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10 Most Popular Pets in America


Charley Brindley


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The List of the 10 most popular pets

funny dogs at

1. Dogs

Why dogs make good pets

A. Dogs make terrific companions. They seem to sense when a master is feeling low, and they will eagerly stick a cold nose into your hand or lick your face. Dogs lie faithfully at your feet and rarely talk back, except when trained to do so. A canine pal will go anywhere that you do without complaining. He will still love you when you forget to fill the feed bowl, fail to pat his head, or fume over a doggy mess. Few friends are as loyal and dedicated as man's best friend.

B. Dogs are great protectors. Take a walk in the park with your dog and watch what happens if another person or animal threatens you, even playfully. Your dog may well be in the attacker's face, fangs bared, in a courageous act of self-sacrifice to protect you. Dogs also make great night-time barkers to scare away burglars. Statistics show that homeowners with dogs as pets, whether housed indoors or outdoors, experience fewer burglary attempts than those without dogs or other security systems. Dogs are protective of their domain and their masters, so you will be in good paws.

C. Dogs can be great with kids. Check the breed before purchasing a pet that will be playing with the children. Some breeds are better than others with kids. But even gentle breeds that have been exposed to abuse or neglect in the past may have a bad side that could lead them to snap at your little ones, or worse. If they have trouble answering your call, a little training might be in order If your pet bonds with the children, they will enjoy a loving friend and a constant guardian. Plus, lacking other playmates, your dog will keep them busy throwing sticks or Frisbees as well as playing tag.

D. Dog's aren't terribly expensive, on average. Unless you buy a pedigree or your dog experiences unusual health problems, you may not have to spend a fortune to keep him healthy and safe. Dog food is inexpensive, and a pet bed for sleeping can cost less than twenty dollars. Many dogs will quickly find their most comfortable spot to sleep in is your most comfortable spot to sit in, whether it's a bed, extra large bean bag chair, or couch. Periodic veterinarian visits, feeding dishes, a collar, and a leash as well as a license may be all that's needed to care for your pet. One potentially costly item is an electronic security fence to keep your dog at home. But you may not need one if you have a fenced-in yard, a dog house for hooking him up during the day, or keep him mostly indoors, going out only for walks with the master.

E. Dogs do not require tons of care. A daily pat on the head may be enough to throw your pet into paroxysms of delight. Maybe even a call to your home phone answering service when you're not home, just so they hear the comfort of your voice. A simple game of "toss the ball" or “toss the bean bag” can earn his undying fidelity. A bath, a walk, and a tasty treat can earn you the loyalty and protection of an animal that loves you more than anyone else in the world.

Story Credit: essortment


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2. Cats

Cat History - the domestic cat through the ages.

It is generally believed, can be traced back to the Miacis, a weasel like creature that inhabited the earth some 40 or so million years ago. Not just cat history, but the history of all land dwelling carnivores can be traced back to the Miacis, and that includes dogs!

The best known of the cats of pre-history, is the saber toothed tiger (Smilodon). These large, fearsome, members of the cat family roamed, and hunted, much of the ancient world before finally hunting their prey, and therefore themselves, to extinction.

By the close of the Stone Age cats had learned that where humans were found, there was the easy prey of rodents, this was still too early in cat history for them to be considered domestic pets. A cat's jawbone that has been dated to 6000 BC was uncovered on the island of Cyprus, and as cats are not indigenous to the island, it points to cats arriving on the island along with the first human colonists.

It was the descendants of the African wildcat that took the history of the cat into domestication.

Cat History: The Egyptians.

The Ancient Egyptians had developed a method of storing grain and other food supplies. Naturally these stores attracted rats and mice. It was not long before cats were tempted by the abundance of the rodent population.

Mankind, of course, saw the advantage of allowing these ambush hunting rat killers free reign. This was the point in history that marked the beginnings of the relationship with humankind.Not only did the cat gradually take up residence in Egyptian households, but came to be revered and worshiped as being godlike. History records that the export of cats was forbidden, and the penalty for killing a cat was death.

