We all know that adopting a pet is a big commitment. It takes time, money, and love to take care of them. But it's also an amazing experience that can make you happier and more fulfilled in your life.
If you are considering getting a pet, there is a lot to consider! What type of animal do you want, do you want a specific breed or gender, where will you look, how to prepare your children, and how to prepare your existing pets – just to list a few!
When we lost our female cat last spring, we agreed to not get another for a long time. But we realized our male cats miss her, I missed having a cat snuggle with me like she did, and all of the kids were ready to open their hearts to a new pet, so we started researching.
The last time we got a “new” pet was over 10 years ago so there are a lot of new products available to make things easier and a ton of new information we wanted to read. And of course, I wanted to share some of our favorites with you!
Food & Treats
Choosing the right food for your pets is extremely important. And the right choice for one is not necessarily the same for another pet in your house.
Treats are fun to give and are super useful for training (both cats & dogs!) so having a healthy treat that your pet actually likes is important.
I recommend researching the best foods for your pet's age, breed, and personal medical conditions. If you aren't sure, vets are normally more than willing to discuss options with you.
For treats, try out a few different options. We've actually only found 1 brand that BOTH of the boys will eat, so I'm hoping our new kitten likes them too!
Losing a pet is absolutely heart-breaking, so we want to do everything we can to keep our pets healthy and around as long as possible.
Regular vet visits help, but there are many things you can do at home to extend the lifespan and quality of life for your pets!
Playtime & Exercise
For most pet owners, this is one of the most fun, rewarding, and yet challenging parts of having pets. We need to make sure they get enough exercise and are mentally stimulated. Just like little kids, a bored dog can get into quite a bit of trouble!
Nowadays there are SO MANY products designed to help your cat and dog stay active and engaged!
When we bring home a new pet, especially one that's been in a shelter, we are prone to go a little toy crazy. Since we already have cats, we didn't want to create any jealousy/resentment issues, so we may have already gone toy crazy & will introduce more when we bring the kitten home.
This is probably my least favourite part of pet ownership.
Our boys both shed a ton! Brushing them is a daily chore, but we've found ways to make it more enjoyable for everyone!
Plus there are products like waterless shampoo and wipes that make it easier.
Grooming isn't just about hair care though! You've gotta deal with nails, ears, eye, and eyes!
Preparing Current Pets
Adding a new pet to an existing pet family can bring its own challenges. You cannot just bring a new dog or cat in and expect everything to go smoothly.
We read a LOT about the best ways to introduce a new cat & decided the new kitten would take over our office for a few days, as its own safe space, until they had a chance to smell each other out. Then gradually increase together time.
The new kitten won't be allowed in our bedroom initially, because that's where Binx & Ninja both like to sleep.
Depending on who you ask you should have 1 cat litter box per cat in your home. This can be a little tricky for smaller homes or just trying to get them to fit in with your existing furniture.
We have 1 per floor (3 in our home) and use different styles for different areas.
We highly recommend adopting from a shelter or rescue group vs buying from a breeder. These organizations are often overcrowded and need help finding homes for their animals.
Shelter/rescue pets normally have already had their initial shots & normally fixed already, so remember to take that into account if some adoption fees seem a bit high.
If you buy/adopt from a local buy/sell/free group, make sure you get a copy of vet records BEFORE picking up your new pet to avoid any expensive surprises.
I personally do not support buying from breeders, because puppy mills are such a huge issue near me & the average family doesn't need a purebred anything. If you are buying a specific breed/type due to allergies, there are rescue groups for almost every cat & dog breed!