With Christmas just around the corner, you may be thinking this would be the perfect time to get little Bobby that puppy he’s always wanted so he can learn a bit of responsibility. Or maybe you’re considering surprising your grandma with a fluffy white kitten to help keep her company. After all, animals are wonderful, loving companions. It only makes sense you’d want to surprise a loved one with a fuzzy bundle of joy. While a puppy or a kitten may seem like the perfect gift, there’s a lot to take into consideration before tying a bow around its neck and putting it under the tree.

Pets aren’t Toys

Unlike this year’s hottest toys, pets are living beings that cannot easily be tossed aside once little Bobby is tired of playing with his new puppy.

Problem with Returns

Let’s say you decide to get your Aunt Betty a new scarf for Christmas. You love the leopard pattern and are positive she’ll love it, too. When she opens your gift, she smiles, thanks you, and seems to genuinely like your gift. In reality, she’s hoping the receipt is in the box because that scarf is going back to the store first thing in the morning. Now image that scarf is a kitten. Pets that are dropped off at animal shelters do not live in the shelter forever. If the pet is not adopted, it will be euthanized. Do you want that on the conscience of the person who received the pet as a gift?

Pets are a Long-Term Commitment

When you give someone a pet as a gift, you’re giving them an animal that needs to be fed and cared for years. Did you know that a cat or a dog can live for 10-20 years? Is the recipient prepared to love and care for the animal for many years to come?

Pets Require a lot of Time

Puppies require almost as much time and effort as a baby when it comes to proper training and socializing. Both puppies and kittens require daily care.

Pets Aren’t Cheap

Purchasing the pet is the cheapest part of the gift. Let’s say you purchase a kitten for $50.00 from a local pet store. A good litter box is going to cost around $30.00; a bag of kitten food is about $13.00; bowls are about $20.00; and then there are the additional expenses like scratching posts and toys. And don’t forget the cost of shots and immunizations – those can cost anywhere from $100.00 – $200.00 per visit. But you’re only purchasing the kitten, right? Can the recipient afford the rest? What if the cat has a medical emergency? Will the recipient be able afford hundreds of dollars in veterinary bills?

While it sounds like a great idea to get a kitten for Christmas, according to PetEducatoin.com, that cute little kitten can cost anywhere from $4,500 – $18,000 per year.

Other Solutions

There are several other options than giving someone a pet for Christmas:

  • Gift Certificate

If the recipient is actually looking for a pet, consider making a gift certificate for one or more of the following:

    • The cost of the animal from a shelter
    • Toys
    • Veterinary
    • A pet supply store like PetSmart or Petco
  • Make a Donation in their Name

If the recipient loves animals but isn’t able to afford or care for one now, consider making a donation in his/her name to:

    • A local animal shelter
    • A rescue group
    • Your local zoo
    • Your local aquarium

Use your imagination! There are a lot of things you can do for the animal lover that doesn’t involve the gift of a live animal.

If You Really Must

If you’re still determined to give someone a pet for Christmas, check out your local shelter before purchasing one from a breeder or a pet store. Rescuing an animal is a gift in itself.

Guest post by Tim

Tim is a marketer for Cabledeals.org. He and his family are passionate about the care of their two black labs Paxton and Swarley. As much as we love our boys we love knowing other dogs and cats are taken care of the way they should be. Please share this with your friends and have an amazing Holiday Season.