Now that the holidays of 2012 are merely warm and fuzzy memories and we’re forging full-steam ahead into the new year, it’s important to consider the cautionary tale that we’ve all heard by various experts: Avoid giving pets as holiday gifts.
Pet adoption still remains very popular during the holiday season — with many well-meaning people seeking out the perfect kitten or puppy to give to a loved one. Unfortunately, many of these furry four-legged “gifts” end up being the responsibility of someone who really can’t (or never wanted to) properly care for the new family member.
The novelty of a new pet can quickly wear off when an unprepared person starts to realize the responsibility and cost involved. After all, a dog’s lifetime can span ten to 15 years, while a cat can live to twenty.
Staff at animal shelters nationwide explain that, sadly, the first month or so into the new year always brings with it an increase in owners relinquishing their animals — or even worse, simply abandoning them. Many of those returned holiday presents are languishing in cages right now waiting for their special person.
As a dedicated and caring cat owner, you may be considering adding to your brood some time in the near future. If so, maybe this is the best time of the year to consider adopting from your local shelter. On the other hand, if you feel like your family is complete — and don’t want to risk tipping the delicate balance — you should consider volunteering your time to help unwanted animals find their forever homes.
Either way, a trip to your local shelter can become a special Valentine’s day gift to the animals themselves — that of a second chance.
Elizabeth Vecsi, Executive Editor