Is owning a pet right for you?

A dog will look up to you, a cat will look down on you and a pig will look you straight in the eye. In practice none of this holds true. The facts are that mankind keeps other animals as pets and these pets are obliged to depend on human kindness for survival. Man is the master and the pet is the slave. Th better option is symbiotic with both pet owner and valued pet mutually benefiting.

Owning a pet carries responsibilities. I never kept a pet with children around because the normal life span of a house cat or dog varies between 8 and 15 years and inevitably the demise of the cat or dog is quite distressing for the child. The ideal pet caring situation pertains to retired or elderly people who seek companionship in a comfortable, secure home setting where the pet is equally well cared for.

I secured two kittens from the Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, they were two males from the same litter (their mother died) and were hand reared in a cage for three and a half months. I took the kittens and paid a fee to GSPCA. Fortunately, they were litter trained and they had each other for company and crucially they could learn from each other.

Owning a pet as a fully functioning pet, cats deter mice, was always my objective. Further, I saved their lives, most pet owners neglect to neuter their pets resulting in many unwanted kittens being put down. I live near a large open moorland area with a military barracks, where the military personnel regularly offer .22 calibre shoots to control the large feral cat population.

Two kittens related to each other was a bonus. A cat’s reputation for catching mice is learned behaviour. A rolled ball of paper or an actively rolled marble provides lasting entertainment and allows kittens to sharpen their reaction times or stalking techniques. A little time observing a playful pair of kittens confirms play is practice for real life. A pair of kittens are quite affectionate and actively seek out human company. I understood cats were aloof, however Chico and Shadrack at 4 months old are eager for human company and immediately purr on being stroked. A purring cat is a contented cat.

Cats live up to 15 years, however, lack of road sense or Foxes hunting for an easy meal take their toll, so, be prepared for disappearing Cheshire cats!

A pet is for life, not for entertainment. A pet gives as good as the owner is prepared to give in return.

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