Best Gifts for Cats and Their Human Parents
A great way to show a cat lover you’re thinking of them is to always include their cats when you exchange holiday gifts. Here are my favorite gifts to give and receive:
For the parents:
1. Gift cards to Petco, Petsmart, Pet Food Express, or smaller boutique stores that provide gift cards or certificates if that’s where they shop. Food and litter costs really add up.
2. A babysitting voucher, preferably that includes an overnight. Offer to take care of their fur-kids so they can get away once in a while. Only do this if you’re willing to follow through in case they take you up on it.
3. Sturdy tote bags the parents can use when they shop. So many stores these days don’t provide free bags.
4. Cool binders, folders, zippered pouches, etc. for parents to keep their pets’ paperwork (vet statements, shopping receipts, proof of shots, microchip info, photos in case pet gets lost). This is even better if you know their taste/color theme and stick with it. I favor white and fuchsia to go with my office.
5. Heavy ceramic or stainless steel bowls for feeding. Bigger is better; many manufacturers make bowls too small for larger cats to eat or drink from comfortably. They have to be heavy enough to not tip over.
6. A stainless steel or ceramic drinking recirculating fountain bowl is a wonderful thing for cats, especially those with impaired kidneys. Provide filter refills too if giving a fountain.
7. If you’re feeling extra generous and/or need to gift a large(r) sum of money (fellow tax minimizers know what I mean — see your accountant) to someone, offer $ to get dentals for all their kitties. Those can be so expensive that many pet parents either delay or don’t go, out of financial hardship. Or, any other medical or grooming needs their kitties might have.
8. Make a donation in their cats’ names to a rescue. Again, check with your accountant when claiming any deductions.
10. As most of their pictures will be of the cats themselves and maybe one person (the other is the one taking the picture), offer to snap a portrait of the whole family. The patience you show when the kitties are gathered for a photo will be well appreciated.
11. A floor robot can be a godsend to pet parents. Those that have the sweep and mop functions are fantastic for cleaning up drifts of fur, litter, and anything else small. We have four of the Mint robot cleaners and can’t imagine life without them. And they’ll think of you every time they clean their floors!
12. Doesn’t cost anything, could help: if you know a fabulous vet, share the name with other pet parents. They may or may not be happy with their current vet but sometimes things change very quickly and they’ll need someone new. Especially if yours is special (makes house calls, gives reasonably priced dentals, offers grooming or boarding, is open on weekends or emergency hours).
For the kitties:
1. Cuddly toys that are safe (look for quality construction, nothing dangling that kitty could choke on) and size-appropriate. If buying teddy bears and such, choose those big enough that kitty can use them as pillows. You can’t go wrong with Kong cat toys. They love to cuddle, wrestle, stalk, attack, and kick their Kongs before using them as pillows.
2. Catnip spray (clear this with the parents if maybe their kitty is one that doesn’t respond well to catnip) or a catnip plant.
3. Cardboard scratchers, both the angled sloping type or the flat lounge type, are always welcome as they wear out after a lot of clawing (but kitties still like to sleep in them).
4. Soft, plush polyester throw blankets. There’s something about fleecy soft polyester that cats adore. Those are always their favorite blankets and when mommy is wearing pajamas made of that material, she’s an instant bed for them.
5. If you’re upgrading your tablet, consider giving your old one to a cat. There are apps for cats that they love to play. Ours go nuts over them (yes, they have their own iPad).
6. Little floor mats for them to sharpen their claws on. Their parents will thank you for helping to save their carpet if they have it, and the kitties love to stretch out and try to destroy rugs. You can get them for very cheap at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot. Just make sure they’re stiff and not the kind to curl up easily; those don’t stand up to serious scratching.
7. Treats, only if you know what kinds their parents approve of. Some cats have sensitive tummies and some parents (ahem…moi?) are very selective about what their kids ingest.
8. Heated kitty beds and blankets are always treasured by cats. They don’t get as hot as heated elements meant for people, but they are very cozy for our feline bosses. These can be costly so they are much treasured gifts.
9. A kitty enclosure, bigger than a carrier, for them to be in when their parents have construction workers or others around that the kitties want to see but need to be protected from (in case anyone leaves the door open). Amazon has them for the best price usually. These are collapsible and can be put away most of the time if they don’t usually need confinement.
10. A kitty stroller, if said kitties are lucky enough to have parents who would like to take them on walks. Ideally, let the parents in on the selection, as they are so different. Some are too wide to fit through a standard doorway, or too short to be pushed by a tall person. If they already have a stroller and it’s torn/broken, offer to fix it if you can. The kitties will thank you!!
11. Kitty steps/stairs are highly sought after and sometimes expensive. We were fortunate to find a few for only $10 each at CVS, but they’re usually much more. These are used by all our kitties but are especially valuable when cats are senior, overweight, ailing, or otherwise not jumping comfortably onto the bed or sofa or up to the window to see out. We also have a really nice one, moderately priced, from Amazon. They all get lots of use and we use cardboard boxes underneath to make them taller when needed.