Pets · Webcomic

Caring for Your First Pet: Child’s Perspective vs Adult’s

Being a pet owner as a child is easy.

In fact, the hardest part about it is often convincing your parents that a pet is what the family needs. And I’m not talking about fish. Fish are lovely, especially bettas because they’re pretty much the only fish I’ve met with a personality. However, everyone knows the one thing a kid wants when it comes to a pet is something to pet and cuddle with.

Fish are not very cuddly
Fish are not very cuddly

Okay, so I also wanted a pet that would 1) lay down next to my bed, 2) fetch my family if something happened to me, and 3) turn into a superhero by eating a strange pill from his ring but that was mainly because I loved watching Lassie and Underdog as a child. (On a side note, I’m starting to wonder now if that Super Energy Pill of his was really some sort of steroid…)

Thankfully, I pretty much ended up with that when I got my first dog as a child too, minus the pills.

See when you’re a kid, it’s easy to get a pet. Any time you see an animal you like, you just look at Mom or Dad or your guardian with the sweetest expression and beg to take it home. With time, you’ll perfect that look.

girl holding tabby cat
Can I keep him?

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to move on to phase two: convince your parents that you are completely responsible enough to care for them. Doing things around the house without being told is a good way to prove that to them.

Or you know, that’s the strategy my nieces are hoping for anyway. I’ll let you know if it ever works out for them.

“But Kristina,” you may be thinking. “I know you have pets! I thought you were speaking from experience!”

Oh, well. No. I didn’t do any of those things to get my first dog. I was only two at the time.

You see, my brother visited my grandparents because their dogs just had puppies. One of my grandparents convinced him to sneak a puppy into his pocket and smuggle it home. My parents realized on the way home and took it back to my grandparents. I apparently cried about the puppy for days long enough for them to feel bad and go back and get him. He was my best friend for the next 17 years.

We had all sorts of adventures when I was a kid.

He turned into Super Dog whenever a box was present in the house

Turned into Super Dog whenever a box was present
It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s a dog?

I drove him around in my pink Barbie car made by Power Wheels

Driving the dog
Nothing like enjoying the wind in your fur as you speed around the driveway at 3 mph.

I even let him drink water from my teacups from my kitchen set

Had tea time
Would you like some drool with your tea?

Granted he wasn’t allowed in my room, and he never had to go fetch my family due to danger, but boy was he fun.

That was all I had to worry about too: having fun with him. Sure, I fed him when I got older, but all the financial and decision making responsibilities rested on my mother’s shoulders.

Being a pet owner as an adult is an entirely different animal.

My husky was like a bridge pet because I got her as a child and took care of her as an adult. My mom did the hard stuff. She trained her (or rather trained me on how to train her).

Then last summer a stray kitten came knocking on our door (quite literally actually), and I remember calling my mom and asking her what to do when I found her. I had to decide if I should keep the kitten myself or find a new home when no one came forward to claim her. Even more so, I had to choose if I wanted the financial obligation of the surgery the kitten needed because her leg was broken, and it either needed to be repaired or amputated. I had to make that choice if I kept her.

Crazy as it might seem to some, I kept her, which meant I finally became an Official Adult Pet Owner.

My mother was no longer the one in charge. She doesn’t determine how much food the cat needs, if she weighs enough or too much, if she needs to go to the vet, what shots she needs, or anything else. Suddenly, all the decisions and financial obligations are up to me. My mother says I worry too much about my cat, but I eventually came to realize it’s because she’s the first pet I’ve had to care for all on my own.

Who thought it’d be a good idea to trust me with another life?

Especially one that cannot communicate and tell me if everything is well. That just seems like a bad idea, but that’s where I am. Now, maybe pet pawrenthood wouldn’t be so stressful for a normal human, but to me, this is what it was like in the beginning:

Choosing cat food is no easier! Sites disagree about what's the best brand, wet cat food is more expensive, and some don't even think wet vs dry food matters.
Oh no all the food brands! What do I pick?

Choosing cat food is insanely difficult! Sites disagree about what’s the best brand, wet cat food is more expensive, and some don’t even think wet vs dry food matters. Then, there are others that claim your cat can get crystal-like things that causes urination problems if you don’t pick the right one.

So apparently, you just have to try and hope you were right.

At least I can choose a litter brand easily, right?

