Cats do not make good gifts
Neither do dogs, fish, hamsters, gerbils, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and any other member of the animal kingdom. Holidays are a time when people seem to think that giving a gift of a pet to someone is a great idea. But unless you are absolutely sure that the recipient wants that exact animal with that exact personality and those distinct features, you're better off giving a sweater (but not a wool sweater because those poor sheep suffer when they are sheered!)
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Cats and other animals require love, attention, training, medical care, and supplies that can put a strain on someone if they are given a pet they don't want. As a matter of fact, most of these pets get returned to the shelter or abandoned because the owner just wasn't ready to take on the responsibility of owning a pet. Or they wanted a different animal. And even worse, the pet gets handed around from home to home because no one wants it. The animal suffers trauma and acts out from behavioral issues which leads to injury and abuse.
What started out as a nice idea has turned into something ugly and irreversible with the poor animal being the one to suffer. PETA has a great article on Why Animals Do Not Make Good Gifts. If you or someone you know is thinking of giving an animal as a gift this holiday, please have them reconsider.
On the other hand, if a family wants to adopt a cat and they are all willing to make the commitment to the animal, then by all means, go ahead, brighten the life of some neglected cat by visiting the shelter and bringing home a pet that everyone will love and take care of.
Owing a pet is a long term commitment so it is best if people make the decision to get one on their own. If you really think someone wants a pet, give them a gift certificate to a local animal shelter. Then they can pick out the animal or supplies and services they'll need to take care of the animal responsibly. Most animal shelters will spay or neuter so you could get the shelter to provide that service for your loved one's pet when they do get one, rather than giving them an animal this year.
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