Monday, 28 October 2013

Pets Are For Their LIFE Not Just For CHRISTMAS

Hello lovelies. 

This post has been a long, long time coming. On the whole I like to keep my blog a happy & cheerful place, but today won't be the happiest post I've ever done, probably far from it. It's also likely to be a long post, as I want to cover as much as I can.

I was browsing the web earlier, just flicking around and I came across a link to "Disturbing Photos Capture the Reality Of Euthanization at Animal Shelters" and after faltering for a second, I opened it. I knew it would make me angry and upset, and it really really hit a nerve. The link is here, but I warn you now, it's very upsetting and made me weep.

We've all heard the slogan "A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas" but I've modified it to include all pets. Dog, cat, hamster, parrot, snake, rabbit, pet rock (ok well maybe not) if you've bought an animal in to your life, you have a duty to that animal until the day it passes. It's not a wishy washy decision to bring an animal in to your life, so here are a few questions to ask yourself before bringing an animal home. 

1. Do I have time for this animal?
This probably applies to dogs the most, but to some degree all animals. Do you have time to walk a dog every morning and evening? Do you have time to train your animal so it will be safe around the public and friends? Will someone be home every evening to feed them? From what I know dogs don't like to be left at home too long, and if they are occasionally are you ok coming home to find your carpet ripped up? Pets need love and attention, and although some need less than others, it's worth considering how they will fit for you. 

2. Can I Afford This Animal? 
This, bar actually wanting the animal, is probably the most important question to ask yourself, and not just ask actually sit down and work out if you can or not. I say this because for one reason or another, be it food or a medical problem, it's the number one reason that animals end up in a shelter. 

Obviously some animals are much cheaper than others, for example a rodent of some variety (hamster, rat, mouse) is fairly inexpensive to look after, a cage would be around £25 to £50, saw dust around £3 for a months worth and you can buy 1kg of rodent food from Tesco for £2.49. However, the cost of cats and dogs is much more. 

I cannot comment on how much a dog costs monthly as I've never had a dog, but I thought it might be helpful to roughly go through what Tuna (my cat if your a new reader) costs month to month. If their are any dog owners out there which wouldn't mind commenting with roughly what it costs for a dog I would be very interested to know.

Food: Tuna eats roughly a box of 12 pouches a week, which depending of where it's from and what offers are on, costs around £3.49, which is £13.96 a month. Since he had a tummy bug last month he's gone off dry food, but that would be around £2 for 2 or so weeks worth, so in total I spend around £17.96 a month. 

Litter: I've tried all sorts of litter, from more expensive brands like Catsan all the way down to value, and personally I've found that the Tesco Value cat litter is the best in terms of odor absorption and compared to others doesn't kick up as much dust. At £1.55 per bag, we go through around 3 a month so that's £4.65 a month. 

Insurance. Got a couple of hundred quid sitting around if your pet breaks its leg? No? Then please for the love of god, insurance your animals. This is something that also ends up landing pets in shelters, a pet getting an illness and needing expensive treatment or expensive medication that the owners can't afford and end up having to surrender the animal to the RSPCA, which is unpleasant for the owner and for the animal. 

Tuna is actually insured twice, he has a small amount of cover with the Pet Plan we took out at the vet (more on that later) and independently with another company. We took out life-time insurance, and here's why we don't have year to year cover (which is cheaper per month). If (god forbid) Tuna was to develop a long term condition, such as diabetes, our insurance would pay out for the medicine the first year, but if we tried to renew the next year, the monthly premium would shoot through the roof. With life-time insurance your premium stays the same. Between the pet plan and life-time insurance it costs around £40 per month. 

Flea & Worming Treatment & Injections/boosters.
Your pets need to be wormed (around every 3 months) & treated for fleas (every month) to keep them happy inside and out. They will also need a set of injections when they are young, and then boosters every year. Tuna gets his flea and worming treatment as well as his annual boosters included in the Pet Plan, but if you were to pay out for each thing, Flea Treatment (over counter) is around £4.50 per tube, worming tablets are around £4.79 for 2 tubes and injections for the first set are around £50 each, which I'm sure there is 3 different ones you need, and then boosters each year cost around £50. 

Another sore point for me, and another reason whole litter of kittens end up in shelters. Please, please please please neuter your animals. It costs roughly between £50 to £70 depending of the sex of the animal (boys are easier to neuter than girls) but it money that needs to be spent. Tuna was neutered as soon as he was old enough which for males is really young, around 8 months.  

