Q&A: Should she get a pet?

Karen writes:

"Should we get a pet? My son is 2 and goes crazy when he sees a dog or a cat when we're out walking."

Number 1: It cracks me up when people just flat-out ask me questions about their lives.

Number 2: No. You should not get a pet.

OK, that wasn't really fair. Pets can add so much to your life, and to your child's life. They teach unconditional love, responsibility, and caregiving skills. There is really nothing cuter than a little kid curled up with a dog or cat. (Unless it's my 5-year-old leading a cat rodeo in my apartment this morning at 7 am, which one cat was willingly participating in.)

But they're also money pits, between the food (and cat litter if you have a cat, water supplies if you have fish, etc.) and vet bills. (It's going to take me at least another 3-4 months to recover financially from a vet emergency with one of my cats in June.) And do you have time to walk a dog twice a day? Because you're the one that's going to have to do it. Or clean out the bird cage or rodent cages.

My cats are another part-time job, basically. I think it might be different if there were another adult in my house who'd take some responsibility, or if I lived in a house and could make them go outside sometimes. But there are times when the cats are the final factor that almost push me over the edge of being able to deal.

Readers? What say you? Should Karen get a pet? Do you have a pet? If so, would you do it again? Why or why not? If you don't have a pet, do you wish you had one?