Adopting a pet is a big commitment and one that should not be entered into lightly. Cats and dogs generally live 12-15 years... some longer. Please make sure you are ready to make the committment for the pet's entire lifetime and make sure it is the right time in your life for a pet. Ask yourself some of the following questions.
Do you know what type of pet would best suit your lifestyle? Have you read about things like about housebreaking, training, litterboxes, behavioral problems? Are you aware of the daily care of this type of pet? Can you see yourself owning a dog for the next 12-15 years? Most cats & dogs live 12-15 years... are you prepared to make this kind of commitment?
The cost of a pet goes way behind the adoption fee. There are veterinarian bills, food, litter, grooming, etc. Typical vet bills will run several hundred dollars a year for exams, vacinnations and flea control. If you go on vacation and can't take your pet with you, you will need to consider the cost of boarding or pet sitting generally around $20-30/day. Additionally if your new pet gets sick suddenly or needs some emergency care it could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Are you in the midst of moving, getting married, going through a divorce, going off to college, getting ready to have a baby, changing jobs? If so, then it probably is not a good time to adopt. Wait until your life is more settled and you have the time to devote to a new family member.
Can you live with a little damage to furniture and floors until your new pet becomes accustomed to your home? Will you take accidents, even flea infestations, in stride? Even housebroken and litterbox trained pets can have accidents. Be prepared to cleanup a little vomit, pee or poo... its part of owning a pet.
If your children are under the age of 6, experts recommend that you wait a few years to adopt. Puppies and kittens have extra-sharp teeth and claws and strike back when teased. Smaller dogs and kittens may be too delicate for an exuberant toddler; large dogs can knock a child over and adult cats can hiss or bite.
Do you work long hours? Will you have the time and patience to train the dog or spend with a cat? Are you prepared to give the pet its needed exercise? Do you have quality time to spend with a new pet?
If you already have animals, have you checked to ensure that adding another animal will not violate your city limits or be in violation of any regulations of where you live? Are you sure your current pets will tolerate a new pet in the home? Have you considered the well-being of your current pets as your first priority?
Have you checked with your landlord to see if they allow pets? Does your rental or lease agreement specify that pets are allowed? Do you have to make a pet deposit? Have you anticipated what you might do if you have to move? Are you willing to pay more for a place to rent to ensure that you can take your pet with you?
A cat or dog needs to be a family member and everyone needs to welcome him/her into your home. Be sure everyone agrees not only on getting a pet but on which pet to make part of the family. Let everyone in the family meet your new potential family member before deciding to adopt.
Please be sure you are ready to adopt before making this big decision.
The shelters are full of animals that were purchased or adopted by someone who did not think it all the way through and as a result didn't follow through on their commitment. Adopting a pet on impulse is not the way to go - make sure you can make a lifetime commitment to your new pet.