I think, therefore I harm
Just yesterday, as I was leaving the mall, I overheard that woman talking on her phone. She was asking the price for getting a kitten sterilized and declawed.
Oh! I’ve been a good boy. Those who know me know that I am rarely a good boy. There were so many things wrong with these few words that I didn’t know where to start. Maybe it was those two heavy grocery bags that I was carrying, but I did nothing. I simply stared at her with angry eyes, and walked to my car. She didn’t even notice me, but her friend did, and moved away.
I wish I took a different decision. I wish I didn’t play the good boy. Since yesterday, I can’t think of anything other than what I should have done. I see myself walking to her, put my bags down, take the phone off her hand and put it in her chest pocket. And then answer her questions and begin my speech.
Sterilization is $60 for a male, $120 for a female. Declawing is $135 for all paws, $70 for just the front paws. But before you get there, you will be charged $25 just for meeting with the vet. They will charge you $70 for the vaccine, and $70 more 10-14 days later for the booster shot. Vaccine is mandatory for the kitten to be allowed in surgery.
Kittens sell for $25, some small puppies for $60 to $80. Pet are inexpensive, aren’t they? But they cost a lot more than the price tag. You will also need some accessories. For cats, you will need a litter box. For dogs, a bed is desirable. I estimate that the cost of setting up a pet – that is, buy accessories and food, have it vaccinated and fixed – is about $400 for a first kitten, and $500 for a first puppy. Afterward, the pet will cost nearly $200 a year in food, a few hundred dollars more in vet visits and several more hundred dollars if the pet gets sick or has an accident.
If you need to consider these costs, you are not ready to adopt an animal. Is the person you are buying this kitten for ready for this?
Furthermore, do not ever get a cat declawed.
Your 4-year-old niece asked for a puppy for Xmas. How cute! How would you dare turning down her request? As she walks down the stairs on the morning of the 25th, she sees the puppy under the tree, with a red ribbon on the forehead. She will smile, and the day will likely be one she will remember for a long time.
Each year, the majority of pets received as gifts are sent to shelters. Some shelters report nearly 100% rate of return of animals adopted in late December. The vast majority are returned right away in early January, while some are more lucky and lasts a few months.
In most cases, the family was not ready to receive the pet. They may find they don’t have time to take care of the pet. They may find scratches on furniture or chewed shoes. They may find their angry neighbors are eager to find sleep again.
The family may not be prepared to get the new pet. They may not have the equipment required, or even lack the space to accommodate the new family member.
When talked to, the child who asked for the pet may promise to take care of it. Everyday. But children are children, and when the novelty wears out and school returns, the parents will be those taking care of the pet. If they can’t do it, they will get rid of it.
You may be well intentioned, but if you forget to do research, the family may soon find that the kind of pet chosen may not suit their lifestyle. The day you wanted to be remembered may soon become a nightmare.
A pet concerns the entire family. All the family should be involved in the decision of getting one. The whole family should decide together what species and breed they should get, and visit together to pick one.
No family member should be left alone when taking the decision, and all members should be taken into consideration.
Holidays are the worst time of the year to adopt a new pet. Being introduced in a new house is already very stressful for a pet. Think of all the guests you are expecting for this big party. Think of all those nights you will spend outside the house at others’ parties. Think of those days that begin late in the morning and finish late in the night.
Your new pet needs a lot of care and love for its first few days. It also needs to be included in the family routine. These cannot be provided during the holidays.
Introducing a new pet to a new house at the wrong time may cause the pet to begin his new life with bad behaviors, which will also cause stress on the family, and most likely end up in the pet being given up.
Do not gift a pet for Xmas. A puppy or kitty is not a sweater which can be returned or exchanged if the color or size don’t fit. If you feel the huge to please a loved one with a pet, offer a gift certificate instead, or a pricey pet accessory. If you want to create that magic day that your children will remember, buy a cat tree or a dog bed. When it gets unwrapped, explain that you will visit a shelter together, as a family, to decide on a pet and adopt it in January. That should bring the smiles that you are looking for.
Do not encourage pet stores, which in turn encourages mass production of pets in unhealthy locations. There are shelters everywhere where pets are waiting for adoption. Shelters are already filled up to capacity, and adopting new kittens and puppies produced for monetary profit does only encourage this phenomenon. If you want to offer someone a gift certificate, get one from a shelter that you have visited and trust. Do not blindly buy a gift certificate from a random shelter.
Animals are living things. Do not waste a life for Xmas.