The ideal house pet

  • 04.August 2015
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King Charles House pet MaltaMost people enjoy pets, their company, and their presence in their lives. Keeping a pet is a permanent responsibility that will eventually become part of day-to-day life. But finding the right kind of pets to suit yourself, your home, and your lifestyle, may take some strategic consideration if your relationship with your pet (and your neighbours) is to endure on the long-term basis and successfully so.

Let us consider dogs. Most people will claim they adore large dogs. Certainly a large dog does look pretty imposing and impressive in pictures. But in real life a big dog will take up big spaces,  require frequent and long walks, and its walker will need a strong pair of biceps to keep it from irreverently dragging him/her through bushes and hedges during its focused chase of the neighbour’s cat. More importantly but on a different level, a large dog will require high maintenance and upkeep as well as abundant supplies of food that have to be affordable.

Smaller dogs can be just as much of a handful, mainly because they tend to be more excitable, and also because size does not make any difference where training is involved. Dogs require plenty of patience to be initially trained and taught how not to make a mess indoors, how not to gnaw all your shoes, and how not to destroy carpets, furniture and anything else which tickles their fancy. If they are left alone for long periods of time, there is no knowing what might trigger off barking episodes.

Cats are somewhat easier to maintain and less demanding of time and attention than dogs. However, be prepared for some lively kitten chasing in the initial days when young felines Ideal House Pet - Cattest their limitations and their surroundings, happily climbing up curtains and blocking themselves on top of wardrobes. Many an upholstered item has been irreparably damaged with those minute kitty claws. Whilst most cats are quick to learn how to make use of a cat litter, the safe and hygienic placement of this within a home, especially one with infants and dogs, has to be well thought out (both infants and dogs have been known to enjoy eating cat poo).

When in the process of finding a new home, it is imperative to keep your present and future pets in mind. Rental property owners do not always take kindly to pets on their premises. Therefore it is important to be aware of any restrictions in this regard. You should not assume that the rental property owner will eventually accept your pet as part of the picture. You should be outright with your estate agent before you set out to start searching for a new home whether you are looking to buy or rent a property in Malta.  In many cases condominium agreements forbid cats and dogs so one thing you do not want to experience is finding a home you fall in love with and than having to choose between your age old friend pet and a home.

parakeet-1Even if you are looking for a top floor apartment, condominium agreements may restrict you from having specific types of pets or any kind of pets for that matter, even if you have the outdoor area. However, these restrictions may only be limited to pets which may become a nuisance to neighbours as in the case of dogs which are prone to incessant untimely barking. Even bird aviaries or large and loud birds such as parrots or parakeets, may cause disturbance or inconvenience in an apartment block.

You may feel safe about keeping as many pets as you want if you have your own home. But this may not always be the case. Untended dogs can trespass into the neighbours’ garden, jump in their pool or uproot their flower beds. Special permits may be required for keeping say, pigeons, which neighbours may find disturbing and blame as the cause of health issues. Where practical upkeep is concerned,  pretty pictures of lovable animals fail to remind us of the constant shedding of fur or feathers, which can lead to cleaning issues around the house, both indoors and within open spaces.  Unpleasant odours caused by lack of proper cleaning and hygiene may also become bones of contention with neighbours, so respect others to avoid unpleasant situations. Ultimately it is all about responsible pet ownership, even if you finally do opt to keep a fish in a bowl.


Marika Azzopardi
Post by Marika Azzopardi

Marika Azzopardi is a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.