Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cats and dogs are for life, not just Christmas

With Christmas just a week away many of you are looking for last minute gift ideas for your loved ones. The idea of a puppy or kitten with a bow on it's neck sitting under the Christmas tree might sound adorable, but you need to think beyond Christmas morning.We just wanted to give you a friendly reminder that pets are not Christmas gifts.

 Surprising a fiance, parent or child with a puppy or a kitten  is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The person who is receiving the animal must be willing to care for it for the rest of its life. Puppies and kittens are adorable as babies, but they get bigger; especially puppies. Is the person going to care for the pet after it is out of it's adorable baby stage?  Is the person financially able to care for the pet? Does she have enough money for food, toys, medical expenses and other expenses that come with pets? If you are trying to help someone by adopting an animal because they can't cover the adoption cost, chances are your loved one doesn't have enough money to cover the living expenses associated with an animal.

This is the only way you should find a cat under your tree.
Does the person really want a pet for Christmas? If so consider giving them a gift certificate for their local shelter. You could also buy them something associated with an animal, such as a litter box for cats or a collar and leash for a dog with a note saying you both will be going to adopt an animal after the holidays. This is an especially great idea for children. This also works wonderfully because most shelters require everyone in the family to be present for adoption. It is important to make sure everyone in the family, especially the main caregiver, has a bond with the animal they adopt. Not every animal is right for every family! What you consider the perfect animal might not be the one your loved one falls in love with.

Remember, if you are adopting for a child, chances are the adults in the family will most likely end up caring for the cat or dog. At the very least, they will be covering all expenses, so it is important to take this into consideration when adopting. Most children have a short attention span, will they be tired of the kitten or puppy a few weeks after Christmas? Will they still want the pet when the animal grows up?

Additionally, the holidays aren't the best time to add a new member to your family. A new cat or dog needs time to adjust to their new home before being comfortable. With all the gift wrap, family members coming over and other potential dangers to any pet, added to the stress of adjusting to a new family, Christmas is far from an ideal time to add a new furry family member to your home.

Of course you should ALWAYS adopt your dog or cat from a shelter. Buying a puppy or kitten from a pet store means you are supporting puppy mills and catteries. These are inhumane organizations that breed animals until they can't breed anymore. The animals in puppy mills and catteries are kept in horrible conditions and may suffer from a number of illnesses.

If you know the person you are looking for a gift for is an animal lover you can always make a donation to their favorite rescue organization. Small organizations, such as Chicago Cat Rescue, depend heavily on your donations.

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