Top Ten Holiday Gifts for your Cat!

Dec 19, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

According to a 2011 PetFinder.com poll, 58% of people with cats give them presents for the Holidays and 37% of cat owners also hang a stocking!

Are we crazy, or just crazy about our cats? Or is this another way we can share and celebrate with those we love. Here are my favorite Top Ten Holiday Gifts for cats:

10. Toys: Catnip toys are the obvious, and look for those made in the US with fresh, organically grown cat nip! Not all cats respond to cat nip- it appears genetics play a role in that- and it’s worth trying different kinds and fresh vs. dried to see if your cat gets crazy or mellow. See more on toy safety in Dr. Colleran’s recent post.
9. Food: As veterinarians, we’ve all heard the question “What’s the best food for my cat?” Felinedocs.com have had several posts on feline nutrition; bottom line- it depends. On your cat’s age, lifestyle, health status and preferences- each one is an individual and your veterinarian can offer the best proven options! And remember, cats are carnivores and must have some protein that’s of an animal source. Grain-free diets have yet to be scientifically proven to be optimal for your cat’s health and it seems intuitive so we hope those studies are forthcoming!
8. Treats: It’s important to positively reward good behavior (“good Callie, for jumping on your cat tree next to the kitchen counter…”) and repetition of immediate reward will help shape good manners. As with food, be sure the company that manufactures them has quality control measures to help ensure their safely. And be mindful of added calories in treats; make sure you know what your cat’s daily allotment is- somewhere in the range of 200-250 kcal per day for healthy adult cats- and find out just how many there are in those 15-20 Whisker-Lickens…
7. Toys: Interactive toys that allow a cat to express its normal prey behavior are terrific and also provide exercise. Fishing pole type toys, lasers that shine a dot on the floor and walls, and even battery-operated toys that move- some in response to a cat’s movement! Be sure to let your cat “catch” its prey periodically so it’s “rewarded” for its activity.
6. New dinner plate: Yes, as cute as those bowls with little fish painted inside, a flat dish or plate is preferred so their whiskers can remain straight while eating.
5. Water fountain: cats like the movement of water and, like us, can benefit by drinking more. Several companies offer water fountains specifically for cats. I keep looking for one that’s shaped like a toilet…
4. Cat tower or perches: Cats like to go to high places so providing them with vertical height outlets will give them their own “space.” Cat trees or towers come in a variety of designs so check on-line to see what your cat might like. Those which include sisal for scratching and hidey-areas can be very popular!
3. A cat-friendly carrier: Just search the internet on “how to get your cat in a carrier” and you will get 3,330,000 hits in 0.3 second. What’s important is to think like a cat. If it has two openings- front and top are best, if you provide soft bedding (that old fleece of yours is purr-fect- warm, soft and has the scent of “you”), if you keep it out, up and open and warm and let your cat use it as a hiding place (cats like to be off the floor, warm and have an “escape route” available), your cat will come to see its carrier as it’s friend and not run and hide when you bring it in from the garage to go for a car ride. For more information on choosing a carrier and training your cat to it, watch this video – “Cats and Carriers- Friends, not Foes.”
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2. Toys: Did I already mention toys?? Studies have shown that environment enrichment is critical for your cat’s health and well-being. So new toys, and rotating those they have, provide your cat with continual psychological stimulation. For more information on environment enrichment, visit the Indoor Pet Initiative from the Ohio State University.
1. The gift of good health! To ensure your cat lives a long, happy and enriched life, be sure your cat visits its veterinarian at least once a year- even if it seems perfectly fine! Cats give us so many gifts and we can give them the best quality of life “humanly” possible.

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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