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Getting a pet for Christmas is a dream that so many people have throughout their lives. Whether you are a child or an adult, you've likely fantasized about approaching the Christmas tree on that special day to find a little box underneath, containing what will become your best friend for the next decade or more. Still, despite how heartwarming this is, is getting a cat for Christmas such a great idea?
Should you get a cat for Christmas? Gifting someone a pet for Christmas is an excellent idea if they are prepared for the new companion. Talk with your loved one and make sure that they (and all people and pets in their household) are ready for the new kitty before you buy or adopt. Be wary of warning signs that signal that you should wait and never impulse buy or surprise someone with a new pet.
Cats' sweet, gentle, and affectionate nature makes them the perfect fur-baby for people of all ages, from the littlest of children to the most precious of elders. Still, you want to do everything in your power to prepare your loved one for their new kitty. With this guide, you can ensure that they're ready and provide them with a kit to get started.
When and How to Give Someone a Cat for Christmas
Deciding to give someone a pet for Christmas is a tricky business. Many experts recommend against doing so, as things can go very wrong for the animal if the person is not prepared to welcome an animal into their lives. But that's just it: things will (almost) only go wrong if they are unprepared.
There are times when giving someone a pet for Christmas is a great idea and other times when this idea is not so good. It takes open and honest communication to know which is which.
If one of your loved ones has been longing for a cat for years, yet has never found the opportunity to adopt or shop for one (or simply doesn't know how), Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to help them out.
The only catch in responsibly gifting someone a cat for Christmas is that you'll be unable to present the kitty as a surprise. Why? You'll need to discuss the logistics of owning a pet before you or your friend makes this commitment.
Some questions you'll want to ask your friend before buying them a kitty include:
Are you prepared to care for a cat over the next 10+ years?
Do you plan on caring for the cat on your own or will you have someone to help you?
How much time, money, and attention can you dedicate to your cat (for training, play, etc.)?
How will your children and/or pets handle the new cat?
Do you understand cat behavior?
You will need to be abundantly clear about all it takes to raise a cat, so your gift recipient is not blindsided in any way. Not only is suboptimal preparation bad for the person you're gifting, but it can be disastrous for the cat's wellbeing and future as well.
You are responsible for verifying that your loved one has realistic expectations about bringing a feline companion into their life. Otherwise, they might be unable to cope with unexpected behavior or surprised at how much of a commitment a cat truly is. Being caught off guard like this is among the top three reasons people forfeit their cats to shelters.
Remember also to ask your friend or relative if cats are allowed in their home or apartment. If pets are prohibited, don't try to sneak one in. There are far too many risks in doing so, including possible eviction and surrendering of the cat.
One last thing you can do to improve your friend's chances of success with their new cat is to pay for the adoption and vaccination fees. (After all, this is a gift – and when's the last time you may someone pay for their own Christmas present?) Covering the initial costs of their new kitty will help ease any stress they may be feeling about their new fury-baby and will certainly be appreciated.
How to Wrap a Cat for Christmas
No, you will not actually be completely wrapping a cat for a Christmas present. You'll simply be "dressing" the kitty up to be presented as a gift.
This is a cute and fun idea that should only be done with docile adult cats that won't get too crazy and try to shred their way out of the wrapping paper. Also, you should not keep your cat in the wrapping for too long, but just enough to make an impression on your friend on the big day.
To create a purrty presentation for your friend this Christmas, follow the instructions below:
- Unroll a sheet of wrapping paper on a flat surface, about 3 ft across.
- Call your cat over and encourage it to lay down on the paper.
- Take one side of the paper and loosely lay it over the cat's back. Repeat with the other side. Make sure to leave the kitty's tail out so they don't feel trapped.
- Once both sides are in place, tape them in place.
- Bring the excess paper from the back up and past the tail to rest on top of the cat's bum.
- Tape this section of paper in place.
- Gently tuck the excess paper in around the front paws and tape it in place.
- Place a Christmas bow on top of the kitty's head, and voila! You have a Christmas-wrapped cat.