Cats were mummified after death and buried in sanctified plots, often with their supplies of mummified mice for the afterlife! One such plot alone has been found to contain the remains of 300,000 cats, and has proved an invaluable resource for studying the history of the cat.

Cat History: Into Asia and Europe.

These highly prized rodent catchers soon spread to the Indian sub-continent, and on to China. In some places in Asia, history shows that cats were once again thought to have magical qualities, and as in Egypt, became revered as gods. Everywhere cats soon became highly regarded pets, as well as being prized for keeping the rodent population in check.

It was the Romans, and to a certain extent, the Greeks, who introduced the domestic cat throughout Europe. Here the cat was not worshiped, but kept to be petted and for companionship, as well as for keeping the mice, and rat, population down. The 11th century brought the Black Death and domestic felines became vital in destroying vermin.

However, with the Middle ages came the worst time in history for the cat.

Cat History: Medieval superstition.

Cats were believed to be agents of the devil, and to possess magical powers. Pope Gregory IX declared the cat to be a "Diabolical Creature". Persons that kept cats were suspected of being witches, and were put to death along with their feline pet.

Cats were beaten, killed and driven away from towns and villages. In fact the domestic cat population of Europe came close to being wiped out. Some of the superstitions from those times surrounding cats, have survived history, such as believing it bad luck to let a black cat cross your path. Eventually the witch hunts ceased, and cats once again became highly prized and loved, household pets. By the late 1800s distinctive breeds were being established and cat shows held, with the long-haired breeds especially popular.

Cat History: North America.

Although the North American continent had many varieties of wild cats there had been no history of domestication of cats until the Europeans arrived. The cats, made to suffer the long sea journey, were imported to control the rodent populations of the settlements. Needless to say, these felines soon started making cat history, and became favored pets in the New World as they had in the old.

Story Credit: Best Cat Art

funny hamster at

3. Hamsters

The history of hamsters as pets

In 1839, British zoologist George Waterhouse reportedly found an elderly female hamster in Syria, naming it "Cricetus auratus," the Golden Hamster.

Around 1930, zoologist and Professor at the University of Jerusalem Aharoni found a mother and litter of hamsters in the Syrian desert. By the time he got back to his lab, most had died or escaped. The remaining hamsters were given to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where they were successfully bred as Golden Hamsters. They were a bit bigger than the ones Waterhouse found, so they were named "Mesocricetus auratus", although they were probably the same species.

The hamsters were shipped to labs all around the world. They arrived in the United Kingdom in 1931, and in 1938 reached the United States. Just about all Golden Hamsters are descended from the original litter found in Syria except for a few that were brought into the United States by travellers who found them in the desert. A separate stock of hamsters was imported into the US in 1971, but it isn't known if any of today's North American pets are descended from them.

The Dwarf Campbells Russian , Winter White Russian and Chinese were all introduced to the pet market in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, and the Roborovski hamster came from Holland into the UK in 1990.

Hamsters are now used for scientific research. Because hamsters are so disease-free and breed so rapidly (they can have a new litter every month!) and because they are so friendly and easy to handle, they are a popular choice among scientists. They are often used for cardio-vascular research, as their cardio-vascular system is remarkably similar to that of the human.

In the wild, hamsters are a nuisance to farmers. Hamsters have been known to hide in excess of 60 pounds of grain to feed them through the winter.

Story Credit: Hamster Hideout

pretty goldfish at

4. Fish

The history of fish as pets

Many people are attracted by the quiet and gentle fish as a room mate and companion. Fish make great pets. Watching the fish in an aquarium bring relaxation and are enjoyable for persons of every age and interest. It is almost like you go into a trance when you watch them. Statistics show that collecting fish is the second largest hobby in the world. There are over 25,000 species of fish. Fish keeping dates back to Roman times, and first became a popular hobby in Europe in the 1600s.

Fish are pets that do not require much care, and an aquarium can add to the decor of a room. The wonderful thing about fish is the large assortment of shapes, sizes and colours. The behavior of fish also varies with different species. The reasons why fish are so popular as pets is that they are relatively inexpensive to keep, inexpensive to feed, as well as they keep the environment clean and need relatively a small space as compared to other pets. They are welcome anywhere you live, be it a rented house, flat or apartment.

