Coming home from work to be greeted by a pet can make all the stresses of the day disappear. But have you ever wondered what your pet gets up to when you’re out?
‘Catnapping’ is the ability to take frequent small naps and that is just what cats do - spend the
majority of the day sleeping. Research has also shown that Labradors home alone, will also
spend the majority of their time asleep.
Many owners worry that pets’ stress when left home alone, however, given today’s busy
lifestyle, most owners are not present 24/7. By denying yourself the pleasure of pet ownership
because of this concern, you may also be denying many animals the chance of a good home.
With a few considerations and a little forward planning pets and a modern busy lifestyle can
combine in a positive and responsible way.
Firstly, it’s important to select the kind of pet that will suit your lifestyle best.
The busiest of owners and those likely to spend impromptu weekends away might find that fish neatly fits the bill. It has long been known that the observation of fish calmly swimming in their
tank can soothe frazzled nerves. Once correctly set up, an aquarium can be relatively low
maintenance and fish, which don’t need daily feeding, can be left alone in their own
Owners with limited space may wish to consider a bird. It’s important to recognise however, that birds are not solitary creatures, usually living in pairs or flocks. Owners should consider keeping a pair of birds or, for those with the space, a small aviary of compatible feathered friends.
Owners with busy lifestyles may find a cat to be an ideal companion. On arriving home from
work, a cat is nearly always ready for a quick play before curling up on your knee for yet
another sleep and a purr.
Dogs are truly designer animals. Over the centuries man has developed hundreds of dog
breeds to meet his needs. Some were bred as hunters with the stamina and strength to hunt
large game; others were bred with the single mindedness and agility to hunt small vermin. Still
others were bred to gently carry game without bruising, while others herded sheep and cattle,
some pulled sleds and a great number of breeds were bred to do nothing except to be
Dogs require a deeper commitment from an owner than any other species. Do not consider a
very active breed of dog if you expect it to be home alone all day and content to rest at your feet while you collapse in front of the TV. Perhaps in this situation, you might want to think of
obtaining two low activity dogs. Not only does it take the same time to walk two dogs as one,
but you’ll rest easy knowing that your dogs will not be lonely throughout the day. Dogs and cats
can also provide company for each other, although some of the hunting breeds are not always
Quality time with your pet is important. Invite your pet indoors to sit with you in the evening. The
more you interact with your pet, the more frequently it will initiate interactions with you.
Toys provide a source of entertainment for pets. Give your dog a special toy as you leave each day (and take it away when you return). Hang a toy on elastic from a door handle and your cat
will enjoy catching it over and over. Visitors and playmates provide stimulation for pets,
especially dogs. Invite a person who has no pets of their own to spend time with yours. Ask a
friend’s dog over to play for the day or investigate doggy day-care centres for your dog.
So, if you have the desire for the companionship of a pet but feel guilty about leaving them
alone, consider a bit of forward planning and remember; two pets can double the fun!