In the UK, we really love our furry friends. The number of households that have one has boomed since 2020, as working lifestyles have shifted to facilitate more time at home. And in 2020, the UK was found to be the European country with the second-highest number of dogs.
Find yourself wanting to join the ranks of households with animal companions? It can be hugely rewarding but it also comes with its fair share of responsibility. Here’s what you need to know first.
A stable living arrangement
First, you should weigh up your living arrangement. If you’re fairly settled and don’t expect to be moving homes very regularly, this is preferable. Cats, in particular, can be quite sensitive to any major upheavals. They are territorial creatures so if you move house within the same town or city, they may even try to return to their old home.
It’s also imperative you only take on a furry friend if your accommodation allows for this. This is something tenants need to be aware of, as you don’t want to end up being asked to move out or rehome your animal.
It’s important to be aware of the financial resources you’ll need to care for your cat, dog or small animal. There’s the initial cost of buying them and then multiple other expenses too. You will need to be able to afford vaccinations, boosters, vet visits, insurance, food, toys and bedding.
Some expenses depend on the type of animal you are getting. You may need to pay for cat or dog grooming, flea treatments or cat flap installation. Rabbits will need a suitable hutch and run, as well as some nutritional feeding hay.
Your family is on board
It may seem like common sense, but all members of your household should be on board with the idea of adopting an animal. A lot of conversation should have taken place before you decide to take on a smaller addition.
You might live with someone who has reservations about the financial responsibility of it. Or they might not have the same level of tolerance for muddy paws and slobber. Unfortunately, going against their wishes could strain your relationship with them.
But sometimes there’s a way around this. For example, you could try looking after someone else’s animal collaboratively first to see if this warms them up to the idea.
Your house is animal-friendly
You also need to have a house or flat that is appropriate for whichever type of animal you want to bring into it. This is why many shelters and rescue centres have someone come and assess your home before you can adopt.
Large dogs need a large home with a safely enclosed garden to exercise in. If your space is smaller, consider a cat, some rabbits or perhaps some fish.
A cat needs to live in a space with quiet areas they can retreat to. They need to eat, sleep and use the litter tray away from household appliances they may find scary.
A happy bond between a human and a furry friend requires a certain level of consideration from you. It should be a mutual relationship where you benefit them too. This is why you’ll need to think through the main considerations before bringing a new companion into the fold.