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Bringing a pet into your home

Dogs and cats live for between ten and twenty years. An animal is a source of joy but it also brings obligations: walks, grooming and healthcare, finding a pet-sitter when you're away.

A picture of a Dog

Is my family prepared to help?

It's no good getting a pet simply because the children want one. Everyone will end up looking after it.

Do I have time?

A dog needs to be taken out 3 or 4 times a day. A cat despite its independent nature, likes having its master around.

"Tip: Birds love fresh fruit. Make sure to change the fruit every day so that the leftovers, breeding grounds for bacteria, don't lie rotting on the bottom of the cage."

Can I afford it?

Food, grooming, healthcare and vet's fees add up to significant expenditure. Be sure you can afford it.

Am I obsessively houseproud?

Even with regular brushing, dogs and cats shed hair which has to be wiped or vacuumed regularly.

Do I have sufficient space?

A cat or a couple of parakeets just about fits into a studio flat, but for certain breeds of dog a garden is essential.

Could I take my pet on holiday?

If the answer is 'no' then you have to be able to count on a friend or neighbor to feed the fish, mind the rabbit hutch, take out the doggy and look after Kitty in your absence.

Are we compatible?

Allergies or asthma make it impossible to keep a furry or feathered creature.

"Purr-fect" welcome!

In Vienna, cat lovers are in raptures! At Café Neko (Japanese for "cat") you can sip your drink while stroking one of the five in house cats. Set up by Takako Ishimitsu, a Japanese woman married to an Austrian, the tearoom was inspired by a new trend in the Land of the Rising Sun: cat cafés, where customers come to enjoy the relaxing company of feline hosts.