Part of being a good owner and friend to your pets is making certain that you are keeping your pets happy and healthy. At the same time, you want to make certain that your pets do not harm or disrupt the native plants and wild animals around you.
First, be sure to choose your pets carefully. Always adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue. There are far too many pets that are euthanized every day simply because people wanted a puppy, kitten, or other young pet of a specific color or breed. My best pets were those that were rescued. They seem to know that you saved their lives, and they already have a set personality; you know exactly what you're getting. It should go without saying, but never take an animal from the wild, and never purchase a pet from anyone who in engaging in pet trade that is illegal or harmful to a species. Be especially aware of the origins of the pets, like exotic birds and tortoises.
Once you have adopted a pet, make certain you know how to care for that pet in a manner that is best for your pet and safe for the environment. Take cats, for instance. Cats without responsible ownership are wreaking havoc on nature. According to the New York Times, "Scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and WIldlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States - both the pets that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals - kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year."
Many people are under the mistaken impression that cats are happier if they are permitted to roam. However, male cats are under constant pressure to defend their territories. The most common cause of injury in cats is fighting. In addition, highly contagious diseases are easily caught by cats that are allowed to roam, such as feline FIV (the cats' version of HIV) and feline leukemia. Many cats are struck by cars, and some are even poisoned by their owners or their neighbors; people set out poison to kill mice in the mistaken belief that the mice die instantly underground. Instead, the mice tend to wander off in a topsy-turvy fashion and become easy but deadly prey for cats, raptors and other predators. In other words, that little bit of freedom you may think is so wonderful for your cat is really gambling with your cat's life.
What any pet really wants and needs is your time and attention. Spend some time each day playing and interacting with your pet. Yes, even cats that seem so aloof benefit from your willingness to enrich their lives. Chasing a feather on a string can wear my cats out in no time. Chasing a bit of reflected light will also entertain them for long stretches of time. The toys don't need to be fancy or expensive; you'll find that the main component of a successful toy is your participation.
Choose your pets responsibly, house them in a manner that is safe for your pets and the environment, and devote some time and attention to your pet to enrich its life. You'll find that you'll develop a stronger relationship with your pet, and you'll be proud of the way in which you and your pet are respecting nature.