Story Credit: Webindia

cute mouse at

5. Mice

The history of mice as pets

Domesticated mice are descendants of the house mouse or scientific name Mus musculus. The house mouse originated in Asia but now are found all over the world, particularly where people are present. The earliest domesticated mice were kept in the royal palaces of Japan and China.

Life expectancy of mice is 1.5-3 years.

House mice inhabit fields and areas associated with people across the whole world. Other than people, they are the most widely distributed mammal.

House mice are nocturnal and feed on seeds, plants, and insects. The female can give birth to 4-7 young every 30 days, but due to the high level of predators, most of the young do not survive for more than a few months.

Story Credit: FamilyPets

cute guinea pig at

6. Guinea pigs

The history of guinea pigs as pets

The first guinea pigs were domesticated in about 5000 B.C. by the Incas, but were probably used for food. In the 1600’s, the Spaniards were the first Europeans to see these animals. Dutch merchants brought guinea pigs back from the Americas to Europe, where they became popular pets with aristocrats. In the early 1900’s, British immigrants brought them to the United States. What has made the guinea pig so popular for so many years? They have a friendly temperament with no tendency to bite. They do not jump or climb and thus have minimal caging requirements. They are easy to feed and very hardy with few health problems. Since baby guinea pigs are born fully developed, with fur, teeth and their eyes open, they are easy and fun to breed.

Story Credit: Animal Adventure Pets

beautiful parrot at

7. Birds

The history of birds as pets

Birds were first caged for their beauty more than 4,000 years ago. Before that, birds had been associated with human settlements, but not as pets, as dinner. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict what appear to be the first pet birds, including doves and parrots. It is unclear when they were first domesticated, if at all. Whether birds are domesticated or not depends on your definition of the word domestic and the kind of bird you happen to choose as a companion.

Several species have been bred solely in captivity for many generations, some exclusively for human fancy. For example, the Parisian Frilled Canary doesn't exist anywhere in the wild, and with its oddly frilled feathers, perhaps it couldn't. Hybrid Macaws represent breeders' attempts to find a kinder and gentler pet Macaw while retaining its colorful features. The Catalina Macaw, for example, is a cross between two established species, the Blue and Gold Macaw and the Scarlet Macaw. Animals repeatedly bred strictly for human association, that arenot found in nature, are mostcertainly domestic.For more than 2,000 years, the Mynah bird has been considered sacred in India. On feast days, individual birds were pulled through the city on oxen. In ancient Greece, the Mynah was kept among the aristocracy as a pet. No doubt, the ancient Greeks were just as entertained by the Mynahs as owners are today.

Parakeets were also kept as pets in ancient Greek society. The Alexandrine Parakeet is named for Alexander the Great. Lore has it that one of Alexander's generals granted him one of these birds as a gift after the invasion of Northern India in 327 B.C. In wealthy Roman households, it was the function of one slave to care for the family bird, which was often a kind of parrot. Apparently, watching the parrot talk was the early equivalent of watching TV. In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, birds were kept only by royalty or the very wealthy. In 1493 Christopher Columbus returned from the New World bearing a pair of Cuban Amazon Parrots as a gift for Queen Isabella of Spain. In the 15th century, canaries became the second kind of bird to be bred on a regular basis. While doves had been bred for the sport, canaries were bred to suit a specific purpose: they accompanied miners underground to detect poisonous gasses in the shafts. Miners understood that if the canary passed out, they'd better get out while they could. In 1995, following poison-gas terrorist attacks in Japanese subways, canaries were employed for the same purpose.

Story Credit: Animal Hospital USA

8. Snakes

The history of snakes as pets

In the Western world some snakes, especially docile species such as the ball python and corn snake, are kept as pets. To supply this demand a captive breeding industry has developed. Snakes bred in captivity tend to make better pets and are considered preferable to wild caught specimens.[65] Snakes can be very low maintenance pets, especially in comparison to more traditional species. They require minimal space, as most common species do not exceed five feet in length. Pet snakes can be fed relatively infrequently, usually once every five to fourteen days. Certain snakes have a life span of more than forty years if given proper care.

