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Written by Louise Holt Last updated: June 26, 2007
Are you both ready for the patter of tiny paws? Now that you’ve tied the knot and settled into a happy marital routine, you might be thinking of adding a new member to the family – a pet. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before letting a fluffy bundle of joy into your home and into your heart.
Whether you get a kitten, a puppy or a hamster will depend on the amount of time you have to spare for your pet and also on your own personality. Independent types like cats, which need less attention than dogs.
The kind of pet you get will depend on how much space you have to offer it. Cats like to have the freedom to roam outdoors, so a ground floor flat with a cat flap will be ideal. Smaller breeds of dogs are reasonably happy in flats but still need to be exercised every day.
If you lead a busy life think twice before bringing a pet into your home, unless it’s fish in a tank, and even they need regular feeding and care. Dogs not only need your presence, they also require your attention, otherwise it can lead to problems with behaviour.
No matter what pet you get, you’ll need to think ahead about who’ll look after it when you go away – whether it’s for your annual holiday or just the weekend. It’s ideal to have a relation who lives nearby who can look after your pet when you’re away. However, it’s useful to remember that cats are creatures of habit and don’t like changes of territory.
You need to make allowances for things like food, accessories, pet insurance, holiday care and also, any unexpected expenses that may come up.
Some pets will need to be trained on how to respond to babies and small children. This need not be a problem if you know how to go about it, but it is something you should bear in mind with regard to the timing of bringing in a pet.
The best time to get a pet is soon after you move into a new home, if you plan to be there for quite some years. Pets, especially cats, don’t always adjust well to being moved.
You’ll need to work out if bringing in a pet is going to be a joint effort or is most of the care going to fall on one person. Will one partner be responsible for training and exercise while the other takes care of supplying food? Who will clear out the cat’s litter tray each week?
If you’re planning on bringing in a rescue pet you’ll need to be prepared for the fact that some of the pets may have been through physical or psychological trauma and may require you to seek the advice of a professional. The process will require your time as well as your patience. However, on the plus side, it is also likely to be a highly fulfilling and rewarding experience.