I know it is not Christmas but we’ll start counting down the days in several months time! Well, that applies to the UK but I realise that in the USA Thanksgiving is probably bigger.
Whatever, the point is that the holiday season is a time for presents. Parents have a habit of buying a kitten for their kids; not always of course but it is a time when impulse buying can take over. Impulse buying of a companion animals is the worst kind of buying which is why I an suggesting in the title that pet shops selling kittens should prevent people falling prey to their own misguided emotions during the holiday season.
My suggestion that pet shops in the UK should not sell kittens at Christmas will be seen as crazy and impractical because shops want to cash in on the Christmas season and they don’t mind if the customer is impulse buying a kitten or not. All they care about is the sale but this is not, surprisingly, universally true.
Rabbits are bought on impulse at Easter. Perhaps kittens are too but Easter is the time for bunnies. Bunnies have a lifespan similar in length to domestic cats at around 12-15 years. Most domestic cats live a bit longer but the point is made: when you buy a kitty or a bunny you have to think hard and make a big decision not one made on the spur of the moment as if you are buying a new pair of shoes that you fancy.
Because Easter is a time for impulse buying of rabbits, as evidenced by shelters who say that 55 per cent of rabbits in rescue centres had been bought around Easter, one highly responsible chain of pet stores, Pets Corner, have decided to stop selling bunnies at any of its 108 stores between Good Friday and Easter Monday. It is said that 35,000 rabbits are dumped by their owners each year – sounds familiar?
Lucy Ross, head of training at Pets Corner, said that people don’t realise the level of commitment required or the care needed to look after a rabbit. The cost of care is similar to that of looking after a cat; around £11,000 per annum (for the USA substitute pounds for dollars).
Whether it is a rabbit or a cat, owning one is a long-term commitment. It must be for the life of the companion animal. Nothing else will do unless extraordinary circumstances intervene, which means stepping back and thinking hard before adopting.
Pets Corner rightly pride themselves in setting high ethical standards in terms of animal welfare which is why they are not money grabbing for that extra profit and using the misconceived attitudes of some customers in buying on impulse.
This is actually good marketing. Other chains and independent pet stores should consider doing likewise. It’ll be good for business and good for the cats.
Obvious note: It is far wiser to adopt a companion animal from a rescue centre rather than buying him/her.