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Cats can grow tired of their belongings in the same way that children seek constant stimulation -- even if it comes in the form of a holiday gift box. The best way to pique your cat’s interest? Brand new products. As the holiday season approaches, Leah Nelson, media relations associate for the 2009 Global Pet Expo and the American Pet Products Association, knows just what’s in store for cat lovers’ shopping pleasure. “Products of convenience are huge right now, as are health and safety products,” says Nelson. But as far as enjoyment is concerned, “Fashion-savvy pet owners are always driving the market, and of course, new cat toys.” Below, Nelson shares some of the highlights while Marrow weighs in on their fun factor.
For Family Playtime
Playing with your cat is an important part of creating and maintaining a bond. Toys like Bamboo Pet Center’s CatFisher Rod & Reel allow you to do that from the comfort of your own couch. Cast the collapsible rod up to 40 feet and watch Fluffy chase the catnip-scented mouse bait at the end of the hook. “When cats play, they’re practicing prey behavior,” says Marva Marrow, a cat behaviorist based in Los Angeles. “They’ll want to torture the ‘mouse,’ bat it around, force it to move. They like that aspect of play.”
Looking for a battery-operated mouse that will hold your feline’s attention? Panic Mouse’s Undercover Mouse might be just the right rodent. While fake furry mice don’t always pass your cat’s verisimilitude test, Undercover Mouse gets around looking fake by literally going under cover. Turn Undercover on and the movement underneath the toy’s nylon skirt will appear just like the motion of a real mouse. “Cats are attracted not to quick movement, but to objects that move like their natural prey,” says Marrow. The sudden stops, reversals of direction, and stealthy, teasing movements will have your cat believing there’s a mouse in your house.
For Alone-time Play
If your food-centric feline could use more exercise, Multivet’s SlimCat should be at the top of your gift list. SlimCat is a ball -- but not just any ball. It’s one that dispenses preset amounts of dry food as it’s being batted around. Your cat will be ready for the chase when kibble is the reward. “Toys they bat around are appealing to cats. They leave a lot to their imagination,” says Marrow. And this one makes their cardio workout all the more enticing.
Does your indoor cat love to play in the grass? Veterinary Ventures Aqua Garden gives your pet the opportunity to do just that in your absence. You plant the wheat grass in the Veterinary Ventures fountain (no dirt necessary), and it will grow for your cat’s scratching and eating pleasure, minimizing their destruction of houseplants in the process. “A cat’s favorite plaything is always unpredictable,” says Marrow. “It could be a plastic ring from a milk carton or a patch of wheat grass.”
For Nap Time
After all that playing, your pet might need some rest. On a cold winter’s day, a heated bed turns a catnap into a veritable day-spa visit. K & H Manufacturing’s Thermo-Kitty Fashion Splash contains an energy-efficient 4-watt heater. Another perk is that it comes in four bright colors. Its furry texture provides an added draw for your furry friend.
Traveling with your cat for the holidays? Sleepypod by Sleepypod goes from day bed to safety-conscious car seat. The Sleepypod Mini can even transform into an airline-approved carrier.
For Meal Time
Show your cat some love with a heart-shaped bowl from Petmate’s new Sassy Saucers Gift Set. While you may appreciate the shape and the print (plaid, polka-dotted, leopard-spotted) more than your sweetheart, your pet will benefit from the set’s durable polymers, which prevent the nicks that can trap bacteria. They’re also dishwasher safe.
As evidenced by the above gifts, which are all available for purchase online, this holiday season doesn’t have to mean the same old, same old for your cat. With a new toy and a new place to rest its head or satisfy its stomach, your feline will be feeling festive long after you’ve put away the winter holiday decorations.
Darcy Lockman is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Daily Cat. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone.