Pets Are Not Christmas Gifts

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Christmas Jasper

When it comes to the Holidays, I am sure the majority of you find yourself excited especially at the prospect of going to visit family, shopping, baking, etc. I usually start to get in the holiday spirit by putting up decorations, playing 24/7 Christmas music, baking tons of goodies and finding just the perfect gift for everyone on my list. However, one trend that happens every year, especially at Christmas, is that children (and many adults) ask Santa for a pet. However, it really saddens me that those buying these “gift pets” are not looking at the consequence of their purchase long-term.

Yes, a baby animal is adorable, but most babies are. Yet, they need care, love, feeding, activity, brushing, medication, vet care, quality time and so much more. I say this as a HUGE lover of animals. I have cats and cannot even begin to recount the numerous things I have done for my animals and even animals that were not my own. I believe animals deserve respect and love, as well as a “perfect home.” By perfect home, I mean a home where they are loved and appreciated; where they can live their life to the fullest. I do not by any means consider giving them as gifts for Christmas or any other holiday as a good idea. They are given away like a furry present, but give it 1 week and the allure of holiday happiness wears off and the recipient is left cleaning up kitty litter, changing the rabbit box, etc.  I have been aware of many people that enjoyed a pet for a while and then dumped it off on someone else, dropped it at a local shelter, threw it outside to fend for itself and so many more sad endings.

Pets Are Not Christmas Gifts

When I bring home a pet, I have no delusion to what I will need to do for that pet. However, I love the company of animals, so the fact I have to clean the litter box daily or clean up cat hairballs, is just part of the whole package. Now I am not saying that everyone who receives a pet for Christmas is oblivious to its needs, but in the case of children especially, they are rarely up to the task of caring for any animal. No animal deserves to be treated as if they are disposable. Your household is only ready for a pet if you have done the research on what that type of pet will need, the cost involved and much more. If you are thinking of gifting a pet to another, I do not recommend this at all. If the household you are gifting to wants a pet, let the choice be up to them when the time is right. Consider making a donation to your local animal shelter in their name instead.

♥ Even Animals Deserve a Merry Christmas ♥



  1. I couldn’t agree more, great post.

  2. Bang on.

    We purchased and brought home a lab puppy 3 weeks ago and it hasn’t been all butterflies and lollypops. Even though we planned for the addition months it’s been a lot more harder then I imagined.

    I’ve had cats my whole life and am very used to cat responsibilities. The cat we have now needs to be fed 2x a day, littler box scooped and a comes around a few times a day for a little affection.

    Dog responsibilities are significantly way more intensive. It’s pretty overwhelming. After 3 weeks with little to no sleep, cleaning up at least 10-15 accidents a day, dealing with nipping, chewing, barking and the constant in and out of the house is HARD. We can’t leave her unattended, we can’t bring her with us like we would a newborn or young child.

  3. Anne Taylor says:

    This is so very true! I remember as a child always wanting a puppy or a kitty but thankfully my parents were responsible enough to not fulfill that wish!

  4. I know a few people who have given pets as gifts, and fortunately all worked out well for them. But I do know this is NOT the case for a lot of people.

  5. we have three dogs and a Macaw. I have a soft spot for animals. i use to volunteer at shelters until I developed a cat allergy. Now I donate what I can 🙂

  6. Thank you for posting this! So many many animals end up in the hands of shelters during the holiday season from what I call splurge pet shopping. Two of our three dogs are adoptees from friend and family who took on a responsibility they couldn’t handle. I also have three kids so imagine! I told hubby no more pets because once they come into our home it’s forever! 🙂

    • Kristen Paskus says:

      Oh Alyssa, I can’t even tell you how much hearing this warmed my heart. It is people like YOU that truly understand how worthwhile animals are and that makes all the difference!

  7. I am so glad you brought awareness to this problem. Contrary to what many people believe animals are very intelligent, have feelings, feel hunger, cold and loneliness. Pets are NOT toys or playthings to be discarded when no longer seen as being cute by their owners.
    We presently have 2 cats in our family, one of whom was a rescue from unbelievable abuse. We are so lucky to have these 2 little girls. Oh and the abused kitty that was completely traumatized and deemed “unsavable ” by some…well she is the most adorable, affectionate and cuddly cat ever.
    Please, remember; these lovable creatures are not presents!!

    • Kristen Paskus says:

      God Bless YOU Monica, seriously! It is people like you that truly value an animal that make ALL the difference. I am so glad you saved your sweet kitty from being put down or disregarded…….*Big Hugs* She clearly has a very loving mommmy!!! hehe

  8. Yes! My ex-husband should get this memo. He’s bought two pets so far as “gifts”.

    • Kristen Paskus says:

      Seriously!? Not cool at all! Luckily, your beautiful daughters have a mom that DOES understand the importance and value of animals!

  9. Good post, I never thought of it that way. While I don’t know of anyone that has given another family a pet for Christmas, I agree that those that do it should let that be up to the family.

  10. sarah j jackson says:

    I agree completely ,every time I have heard someone say they are getting a pet for another as a gift I cringe , a pet is a personal choice and a living being , I just dont believe they should be a gift !

