Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catty Holiday Ideas

If you love celebrating the holidays with gift giving then of course you want to include the cutest, furriest member of your family -  your kitty! The fun part of gifting with your kitties is watching them enjoy their latest toy or treat. Indoor cats can easily suffer from boredom, particularly if you are away from home a lot. They also need activities that are feline specific, such as hunting, nesting and caving. Whatever your budget you can discover some new catty things to enrich and stimulate. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A well built kitty condo/scratcher. This is an investment that you cat will enjoy for many years. A large kitty condo is ideal for not only exercising and napping but marking out as kitty territory (kitties scent mark with their paws and temples). This means you don't pile laundry or junk on top of it as it belongs to the cats! I highly recommend placing it in front of a window where kitties can watch birds and squirrels and get some sunshine. If you have dogs or small children, a condo with a cubby on top is perfect for kitties to cave in. Check out Mud Bay (multiple locations), Cats Exclusive cat store in Shoreline, or hauspanther.com for groovy designs
  • Freeze dried salmon or chicken instead of grocery store treats made with questionable ingredients. Dried salmon and chicken is pure protein and by far the favorite treat of most kitties. Cat-man-doo or Wildside are two excellent brands. For kitties without many teeth these can easily be crushed into a dish. Fish flakes (bonito) also make a great treat and can be found at any Asian foods store, as well as pet food stores.
  • A heated bed, especially if you have an older kitty. A cat's body temperature is naturally higher than ours and given how much they sleep, what could be more comforting than a warm bed? If you program your thermostat so that the heat doesn't run much while you are at work or asleep then a heated bed is a must. These are safe to leave on 24/7, and some are activated only when kitty rests on them.
  • Organic catnip. Buy a big tub and place a bit on their scratcher before you head out the door each day or make your own toys. Here's my top DIY project: Take a large wool sock or sweater sleeve and wash it so that it "felts" slightly. This will prevent your cat from tearing it up easily. Then stuff it with sweater scraps or cotton and LOTS of catnip. Stitch up the end, easy peasy. Here is a kitty named Trout kicking and "killing" his wool "animal!"
  • Some safety reminders for the season: Remember to forgo tinsel on your tree and make sure your cat cannot access the tree water, as these can both be very harmful. Buy cat grass at Whole Foods to distract your kitty from the tree. If you plan to have folks over and you don't allow your cat outside, it's best to set him up a room for the duration of the party. Put a sign on the door that says PRIVATE. Cat friendly guests can visit with your kitty in his room and you won't have to worry about his safety. Many kitties prefer quiet time over a group of strangers anyway. 
  • Feliway Comfort Zone plug-ins can help if your cat is stressed from guests. Avoid scented candles, Glade plug-ins and infuser sticks as these are incredibly strong for sensitive kitty and doggy noses. These products may contain up to 1,500 chemicals, including petroleum, and formaldehyde, contributing to breathing problems and headaches in the short run. Keep your environment fragrance free for the kitties!
Best to you and your Kitties in the holiday season!