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Moms Talk: Choosing the Right Family Pet

A kitten or a salamander? Who should be in charge?

Wheaton Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Wheaton. 

Each week in Moms Talk, our  take your questions, give advice and share solutions. 

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today on family pets.

What's an appropriate age for the kids to bring a pet into the house if not there already? How do you fend off cute puppies begging to be taken home? Any pros and cons of different types of pets?

Let's talk in the comments.

Fetch Silver Spring July 19, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Unless you already have a family pet waiting until your kids are old enough to understand the correct way to treat animals is best for everyone! Also think about getting a dog or cat rather than a kitten or puppy. Most shelters have "tests" for adoptable animals to see if they would be a good fit for families with children. If you have really young kids the last thing you want is to be potty training a puppy and a child at the same time! Pets are great for kids and can help teach them responsibility and kindness.
Cassandra Caverly July 19, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I have no advice on choosing a pet but choose wisely. We adopted an adult cat roughly 5 years ago and she is an awesome older cat. However, now that the baby has arrived the cat likes to urinate EVERYWHERE but her litter box : my favorite rugs, on the carpet in the loft, on abackpack sitting on the floor. It has gotten so out of hand that we are contemplating placing her for adoption. It is extremely difficult to have a misbehaving cat and a newborn.
Fetch Silver Spring July 19, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Cassandra - that is so sad! There are a lot of good pet behaviorists out there who could help you and your kitty out - most likely she is stressed by the new baby. Again, if you contact your local shelter they can point you in the direction of someone who can help. Good luck!
Jessica McFadden July 19, 2011 at 06:38 PM
We adopted our two Siamese (mix) cats specifically because we know this breed is so family-friendly, and we were not disappointed. We used Petfinder http://www.petfinder.com which helped us easily identify and locate pets which fit all our family's criteria. We were not disappointed! We were so happy that our new (human) baby didn't faze the cats at all, but then, they were both already very very used to our other two children. We could imagine them saying, "Go ahead and throw another shrimp on the barbie." Um, ya, I do believe my cats communicate with me. Me and this chick, we're soul mates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4 PS Black cats rule!
Kristen Walker Painemilla July 19, 2011 at 08:15 PM
We had our two dogs prior to kids...perhaps a test run for us. We got them from Washington Animal Rescue League http://www.warl.org/. We had a great experience with them and yes, our references were checked. Our dogs reacted well to the kids and we often joke that our oldest dog acts as another set of eyes. My kids are almost 5 and 2 and we've given them gradual responsiblities. They feed the dogs with some supervision, get water and provide treats. They also go with us when we walk to dogs. I think gradually building in resopnsiblities is good and they see the dogs as part of our family. In short, we definitely travel as a pack!

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