The gift that keeps costing you: Why you should re-think that Christmas dog or cat

Catherine Lancaster said people need to rethink giving pets as presents. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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While a new kitten or puppy might sound like the pawfect gift for a meowy Christmas, locals are being warned to think carefully about giving pets for presents.

There has been an influx of people looking to buy or sell pets on social media ahead of the silly season, but if not properly taken care of, they can be a burden on the community.

Catherine Lancaster, who runs Meow Sanctuary rescue in St Clair told the Weekender that she will not be rehoming any kittens or cats ahead of Christmas.

“The idea of a kitten for Christmas seems cute but a child will play with it for a few days and then get bored so it becomes the parent’s responsibility and often ends up with them being allowed to wander or rehomed,” Ms Lancaster said.

“I didn’t do adoptions during COVID because people were bored at home or birthday gifts and I will only be letting kittens go with people who had previously enquired well in advance.”

Ms Lancaster said a number of holiday events during the year attract people gifting animals.

“Our vet told us to prepare for the post COVID dump as well as post Christmas as any gift giving days will have people interested in all types of animals,” she said.

“Cats and dogs for Valentine’s Day, bunnies for Easter and we were even mindful of the black cats we had around Halloween.”

Ms Lancaster said a lot of thought and commitment needs to go into the decision around a new pet.

“We are seeing a lot of free ones on sites like Facebook or Gumtree and it might seem like a great Christmas gift and a kitten will give you love, but it is the gift that keeps costing you,” she said.

“They can live around 15 to 20 years, then you have the cost of food, flea and worming, vaccinations, annual vet checks and once an animal gets older it needs more care so no cat is ever free and they are a big commitment that deserve proper love and care.”

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