You may think that it would be a great present to surprise a family member or a friend with a pet. But in reality this could be one of the worst gifts that you can give someone. Yes, the kitten is cute or the puppy is all wiggles, but does the person really want this pet. Is it the right pet? Picking a pet is a very personal decision. It should not be done by someone else.
Your gift may tie the person down with a time commitment that they aren’t interested in fulfilling.
A pet requires a lot of attention. They need to be fed, walked, and trained. When a person goes on vacation or travels, then arrangements must be made for the care of the pet. Having a pet is a long-term commitment. On average a dog can live 12 years, a cat for 15 years, and a larger bird for decades.
Your gift may saddle the person with a financial responsibility that they can’t support.
A pet requires food, visits to a vet, medicine, toys, and other supplies. A dog owner can spend on average $1500 annually and a cat owner about $1200 on average according to the American Pet Products Association. Maybe the person is not prepared to support this level of financial commitment.
Your gift may arrive at a time when the person is just not ready for a pet.
The person may still be mourning the death of a beloved pet and is just not ready for a new one. Maybe the person is getting ready for a new job or is thinking about moving. Each of us should be able to decide when and if we are ready for a pet.
Your gift may put the person in the position of relinquishing this unwanted pet at an animal shelter.
The pet may not be the right one for a number of reasons and could turn out to be unwanted. Depending on where you got the pet, the gift recipient may not be able to return it. If they can’t find another owner for the pet, then the pet may end up being placed in an animal shelter. It’s quite likely then that this pet will be euthanized, joining the fate of millions of other pets.
Bringing a pet into our home is life changing and something that should be our decision. A pet should not be a gift from a well-meaning friend or relative. If we do not connect with the pet emotionally, then we may be resentful toward the pet and not be able to fully love it. This would be unfortunate for both the person and the pet. A gift certificate which can be used for pet supplies, training, or boarding would be a much better gift, given after the person has brought his or her beloved new pet home.