National Pet Month: Not just about dogs and cats

Luna (left) and Moose. MADI GIVEN
Luna (left) and Moose. MADI GIVEN

May is National Pet Month. In 2006, Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate, created this observance to remind pet owners of the benefits pets bring to their lives.

Paige also wanted to highlight the plight of the many animals in shelters all over the world. According to The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative, adults who own pets live healthier lives. Benefits include reductions in blood pressure and weight, largely due to walking with or exercising with pets.

The American Pet Products Association estimates 44% of families in the United States have a dog and 35% have a cat. Other popular American pets include hamsters, fish, snakes, mice, iguanas and, a personal favorite, ferrets.

If my family didn’t have a dog and cat, I would probably own a ferret or two. They are affectionate and can easily bond with their owners. Ferrets are playful, curious and friendly.

I like that ferrets have unique personalities just as dogs and cats do. Ferrets can be endearing while seeking attention from their owners, but others can be spunky and independent.

Ferrets are smart. Like dogs and cats, they enjoy puzzle-based toys and games. They like solving problems.

Our 1-year-old cat Pip’s foster mom, Madi Given, a Wright State University biology student and future vet, has two ferrets, Moose and Luna. Both are 2 years old.

Madi has always liked ferrets because they always seemed so much fun and had such personalities. Moose and Luna did not disappoint in either category.

The two are curious and get into everything. Madi must essentially “baby proof” any room they have access to. Luna likes to steal pens and shoes. She will drag the shoe under furniture to hide it.

Luna loves squeaky toys. When she hears one, she is determined to find it and will climb on any surface or height to reach it.

When it comes to napping, Madi never knows where she’s going to find the two. Under dressers, in closets and backpacks are just a few of their favorite napping spots. If the laundry basket is filled with clothes, Luna and Moose are probably nestled in there, too.

Even though they are siblings, the two have different personalities. Moose is playful and spunky while Luna is calm and curious.

Pip lived with the ferrets for the first few months of his life until we adopted him. He loved them. As a young kitten, he was just their size.

Pip loved playing with Moose. They would chase each other through the house. Pip would play with Moose’s tail as if it was a toy. Madi even found the two taking naps together.

When my family traveled out of town last Christmas for a few days, Pip stayed with Madi and her furry crew. Moose and Pip picked up just as if he had never left. They chased each other around the house even though Pip was now bigger than the ferret.

I think Pip would love adding a ferret to our family. Our dog, Teddy? Not so much. In the pooch’s opinion, two adorable pets are enough for this family.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at


1. In the U.S., there are 80 million pet dogs and 86 million pet cats.

2. In captivity, with the proper care, goldfish can live 30 40 years.

3. A group of ferrets is called a business.

4. Gerbils are born blind, deaf and without hair.

5. A rabbit sweats only from its pads on the feet.

SOURCES: pet day furry ferret facts national ferret day about rabbits about gerbils

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