How does anyone decide what brand of litter to buy when they all look alike?
Why are there so many litter options?

How does anyone decide what brand to buy when they all look alike? Do I want scented? Unscented? Dual power? Clay? Scoopable? Shredded? My cat doesn’t tell me what brand she wants!

Wait, you mean some cats are picky about their litter and will start going outside the litter box to avoid using sub par substrate? Why did I Google things about litter? What if my cat starts doing that too? Ugh!

It shouldn’t be that difficult, should it?

And don’t even get me started on trying to choose cat toys! That’s the biggest dilemma of all. I used to just take my dog to the pet store and have her test out some of the toys there. That’s a little more difficult with a cat.

Then of course, you have to factor in cat behavior like when your cat is hanging out somewhere high up and is enjoying life while you’re completely paranoid that your cat is stuck and will break a leg trying to get down or fall down and die.

Being paranoid that your cat is stuck somewhere up high and will break a leg or die falling down
Here kitty, kitty

Or that your cat has been smothered in the middle of the night because she insists on sleeping between your legs or feet.

calico cat sleeping
Are you sleeping? *poke* Why aren’t you moving? *poke* *poke* Oh. Good. You were just sleeping.

And then there’s the whole weight issue.

Are you overweight? Are you too skinny? I can’t tell!

calico cat sitting
Why does my human keep weighing me every five minutes?

Granted, my cat is also a three legged cat, so I worry more about her weight because she’s only got one paw in front to balance it all. Arthritis is likely a guarantee for the future, especially if she’s too heavy. I used to worry about her abilities too, but perhaps other pet owners do that too. However, I’ve also come to realize that she doesn’t need me worrying about her because she’s just fine.

Her missing leg does not affect her. She runs, climbs, jumps, pounces, and does everything a normal cat does. Most people don’t even notice her missing leg. Trust me: don’t let anyone tell you a three legged cat is special needs. They aren’t.

What does it all mean?

In the end, owning a pet as a child is easier because you know at the end of the day, your furry companion is cared for by someone more responsible than you.

As an adult, well, like choosing cat toys, litter, and cat food, it’s kind of hit or miss. You do your best for the furry friend, but there are bound to be some mistakes along the way.

Thankfully though, the two of you will have plenty of fun adventures together, just like kids have with their pets. Although, the beginning will likely involve you freaking out over silly things that non-first time pet owners would consider every day life.

Your Turn

Do you have pets in the household? What sort of fun stories do you have about your pets? I’d love to hear some stories! 

Can’t comment here? Feel free to continue the conversation to Twitter or Facebook with me. 

*all drawings were made by me

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47 thoughts on “Caring for Your First Pet: Child’s Perspective vs Adult’s

  1. Did you do all those drawings?

    They are funny lol 😛

    This article is a lot of fun. Could your brother really smuggle a puppy in his pocket? LOL

    He must be wearing giant size pants lol 😛

    Maybe this was the art you were talking about you were doing?

    You are so kind. I read your lovely story about your dog before. Now I am touched with your kindness that made you adopt the cat. 🙂

    I feel we all can learn from you.

    Pawrenthood? Did you just coin that word or you had read it before?

    I feel my previous two comments didn’t reach you. Never mind, it has become kind of routine for me. I also don’t mind, One of them might be in the spams as I carelessly shared two links as recommended reads for you.

    I will go ahead and share this article on social media. I hope you won’t mind 🙂

    Have a great day ahead!

    Love and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

    1. Yes I drew all of those. 🙂 he smuggled it in his coat pocket. He was a little puppy and a small dog. Lhaso apso is the breed. Pawrenthood is a term people use. I didn’t coin it. I thought I responded to the nano one. Turns out one was in spam. Oops!

      1. It’s alright. Interesting and WOW!! Tangible things indeed! You are amazingly talented. You are really much more talented than I thought you were!

        So I guess you wore glasses and had pimples too 😛

        Have a great day ahead!

        Love and light ❤

        Anand 🙂

          1. I sketched a drawing earlier for a post here. Did some cartoons for NaNoWriMo on my other blog a while back. Had a charcoal drawing showcased at the library once. That’s it really. I may have had other drawings on deviantart once. I was thinking of adding cartoons like these to my blogs, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be as enjoyable as the stock imagery photographs I have been using. This is my test run.

