Tied with Ferrets. They are OMNIVORES! They need things with protein. The great thing about rats is they can eat pretty much everything you can. If I'm having carrot snack, they get a carrot. If I am having berries, they get berries, if I am feeding rikki, they get some of her food. ... You get the point.
Rats are charged as exotics at the Vets office. So you should still think twice about how you care for them or what you feed them or what not.

Now; I know I didn't cover fish or birds, or other exotics. But that's cause I really don't know that much about them. But here's some points that apply to all pets;

All of our pets are much smarter than what we give credit to. (minus hamsters. e_e) All animals feel pain.
If it's cheap and says "GREAT COLOURS!" ; it's probably not good for them. (just like Cheap food for us all the time is terrible for our bodies)
When you notice your pet is acting funny, or puking, or there's a putrid smell from the litter box or yard. (What your animal's poop looks and smells like is a GREAT indicator of their health) There's obviously something wrong. Call the vet and ask some questions
If you think you should call a vet. You probably should, doesn't hurt to get some phone advice.
Get a network of friends that own the same animal you do. It helps out so much to learn from a friend. But a friend is not a Vet.
If you can't handle owning your animal anymore; do the right thing and find a new, responsible, owner for it. Atleast for the temporary time.
If you're looking for a pet; ADOPT! There's SO many animals looking for homes right now it's not even funny. When I look for pets, I try to look for some to adopt first and then resort to getting them young.
STUDY what your animal and the breed will be like when you bring it home. This won't leave you stunned when Sparky barks a lot, because that's what Yorkies commonly do.
 And unless you've got the money, DON'T take home animals that are sick just cause you feel bad for them. Call the SPCA if you think they're being mistreated. It's really the best thing you can do for it.

1 comment:

  1. great to find your blog! we have pet chickens at our house and my kids love it! Naomi x


Say what's on your mind. Go ahead and ramble on a bit, I don't mind. :)