When I turned 20 I got a dog, Bush. That was his name. A big cuddly German shepherd. Then my brother came home with a cat that he had rescued from the street. We should have known that a cat and a dog, in this case Bush and Mia, could not live together. Bush ate Mia in the end in full sight of the family. With no shame at all. He tore her apart and went back to his kennel smacking his lips. Savage. He died months later quietly in the night. Karma.
You have a pet. You probably know someone with one. Too often we get pets to fill a ‘void’ in our lives. In other instances we get them for the kids so that we can teach them responsibility. Some animals like the ferrets and hamsters can live comfortably in cages. Others like snakes need their space away from everyone . Below are some of the pets commonly kept in our households and how you can make room for them at home.
- Dog – After watching the movie with 101 Dalmatians we all wanted puppies. A dog is one of the easiest pets to keep. Feed them, give them water constantly and walk them in the evening and you’ve got yourself a best friend. Get pet friendly rugs for when they lay around in the house. Keep the leash and collar near the front door so that you do not have to look for it. The dog bowl should be consistently be placed in one area, preferably near the living room, so that the dog is part of the family. It is also wise to train your dog to poop outside in the garden. However, that does not eliminate the possibility of you picking droppings somewhere in the house.
- Turtles – The first I saw a turtle was at an office in Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya. It was just there in the garden having the time of its life as it crawled away and by evening it had made it halfway across. When you choose to keep one go for the box turtles. Turtles need to burrow and shallow water where they can hydrate. Pick a spot in the garden and cement it. Add water up to a shallow level and allow the turtle to rock on.
- Monkeys – If you are up for some monkey trouble, you know which animal to pick. While monkeys look cute and even have baby ears, they are tumultuous as they grow older. You should have a cage for them as they tend to be messy but allow them to play during the day under supervision. At night, have the cage in the basement or somewhere away from the rest of the rooms as they tend to be noisy.
- Fish – Now this is the best pet for all the sloths in the world. All you need is a fish bowl and a fish betta, a species of fish that is so colourful. Pick a colour off the rainbow chart and you will have fish betta in that colour. This fish will give life and vibrance to your space. The fish bowl is best placed above the fireplace so that it is not knocked over.
- Chinchilla – If you are lucky to catch one before fur coats run them into extinction, they are some of the best animals to keep. They are small in size and all they need is a wire cage with a soft base. They are easy to clean and their droppings are odourless so there is no funky business.
- Cats – Oh cats. The creatures for whom human beings were created for. To ignore and walk away from with their noses up in the air when offered food that they do not like. But they are free to wake us up with their purring at 3am in the morning. When they are having their good days they are as sweet as can be. To appease your cat, feed it with some milk and cat food. Every cat needs a litter box. Get one that is colourful, classy and fits into the décor. They also like to sleep on something cosy. When they are little they will curl up on your pillow. As they grow older sleeping at your feet on an antique quilt is heavenly for them.
- Snakes – Seriously though, snakes are creepy. They slither and hiss but we are all cut from a different cloth and some of us would rather have a snake than a puppy. If you are charmed by snakes get either a corn snake, ball python or king snake. You need just 5 minutes a day to keep them happy. Have a glass cage with rocks, sand, artificial plants where they can enjoy the ‘wild’. It is advised against petting a snake in a household with children under 5 years old. Good luck with that.
- Parrots – Warning: Do not gossip anyone with a parrot in the house, you will be outed. They are colourful lively pets that can live up to 80 years. They need a cage that is big enough to fly around for short distances. With that have a thin layer of gravel at the bottom. If the bird happens to ingest one of the pieces of gravel, it grinds the seeds in its stomach. Place the cage in the living room or hallway where the parrot can enjoy some sunshine.
- Rabbits – Their big blue eyes and long ears make them such beautiful pets to keep. They are clean and easy to maintain as they feed on fresh vegetables. They need a cage, made of wire or wood with a solid floor. They also need to constantly eat so ensure they have food in the cage.
- Hamsters – The one animal that every child in movies has. They are also called ‘pocket pets’. They need a cage, with shredded paper as the base. One thing to note though their gestation period is two weeks, so if you have a male and female hamsters you might need a bigger cage. Hamsters are best kept close to their owners . If the kids are responsible for it, have it in their rooms so that they can keep an eye on it.