          2. Oh still you do incredibly well so you have natural talent/flavor for drawing. You are both visually spatially oriented as well as tech savvy(which uses left hemisphere) I feel you are a genius!

            I have seen another blog. I guess someone shared a link on Alumni forum too. He also uses original sketches. His blog is super-popular and enjoyable. Though this definitely takes much more hardwork than usual storytelling(or maybe I think so, pardon me!) I feel it’s much more enjoyable. You might also have observed Violet’s comics. Have you?

            Which library you showcased your drawings in? College?

          3. I think I have missed the blog from the Alumni forum. I don’t think I know Violet’s either. I honestly don’t read any comic blogs regularly. It was a local library. I only ever took the one art class in high school. I wish I took more though; proportions and shadows are difficult for me.

          4. Violet’s blog is this one:
            http://violetsvegnecomics.com/

            I am not able to recall the blog name I am referring to and I can’t find it in Reader either, maybe because it’s self-hosted and I get an email when it’s updated but it has amusing stories about his family and pets like you did today and it is very well -received 🙂

            Hmm…you do have natural talent 🙂 A lot of it! I guess polishing is always helpful. More you do better you get at it!

          5. LOL I am shortsighted since class 12th…came to know about it when went to another city in a coaching institute for technical entrance. Before that I sat near board so I never had a problem. Then I was feeling horrified. I guess based on the story you wore glasses since kindergarten did you?

          6. And yes, I’d agree it’s more hard work. It takes more time to draw them all out. I worked on those for a long time. Longer than I would if I did it more regularly perhaps though?

          7. Yes, I agree! If we keep doing things regularly they get easier. For example, I take 20 minutes to do an award post now, whereas I used to take 4 hours in August lol. No, not a fair comparison here. I hope you will keep working to your heart’s content out. Your short stories were absolutely one of the best doing magic on me when I read them. I have to yet see your poetry though 😛 lol

      2. And, I would really like to know how you draw all those, if you don’t find it too cumbersome! Do you use paintbrush and how do you fill colors! Wow! You can start a comic strip series too 🙂

        1. Those aren’t done traditionally. Need a better surface for painting still. Worried my cat will try to paint with me. That and I’m notoriously bad at traditional art because I worry I’ll make a mistake. Digital art has finally allowed me to experiment without thay fear. They were drawn on my Samsung Galaxy Note tablet with Autodesk Sketchbook program.

          1. Oh I see. I understand it is easier with new technology maybe. I don’t know as I never tried my hand beyond pencil-notebook sketching in primary school and maybe a bit of engineering drawing lol. I did scribble a few sketches on whim but they were never worth being called sketches–more along the lines of what people call “the modern art” though I never understood what that meant lol 😀

          2. Hmmm…I understand. Then you need to preserve your paintings and showcase them like artists have been doing for centuries. That is indeed a difficult thing to do 🙂 🙂 I hope you get opportunities you are looking for!

          3. I’m debating on buying an drawing/drafting table that raises up at an angle for painting and crafts. I hear it’s easier to work on an angle because it stops the neck cramps I get. I wouldn’t mind saving up for the larger tablet either. An 8 inch screen is nice for portability, but it sometimes makes drawing harder.

          4. Yes I agree. Then I think it’s a question of digital versus actual drawings. You may also like to try a little of both to give you best and most creative outputs but obviously it is going to take more resources 🙂

          5. I have the paint and canvas already. Just need to find a place to sit and focus. I’ve been all over the place here lately. I was wanting to do something crafty, but I didn’t know what. Finally picked up the pen and started doodling images to go with a post I had already written, and here we are a week later.

          6. Oh you did the right thing. I feel it will work very well if you persisted at it. The one with you driving the car and dog in the back with shadows is so powerful and rest of them are funny in their own way. I just had some inkling that maybe you did them because they had a ‘personal’ feel but they looked like done by someone who has been doing them so I thought you picked them off from some site. Usually you attribute so I was in doubt and wonder lol 😛

  2. It seems to me you are a very sweet and caring person Kristina 🙂 By the looks of it you will make a great and wonderful mother someday (if you would want a kid if ever-pardon me if you don’t 🙂 ). Your post us really entertaining and funny. I love the drawings too! You are really a very talented lady and I am grateful you are able to share your talent to us. Keep up the good work! I look forward to more of your work (including the drawings 🙂 God bless to all your endeavors!

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