Have you thought about adopting a new pet for Christmas?
Far from dismissing the idea, animal welfare groups now support the practice of gifting a pet for Christmas â so long as itâs done the right way.
With less than a month to go before Christmas Day, hereâs what you need to know if youâre to gift a pet a new home, plus seven tips for success.
A changing message
Opinions about pet ownership are constantly changing.
The old dog dominance theory â that says pet dogs have a pack mentality and owners should be the alpha dog â has long been debunked. Letting animals sleep on the bed is no longer taboo.
Shelters have learned that drastically reducing adoption fees does not increase the likelihood of pet re-surrender, or the level of peopleâs attachment to their new pet.
Now, just as shelters used to block black cat adoptions around Halloween for fear of dumping afterwards (or worse), shelters that once warned against adopting pets at Christmas are now embracing the idea.
Some shelters are even advocating this time of year can actually be a good thing for both the animal and the new family, as everyone is home to help the new pet settle in.
A Christmas gift
RSPCA is one organisation that has changed its message regarding pet adoptions at Christmas. Chief executive Liz Walker says a pet at Christmas, or a voucher for pet adoption at a shelter, can be a good idea â so long as it is not a surprise present.
An annual âcat-astropheâ
Although the number of cats entering RSPCA shelters spikes annually between November and January, this is because of kitten season.
This is the time of the year when non-desexed female cats give birth to coincide with increased warmth and availability of food. This phenomenon is replicated across the country, placing huge pressure on staff and resources at shelters due to the flood in kittens.
To help stop the enormous number of unwanted cats and dogs entering Australian shelters, it is really important to desex your animal (especially cats before kitten season).
Seven tips for getting a new pet
Pet ownership is a wonderfully rewarding experience, with many studies showing pet owners have improved physical and mental health and are more social.Â
So if you are considering adopting a pet this Christmas, here are some tips to consider:
So if youâre ready to make the commitment, go on, visit your local shelter and make this Christmas one to remember for you or the owner of the newly adopted pet.