For your own pet photography, here's what Gretchen suggests:
"Pets are most cooperative in an environment that is familiar and comfortable. Cats are very difficult to photograph outside of their homes — many will hide immediately if you take them to a studio environment. If you want poses from a cat, you are more likely to have success if you shoot from her level where she is already laying down or sitting.
"Dogs are more flexible than cats and also individual in their motivation to cooperate for pictures. If you have an extremely active dog that won't be still for the camera, make sure you have a fast shutter speed or a setting on your camera for sports or action. And it's best to be outdoors in a park-like setting, at the beach, or in a yard without other dogs. The best light is early morning, later afternoon, or in open shade during midday. If you want to see your pet's face clearly and in detail, have the sun behind you or at a slight angle, being careful not to cast a shadow."