Knowing When Not to Gift Someone a Pet for Christmas
As fun as this all sounds and as heartwarming as it may be to imagine gifting your loved one a kitty for Christmas this year, this may not be the best idea for everyone in your life. You'll need to be able to discern when it's inappropriate to get someone a cat as a gift.
Some signs that may clue you into when it's not the right time include:
- If your friend has been asking for a pet on an impulse. In other words, your friend may have never expressed interest in having a cat before they saw that cute documentary or met an adorable kitty at the park yesterday. If that's the case, they need to sit down and evaluate how ready they truly are to bring a cat into their life.
- Your loved one is in the middle of a move. This is one of the most inopportune times to get your friend a cat, whether they ask for one or not. Moving accounted for 8% of cat surrenders in a survey by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), while personal problems were to blame for 4% of surrenders. In this case, it's best to wait until next year.
The Purrfect "Welcome Home" Kit for New Cat Owners
When you can confidently conclude that your loved one is ready to receive a cat as a gift this holiday season, you'll need to help them put together their new kitty's Welcome Home kit. Essential items they'll require are listed below.
- Food and water bowls: The new cat will need an organized space to come and drink water and eat their food without making too much of a mess. To ensure that everything stays where it's meant to be, invest in high-quality food and water bowls. The options below, available at Purrty Presents, are both functional and aesthetically pleasing to human guests:
- Comfortable cat bed and cushions: "If I fits, I sits" is the mantra that most cats live by. Why not give the new kitty somewhere to "sits" as comfortably and playfully as possible? At Purrty Presents, cat owners have the option to purchase their fur baby a bed that will either keep them entertained or simply give them a relaxing place to rest:
- Indoor and outdoor toys and entertainment for the new kitty: Playtime is crucial to a cat's mental and emotional health. The new owner will need to make sure that they're prepared to give their new feline friend as much quality time as possible, whether they simply share a walk with their kitty or start up a fun chasing and pouncing game. The items below are perfect for such activities.
Tips for Feeding the New Kitty
The quality of a cat's diet can influence numerous aspects of their physical and cognitive health. Malnutrition can lead to a wide variety of medical consequences, from mere low energy levels to long-lasting diseases.
Help your loved one prepare for their new kitty by making them aware of the risks involved in feeding their new cat a poorly balanced diet, such as:
- Pancreatitis: Excess fat can lead to pancreas inflammation, which is the core cause of this illness
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): Dehydration and low moisture content in the cat's food can lead to the development of this condition
- Heart disease: If the cat's diet contains excessively high sodium concentrations (or if they're eating table scraps), the blood pressure will rise
No matter what type of food they eat (dry vs. wet vs. homemade), the new cat will require the following nutrients in their everyday meals:
Kittens: up to 10 g daily
Adults: Up to 12.5 g daily
Kittens: up to 4 g of total fat per day
Adults: up to 5.5 g per day
The average cat needs less than 15% of carbs per day (with 180-200 daily calories being the norm).
Once the new cat owner knows what they're looking for in their kitty's diet, they'll need to weigh a few more details before deciding how to provide these dietary necessities through the following options:
It would be great to write up all these details in a small pamphlet and gift it to your friend along with their new kitty. If you like, feel free to print out this section of this article to provide them with a basic How-To guide on getting started with their new fur-baby.
If you're looking to get someone a pet for Christmas, this guide will walk you through the process of verifying that they're ready to bring an animal into their life. This way, you can prevent the possibility of the cat being sent to a shelter shortly after the holidays due to unrealistic expectations or under-preparedness.
However, even if your loved one is ready, they'll still need a foundation on which to build their knowledge and expertise as a budding cat owner. Feel free to print out the details for the "Welcome Home" kit and feeding tips to help boost their chances of success in caring for their brand-new fur-baby.
About the Author
Jazmin “Sunny” Murphy began writing informal scientific content on nature and animals in 2015. Four years later, she launched her freelance career as a digital content and copywriter. This work merges her academic perspective, rooted in her B.S. Zoology, and professional experience as a veterinary tech, university research assistant, and more with relevant marketing, SEO, and engagement techniques across various industries. Jazmin now covers pet care, pest control, cannabis, outdoor recreation, STEM research and news, and product reviews across several niches.