Tips for Giving a Kitten at Christmas

As tempting as it may be to surprise that special someone with a kitten this Christmas, it’s a big commitment that needs the recipient’s input.

There can almost be nothing more adorable than having a kitten running around your house. Many people – particularly children – dream of receiving a kitten with a bow around its neck for Christmas.

Pets truly are a great, long-lasting present. However, many people become caught up in the excitement of the gift and fail to fully understand the long-term responsibility that comes with owning a cat. Kittens don’t stay young forever and they soon grow into an adult cat and companion for many years.

People are often swept away by the cuteness and excitement of a kitten, but after some time passes the gloss of owning a pet fades. According to the SPCA, summer is their busiest time of year and particularly early in the New Year as they deal with new-borns, strays, and animals that are abandoned during the Christmas holidays. A number of these are ‘gift’ cats that have been returned.

So, before you consider giving a kitten as a gift this Christmas, consider a tip that will minimise the chances of it ending up at an animal shelter. That is to consider not giving a kitten (or any pet) as a surprise gift.

While surprises can be exciting, and the look of joy on the recipient’s face is something special, surprise pets are generally not a good idea. Pets are a long term commitment that require financial support, time, and energy. By purchasing or adopting a kitten for someone without discussing it with them first, you are assuming they will be able to take on the commitment, when they might not be able to, or even want to.

Another reason to talk to the recipient about a kitten present is because they may want to choose the animal themselves. Since they will inherit the responsibility of looking after a dependant pet, it is essential that the pet and the future owner get along.

Cats have very diverse personalities and, if you buy a high energy kitten for someone that wants a more laid back cat, the chances of success are slim.

Picking out a pet is an exciting experience, which ensures that the owner feels a sense of ownership and a bond with the kitten. This bond reduces the chances of the owner wanting to return the kitten as it grows into a cat.

Kittens make lovely gifts, if the owner is on board, and is prepared to commit to a long-term pet companion. By discussing your plans with the person you plan to gift the kitten to, you ensure a better outcome for all parties.