Story Credit: WikiPedia

beautiful iguana at

9. Iguanas

The history of iguanas as pets

Iguanas can make phenomenal pets. While you won't be required to give them long walks outside and potty training will not be an issue that gets you out of bed at 3 a.m., nevertheless there is a host of other concerns pertaining specifically to caring for iguanas responsibly.

The three major care areas are going to be food, shelter, and taking care of their physical needs. With proper, attentive care, your iguana may even live up to 20 years.

Once you purchase your pet iguana from the pet store, you will need some supplies, which will be listed below in the care directions.

The housing situation. Most iguanas live out their happy lives in a terrarium. When purchasing a terrarium for your pet you should make sure that it will be big enough to give your iguana room to move and comfortably fit any supplies that need to be placed in the cage with him. You would not want to sit in a small confined space for the remainder of your life, so do not assume that your iguana wants this kind of treatment either. Bear in mind that your iguana will grow. You need to place things on the floor of the terrarium to cover the bottom of the glass. Whatever you place down there will have to be washed or replaced on a regular basis. Iguana feces should be removed daily. Make sure that, whatever you choose to place on the floor of the terrarium, it cannot be eaten by your iguana.

Let the sun shine in.Iguanas love the sunlight, so you are going to want to make sure that you do not deprive your new family friend. One of an iguana's favorite activities is to climb on logs and enjoy the shining sun. If your tank is not in an area with lots of sunlight, you may want to move it. If moving it is not an option, you can purchase an artificial light source from the pet store. Talk to your vet about purchasing an artificial UV light anyway, since iguanas benefit from exposure to ultraviolet B. You can also purchase logs and wood for your iguana to climb on.

Story Credit: Articles DirectoryM

ferret and girl at

10. Ferrets

The history of ferrets as pets

Ferrets have been domesticated from the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt. It isestimated that Egyptians had domesticated ferrets as long ago as 3,000 BC. Ferret images have been found in Egyptian tombs indicating that they were held in high esteem. Since that ancient time, ferrets have been constant human companions. Muzzled ferrets have been used to chase rabbits out of their holes into waiting nets. They were also frequently kept as “working” pets to hunt rats and mice. They were used extensively in the United States for this purpose well in the early 1900s.

Ferrets came to their height of popularity during the Victorian Age in England around 1875 when Queen Victoria began giving them as gifts to visiting heads of state. She was so enamored with them that she commissioned special cages be built for them.

Ferrets as Pets. In 1994 it was estimated that there were more than seven million ferrets in domestic households in the United States.

Ferrets are becoming one of the most popular pets because they have the same as well as different qualities of both cats and dogs. They are more independent than dogs. They are more playful than kittens and remain playful all their lives. They are very quiet animals and do not make a lot of noise. They do not have to be taken for 2:00 a.m. walks. They are small, litter trainable, and extremely social. They sleep 15 - 20 hours a day. Depending upon the neutered status of the animal, ferrets go by a number of different names: Kit - baby ferret Jill - female ferret capable of breeding Sprite - spayed female Hob - male ferret capable of breeding Gib - neutered male Business - A group of ferrets

Ferret Odor. Ferrets (Mustela Furo) belong to the Mustelidae family. This biologicalfamily contains skunks, wolverines, badgers, mink, ermine, and so forth.

Since the ferret belongs to this family it is natural for it to have a musky odor. This odor originates from scent glands that are located around its anus as well as around the ears. Many ferrets that you find in pet stores have been descented. This means that they cannot spray when frightened or angry. The only odor that remains comes from the scent glands around the head. Many people still find this odor a bit strong and some bathe their pets at least once a week to control the slight smell. Other pet owners do not find this odor offensive and rarely bathe their pets. If you do decide to bathe your ferret, it is generally not recommended to bathe a ferret more than once a week, because this will deplete needed oils from their coat. Ferret Personalities. Ferrets have very playful personalities and are extremely intelligent and problem-solving animals. Ferrets don’t know what the word moderation means when it comes to play. They go “full tilt” until they get so tired that they “crash and burn.” Several terms related to ferret play are: Dooking - The “chirping” or noise that ferrets make. Weasel War Dance - The jumping around, going sideways or backwards whenplaying or wrestling.

