THE SEARCH for the perfect Christmas present has began as the region enters the festive season.
At times finding that perfect present can become an obsession and also a competition to win the title of ‘ultimate gift giver’.
For many waking on Christmas morning to an adorable kitten napping under the tree would be the perfect gift to receive.
However, Horsham People for Animal Welfare and Support cat co-ordinator Penny Stemp has urged the community to think carefully before adopting a cat for Christmas this year.
Ms Stemp said a cat was not just a Christmas present, but long term-commitment that came with responsibilities.
She said when people came to the realisation of what the responsibilities for pet owners were, the appeal of owning a cat could often sart to wear off.
“We see many young cats come into the pound at around March and April,” she said.
“That’s when the novelty of a kitten has worn off.”
Ms Stemp said many people soon found out what pet ownership involved early in the near year.
“People are faced with the reality of what to do when they want to go on holidays over Easter or the first school holidays of the year,” she said.
Ms Stemp said it was important people were aware of the responsibilities.
She said people needed to consider whether they could provide a cat with love, care, food, shelter and veterinary costs including desexing and micro-chipping.
She said if they answer ‘no,’ then people needed to rethink their gift.
“As we hurtle towards Christmas, there is a myriad of ‘free to good home’ kittens offered on social media sites,” she said.
“But, getting a cat or kitten is a long term commitment.
“People need to think careful before acquiring one.
“They should be ensuring that they’re prepared to care for it for up to the next couple decades.”
Ms Stemp said the same questions apply when gifting a pet for a family member or friend.
“People need to think – is the person that you are getting it for wanting a pet?” she said.
“Are they able to take care of a pet, including the financial responsibilities?
“Are they able to have it taken care of when they go on holidays?”
Ms Stemp asked the community to adopted responsibly this Christmas.
“Do not be the person that adds to the growing problem of over population of cats in our community,” she said.
“Please think very carefully before taking on a pet.
“People need to remember that a pet is for life, not just Christmas.”