Should You Buy a Kitten For a Christmas Gift?

An adorable fluffy kitten sitting under your tree on Christmas morning might seem like a picture-perfect moment, but is Christmas really an appropriate time to be gifting a kitten as a present to your kids, family, partner or special loved one?


With the silly season just around the corner, we’re all beginning to dream of the perfect gift for our special loved ones and perhaps a kitten has crossed your mind? With that in mind, we thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss this topic and help you make an informed decision as to whether it’s the right time to be gifting a kitten or not.


A Cat Is For Life, Not Just Christmas

As cute as the idea of a kitten on Christmas morning may seem, we must remind ourselves that the kitten will still be around on boxing day and for possibly another 15-20 years from there. Kittens grow up quickly so it’s important to remember that you’re not just buying a kitten, but also a cat in the long run. Is your household, or the person you’re planning to gift the kitten to, ready for that lifelong responsibility? When you become a pet owner, you become their sole source of survival and happiness, do you or the person you’re gifting to, have the time, finances, life plans, home, and lifestyle for a cat right now?


Is It The Right Time?

You, your family, or a special loved one may be ready to add a cat to your home, can afford the upkeep of a new pet and it suits your long term plans, but is Christmas the right time for a new addition to the family?


It’s important to keep the kitten or cat at the front of your mind with these decisions. Christmas is a busy time for a lot of us, there’s excitement and a lot of movement around the house which can be extremely unsettling for a new cat or kitten, you could have visitors over during this time or you may be planning to go away during summer.


Although buying a kitten may seem like the perfect Christmas gift, more often than not, it can be the most inconvenient time to add a new furry addition to the family. We always recommend finding a time in your lives that isn’t too busy, to give you and your cat time to adjust to the new setting. If you’re ready to add a cat to your family, rather than doing it at Christmas, perhaps find a more suitable and relaxed time.


Should It Be A Surprise?

Surprising your family or a special loved one is always exciting, but in our opinion, we wouldn’t recommend surprising them with a pet. Becoming a pet owner is a big responsibility, and it’s important to have this discussion with everyone who will be involved or affected.

Firstly, a surprise itself is often extremely scary for the pet. There’s a lot of sudden noise, squealing, and excitement, causing the pet to act out, hide, or initially not build a loving connection with its owners out of fear.


Secondly, if you’re gifting a kitten or cat to a special loved one to care for as their own, without you being aware, they might not be ready for a cat. They might not be in the right financial position, they could possibly have allergies or have other pets that don’t like intruders, etc. Being sprung on the spot with a surprise kitten may not be their ideal gift, which is why it’s important to have this conversation with your special friend or loved one before making the decision for them.


Lastly, we believe if kids are becoming pet owners, it’s important to make them part of the decision making process in order for them to take ownership of becoming a pet owner. This will help to make sure your children take responsibility for their pet long term and are ready to take on the associated chores of being a cat owner (feeding, cleaning litter, entertaining, health upkeep, etc). Instead of surprising the kids, make it a family decision that you all work on together.


What About A Gift Certificate?

If you have your heart set on the idea of surprising your family or special loved one with a kitten or cat for Christmas, we would recommend getting a Gift Certificate instead. Visit your local cat management facility or shelter and chat with them about your plans and you may be able to pay for the adoption fees and associated costs upfront.


This way, on Christmas morning, you can surprise your family or loved ones with your plan to get a cat or kitten. Perhaps wrap up a food bowl and cat toys with the gift certificate or a cat bed or carrier with a toy cat inside as a ‘hint’.


Once the holiday period is over, and your family or the recipient has time, and you’re ready to become pet owners, then you can head to the shelter and pick one out together.


This approach will help avoid the possibility of a kitten or cat not being the right gift for your recipient and another cat becoming a victim to homelessness and going into a shelter, which is extremely common after the Christmas period.


When Is A Christmas Kitten or Cat A Good Idea?

There are rare cases when a kitten or cat at Christmas time could be a great idea. Under these circumstances, we still wouldn’t recommend it being a surprise, but rather an informed decision together. But perhaps you know someone who is longing to become a cat owner and is often lonely over the Christmas period? A new companion may be the perfect solution to their loneliness. You might have a decent amount of time at home over the Christmas break to be around while your cat or kitten is adjusting to their new surroundings and getting comfortable. If you have a quiet, home-based, Christmas planned, this may make Christmas a great time for your family to get a new furry friend.


What Can You Do?

Here at TassieCat, we are very passionate about advocating the importance of responsible cat ownership, to make sure all cats in Tassie are happy, safe, and well, as well as keeping our wildlife and environment safe from the effects of roaming and stray cats.


We would love it if you could help us spread the word with your family and friends by sharing our regular blog updates on your social media platforms or sending them via email. This way we can all work together to keep Tassie cats in happy & healthy homes.


Remember to stay up to date with our tips on being responsible cat owners by following us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates from the team here at TassieCat HQ.


Know someone who’s thinking about getting a kitten for Christmas? Share this blog post to inform them on how to make the best decision when it comes to Christmas gifts and kittens!


Lastly, we always recommend adopting from cat management facilities such as Ten Lives Cat Centre, Just Cats and RSPCA to help our community put all our un-homed cats into loving homes for a lifetime. Sadly, a lot of the time, these cats are victims of Christmas surprises, uninformed and quick decisions, and misunderstood cat behaviour. We would love to see Tassie’s un-homed cats in your loving home when the time is right.

© Tasmanian Cat Management Project 2019

TassieCat is a state-wide initiative to promote and facilitate responsible cat ownership and management in Tasmania. The project is supported by Cradle Coast Authority NRM, Kingborough Council, and NRM North through funding from the Tasmanian Government.