There are several things you need to consider before adopting a pet; cost, time, allergies, as well as the havoc a pet can wreak on your home are just a few of the things to think about. You can click HERE To read about the top reasons people get rid of their pets with some of the solutions available.
First I would like to say for those who do not want to pay an adoption fee but choose to take in a free cat off Facebook, Craigs list or in the paper, There IS NO SUCH THING as a FREE animal. To care for an animal it takes money. They are no different than having a child. There are vet bills, food and vaccinations to consider. There is more to a pet than just giving it some food every day.
I will talk mainly about cats here but this applies to dogs or really any pet you might be considering. Many people don't think past the part of owning a cuddly little kitten to what this sweet little bundle of joy is going to cost them in the future. So many times people get or give pets for Christmas or other holidays and get overwhelmed with the cost, especially with the economy like it is now.
Unfortunately it is the pet who pays the price in the end when it comes down to feed the family or the cat. The cat is either taken to a shelter or if as is the case usually here and the shelters are full they dump them out when no home can be found. Everyone wants a kitten so any adult or older cat will be homeless and either euthanized in a shelter or die on the streets. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and you need to be prepared to be able to care for it for its entire life to be a responsible owner. As with anything in life there are exceptions I know. Sometimes things happen that just are not foreseen and cannot be helped but I am talking about the ones that can be helped with a little forethought and planning.
The costs of bringing an animal into your home go far beyond any initial adoption fee, which can vary from nothing at all to hundreds of dollars. Here is a breakdown of the average first year cost of pet ownership costs for one medium dog or one cat, according to the ASPCA.
One Time Expenses
Spaying or Neutering: Dog: $200 / Cat: $145
Initial Medical Exam: Dog: $70 / Cat: $130
Collar or Leash: Dog: $30 / Cat: $10
Litter Box: Cat: $25
Scratching Post: Cat: $15
Crate: Dog: $95
Carrying Crate: Dog: $60 / Cat: $40
Training: Dog: $110
Total One Time Costs: Dog: $565 / Cat: $365
Food: Dog: $120/ Cat: $145
Annual Medical Exams: Dog: $235 / Cat: $130
Litter: Cat: $200
Toys and Treats: Dog: $55 / Cat: $25
License: Dog: $15
Health Insurance: Dog: $225 / Cat: $175
Miscellaneous: Dog: $45 / Cat: $30
Total Annual Costs: Dog: $695 / Cat: $705
Total First Year Pet Ownership Costs: Dog: $1,260 / Cat: $1,070
As you can see, having a pet can cost you over $1,000 in the first year, and well over $500 each additional year. Depending on the food you buy and your actual medical expenses, the costs could be much higher or lower. Furthermore, these tables are not inclusive. If you travel, tack on pet sitting or kennel services, and if you rent an apartment, expect to pay a sometimes no refundable pet deposit or cleaning fee, if your landlord allows animals at all.
These figures take into account having pet health insurance, which many pet owners do not. If your animal gets sick and you do not have insurance, vet bills can quickly escalate into the thousands of dollars. Without it though, having pets is another big reason to have an emergency fund of at least several thousands dollars.
I found this website with a worksheet for the cost of pet ownership. http://www.valueyourmoney.org/parenthood/pet-ownership.asp. Although it is geared for children it could be a good tool to use if you think you want to adopt a pet.
If you have any helpful ideas on saving on pet care please be sure to comment!
Here is a link to help with vet care:
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME:
Other things you need to consider are not just the expense. Do you have TIME for a pet. I have read many ads with people getting rid of their animals because they find they just do not have the time to put in to having a pet. Your pet wants to spend time with you! Whether its taking your dog for a walk or playing with your cat, it needs daily interaction with its owner. If you work more than you are home a pet might not be a wise choice for you right now. Dogs need bathing, exercise, grooming, more exercise, you get the point. Cats take a little less time but still need time to play, snuggle and depending on the length of hair daily grooming as well as vet visits. Young pets need house training. You have to be sure you are willing to put in the time.
Try this link for some more information:
CAN YOU HANDLE THE MESS/STRESS:
Another thing to consider is the inconvenience of having a pet. Whether its having hair on your furniture , your sofa being clawed as well as the walls or anything else your pet might choose to claw or chew this needs to be considered. If getting hair on your new sofa or having it clawed, or if a pet soils the carpet or any number of other problems you might encounter is a deal breaker then please reconsider getting a pet.
And I would like to say here that declawing should never even be considered as an option! This is a barbaric cruel procedure as well as debarking! There is nothing beneficial to the pet by doing any of these procedures. I know there are those who argue that by doing so it allows many more pets to be adopted but in our opinion, if you do not want a barking dog or a clawing cat then perhaps you would benefit from owning a fish.
To learn more try these links:
Here is a link for help with pet behavior problems:
ARE YOU ALLERGIC:
Allergies is another major reason for pet owners relinquishing their pets. Try fostering a pet first to see if you are allergic or borrow your friends pet for a week or so. Do whatever you need to do before you adopt. It is so devastating to the pet and to the adopter to have to return it or find a home.
