What Not To Buy Your Best Friend's Cat this Holiday Season
When it comes to buying a gift for your best friend's feline (insert mother's cat, sister's cat, or even your own cat, etc.) there are a few things to consider before you go shopping!
I have put together a simple list of 3 things to consider, a sort of "no-no list" of treats and toys that should be avoided, and made some suggestions for alternative gifts that are more appropriate and healthier for today's cats!
Let's start with treats - cute little pouches of dried food - basically a bag of kibble in small quantities. There are so many choices in this category, you might not know which one to buy. I say - just read the ingredients!
Kibble-type dried food and treats have no true nutritional value. It has been baked and "processed out" - and the vitamins and minerals have to artificially be put back in. Generally there will be a long list of ingredients, many of which you cannot pronounce and nor do you know what it is. So beware of treats with a long list of mysterious ingredients.
Instead look for a freeze-dried or dehydrated single ingredient treats such as "turkey breast, beef liver or pork"...or limited ingredients (3-6 additions) that begin with a whole animal protein, often organic. These treats been minimally processed raw and then freeze-dried or dehydrated. They have never been commercially processed or baked. They are a purr-fect alternative to a processed kibble-type treat, packed with more naturally ocurring vitamens and minerals supporting a healthy feline species appropriate diet.
Toys are always a bit of a challenge mom says because there are so many different types of toys on the market. Good news, there are many wonderful toys available today created by talented designers and artisans for the kitty's enjoyment. These toys and gifts are created with a great attention to a cat's specific needs that bring out their predator instinct to "attack the prey" (aka the toy) and not your couch or curtains. Toys are created to be destroyed!
However there are many toys out there that are really not cat- appropriate because they are too big for a cat to fully enjoy it, or there are small parts that can break off and perhaps get ingested and cause health issues.
So focus your attention to size-appropriate toys that the cats can hold in their front paws and lick and bite it - little balls the size of a Ping-Pong or golf ball is purr-fect as are little "pillow" toys. Also kitties like to "bunny kick" a kicker toy which are about 6" total length so the kitty can hold it with their front paws - and kick it to death with the back paws just like a bunny!
Additionally be on the lookout for any attached trims that can break off through rough play and/or poor quality construction. Metal bits, strings, beads, plastic parts and many more can cause terrible internal damage to the cat who ingests these kinds of items, which can be costly at the vet and even deadly to the cat.
Most kitties love catnip (reportedly 85-90% of all felines) so selecting a cute catnip toy is always a good choice for us cats. However there is "good catnip" and "not-so-good catnip" so please choose wisely and pick the good stuff!
The best catnip to buy, which is an herb from the mint family, is organically grown and harvested in the USA. This way you can be assured that no chemicals or toxic fertilizers were used in the cultivation of the plants.
Catnip that is grown in other countries that is not organic is grown and harvested with chemicals and preservatives so that it can grow faster and be shipped around the world. Often this catnip is stale in a shorter period of time, so best to avoid it.