- Infants: They cannot take care of a pet. If you already have a household pet, then make sure to gradually introduce your infant to the pet. In fact, you should prepare your pet for the baby's arrival by mocking what your actions as if the baby has arrived. Always supervise the infant and the pet and never leave them alone together. Gradually, increase the time you allow them to be together.
- Toddlers: At this age, children are very curious and will pull the fur, limbs and ears of an animal in an attempt to make contact. They will not only hurt the animal, but can get hurt themselves. Always supervise the child and the pet and never leave them alone. If you have fish, make sure their tiny hands out of the aquarium wires and the actual aquarium. Make sure they do not grab your pet's food or water dishes or put their hands in the litter box. The contents of the litter box could seriously harm your child if they put the substance in the mouths.
- 3–5 Years: Children are learning about contact and empathy at this age. A guinea pig would be a great pet for a child of this age, but again, they must always have adult supervision when playing and handling a pet. They can help with the responsibilities of feeding and filling the water dish for the pet.
- 5-10 Years: Small pets such as gerbils or fish would make great pets. Kids can assist with feeding, cleaning, filling water bottles and bowls, cleaning the cage furniture and toys. Continue to supervise them during play sessions and pet chores. This is a great time to introduce the importance of good hygiene around a pet as they will need to wash their hands and surfaces.
- 10-13 Years: At this age, kids have a great interest in animals and a good capacity for responsibility. They can handle a dog, cat, and rabbit, along with the feeding, bathing, walking, cleaning cat litter or a rabbit's cage. Parents should still make sure to double check that the animals are being properly cared for and have the right amount of food and water or that the cage or litter box is clean
- 14-17 Years: The high school years are busy years and pets are a huge responsibility. Animals may have to compete for a teenager's attention. They are old enough to handle the care of a pet, but there should still be adult supervision and guidance. They can even spend some allowance on pet treats. Keep in mind, when the teen heads to college, the pet may need to stay at home.
The Houston SPCA has just launched the latest version of the SmartCAT, called the iCAT 5. During the "iCAT 5 for $5" weekend, you can adopt any feline five months and older for just FIVE DOLLARS from Friday, Oct. 5 until Sunday, Oct. 7. The SmartCAT will deliver a lifetime of purrs, personality and comes in more than five fantastic colors! The Houston SPCA expects a sellout, so there is a limit of two per household.
Each adoption package, valued at over $400, includes a health evaluation, initial vaccinations and rabies vaccinations for felines three months and older, spay/neuter surgery, microchipping with free lifetime registration, a complimentary overall wellness examination provided by a VCA Animal Hospital, one bag of cat/kitten food courtesy of Hill's Science Diet.