The one and only pet

Puppu stock image courtesy stock.xchnge

The concept of having only one pet may be based on personal preference, affordability or corporate body title deed rules. Consideration must also be given to the nature of the individual animal.

In general, dogs are gregarious and sociable amongst the majority of canine breeds available for pet ownership. Cats are more inclined towards preferential solitary existence unless they have been raised from kittens in a compatible clowder of felines or associated with canines from their early socialisation period of up to nine weeks of age. Early positive and structured grounding bodes well for tolerating other animals in the same environment during adulthood.

While dogs can live on their own quite comfortably, behaviourists, veterinarians, registered breeders and dog trainers will advise against them being an only pet. However, circumstances may not allow for a second pet, so the owner has to make a responsible decision about a stimulating lifestyle for a single pet household.

Sometimes the owner may be in a predicament of having only one dog remaining from a previous pack from a large property and has no option but to face a down-scaling of accommodation for a host of possible personal reasons. The remaining dog may possess intolerance towards newcomers, thus preventing the acquisition of any other pet.

So if owner and pet is in this forced solitary living they must make the most of it.

The planned idea of purchasing only one puppy or one kitten is also becoming more common due to the lack of convenient space and available time people have at their disposal to spend quality time with a pet cat or dog. Every puppy should still be subscribed in a reputable kindergarten class for socialisation, followed by basic obedience training.

This foundation will render them sociable in public areas where they can comfortably and safely mingle with other socialised dogs and satisfy their instinctive pack system needs. Single dog owners may generate friendships during puppy training, where-after they can form their own crèche for their pets to maintain social skills and stimulation during the day.

One can obviously never predict the future, but so many times two people have plans to co-habit and due to the fact that their pets have lived on their own for so many years without having learnt any social or coping skills the chances of success with integration may sometimes be impossible. This places the human merger on hold until further notice.

Sometimes the cats or dogs may be under severe anxiety and stress due to dominance from another pet, constant threats from a territorial individual and hierarchy ignorance by the owners. A cat urinating all over the house or defaecating in inappropriate areas may be a response to this angst. Inter-canine aggression or attention-seeking behaviour patterns may be a canine indicator that all is not happy on the home front.

Having a single pet usually allows for a stronger human-animal bond which may be suitable for the dog or cat receiving undivided attention, safe access to all aspects of the household and no threats over food, sleeping area, strategic sites, resources and status. Is this really a benefit? Do animals not prefer the natural interaction in the field of competition, which not only keeps them on their toes in more ways than one but also boosts all the senses, especially brain activity and physical stimulation.

Is a single pet household boring for the animal? Are these pets more predisposed to cognitive dysfunction syndrome in senior years?

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