  11. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    having a pet is a huge responsibility, not to mention expense. A lot of people only see the little cuddly animal and don’t even think about vet costs, food expenses and the time involved in caring properly for a pet. Most children can’t be responsible for a pet until they are a lot older and I do wish people would take this into account, especially people who give a pet as a present to a child, in a family that might well not have really wanted one.

  12. Danielle Jones says:

    I love this post. It seems everyone gets caught by that cute puppy or kitten face and don’t think about the care and cost of having a pet. When my son was little we had been looking for a puppy for him. We found one at our local shelter and she was his birthday gift that year. I knew before we got her that I would be the one doing the care and knew the cost associated with vet expenses. 8 years later and Walmart is still our family dog. We wouldn’t trade her for anything but some people just don’t plan ahead or think about how hard it is having a pet. Pets aren’t good gifts unless your ready for to make a lifetime commitment!

  13. Darlene Schuller says:

    OH, I can’t agree more. Too many people don’t think this decision through. I had an issue at Easter one year, the children 3 at the time, were all given LIVE REAL rabbits!! I was a single mom!! Thank heavens I was able to find them a home quickly, but so much care and cost in involved to having a pet, people just don’t think sometimes.

  14. Kristi Renout says:

    So true! Thanks!

  15. Kudos to you for placing emphasis on this important issue! Important thought must be put into adopting an animal not going out on a whim or surprising someone as a gift.

  16. donating to an animal shelter is a good alternative!

  17. Christy Martin says:

    Great time to post this as a reminder. I’ve seen it happen a few times and well and these were people that usually make bang on decisions!

  18. Cassie Fancy says:

    So very true . Pets are family members NOT gifts.
    Such a great post !

  19. Kristi Renout says:

    I have to say, I had no idea how much work a puppy could be until we actually got one. It didn’t help that I was 8 months pregnant. Probably could have thought that one through a little bit more, but we wouldn’t trade her for the world.

  20. Tiffany Wilson says:

    So true, pets are a huge responsibility that needs to be discussed and planned and not given by surprise.

  21. Great post, too many give an animal for a Christmas gift, and then have to take it back, because they weren’t ready for the responsibility. Certainly not fair to the animal. Gets the kids hopes up, then let them down.

  22. I am a huge animal lover and it always makes me sad when people don’t take care of their pets!

  23. Wanda Tracey says:

    I couldn’t agree more with all this geat advice.I love animals and if you are going to get one for a pet then be loving and mature enough to look after them.They are just little people in fur coats is what I like to think.

  24. all “pets” are just furry people in my opinion and should be treated as such. The concept of “pet” is meant to be a term of endearment applied to an especially loved sentient being — but in our modern society we have gradually lost our connection to other animals and nature, so now “pet” has devolved into a “thing” type of category.

    Bravo for encouraging people to understand their responsibilities and to be sensitive to their furry family members!

  25. Kathy downey says:

    Great post,caring for an animal is a great responsibility.

  26. Cheryl Grandy says:

    I definitely agree that pets are not Christmas gifts. I’m pleased to say that our local rescue shelter doesn’t adopt out pets at Christmas time, to help prevent the problems that go along with giving them as gifts.

  27. Amy Lovell says:

    I totally agree with you here. My daughter has been bugging me for quite some time now ( almost a year) for a doggie. But we just cant do that right now and I keep telling her that. I would rather get a pet when we are able to care for it properly, than get one now and not give it what it should have.

  28. Erika Belanger says:

    Very well said! Couldn’t agree more! This is the exact reason why pets end up at shelters! Families aren’t prepared to deal with them and they are just too much of a handful! Its a lot of work, time, patience and money!

  29. Foster first! You’ll truly see if a pet fits with your family and you’ll be helping out a little critter that just wants ooooooddles of love

  30. I couldn’t agree with you more. 6 weeks after Christmas, the animal shelters are busting at the seams with unwanted pets. Pets are not a gift that can be returned and should be purchased because you want the family member and not to win the heart of a little one.

  31. I agree 100%! While I love seeing animals adopted and given a home, I would never gift a pet to someone else. It’s not fair to anyone involved, including the pet. A lot goes into choosing what pet is right for you and no one should make that decision for someone else.

    I know a few people that need to read this!

  32. Amy Lovell says:

    I agree . My friend got her daughter a dog for christmas last year. And the dog is still not at all trained. It jumps on people and runs away all the time. Most it can do is shake a paw! Getting a dog is a huge responsibility so people should remember that when they buy one!

  33. Heather in VA says:

    I totally agree. Both our dog and cat were long though out processes and both rescues.

  34. Our dog was a rescue, and he is now part of our family. 🙂

  35. Agreed. It saddens me when this happens, people need to consider their actions.

  36. kathy downey says:

    I couldn’t agree more,pets are not gifts!!

  37. kathy downey says:

    Years ago when my kids were small a friend gave my daughter a little Bunny and you can just guess how upset i was for him not to discuss it with us before hand,well after hours of tears from the kids it was decided to return it to the Pet store .It was so upsetting for all involved.

  38. kathy downey says:

    This year has been a good year it seems for Kittens,the group i work with has just vetted 13 Cats and so many kittens over the past few months its sad,some people are terrible with animals and honestly should not be allowed to have them they get them as cute kittens and when they grow up they put them outside to fend for themselves.I love seeing Cats who have found forever homes like your have.Wish there were more folks like you out there Kristen.


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