Getting your dog or cat microchipped is so important, and if they were to get lost and they weren't microchipped it's hard to find their homes. I think microchipping cost around £15 but a lot of animal charities run open days to go and get your pet microchipped for free or a small donation.

I'm not trying to say you need to have loads and loads of money to have a pet, but you do need to want to spend the money, because to treat animals how they should be treated, it will cost money.

3. Without Something Drastic Changing, Can I Commit To Caring For This Animal For Up To 20 Years? 
20 would be extremely old for any cat or dog, but what I'm trying to say is you need to be fairly settled. I.E if your future plans include traveling for a year taking on an animal would be a bad idea. Obviously life has a way of changing plans, and you can never be certain whats round the corner, but it's about thinking that where ever life takes you, you will take your pet. 

But why am I saying this in relation to Christmas? Well, their is a romantic imagery about getting a dog for the family at Christmas, bringing him or her in a big red bow round it's neck and everyone cooing for hours on end. Nothing is wrong with this at all, if the whole family wants a dog, sat down and worked out they can afford it and who will walk it and when, it's all very lovely. 

But an animal should never, ever be bought on a whim, and I think sometimes people get caught up in the Christmas magic, rush out and buy a cute puppy for their kids, but unlike a Nintendo DS, when no one wants to play with it any more you can't just shove it in a draw. Will they still want it at 7am when it needs walking in January and snows on the ground? Are you willing to step in if they don't? 

My point is that 1000's of healthy animals get put down in shelters every year, not because the shelter wants to but simply because they don't have the space or the resources to look after every animal that comes their way. Since the recession hit many 1000's of animals have been given away, and the RSPCA is struggling. It's a horrible statistic, but the RSPCA had to put down 3,400 healthy animals because it couldn't cope with the influx in 2012.

This post isn't meant to put anyone who's serious about getting a pet off, but just a hopeful plee that this Christmas, animals who are bought home stay there.

But, I will say, getting a pet was the best thing I've ever done, and my Tuna brings me endless joy. And come hell or high water, I will look after him until the day he dies. 

So ladies, who else agrees with me? 



  1. I totally agree. me and my partner have lived together for 3 years and it took us a long time to decide on the right animal for us. we got two chinchillas in june (on my birthday because thats when the breeder said we could get them and i had a day off work to drive the two hours to pick them up) and although they are low maintenance they are exspensive still. they cost around 100 each and the cage is usually the same aswell. they need to constantly have wooden shelves and toys replaced as they chew through them. they are very social creatures to. we needed two because we work shifts and while they may not see either of us for a few hours they still have each other. chinchilkas need to be talked to alot so they get used to you before they can even begin to be handled. they need a room they can run around in and even after a month or so in a new house i have to re wallpaper as they chew it off the walls. they cost around 30 a month plus any damages to my house. they are not insured simply because they dont get ill unless they fall from a height but we have the money saved already but would have to find a specialist vet to treat them. pets are exspensive and should only be had when you can invest the money and time in them. x

    1. I think that is 100% the right attitude to take, and I also think that it was very good of you to put so much effort in to picking your pets <3 x

  2. I couldn't agree more, it breaks my heart to see animals in shelters!
    Amy x
    -A Little Boat Sailing-

    1. Me too, the poor things must be so scared :(

  3. Hell yeah I agree!

    If people don't think they would be able to bring an animal up from being young (e.g. dog or cat) then go down to a home and re-home one instead. :)

    I love animals and when I next get a dog, I'll make damn sure that it's cared of. ^_^

    1. I just hate the idea of people treating a puppy or kitten like it's just disposable, when they are bored of them they just end up in a shelter. I love animals and people who look after and love their animals are amazing ^^ x

  4. I can't open that link as it will upset me, I am a huge animal lover and have 3 cats of my own and I cannot stand to see people mistreat animals, it really does upset and anger me x

    Beautyqueenuk xx

  5. This made me cry so much :'(
    I have three cats and one puppy and I love them so much. This is a great post, people really should think about getting animals before they buy them on a whim and give them up, they need love just as much as any of us. Dogs are especially tying but so rewarding and loving. Your cat is beautiful (: xx

    1. He is a cutie. Its such a big decision, and not one to be taken lightly x


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