Web sites on pets are the cat's pajamas
January 31, 1996
Web posted at: 1:00 a.m. EST
From CNN Interactive Writer Kristin Lemmerman
(CNN) -- People with pets, whether they deliberately chose
their pets or vice versa, have one thing in common: They all
share a blind willingness to accept
their pets' foibles far past the point that any rational,
non-pet owning human
being would find reasonable.
(And I say this as the owner of two cats. They
shed, they abuse the sofa, but they chase bugs on their hind
legs. I can't help
it, I think they're cute.)
It's almost like having children, but without the looming
burden of someday
paying for their college tuition, and without the hope that
they will someday
learn to take care of themselves. Like children, pets
sometimes need medical
attention. They need to be taught manners. And they are an
endless source of
stories we feel compelled to tell our friends (whether they
have pets or not). If you ever needed someone to talk to
about your darling Spot or Fluffy, there's
a Web site for you.
Raising Arizona, and animal awareness
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, the country's
foremost animal protection group, has a Web site, and from the simple perspective of
learning how to
better care for your pets, it's awesome. If you ever had a
how to handle any sort of situation with your cat or dog,
answer is most likely here in the site's Pet Care pages --
info is available on everything from bringing a new animal
into the home to
helping an aging pet decline gracefully.
The site is also good from an animal advocacy perspective,
although its focus
here leans less toward providing information on the site than
promoting its educational brochures and getting prospective
attend training seminars. A lengthy, quarterly newsletter
on pet care, animal rights, ASPCA news, and reviews of
animal-related books. You can find out why kitten/puppy
mills are roundly
condemned by animal rights advocates, or that neutered or
spayed cats and dogs
live longer than their reproductively enabled counterparts.
Birds, mice, lizards, iguanas ...
Dogs and cats may be among the most popular pets, but for
especially apartment-dwellers, they simply aren't an option.
don't find them interesting. The PetStation can help you learn more about breaking the traditional
The site is broken down into seven different "realms,"
covering birds, cats,
dogs, horses, fish, reptiles and amphibians, and small
gerbils, etc.). In each realm, you can read about the
featured pet, check out some pictures, find a list of related
organizations, and post questions to the site's pet experts.
(The advice tends
to be practical and pragmatic, rather than condescending: A
to the Herp Hacienda was advised against adopting a python,
not because his
parents might object, but because he'd be going off to
college soon and wouldn't
be able to provide the snake with a stable environment.)
Other sections, also alliterative, include the "Bird Barn"
Heaven." And, outside of the different pet realms, there are
children and teen-agers to talk about their pets, and post
their own web pages
(space is available on PetStation's servers, or the site can
link to your
child's page on your own host).
In a similar vein, the Web site for Allpets.com provides encyclopedic information
on a range of pet
candidates. Because the site is still not completed, I'm not
giving it an unqualified "thumbs-up" yet, but if the content
can live up to the
slick design, it should be a solid and very useful site.
Right now, the
cat and dog sections each have a listing of pedigreed breeds,
and a brief description; a pet care section; and a glossary.
The two sections
share a bulletin board, where traffic is still relatively
slow despite its being in
existence and available since July.
Lost and found
If you've never been in this situation, you probably know
somebody who has: The
family dog dug a hole under the fence, or jumped out of the
car, or ran off his
leash during a walk, and didn't come home. Or, worse, the
purebred just disappeared without a trace, a possible victim
of stolen animal
Much like your local newspaper listings, Net Pet Central has a place for you to post
regarding a lost or found pet. No matter where you live, as
long as it's within
the United States or Canada, you can look for your lost pet
Sometimes pets are left homeless through no fault of their
own -- they just sat
in the back yard like the obedient animals they are, and
their parents drove away
without them. Especially if they are purebreeds, these
animals are often picked
up by rescue organizations and placed in carefully screened
homes. Pet Net has
an extensive list of such rescue organizations, for both pure
and mixed breed
Puppies only a mother could love
If you've ever told anyone a funny story about your furry (or
whatever) companion, you'll enjoy the Bad Dog Chronicles a site devoted entirely to
stories of dog
derring-do. The stories are interesting, at least if you
like animals, and the
site's overall layout and design are good.
The stories are broken up into two groups, "best of the
litter" and a catalogue
of all submissions, and every story lists the date it was
posted, the breed of
dog involved (sorry, canines only here) and, where
applicable, the monetary
damage he wreaked. You can read the stories, or you can
submit one of your own.
And if you're only interested in reading stories about, say,
dachshunds, you can
use the site's search engine to custom-tailor your reading
From a practical perspective, I suppose this site could
theoretically be used to
tell which types of dogs are the most destructive, or if
you're considering a
specific breed, you could maybe tell how the dog is likely to
(Dachshunds seem to dig a lot, which makes sense, considering
that's what they
were bred for.) However, the site was mostly intended just
for fun, which
reflects in the postings -- all written in first-person
narrative from the dog's perspective.
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