Culver City Observer -

What Your Cat Wants for Christmas: Gift Ideas for the Holidays or Any Time of Year

 

December 9, 2021

This Maine Coon kitten wants to remind you that love is the best present of all. Photo by Avel Chuklanov

By Sabine Ganezer

If a cat could write a wish list to Santa, they'd probably put down some requests like world domination or a whole ham. But those items aren't necessarily healthy for your cat in the long run. With that in mind, here is a revised wish list of items your cat wants that will enrich their life and your bond. Disclaimer: none of the products mentioned have sponsored or endorsed this article.

12. A delicious meal. There's controversy as to whether dry kibble is truly bad for cats, or just indifferent. But a little wet food once in a while is great for their kidneys and digestive system, as well as their taste buds. Backcountry cat food by Merrick is grain free and high in real protein, to feed our little obligate carnivores, plus it comes in an irresistible gravy.

11. A partridge in a pear tree (or regional equivalent.) "Cat TV" is any window to the outside world, preferably one that includes a view of birds. Though bird feeders aren't technically allowed in California, you can still encourage wildlife to put on a show for your cat using a bird bath or a simple tree!

10. Speaking of trees... traditional Christmas trees can pose dangers to pets, as they may eat the needles, or attempt to climb the tree, leading to mass destruction. Some guardians protect their trees using a circle of tangerines or other undesirables. But a more harmonious method would be to put up a Christmas cat tree -- a decorative cat tree with beds, scratching surfaces, and kitty condos, so your cats can climb the tree to their hearts' content. As a bonus, these already have an angel at the top as soon as your cat jumps up there!

9. A comfy bed. There are a variety of cat bed options available, such as the felt caves by Feltcave, which offer a sense of security and privacy, or the Aspen self-warming cat bed, which uses a layer of mylar to absorb heat from the cat and reflect it back. Cats are more likely to use the furniture you buy for them if you line the bed with a blanket the cat has already rubbed his/her scent on, or sprinkle some catnip onto the bed.

8. A comfy box. As all seasoned cat guardians know, the empty box the present comes in might be more fascinating to your cat than the present itself. Cats sit in boxes for security, ownership, comfort, and pure fun!

7. Brain-building toys. Puzzle toys and snuffle rugs offer cats the opportunity to solve a "problem," with the motivation of obtaining a treat. This can be a great way to keep cats entertained and limber-brained at times when you can't be playing with them. There are also plenty of easy DIY puzzle toy options to be found on the Internet.

6. A toast to their health. All cats should visit the vet at least once a year for a regular exam, and more often for seniors, young kittens, and cats with health issues. While this may not sound like an enjoyable "present," (more along the lines of the presents they leave in your shoes), it is a vital part of being a responsible cat guardian. Most vets also offer services like nail trimming, which would be difficult to do yourself, and will improve your cat's and your own quality of life. Brushing your cat's fur and teeth regularly, using appropriate methods and equipment for the job, can also increase their lifespan and quality of life.

5. A water wonderland. Most cats don't drink enough water -- they're adapted to get most of their hydration from their food, but this doesn't always happen in our homes. And no self-respecting cat will drink out of that stale water bowl sitting next to their food making it seem unappetizing and potentially infected! To encourage healthy water consumption, as well as provide hours of entertainment, consider getting a water feature designed for cats.

4. Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Catkind. Was your cat adopted from a shelter or rescue? Or were they found on the street, in a car engine, or some other unlikely place? Chances are, your rescue cat couldn't care less about the plight of others like him or herself -- it's just not in feline nature -- but if you love cats and want to help them out, there are plenty of ways to volunteer, such as TNR and shelter work, and of course, monetary donations.

3. Interactive toys. For most cats, there's just no substitute for interactive playtime with their humans. Fishing-pole toys, also known as wand toys, are one of the best ways to entice your cat to exercise, and get out their hunting energy in a constructive pursuit. One of the all-time favorites among the cats I've worked with is the Our Pets Play-N-Squeak Bounce-N-Pounce wand -- the squeaky mouse sounds prove irresistible for my own senior cat, and the catnip and feathers are also a plus.

A cat relaxes amidst holiday decor. Photo by Andrew Mead.

2. A safe space. If you're having guests over for the holidays, your cat might be perturbed by the change in routine, not to mention the sharp increase in doorbell ringing and joyous laughter (the horror!) Make sure to provide your cat with a safe, human-free space where they can retreat to at will, complete with their favorite beds and toys, items with their scent, as well as food, water, and a litter box. As an aside, to minimize the risk of losing your cat, keep them behind a closed door while you open the front door for guests.

1. More time with you! Though they might not admit it, your cat loves you, and they would love more bonding time, whether that be through play, snuggling, or just sitting in the same room watching you watch a holiday movie while pretending to ignore you.

 

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