Sunday, December 5, 2010

The First Rule of Owning a Pet

Before you adopt a pet, any pet, you need to take into consideration how you will need to adapt your lifestyle to care for and bond with it.

Now, I have no experience with rodents, birds, snakes, bugs, and the like.  So I cannot speak for the lifestyle adaptions that need to be made by whoever owns them.  And there is minimal lifestyle changes for those who adopt fish (that I do know from experience).

But for cats, dogs, sugar gliders, and many other pets, they are often abandoned because their humans couldn't adapt our didn't want to make the necessary adaptions.

For dogs you need to be able to give them lots of attention (they are social creatures and get closely attached to their pack).  And you need to be able to be the 'Alpha' of that pack; you're the boss not them (yes, I'm a fan of "Ceaser's Way"). Also, dogs are high energy creatures, they will get antsy if they do not have regular and frequent exercise.

For cats, you need to make sure they get exercise, are able to hunt, have something to scratch beside your furniture, etc... 

Also, you need to consider allergies; not just yours, but those of your family and those who are frequent visitors. (You don't want to hurt existing relationships.)

Here's how I decided upon a Sugar Glider.

Personally, I'm a dog person all the way.  I love dogs.  I love big dogs (no little pom-pom, yip-yap doggies for me lol).  But I'm at work all day, live alone, my apartment is less than 400 square feet, and I don't have a large fenced in yard to utilize.  So, frankly, it would be cruel of me to adopt a dog.

Cats, the next most logical pet - talk about a good 'apartment-friendly' pet, right?  Wrong.  I'm allergic to indoor cats and have no way to safely have an indoor-outdoor cat.  Plus, I life in the suburbs so any outdoor cat I get will be in danger every time s/he left my apartment.  And, I have family members and friends who allergic to all cats so I wouldn't be able to invite them over again.

Ok, what about a bird or fish?  I love to travel.  How am I going to take them with me or keep them healthy and happy while I'm gone?  Plus, how do you connect with a fish?

And don't even ask me about a rodent, bug, or snake.  Just not my thing.

So frankly, I thought that I would have to go pet-less until my lifestyle changed through moving to a better location or getting a different schedule.

Then I heard about Sugar Gliders.  Frankly, I should have done all of my research before actually adopting li'l Fritz.  Thankfully, it has worked out.

Why was a Sugar Glider a good choice for me?
  1. They're nocturnal, so he wouldn't get lonely while I was at work
  2. They're small, so I have plenty of room to give him all of the exercise he needs by just letting him out of his cage for an hour or two in the evening.  Plus, talk about easy to travel with
  3. Low upkeep costs: they don't need shots or medicine.  And it only takes about $5/month to keep fed and healthy.  So being just out of college I don't have to go into debt to keep my li'l furbat healthy. lol
  4. They're highly social and intelligent: so I'll actually be able to connect and interact with him
Now, Sugar Gliders are not for everyone.  The most common reason I see that they're abandoned is because they often need a lot of attention and socialization to keep happy.  Also, they are often doomed to live miserable and lonely because their owners didn't spend enough time bonding with them when they were young.  (They're born with a fear of humans.)
What kind of lifestyle adaptions did you need to make for your pet?  Did you ever have to give up a pet because they weren't right for you?


  1. A member of glider gossip here. Interesting post, just wanted to say something about number three on your list: while they are inexpensive to care for when healthy, if they get sick or injured an exotic vet visit could be very expensive-it is always a good idea to have an emergency fund of at least $500 ready in savings.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. You are definitly correct, it is always wise to have an emergency fund for medical expenses for any member of the family. :D


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