Pets have clutter too, though to be fair it’s not really their fault. We buy our pets useful accessories, nutritious food and toys to entertain them, but if some of these items aren’t being used then they become clutter.

Dubious Accessories

How many cat owners have bought their cat a soft comfortable and expensive basket, only to find that their moggie would rather sleep in a cardboard box? Come on, it can’t just be me! Cats, and other pets, have minds of their own and just because we buy them an accessory doesn’t mean that they will deign to use it.

Unused baskets, fancy collars which are fiddly to put on, extending leads which extend too far or not far enough, bowls which tip over and brushes that you can’t be bothered to use; all these things are clutter. Don’t store them, ditch them!

Toy Madness

We like toys (cars, mobiles, computers, etc) so we assume that our pet will too. Pet shops are full of novelty toys to entertain your pet, for heaven forbid it should ever get bored! No longer is a simple ball enough; we have to have flavoured rubber bones, plastic chickens, or a tennis ball on a rope for your dog to fetch and chew on.

Whilst cats must surely need squeaky mice to pounce on, balls with bells inside to chase and catnip flavoured toys to chew on. Even rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters can have a selection of toys to entertain their little minds; so we buy plastic rabbits with bells inside for them to swipe with their paws, or tunnels for them to swarm down like furry Commandos.

It’s not enough for fish to simply swim around their tank, they must have a Roman temple to swim under, or a rock formation to explore. They need a Spanish galleon as a landmark so they don’t lose their way, or a palm tree so they can dream of tropical waters. In the end, however, your fish may run out of good old-fashioned space.

This is all well and good but how many of these toys actually get played with? Many pets have a favourite toy which they continually play with and ignore the rest, so why keep the rejects? My children’s rabbits used to ignore their plastic rabbit toy, so in the end we removed it from the cage on the grounds that it was clutter.

So why are we keeping these rejects? Forgive me if I’m wrong but you bought them for your pet rather than yourself, so if your pet doesn’t like them then maybe you should play with them instead!

Medical Miscellania

Medicines are the next category which can clutter up the lives of our pets. Left over antibiotics which we think might be useful one day, a few grains of flea powder left in the bottom of the packet, a tube of ointment for skin complaints; we paid a fortune to the vet for them so we can’t bear to throw them away. But has it occurred to you that these medicines are probably out of date and could do your pet more harm than good?

Not So Fabulous Food

Do you have ten tins of dog food that you bought on special offer, but which your pet refuses to eat? You can’t bear to throw them away as it seems like throwing good money down the drain; so they sit in your cupboard taking up space, destined never to be eaten until they become out of date and in desperation you ditch them. If your dog doesn’t like your fabulous bargain then face facts and give the food to an animal charity or a dog-owning friend. At least then it won’t be completely wasted.

My children spent their pocket money on Christmas presents for their guinea pigs one year. They bought apple and carrot flavoured biscuit treats and excitedly presented them to Cameo, Stig and Chocolate on Christmas morning.

You’ve guessed it, after an exploratory sniff the ungrateful rodents turned their noses up at their present and went back to eating their usual diet of hay and mixed cereal. We couldn’t bear to throw the treats away and every few weeks would re-present them in the hope that the little critters would have a change of mind. They didn’t of course, so in the end we were forced to throw them away in disgust.

Do Your Pet a Favour

We’ve covered some of the many categories of pet clutter which fill the lives of our little furry friends, so do your pet and yourself a favour, de-clutter; then try not to fall into the same trap again.

A useful guideline is to buy for your pet and not for yourself and this way you should avoid some of the worst excesses of pet clutter mania.