Why You Should Be A Responsible Pet Owner
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Why You Should Be A Responsible Pet Owner

Or not a pet owner at all.

Why You Should Be A Responsible Pet Owner

I am sitting on my parents’ waterbed relaxing and watching my favorite show and suddenly, the commercial appears. It features Sarah McLachlan singing "Angel" while a slideshow of depressing video clips flash across the screen showing abused and sheltered animals. I’m sure most people have seen this SPCA commercial at some point in their lives. If they haven’t, seen one of these commercials or at least flipped by one, I am quite jealous. The clips are heartbreaking to watch, and sadly they are preventable if people only took care of their pets.

One of the things that bothers me most is seeing people not treat their pets right. If you can’t take care of your animals then you should never have gotten them to begin with. I don’t understand why people don’t take care of their pets; it really is not that difficult.

STOP letting your animals roam free.

As I go for walks around my neighborhood, I almost always see someone’s cat wandering around. What is to prevent your cat from being hit by a car? Why are you even letting your cat outside? There is no reason that cats should be left outside. I have heard all sorts of explanations for why people let their cats outside, but none of them are good. Here are some of the main excuses I’ve heard:

"My cat gets bored staying indoors."
"Indoor cats are overweight."
"My cat cannot be kept indoors because it is too destructive and claws everything."
"My cat has always been allowed to go outside. I can't change that now."
"I am allergic to cats, so I need to let them outside."
"There is not that much danger outside because he stays close to home."

All of these responses are myths. If a cat gets bored staying indoors, then the owner is not providing enough entertainment through toys, windows with views, and catnip. Cats that become overweight are not getting enough exercise, and this can be fixed with more play time and not having food available all times of the day. When a cat is destructive, there is usually a reason for this such as boredom, illness, or something else. Also, there may not be enough scratching places for the cats to use, which causes them to look to other means; it has nothing to do with not being able to go outside. Using the excuse that your cat has always gone outside is not good either. It is quite possible to transition a cat from being able to go outside to being indoors only. The allergy excuse also does not suffice because there is a great possibility that what you are allergic to is not the cat itself but something that it brings in such as fleas, ticks, pollen, or other allergens. If you really are allergic to cats, there are ways to live with them without having to keep them outside, or there is always the option of not owning them to begin with. The final myth has to do with the dangers of the outside world. Some say that as long as the cat stays near to the home it is safe. This statement is flawed.

There are many dangers to cats who are allowed outside. The first has to do with animal injuries. In the summertime, it is very likely for me to hear a cat fight out my window. Even in my suburban neighborhood, cat fights are a common occurrence. It is a horrible noise, and it makes me feel sick knowing that the cats are likely to be in worse shape after it's over. Bites from other cats can turn quite serious, and can even end up causing death. Other cats are not the only cause of injury; however, there are other animals that can be dangerous for cats such as dogs, coyotes, and other predators. According to Catster.com, “Indoor cats are safe from predators and dog packs; even with a full set of teeth and claws, cats rarely have a chance against dogs or predatory birds, and declawed cats are at even higher risk.” The biggest threat to animal injury is humans. “More cats are killed by cars each year than are euthanized in US animal shelters." That means that there are more than 1.4 million cats getting killed by cars every year.

I have seen too many cats laying in the road that have been hit by cars, and I still cannot get those images from my mind. Sometimes antifreeze is spilled, and unknowing cats sip it up and die of poisoning. Another scenario that often occurs is when a cat gets cold in the winter and climbs inside of a car engine and dies from the fan blades. Humans are not just dangerous when it comes to cars, they are also purposely harmful to felines. There are some cats that are taken away by cat snatchers who want to use them as laboratory test subjects. Also, neighbors and juveniles get annoyed with wandering cats and use horrible means of getting rid of them such as: poisoning, setting on fire, trapping and drowning.

Cats are usually the pets I see people let outside, but on occasion I see dogs roaming free which is also terrible. Dogs can also be hit by cars, and little dogs could be hurt by a lot of different animals. If you are not going to have a fenced in yard, then you should take your dog on a leash when it has to go to relieve itself.

What’s the point of having pets if you’re going to keep them locked up all of the time?

You might think that this contradicts what I was saying about not letting your animals roam free, but what I mean is that you should not keep your pets (this is mainly a problem with dogs) locked up in a cage or kennels all of the time. I understand if your dog is destructive while you are not home, so you keep it in a cage. But, I see a lot of people keep their dogs locked up in outdoor kennels all day long even if they are home. Why did you ever even adopt a dog if all it is going to do is be locked up all of the time? Dogs were not meant to be kept in cages. They want human affection, and they enjoy playing with people too. Also, I hate it when people leave their dogs outside when it is raining or really cold. That is a terrible way to treat your pets. They cannot keep themselves dry, and their fur is not meant to keep them warm when it’s freezing outside. Dogs were not meant to stay outside in dog houses. You should let your dogs out for a little while, but if you are not going to stay with them outside, then you should not leave them out there for a long time.

STOP giving your pets food and drinks that they should not have.

I’m not talking about giving your dog scraps from the table or giving your cat some milk from your glass. I know some pet owners who feed their animals things that are bad for them. One of these things being alcohol. There are quite a few people who seem to think it’s funny to give their pets a little bit of their alcohol, but it is so dangerous for your pets and could even kill them.

Even though a lot of people foods are not necessarily bad for pets, it doesn't mean that you should feed them tons of people food. It can still cause them to gain too much weight which can cause other health problems.

Don’t get rid of your pets just because they made you mad.

Being angry with your pet is not a reason to take it to a shelter, give it away, or throw it out on the street. All my pets are from animal shelters, and I’ve heard an awful lot of stupid reasons that people have gotten rid of their pets.

Some people get rid of their pets because they went to the bathroom on the floor. If this is something your cat does, you might not have enough litter boxes or they are not kept clean enough. Dogs do this as well for a variety of reasons. They could be ill, excited, nervous, or haven't been able to go outside for a long time. Even if these are not the reasons, you still shouldn't get rid of your pets. You don't get rid of children when they wet their beds.

Pets don't understand why you are getting rid of them. It is hard for animals to have to readjust to new environments and people just because you decided you didn't want them anymore. This can cause a lot of issues for pets. It causes animals stress, and they may never full adjust to a new home.

Since I was born, my family has always had several pets (some dogs and some cats). We have never let our cats outside, and none of them have even tried to go outside. I know what it's like to take care of animals. All of my pets were adopted from shelters or found as strays. They have all come from people who didn't take care of them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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