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Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Adopting a pet is a milestone for many families across America. In fact, almost 80 million households in the country own some type of pet, including a cat or dog. For many people, bringing an animal into the home is one of the most incredible moments of a lifetime.

But adopting a pet is not something that should be done on a whim. Bringing a living, breathing animal into your home is a huge responsibility. Be sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you make a decision that could negatively affect the rest of your new pet’s life.

For the purpose of this article, let’s take a look at what you’ll have to look forward to when adopting either of the two most popular pets in the US: dogs and cats.

Dogs

Our canine buddies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure: They really are man’s best friend. In fact, over 56 million households own at least one dog, making them the most common pet in America. And it’s no surprise why.

Dogs are incredibly loyal, and become emotionally attached to their owners. Though dogs understand humans are, in fact, not canines, they do think of their owners as members of their family. They’ll be just as excited to see you after a long day of work as any kid would be to see their mother or father.

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They’re also incredibly intelligent (despite some of the ridiculous situations they get themselves into). With time and effort, you can teach them to obey commands, and, of course, to do all sorts of fun tricks.

However, dogs are incredibly high maintenance animals in many different ways.

Dogs get used to a certain schedule, and they stick to it. Of course, this schedule is their own, and might not exactly jibe with your human timetable. If they’re used to going out to relieve themselves at a certain time, you better be able to let them out—or they won’t hesitate to leave a mess on your rug.

Speaking of messes, have you ever seen a dog wipe his feet after coming inside from the rain? They don’t. So, again, you need to be there with a towel to clean your buddy off before he tracks paw prints all over the house.

Most importantly, dogs require a lot of attention. I mentioned they are emotionally intelligent, which is a bonus when you need a friend to pal around with. But they can also be pretty needy (and nosy), especially during times when you might want to be left alone.

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Basically, owning a dog is like having a toddler—for twelve to fifteen years. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but you should definitely know what you’re in for if you’re thinking of adopting a puppy.

Cats

Cats come second in popularity, with over 45 million households owning at least one feline friend. Not surprisingly, however, many of these households own more than one cat, since over 95 million belong to specific homes.

Many people tend to think a cat is a cat is a cat, but that’s simply not true. Much like their canine counterparts, cats differ greatly among breeds.

While each breed has its quirks, cats in general all come with similar pros and cons to be considered before bringing one home.

Unlike dogs, cats are pretty low maintenance animals. As long as they have food, water, and a place to do their business, they can be left alone all day—or even longer if need be.

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Well-nurtured cats are usually very affectionate and playful. Even when their claws come out during play, they likely won’t go into full attack mode unless they feel overtly threatened.

Amazingly, recent studies have shown cats’ purrs to be therapeutically beneficial to other animals around them. They may seem like lone wolf-type animals, but it seems cats do care about their owners in some way!

Of course, owning a cat isn’t all rainbows and cuddle sessions.

Though cats are playful, as mentioned, if they feel threatened, they can immediately get aggressive if they feel the need. This could lead to you or your children getting bit or scratched with fairly little warning.

Cats also shed constantly. Whether accommodating to fluctuating temperatures, or simply ridding their bodies of dead hair, cats seemingly never stop leaving clumps of fur around the house. They also don’t make it brushing them an easy process, either.

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And, of course, there’s the litterbox. If you have an indoor cat, be prepared to clean out their box at least once every two days—and even multiple times in a single day. If you neglect to do so, your little furry friend won’t think twice about using a different surface as their personal bathroom.

At any rate, cats are a great pet for those who don’t have the time for a dog, but still want an affectionate, individualistic pal to keep them company. Just remember: if you bring a cat into a home, the home belongs to them now.

Making a Decision

Clearly, a lot more goes into adopting a dog or cat than simply wanting one around. Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it can easily turn into a nightmare if you’re not careful. Think long and hard about what you really want out of a pet-owner relationship before you take on a responsibility you’re not ready for.

Featured photo credit: get a room, you guys by jeffreyw via flickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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