Here are a few helpful links:
I'm pregnant and my Dr says I need to get rid of my cat!
I have been asked many times to take in a cat because the family has decided to have a baby and I would like to take a minute to post some information on this topic. The reason doctors recommend to get rid of your cat is because of the danger of Toxoplasmosis which cats can carry (not always) and you get from cleaning the litter box. This can harm an unborn child if you come into contact with it.
As a pet owner I would NEVER give my pet up they are like family to me but some do not feel this way. Most people will not take a grown cat. Most want KITTENS. So finding a home for your pet will be very hard. Most people do not know that if you turn your cat over to a kill shelter thinking they will find it a home you are greatly decieved! As an owner turn in, if the facility needs space and usually during kitten season they do, they can immediately kill your cat without a 72 hr wait never even offering it up for adoption. Your cat will pay the price with his life.
It is very simple and easy to keep your cat if you are pregnant all you need to do is have someone else clean the litter box. OR you can use gloves if you must and thoroughly wash your hands when done. You can still pet and cuddle with your cat! You can also rule out the exposure with Toxoplasmosis by having your cat tested. Shame on doctors for telling families they have to get rid of their pets! Here is more information:
From the ASPCA website:
Toxoplasmosis What Is Toxoplasmosis? Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be found in garden soil and raw meat. Cats can get toxoplasma infection by killing and eating infected prey. The disease can also be passed on from cats to humans.
How Do Cats Get Toxoplasmosis? Cats most often become carriers of toxoplasmosis by killing and eating wild animals who have been infected—a good reason not to let your cat outside to hunt! A cat may also contract the disease should he come into contact with an infected cat’s feces. Once a cat is infected, the parasite multiplies in his intestines until immature eggs called oocysts are shed in his feces. Infected cats can shed oocysts for up to two weeks after initial infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Toxoplasmosis in Cats? Most cats become immune to the disease through exposure to the parasite. However, those who aren’t already immune may have mild diarrhea and a loss of appetite; the disease can also affect a feline’s lungs, liver and nervous system. Kittens exposed to the parasite while still in the womb are most vulnerable—and are more likely than adult cats to show symptoms.
What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Toxoplasmosis? If you suspect your cat is carrying the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get him tested by your veterinarian. If he tests positive, it means he has been exposed to the disease but is unlikely to be shedding oocysts after an initial two-week period. If he tests negative, it means he has not been exposed and could still become infected and shed oocysts—but again only for two weeks.
Cats who are capable of shedding eggs should be isolated from children and other pets, pregnant moms and any immunocompromised people in the household. Also, be sure to clean his litter box and bedding twice each day while wearing disposable gloves.
Is There A Cure for Toxoplasmosis? Antibiotics are available that can clear up most of the symptoms of toxoplasmosis. Although they do not kill the parasite, they can provide an effective treatment.
How Can People Catch Toxoplasmosis? Although people can be infected through contact with cat feces, the far more common way for someone to have contact with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis is through unhygienic handling of raw or undercooked meat, drinking contaminated water and exposure to garden soil or sandboxes where infected cats may have defecated. People do not get the disease through direct contact with the cat himself.
Can Humans Get Toxoplasmosis from Cats? Fortunately, most people have been exposed to or infected by Toxoplasma and already have immunity to the disease. People with weakened immune systems run the greatest risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. If a woman is infected while pregnant, the growing fetus can also become infected. This can result in cysts in the fetus’ brain, and can lead to developmental abnormalities, miscarriage or stillbirth. People with compromised immune systems are susceptible to a number of infections and should take the proper hygienic precautions to protect themselves against exposure to the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis in Humans? People who are affected by toxoplasmosis may have fever, shortness of breath and neurological problems, such as seizures and lack of coordination. Those in relatively good health will usually show no signs or simply have mild, flu-like symptoms.
How Can Toxoplasmosis Be Prevented? If you have reason to be concerned (if your cat hunts, for example), cat parents, pregnant moms and immunocompromised individuals can take some simple precautions against toxoplasmosis:
- Have all cats in your household tested by your veterinarian for the parasite and make certain the test results are explained to you.
- Keep your cat(s) indoors.
- Do not feed your cat raw meat.
- Do not eat undercooked meat yourself.
- Do not allow your cat to hunt and eat wild mice, birds, etc.
- Use disposable rubber gloves when cleaning the litter box.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing when gardening.
- Cover your child’s sandbox when not in use; this will prevent possibly infected cats from defecating in it.
- Take proper hygienic precautions when handling raw meat.
- Pregnant moms and immunocompromised people with cats who cannot get someone else clean the litter box for them should wear gloves, clean the litter box promptly twice a day before the oocysts can become infective and wash their hands when finished.
You can also use our worksheet ; Are you ready for a furry friend?
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any helpful suggestions for keeping your pet or other insites on things to consider before owning a pet please feel free to comment. Also any suggestions on how to save money with your pet would be welcome.