Why you should never give a pet as a gift
It's not just the thought that counts
Pets often become intrinsic and deeply loved members of a family, and many owners can't imagine living without them. That kind of bond is highly sought-after, and because of the great value of pets, giving one as a gift might seem like an amazing idea. But this well-intended gift could have huge consequences, no matter how much the recipient loves animals.
There are plenty of ways the present could go wrong, but here are the two main reasons you should never gift someone an animal.
If you're already as far as thinking about getting someone a pet, they've likely expressed their desire for having an animal around. They may have mentioned how much they’d love having a cat or dog to play with, but that in no way means they're ready for a pet, and it also doesn't mean it's up to you to get them one.
Choosing a pet is a very personal experience of which you shouldn't deprive the owner. If you really think the recipient is ready for a pet, take them to an animal shelter or pet shop and just take care of the costs. Don’t pressure them, and let them know that it’s okay to visit another place or leave empty-handed. You don't want your loved one to hold a grudge against you for making them do something they're not comfortable with.
If you do end up paying for their pet, don't forget about paying for all the necessities that come with owning an animal, including a litter box, bed, bowls, and enough food to last a month or two. It may seem costly, but it pales in comparison to the costs that the owner of the pet will face over the years.
Giving someone a living, dependent animal should never be taken lightly. It comes with huge responsibilities that will last the entire lifetime of the pet. Owners need to be financially stable, have an appropriate living space, and they must have the energy and time required to raise the animal. When you account for all of these responsibilities, it should be clear that pets do not make appropriate gifts. Even the parents who want to give their kids a pet must know that the costs and responsibilities will be on their shoulders.
By surprising someone with a pet, you risk burdening them with potentially unwanted responsibilities, and in the worst cases the pet could end up in a shelter or on the street. So, before you make any moves, ask yourself if you really want this person—who you clearly love and care for—to curse you every time their pet requires an expensive shot or does their business inside the house. Maybe you should just opt for some nice candles.
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