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Pet Basics

How to pick a pet you'll love―and care for it properly once you bring it home.

Your Questions, Answered

Ask Real Simple: How Do I Get Rid of Pet Hair?
You adore your pet, of course. You adore a little less having your clothing covered in your pet’s hair. Here’s how to shed it.

Where Should I Put a Cat-Litter Box?
Set up a litter box in any room that is well lit and where your pet feels comfortable. Read on to learn how to choose the right spot.

Cat in a pet carrier

How to Take Pets on Road Trips

The plan is for Kitty and Fido to go? Here’s what you need to know.
Photo: Frank Heckers

10 Most Common Pet-Owner Mistakes

Avoid common errors, and keep your four-legged pal healthy and well-behaved.
Photo: Nancy Newberry

New Dog Owner Checklist

Step-by-step pointers for Fido’s new family.
Photo: Robyn Lehr

New Cat Owner Checklist

How to choose Kitty and make her feel at home.
Photo: Cat Livin
Cat in a pet carrier
A pet dog sits on a chair with paw marks on it
Dog offering his paw to a woman
Cat on a climber

Pet Stories

Dog bird and cat hugging illo

5 Things to Learn From Your Pet
Five professional animal lovers reveal actions and attitudes you can borrow from your furry and feathered friends.

Framed picture of a cat

Then There Was You
Few bonds compare with those between us and our devoted pets. Here, Anne Roiphe reflects on her incomparable bond with her beloved cat, Joey.

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Cat condo

Pet-Sitter Hiring Checklist

Heading out of town? Whether you're looking to book Buster a room at the nearest pet hotel or to find a sitter who makes house calls, follow these steps.

  • Research boarding options or sitters. Sites such as can help you locate a kennel or pet hotel near you. Find sitters in your area at or through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (
  • If you plan to board your pet, visit your top two or three choices. Tour the grounds and the sleeping accommodations. Ask: What will my pet’s day be like, hour by hour? How much interaction with other animals will my pet receive? Is there an extra charge for individual playtime? How many people will my pet interact with during the day? What will you do if he gets sick? Do you supply food and treats for my pet? Which local veterinarians refer clients to you?
  • If hiring a sitter, interview candidates. Ask whether he or she knows pet CPR (offered at many Red Cross branches), has commercial liability insurance (for accident and negligence coverage), and is bonded (to protect against theft).

View The Entire Checklist

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