hen christmas

Don’t Give A Pet As A Christmas Gift

Don’t Give A Pet As A Christmas Gift … unless you’re certain the recipient is prepared for and had a say in the pet you’re gifting him or her with.

Many years ago when one of our cats passed away, a friend of our daughter’s gave us a new kitten almost immediately afterward. Were we ready for a new kitten? I’m not sure. Were we still in mourning for our other lost cat? Definitely yes. Did we come to quickly love our new tortie, Jessie? We did.

Let’s face it, I have never met an animal I can say no to. That’s how I got Calico Lucy. Our daughter sent me a picture she’d found of her at the local shelter, I went “just to see her” and left the shelter with a new kitten in my arms. Three years later, she is still the same beautiful, bad-attitude kitten she was when I brought her home.

Our house is home to two dogs, four cats, two fancy geckos and a bearded dragon. At other points in our life we have had our daughter’s cat and two ferrets with us and our son’s snake in residence.

We might be the exception though. However, if someone knocked on the door with a wrapped up Christmas puppy, I would likely have to say “no, thank you.” I have my Henrietta and know what kind of puppy I want when she is no longer with me. I get chills and want to cry even imagining that day. I don’t want someone to pick me out a puppy. I know what I want and I know how I need to feel when I look into that new puppy’s eyes. You can’t choose “the right one” for me, I don’t think.

Cats are another matter. Do we need another cat? Nope. Do I want another cat/kitten? You bet I do. Do I want you to choose it for me? No, thank you.

Toward that end, I urge you to not give a puppy or kitten or bird, ferret, gerbil, guinea pig or goldfish as a gift unless you are sure the recipient is 100% okay with your choice. Don’t have the family have to make the wrenching decision to give that adorable new put up to a shelter because it just doesn’t fit their lifestyle.

Here are some do’s and don’t for giving a pet as a gift:

  1. Do, make sure you wait until after the holidays to bring the pet home. Why? The crush of the holidays is no time to be trying to housebreak a puppy. If you’re heading out to a lot of holiday parties that means your new addition will be home alone and a bored puppy or kitten is a destructive one.
  2. Do make sure sure that when the new addition comes home that the house has been “pet proofed” from the holidays. Pick up all tree decorations, wrapping paper and ribbons.
  3. Don’t let the new addition near poinsettias or lilies — they are poisonous.
  4. Don’t travel after you’eve brought the new pet home. He could be frightened in a new, unfamiliar place. Give him a chance to get settled in his new home before introducing him to new situations.
  5. Don’t assume the recipient wants a pet. If you know they definitely are ready for a pet, give them a certificate to go to the shelter after the holidays and pick out a pet together. Make a day of it and let the recipient be in on the choosing because it’s a lifelong commitment they’re making. You wouldn’t want someone to choose your mate for you, would you?

Merry Christmas from our pet-filled house to yours!

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