With the holidays right around the corner, have you given any thought about what gifts to get for your cat? Granted, my cats are perfectly happy with a cardboard box to play in, a bottle cap to bat around, or some toilet paper or paper towel to pull apart. But I like to get them something special to enjoy during the holidays and after. So here are some of my favorite choices.

A cat scratching post or platform is always a big hit. The hands-down favorite for my cats are the Imperial Cat Scratch N’ Shapes scratchers. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are made of recycled paper so they are eco-friendly. The texture is that of corrugated cardboard. A big plus is that the design of the scratcher makes it possible to drop a little catnip into the openings in the scratcher to create even more interest. My cats not only use the scratchers (we have two of them) to sharpen their claws but also to play on and even to sleep.

Another big favorite for my cats is the DrinkWell water fountain. This fountain actually provides a trickle of running water which falls into the water bowl. My cats seem to enjoy the fountain for different reasons. Two of them like to play and splash in the running water and prefer to drink from the running water as well. Two of the others enjoy splashing in the water bowl but pay very little attention to the running water. All of them seem to appreciate the freshly recycled water continuously supplied by the fountain. I like the fact that the fountain encourages all of my cats to drink more water than they might otherwise. Water consumption for cats can be a problem and many cats do not drink adequate amounts of water unless offered a little encouragement. The DrinkWell water fountain provides this encouragement perfectly.

Another product that I really like for cats is the Furminator deshedding tool. I use this product on all six of my cats every few days and, even using the tool frequently, I’m always amazed at how much hair the tool removes. My cats seem to enjoy the grooming and it gives me a chance to bond with each of them and keep their hair coats and skin healthy at the same time. Removing all the excess hair can help reduce hairballs too, which another plus.

Food balls and treat toys make great gifts for your cat also. The one we use is the PetSafe SlimCat cat food dispenser. Essentially, these are hollow balls which can be filled with food. A small opening dispenses the food a little at a time as the cat rolls the ball. These are great, especially for cats that have weight issues or cats that tend to wolf their food and then vomit. My cats have a ball with the toys (no pun intended). They spend hours rolling them around, even when the balls are empty. The balls help keep them stay active and keep them entertained as well.

A relatively inexpensive toy that many cats really enjoy is a laser pointer. My cats all enjoy chasing the little red dot. Two of them tire of the play relatively quickly once they figure out they can’t actually catch the dot but the other four will keep chasing as long as I’m willing to keep pointing the light.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Imperial Cat scratchers and the DrinkWell water fountain were provided to me in exchange for review consideration. However, I received no other compensation from either company and the opinions shared here are strictly my own.

Dr. Lorie Huston

Image: Gemma, The Barn Cat by up-n-atom / via Flickr