I wrote this article a few years ago, but I feel so strongly about the subject that I post it every holiday season.
It’s that time of year again. The time for decorations, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and presents. It’s the time for parents to make their child’s’ fantasies come true. It is so tempting for ‘Santa’ to give their darling a little kitten. They are so cute and cuddly and, it is thought that, as the child grows, so can the kitten.
However, we must remember that a kitten is not a toy. They are living beings, with needs that can only be met by a true knowledge of what it takes to be a good guardian. The excitement of waking up Christmas morning to a brand new furry kitten, will soon wear off when the child is charged with caring for Fifi. Chances are, it will take no time at all before he will grow tired of feeding her and cleaning the litter box. Then it falls to the parent to take care of the needs.
A cat (as with any pet) is a full-time responsibility that can last for 20 years or more. In that time, Johnny or Janey will probably go their separate ways, leaving the cat behind. That’s all well and good for the humans, but for the cats, who have grown to depend on their people for love and attention, it can be traumatic and certainly is unfair.
In my opinion, one of the main reasons not to get a kitten as a present is that, in order to meet the demand, some pet stores, etc. receive their supply from disreputable breeders and kitten mills.
A kitten mill is a place where cats are bred in tight quarters with no medical attention, until they are no longer able to breed. When that day comes, they either are tragically killed or sold, spreading diseases. When they are kept alive to be given away, the kitten has a higher chance of being unhealthy, costing more money and possible heartache in the long run.
So, the next time you take your child into the pet store to gaze at the cute little furry things in the window, remember, they are not toys , so look, but don’t give in to the temptation of taking one home.