I'd like to provide a bumper crop of cat gift ideas for your pet family. And if you don't know what to get Great Aunt Ethel, I guarantee she'd be delighted if you gifted her dear companion Fuzzbucket. Your cat will welcome these gifts, too. Just think of them as a way to show your cat you love her.
As a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, I have a number of favorite products that I often recommend to clients. These can make the owner's pet care simpler, reduce behavior (or health) problems, and often delight Sheba in the process. Some can be homemade for free! Here's my list, in no particular order, with the reasons why I like them.
15 Cat Gifts Under $25
- Catnip for cats! Lots are available at a variety of prices and can be used to reward good behavior during training. I recently was given a bag of Kooky Kat Catnip Budz and Seren opened the baggy herself to get at it.
- Talk-To-Me-Treat Ball allows you to record your voice message, fill with kitty treats, and watch your fur-kid bat the ball around to shake out yummies. This can be a great way to meal-feed your pet and make her "hunt" and get off her pudgy nether regions. It also wards off boredom. Use it on carpet, though, or the hard plastic rattling on wood or tile may drive you nuts before Kitty gets out all the kibble.
- Build a puzzle toy. Use an empty water bottle and add a handful of hard kitty treats, and give to the cat. She'll need to roll and shake the bottle (great fun!) to get out the kibble. Or use an empty sealable plastic storage box, cut paw-size holes, and entice the cat to "fish" for the treats. See Video.
- Check out craft stores. Seren loves the "sparkle-ball" pom-poms and these are sold separately for quite a bit at cat shows…but you can get a whole bag full for about $5 at craft stores. Look at the feather supplies, too, as they'll have packages of several pheasant or peacock feathers for decoration that will delight your cat.
- Homemade toys. Use a clean cotton sock and stuff with catnip. Or stuff with another sock that has a bell inside. No need to sew, just tie a knot in the end. See this video for easy instructions.
- Homemade cat trees. Commercial cat perches can be pricey but kitty doesn't care if it's $20 or $200 so create your own. For instance, use a ladder.
- Sticky Paws offers a variety of pet-safe double-sided tape product as an excellent training tool for teaching cats better claw manners. Sticky Paws comes in pre-cut strips, sheets, and rolls. Small dogs that claw doors or floor areas, or target plants also benefit from using Sticky Paws.
- Soft Paws nail covers also help with digging/clawing cats. The vinyl covers glue on and prevent damage to furniture. They also come in designer colors.
- Fishing pole lure toys are great for games or training. Neko Flies are a big hit with my cat Seren, and she also likes Da Bird, an interactive feather-on-a-fishing-pole toy, drives cats crazy. They chase, leap, and run themselves ragged as the "bird" or Neko bug crawls or realistically swoops through the air. You can get replacement feathers and interchangable lures if your cat catches and kills/plucks the lure. This is great exercise for the cat and enriches the bond you share.
- Video Catnip now is available on CD as well as video. Keep indoor cats entertained with images of birds, squirrels and other critters scampering across the screen. This has been around for years and is one of the best video products out there. Not all cats are fooled, but those who are have a wonderful time watching. Some dogs also may get a kick out of watching.
- Allerpet C (for cats) comes as a spray product. Owners wet a cloth and treat the pet's fur to neutralize the allergy-producing components, allowing animal-allergic owners to live with their pets more comfortably. There are also Allerpet products for dogs, birds and small animals (rabbits, etc).
- Grooming tools will get kitty's motor running. EZ-Groomer is very economical and does a great job especially on longer furred cats. The Furminator, a fine-toothed comb also is excellent but a bit pricer at around $25.
- Comfort Zone/Feliway mimics the cat's cheek pheromone they use to rub and mark objects. Feliway tells cats, "Stay cool, be calm, you're safe!" Cats do not urine-spray or claw-mark on top of where they've cheek-rubbed, so Feliway helps reduce or eliminate these poor behaviors. This is a great product that has saved cat lives and kept them in their homes.
- For cats that have lost their litter box allegiance, try Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract. This specialized cat litter product helps retrain bathroom lapses, and has worked for clients when all else has failed. I recommend it highly!
- Soft toys! Choose one sized for your cat. They can be stuffed with catnip or a bell. Watch for sales-Cats don't care if they get a Halloween toy for Christmas. Kong toys come in many shapes and sizes for the most discriminating kitty.
For the ultimate in feline entertainment--and cheap thrills at that!--simply save some empty boxes and wadded up wrapping paper or empty bags after gifts are opened. Your cat will be purr-fectly delighted!