Proper way to give a pet as a present - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proper way to give a pet as a present

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

As the holidays approach, you may be considering buying a new furry friend as a family gift, but experts say you shouldn't surprise the kids with a new puppy or kitten on Christmas morning.

The Brandts are looking for a new furry friend to join their family. Right now, they're leaning towards a cat.

"They're really playful," said Nick Brandt, 13 years old.  "They're fun to mess around with. Like, I always like getting yarn or something and teasing them. That's fun and they're very playful."

The family has had felines before so they have an idea of what they're looking for.

"Our other cat was kind of mean," said Hannah Brandt, 9 years old. "I want another one to be nice."

Experts say the Brandts did the right thing by going together to pick out their new companion.

As tempted as you may be to see the excited look on a child's face when they find a new puppy under the tree, workers at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center say it's not a good idea.

"You don't want to take a little black puppy home and find out the kids, they might be nervous around the little black puppy or not really like it that much," said Liz Ford, Animal Care Technician.  "You want to bring a puppy home, or a kitten, or whatever it might be that the kids are going to like that they're going to want to engage with."

Picking out a new family pet is about more than just finding the right type of animal. You also need to find the right type of temperament to fit your family's needs.

"Go to a shelter that does kind of a behavior assessment or a personality assessment," said Ford.  "They can help you with 'this dog's really active and would love to be your jogging partner everyday' but if you're a sedentary person and you end up with that dog, that's not really a good match."

So before you pick out a new puppy or kitten, think about the amount of time and attention you'll be able to give the animal. Some dogs are more laid back than others and cats can be social creatures, too.  Experts say because animals live with your family for years, it's important to make sure you find the right one.

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