Purrfect Pets with Laura from The Butterfly Mother

My Purrfect Pets Series focuses on different bloggers and their families – including their furry family of course! We all have different lives and I find it amazing to get a glimpse into other peoples homes and connect with them on all levels so I put them under the grill and ask them some questions. As a pet lover myself, I’m always keen to investigate how other people are doing it. This is a pet-positive series that any families with a pet of any kind can take part in, send me an email if you’re interested in being the next featured purrfect family!

Today we’re with Laura from The Butterfly Mother. Laura is a cook, writer & mum of one who blogs about family life and mental health. You can follow Laura on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Tell us a little about the animals you have and your family?

As a child I didn’t have any pets, despite being absolutely desperate for a cat and a hamster!  So since moving in with my husband ten years ago we’ve made up for that and have had a whole host of animals including tropical fish, guinea pigs and a rabbit.  We currently have a 9-year-old black moggy cat called Archie (even though she’s actually female!) and last year we bought a crested leopard gecko called Sid.

A gecko is quite an unusual pet! What made you decide to get one and how do visitors feel about it?

Yeah, we do get a strange reaction sometimes!  My husband and I both adore animals of all kinds but are especially interested in reptiles and often find ourselves drawn to the lizards and snakes when we visit the zoo.  We had some wonderful close contact with some crocodiles while on honeymoon on safari in Kenya too.  When my husband’s sister got a gecko we started looking into them in more detail and realised they are actually very simple to care for so decided to go for it.  We thought it would be a really cool animal for my son to learn about as well. Most visitors are simply intrigued by him and nobody has run away yet – I think people are just grateful it’s not a snake!

As someone who keeps snakes I wonder if anyone is grateful I don’t have an alligator in the closet…  Do you think your children benefit from living in a household with pets?

Oh hugely.  My son is four years old and loves our animals.  They have taught him so much about being gentle, kind and considerate and he really considers them part of the family (he even includes Archie & Sid when asked to draw pictures of his family).  Since he doesn’t have any human siblings he takes great joy from his furry and scaly ones.  We are currently renovating his bedroom and considering getting him a hamster or degu for him to keep in his room to help teach him more about the responsibilities of being a pet owner.

How much more hectic does it make your day to have pets to look after as well as the family?

To be honest, we’ve always chosen very low maintenance pets!  One reason I adore cats is because they are so independent and easy to care for.  And the gecko is surprisingly simple too.  Once you’ve set up the vivarium and initial environment all he needs is fresh food and water daily and live crickets a couple of times a week (I leave that part to my husband – bugs are NOT my thing).  The most time-consuming pets we’ve ever taken care of are actually tropical fish.
Many of my friends have got dogs and we’d love one too but we’re just too busy at this point in our lives to take on that responsibility.

What would you say is the most challenging thing about having your pets?

When they pass away.  Even though I was a grown woman, when our first guinea pig died I found it really upsetting – probably since I didn’t have pets as a child so hadn’t experienced that particular loss before.  Now Archie is 9 I’m becoming more and more aware that we will lose her one day too and it breaks my heart a little.

What would you say is the best thing about having your pets?

The company.  My husband works Saturdays and before we got our cat I would often feel a bit lonely in our flat at the weekends if I didn’t have plans with friends etc, but as soon as we got Archie the place just felt more comfortable and homely.  She’s a lovely little fluff-ball to wake up to each day (usually with her pawing the duvet asking for breakfast).
Animals can also be very therapeutic when you’re poorly, going through a hard time or struggling with your mental & emotional wellbeing.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about adding a pet to their family?

Research research research!  Before we got Sid my husband spent a lot of time looking into reptile care; the food, the environment they need etc.  Sometimes people rush into pet ownership – especially with dogs – and then realise their pet doesn’t fit in with their family which is so sad.
Family life with a Cat and a Crested Gecko, with Laura from The Butterfly Mother

A big thank you to Laura from The Butterfly Mother for giving us a glimpse into her life and letting us get to know her family and pets. If you’d like to be the next featured family in this series, drop me an email or a message on Twitter.

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