Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. Owning pets can be a lot of fun, and pets can provide us with company, stress relief and unconditional love. Cats and dogs generally live in excess of 10-15 years, so it is important that we understand the responsibilities we have towards our pets for their entire lives.
Responsible pet ownership involves choosing the right pet for your lifestyle whether it is a cat, dog, guinea pig or whatever, complying with the law, caring for your pet’s health and ensuring your pet does not cause problems in the community. Being a responsible owner ensures that you and your pet can enjoy a long and happy relationship.
Responsible pet ownership is a huge responsibility. You need to research the requirements of your pet. Which pet is most appropriate for my lifestyle and am I prepared to care for it? Am I prepared to care for a pet for its whole life? Can I afford the pet? Do I understand how to care for a pet? Do I have time for a pet? Do I live in suitable accommodation with adequate space for a pet? Will a pet fit into my lifestyle and priorities? If your answers are no, do not commit yourself to a pet. Your pet should be a loved member of your household until the end of its life.
Registered cat breeders need to comply with relevant state and local legislation. This covers the de-sexing of kittens which they do not intend to keep for breeding, following an approved vaccination protocol for controlling internal and external parasites, not selling cats or kittens through pet shops, markets or animal shelters, complying with the age of cats before mating and the frequency of litters, inter-breeding between different breeds (not part of a recognised breeding program), the microchipping of kittens, and providing new owners with relevant documentation.
Responsible pet ownership is about keeping your cat or kitten safely inside the home and allowing it to have access to a suitable outdoor enclosure. Cats or kittens allowed unrestricted or unsupervised access to the outside world are at risk of a being hit injured or killed by a car, dog attacks, fights with a cat which can result in death or transmission of disease resulting in expensive vet bills, nuisance to neighbours, and destruction of wild life. You can train your cat or kitten to walk on a leash.
Alternatively, there are numerous ways of safely of your cat or kitten by enclosing part of your back yard or even your balcony to allow it to enjoy nature safely without impeding on your neighbourhood amenity.