Have your children written “cat” in scrawly handwriting on their Christmas lists? Or does your partner think kittens are “so cute”? That might give you the idea to get them a cat for Christmas. This is often not a good idea! Here, we will explain why a cat can be an unsuitable Christmas present.
6 Reasons Not to Gift a Cat for Christmas
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6 reasons why a cat is not a good Christmas present
- Responsibility doesn’t make a great gift
Cats are, of course, very cute! However, they also come with responsibility that lasts 15 to 20 years. Before you welcome a cat into your home, you should consider the following points:
- Do all members of the family agree on getting a cat?
- Will your kitty be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat?
- Indoor cats shouldn’t live alone - would it be possible to get two cats?
- Do you have enough money for the ongoing costs and something put aside for vet bills?
- Will you clean up fur and dirt without getting annoyed?
- Is anyone in the family allergic to pet hair?
- Who will clean out the litter tray?
- Are you patient enough to cope with training your cat?
Parents that want to please their children by getting them a cat should be able to answer all of these questions beforehand. It is a well-known fact that children can learn to become more responsible when they have a pet. That said, the adults must make sure that the cat is well looked after.
Animal shelters are wary
Do you want to get a cat from an animal shelter? Many animal shelters are not willing to allow any animals to be adopted from mid-December. This is because they have had bad experiences in the past with animals that were adopted around Christmas time being brought back just a few weeks later. The reasons given include the cat being too demanding, too vicious and too expensive which shows that many people have adopted the cat on the spur of the moment or the cat was given as a present. Those who are genuinely interested in getting a new companion can wait until after the holidays.
Avoid welcoming a pet as a surprise
Of course, a cute kitty would look great under the Christmas tree but those who love animals don’t mind foregoing this scene. Each member of the family should be allowed to prepare themselves calmly for the arrival of the new cat. Children should have clear rules set out on how to handle a cat before your new pet moves in. The first meeting should take place in a calm setting.
On the subject of a calm setting, peace and quiet is often in short supply around the festive season. Visits from relatives, Christmas songs and unwrapping present are all on the cards. A kitten or a newly adopted older cat will get off to a difficult start during the typical hustle and bustle of Christmas. It may climb up the decorated tree or make itself cosy in the manger while you’re not looking. There are many dangers lurking around for curious cats during the Christmas season. If you are planning to welcome a cat into your home, postpone this until a few days after Christmas.
It is better to choose your pet yourself
It is no surprise that children seem to love all cats. They can also partake in the search for a new pet when the whole family looks together. It is a good idea for older children to visit a breeder or an animal shelter with you. You can discuss which feline friend is best suited to you and your family with the breeder or a member of staff at the animal shelter. When children are involved at this stage, they will understand from the get-go the responsibility involved in having a pet. Adults should also consider that you not only need to make the decision to get a pet, but you should also choose exactly which animal will come to live with you.
Cats are a part of the family
Animals shouldn’t be given as presents like inanimate objects. Whether the cat is the cuddly type or prone to scratching, each cat will bring its own personality into the house. If you have children who want a cat, explain to them why it isn’t a good idea to give a pet as a present. This way, your children will learn to respect animals. Speak to your children about this before the Christmas holidays so that they don’t have any unrealistic expectations.
Are there any exceptions?
Many people have time off work and the whole family is usually together around the festive period. If someone in the family wants a cat and the rest of the family agrees, would a cat then be a suitable gift? No, it would be better to wait until after Christmas. Those who love cats will be patient and won’t see a cat as just a present. You can build anticipation by giving each other gifts that are related to your upcoming pet.
Which gift alternatives are there to a pet?
Books or gift vouchers
If your family is planning to get a cat in the near future, you can get a present based on this new addition for the person in your family who loves cats. How about a cosy cat bed or a gift voucher so they can choose their own? An age-appropriate book about cats can help children to prepare for the arrival of a new pet. After all, the anticipation is half the fun!
No animals as gifts
Does your child want a kitty, but you can’t commit to one in the near future? A soft toy can be a good alternative for younger children. On the other hand, older children might feel even more disappointed with this gift. Explain to your child why you are unable to adopt a cat at this time, regardless of Christmas. You can look for an alternative together. Perhaps there is a group for children at your local animal shelter? Here, young animal-lovers can help care for cats and dogs in need.
Check out our article on why dogs do not make good Christmas presents.