Your Pet Has Rights, Too!
Pets Need More Than Adequate HousingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Treat Pets as well as you do yourself.
We hear a lot about the rights of animals in the wild, not that much well-meaning people say and do stops the gradual slide by many towards extinction. But we don't hear much about pet's rights: the dogs and cats, birds and fish and all the rest which become our companions whether they like it or not.
Which is the point really. What would your dog and cat tell you if you were able to ask them about their lives and understand their response? And much more all the birds in barred prisons for life, or the fish, squeezed between unforgiving glass walls, saddled with the companions you choose, or, sadly alone.
I am sure the first thing out of their mouths or beaks would be, "Hey, we have got used to you, you treat us as well as you can (in the majority of cases), but, hey, you are a 'uman being, a huge, smelly, complicated creature who we tolerate but often fear; I am a fish (budgie, guinea pig, rabbit, you name it), much as I appreciate all you do for me, you are really just a kindly jailer; I want to share my life with one of my own kind!"
Many pet owners appreciate just that point and refuse to keep any animal - even the domesticated dog or cat - without another of the same species. They will tell you how much happier their pet is with another of the same to play with, lie with and even breed...
That's right. Sex. Would you spend your life like a monk by choice? Never to have known the joy of love and the heady heights of passion? If you say "Yes," you are either old, unwell or over the hill - in any case, deprived. Sex. Procreation is one of the fundamental drives of evolution and to be deprived of the opportunity to fulfil your destiny is to deny any beast, bird, fish or insect its raizon d’etre.
You will say "My dog loves the family, he/she doesn't need any other pet to keep him/her happy." Imagine a very large dog who is controlling your life saying the same to you! At this point I want to say - scream! WE ARE NO DIFFERENT in our basic desires and needs. Sex, food, shelter and perhaps creative distractions. That's really all any animated life form needs.
So make sure your pet, until his age makes it unnecessary, has plenty of companionship of his fellows. If you do doctor your dog and cat (And I'm not suggesting you forgo this, although I have a tendency to let them have one litter where possible before facing the knife), that doesn't mean they loose the desire for companionship and affection for other dogs and cats. Even cats, which are somewhat mysterious in their treatment of their fellows (and you and me!) feel more comfortable living with one or more of their species. I once had 17 cats when I lived in Baja California: they are accustomed to living like this and a lot could be learned from how they behaved towards one another...I never saw one fight between these cats, nor greed or any other of the neuroses seen in groups of Homo sapiens living together. We had lots of kittens and they were all wonderful and I'll never forget my little "pride."
But it’s when I see morbid cage birds and disconsolate goldfish in a bowl I really feel enraged.
I have two budgies. One died a few weeks ago ("Ozzie"), and "Woody," the remaining female was beside herself until I went out and bought her another pal. Now she has a "toy-bird" who she pretends to hate with a passion...but I have never seen her depressed again, not cheeping in dismay. I should be so lucky! (no, a toy-girl for me!...I believe they are called "Trophy wives?" Good God!)
Next point I would like to make is. Provide more than adequate housing. NO cage or tank is ever really big enough for creatures whose ‘forefeathers once knew the enormity of untrammelled skies; or for the scaly contingent, the plunging deeps of the vast Pacific.
My budgies have a four-feet-square Monterrey cage - which is huge - and I still bleed for them as they eye the wild birds through the window. They were born in captivity far from their native Australia of course and would not last a day in the wilds of Britain (read Macadam Jungle). I hope to move some day to where I can provide a large aviary for them, but this is the best I could do living in a flat. So you do the same for your fish or caged birds: please don't buy a huge parrot to be left in a tiny cage unless he comes out all the time. A fish can never be free, so make sure they have a tank long enough to swim for several feet with lots of plants and rocks. NEVER small round horrors which should be against the law.
For your rabbit and small furry loves, there is nice accommodation for sale these days. Don't buy any pet if it can't be kept with the free run of house or garden, unless you also buy a spacious, warm, dry hutch. Anything less is animal cruelty; something the angels look for when you are at the pearly gates!
I realise this hub sounds like it should be addressed to kids not responsible adults, but if many of the latter shirk their responsibly towards their feathered, furry or scaly friends, they are acting like malicious, selfish kids. And please don't be frightened to point out to friends that an animal is not housed, exercised or fed adequately. If they sneer at you, you didn't want a friend like that anyway.
Food. Please supply food that your pet would eat if it were in the wild, as far as possible. I have never fed my dogs plain cereal nuggets or canned dog food, although many pets seem to thrive on it and the makers extoll its virtues. But if you prepare a stew of cheaper cuts of meat (head-meat is good) and add some veggies and rice; serving your bow-wow a delicious portion in the evening, just watch how he gulps it down. I mean, would you like a diet of dried biscuit and nothing else? Make sure they have bones, too; nothing like an engrossed pup with his meaty thigh bone.
Cats are more difficult, although fish and poultry are ideal but pricy. It’s tough to change diets with cats, you need patience. But these animals are mostly meat eaters in the wild, so you can base any diet around that. I used to make a big pot up for my 17 in Baja but I had a “mozo“ (helper). Living as they did with the run of the desert, they ate quite a lot of small lizards, birds and mice, etc., often bringing one home and presenting it to “Daddy Cat” and it was occasionally a live, shocked looking young rattler, or a ruffled, het-up tarantula; they still looked quite bemused as it followed them out of the door! (My cats were occasionally snake, scorpion and spider-bit, but I never lost one...coyotes did get some in the end...I know, but they were free and lived as cats should).
Unless you are a professional collector, don’t have exotic pets like reptiles and arachnids. You are asking for trouble; you may not be able to house them elewhere if they have to go; they are disgusting to feed and they will never consider you above a tin of warm spit! It’s just a vanity in my opinion and comment if you must.
Well, there’s a few things said. It’s a huge subject, I have to muck out Sparky and Woody...I’m now “Daddy Bird!”