So you’ve decided it’s time to add a pet to your life. Fantastic! Adopting a pet from a rescue organisation is a great way to go. The benefits of adopting a pet are huge. You’re giving a pet a better life, and you’ll benefit from information on your pet’s personality from the rescue organisation. They take time to understand the pet, their needs, likes and dislikes, and temperament. But first, we need to determine which type of pet you’re looking for. Dogs and cats are the most popular choices, with an estimated 4.8 million dogs in Australia and 3.9 million pet cats, so let’s focus on those two.
Finding the right pet for you
There are a few aspects of your life that you need to consider to determine which pet is right for you. You’ll also want to consider what role the pet will play in your life. Are you looking for companionship, security, or maybe a running partner?
Lifestyle & Exercise
How active is your lifestyle? If you live the couch potato life and aren’t looking to go for daily walks, then a cat is a good option. Dogs require regular exercise to keep them fit and mentally stimulated. Cats will spend most of the day sleeping, but they’re not nocturnal. Cats are ‘crepuscular’ which means you’ll find them most active at dawn and dusk. Don’t be surprised if you have to begin adjusting to 5am zoomies around the house!
The type of living arrangement you have will impact your chosen pet. If you’re renting, you’ll need permission from your landlord to have a pet. Most rescue organisations will check you have permission to ensure the pet doesn’t return to them. If you’re living in an apartment, you’ll need to get body corporate approval for pets even if you own the place. Apartment living provides a smaller space and can be more cat-friendly than dog-friendly. That said, there are some breeds of dogs that do well in apartments with regular walks. Small breeds and Grey Hounds are great apartment-living options.
If you’re in a house, consider the backyard size if you’re leaving a dog outside during the day (or all the time). Consider whether you’ll be happy to deal with the extra hair if you want your pets inside and invest in a good vacuum! We recommend cats be kept indoors and monitored outside on your property. If you let your cats roam the streets, they’re more likely to be injured by cars, other animals, or sadly even people. Indoor-only cats will likely be more cuddly and dependent on you for more than just food.
Already have a pet at home? You’ll need to factor them into your decision-making. If you have cats at home, you’ll need to find a cat-friendly dog or a cat that likes other cats. Rescue organisations will typically test their animals with different pets to determine what type of home they should go into. Often they’ll arrange meet-and-greets between your existing dog and a potential new dog to ensure they’re a good match.
Estimated costs of owning a pet
Make sure you have a look at expected expenses for your pet and whether that fits within your budget. You’ll also want to consider any unexpected costs like emergency vet bills if they’re injured. According to ASIC’s MoneySmart, owning a dog in Australia will cost you on average $1,475 per year, and a cat $1,029 per year. Of course, this will vary based on how many comfy beds or cute jumpers you buy for your pet.
Rescue the right pet for you
If you’re still not 100% sure which pet is right for you, the rescue organisation will be willing to help. Don’t be surprised if they have lots of questions for you, their job is to make sure the animal finds the right home. Make sure you organise a trip to the vet or a vet house-call so we can meet your new pet and give them a check-up.