Weekend Sun   

Pets are for life not Christmas presents

Kittens are cute but think twice before giving them as a gift.

A new puppy or kitten might seem like the purr-fect Christmas present, but people need to consider the long-term needs of their loveable new gift.

“Adopting a pet is a big commitment and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” says SPCA Bay of Plenty area manager Sue Kinsella.

“If you are planning to give someone a pet this Christmas, please make sure it’s something they really want and have planned for, and that they are able to care for the animal for the entirety of its life.”

When adopting a pet, people need to consider how they will meet the animal’s physical and mental needs, and the cost of doing so.

This includes everything from food, regular veterinary care, vaccinations, worming, flea treatments, exercise and any unexpected trips to the vet in case of illness or an accident.

Other things to think about when adopting or gifting animals is that pets are for life - they’ll be part of the family for up to 20 years.

Pets need training, care, affection and attention, while dogs also require extensive training and daily exercise.

For those who are renting, having an animal can make it harder to find a home, with most rentals having a ‘no pets’ policies.

“It’s always important to adopt responsibly, no matter what time of year you’re considering welcoming a pet into your family.

“I wouldn’t encourage people to surprise a friend with a kitten under the tree, but if you’ve been planning to adopt for some time, have done your research and are prepared to welcome a new family member, then Christmas could be a lovely time to adopt.”

SPCA has processes in place to ensure a good match between personalities, energy levels and lifestyles and to make sure animals are adopted into responsible, forever homes.

Fortunately, the charity doesn’t see an influx of animals being surrendered or returned after the holiday season, which indicates most people have thought carefully before taking on the responsibility of a pet, says Sue.

Visit: www.spca.nz if you’re looking to adopt a pet for Christmas, where you’ll find advice about picking the right pet and the things you should consider when preparing to welcome a new furry family member.

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