Few pet owners are free from making mistakes in their first few weeks or months. General ones are, among others: failing to pet-proof your home, choosing an unsuitable breed, and not laying down rules for the pet (or being inconsistent about it). Aside from those, here are some species-specific mistakes new owners are likely to commit that are worth highlighting!
1. Expecting your cat not to scratch. Scratching is part of a cat’s nature. To avoid your furniture being shredded into pieces, set up scratching surfaces (like a scratching post) especially for this behaviour. You might want to make sure to have both horizontal and vertical surfaces. A good scratching post should also be adequately rough, tall and sturdy.
2. Being too affectionate, too soon. After bringing your kitty home, give them time to adapt to its new environment and owner(s). They might hide under furniture, or ignore your calls, but hold off on your enthusiasm to cuddle with them all the time. When your cat is ready and realises that you are no harm, they will be more comfortable to get closer to you.
1. Thinking that your pup is too young to train. Good habits and behaviours need to be learnt from an early age. By the time you bring your young puppy home at around eight weeks, they are ready to be trained to sit, stay, wait, and walk on a leash. Even smaller breeds need to trained — being tiny and adorable does not equate to being well behaved.
1. Using unsuitable bedding. Among the materials that you should not use as bedding in your hamster’s cage are: newspaper, wood shavings, cat litter and corn cob.
2. Using cages and wheels that are too small. As hamsters are small, it is too easy to adopt the mindset that you can just keep them in a small cage. However, as much as it gets uncomfortable for humans to be confined in a tight space, the same goes for your little rodent friends. They need to have ample space to run around. Even the wheel needs to be of a good size, so that your hamster will not have to arch its back as it runs.
Guinea Pig Owners
1. Two is better than one. Guinea pigs are highly social beings. No matter how much time you spend with your piggy, it cannot replace having a fellow pig companion. It can survive solitude, but having a buddy will be healthier (mentally) for them.
1. Not anticipating how much your fish will grow. When buying a young fish, always check how big they can be as they grow into adults. Otherwise, you might risk putting it into a tank that will eventually be too cramped or overcrowded for it.