Raining Cats and Dogs: 5 Things to Know Before You Take the Plunge and Adopt a Pet

It’s a whole new world out there in the land of pets.

If you are getting daily begging and elaborate convincing from your kids about wanting an animal, there is a lot to learn if you are not a seasoned pet owner. Our culture prizes our family fauna like no other and it’s a good idea to get up to speed before you go for it.

It’s also just fascinating to learn the history of how cats and dogs became the domestic roommates they did and why. So here are some fun and important facts to think about before you select van animal.

  1. A recent study suggests that humans domesticated dogs as far back as 15,000 years! In both Europe and Asia, DNA evidence indicates that humans tamed wolves as cultures mixed and humans migrated1. Cats on the other hand, have only cohabited with humans for about 5300 years2.
  1. Cats are the only animals that are both wild and domestic. Cats haven’t lost their instincts for survival at all. Once they are outside, they are as if they are wild, catching prey, running from predators, and finding shelter. Cats can manage just fine, even in the city. All other domestic animals have been weaned off of their survival skills by humans.
  1. Mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. Because we have overbred pedigree dogs, many of them start to have health issues. Purebred life expectancies can be significantly lower than mutts. Here’s a useful chart that tell you the average life expectancy for common breeds: http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_how_long_do_dogs_live.
  1. There are approximately 9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats in shelters3 having been rescued off the streets or surrendered by their owners. There are even breed-specific rescue operations so if you are attached to the idea of a fancy breed, make sure you check out specialize rescues before contacting a breeder.
  1. Cat vs. Dog. It’s not a binary question because some people love both, but consider your lifestyle for a moment. Do you travel a lot? Or have extended family members who are allergic? Cats are easy to litter train, they don’t require exercise, and they sleep around 14 hours a day. Dogs need more consistent human companionship and regiment.
  1. Consider some other fauna alternatives. Many cities now zone single-family residences to keep chickens in a hutch. Chickens are incredibly easy to maintain, and you get fresh eggs! Some other options: birds, and believe it or not, domestic rats are actually very hygienic, mild-tempered and kid friendly.

Nurturing is an essential human skill, but make sure your family is ready for it. Things can go sideways with a young animal, so talk to your fellow pet owners and the good people at the shelter. Take your time looking – finding the right animal is kind of like dating. But when you do fall in love with your new pet, you’ll all know right away.

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/04/dna-evidence-suggests-humans-may-have-domesticated-dogs-twice/
  2. https://www.google.com/search?q=how+long+have+cats+been+domesticated&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS672US672&oq=how+long+have+cats&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.6966j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  3. http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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