Ferret Speed Bump - A tired ferret lying flat on the floor (may also be waiting for an attack by another ferret). When two ferrets get together, they usually have tremendous fun entertaining themselves. They stage what look like fierce mock battles where, upon first glance by the uninitiated, they are trying to kill each other. Because of the thick skin around the “scruff” or neck area no harm is done. As a matter of fact,the attacked ferret, when released, usually tries to jump the attacker. An old pair of pants, an empty box with a hole cut in it, a section of dryer hose, or a piece of PVC pipe to explore can be used to keep a ferret entertained. A box of toys dumped on the floor will also keep ferrets occupied.

Ferret Thievery. Ferrets love to stash things in their “hidey hole”. This storage area may be undera piece of furniture or in a box. They have been known to hide keys, shoes, toys, food, or anything else that strikes their fancy.

Ferrets, for some reason, really like socks. Many an owner that lets their ferrets in the bedroom has searched vainly for socks after getting up in the morning. Ferret Housing. While some people give their ferrets free run of the house, it is usually recommended that ferrets be caged or at least confined to one room while no one is home.

Wire cages with multiple levels seem to be preferred by most ferrets. Ferrets are extremely inquisitive and fearless. They can easily get into trouble by getting trapped in an area that most humans would think inaccessible. The rule of thumb is that if their head can fit into something, then the body can follow. This means that you must perform extensive “ferret-proofing” to make anarea safe for ferrets.

Some things that you can do to keep the ferret’s environment safe are: Get potted plants out of their reach. Cover up any small holes so that they cannot get behind appliances or around plumbing pipes. Cover receptacle openings with childproof caps. Place childproof latches on any cabinet doors that they may have access to. Remember that ferrets are domestic household pets. They should never be allowed out of the house without a harness and leash. Do not use collars becausea ferret can easily slip out of them. Food. Ferrets need a high protein diet. They have a very short digestive system (food goes through in about 3 hours) and cannot digest vegetable products. High quality cat foods like Iams or food manufactured especially for ferrets like Totally Ferret is excellent for them. Ferrets typically like shaped pieces of food rather than pellets that are typically used in cat food.

While many ferrets love dairy products like ice cream, this type of food gives them severe diarrhea (under some circumstances too much dairy orchocolate can even be fatal). Treats that you can provide for your ferret include raisins, banana, peanut butter, raw vegetables, or peeled grapes.

Ferrets are burrowers. This means that in their natural habitat, thousands of years ago, they were digging constantly. This constant digging caused their front nails to grow quite quickly. While they no longer have the need to dig, their genes still “remember” the need to grow the front nails to perform this task. This means that, from time to time, their nails will have to be trimmed. Because of their physiology, the front nails will typically be trimmed three times as often as the hind nails. It is usually easiest to trim nails when the ferret’s attention is distracted using a treat like peanut butter, Nutrical vitamins, or ferretone (an amino acidsupplement designed specifically for ferrets).

Veterinary Care. Ferrets, like cats and dogs, require rabies and distemper vaccinations. Distemper is 100% fatal for ferrets, so they must be vaccinated. A rabies vaccine, Im-rab, especially designed for ferrets is available and should be used. A booster for rabies as well as a distemper shot should be administered to a ferret once a year.

Ferrets can live for eight to eleven years. They are considered to be geriatric att he age of three and, as such, should make a yearly visit to the vet.

If a ferret is not having fun when it is out of the cage for a couple of days the vet should be called because something is probably wrong. Ferrets can also catch the common cold as well as suffer from heat prostration at temperatures over 85 degrees. Therefore it is recommended that ferrets be kept indoors in cool locations during the summer months.

Story Credit: Telin Ugent

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