By: Victoria Mullen
There are tons of stories floating out there in the holiday ether proposing all manner of gift ideas for people. Tons. And we (oh, who am I kidding–I) almost wrote yet another such article. Key word: Almost. Because at the very last minute, we (er, I) remembered something important: Landfills are filled with crap. People have way too much crap. Yep, and if people want even more crap, people can get online or hit the malls to shop for more. People have THUMBS, dammit!
But there is a vast portion of our population that is often overlooked, yet far more deserving. What about Fluffy and Fido? Frisky or Finn? What about their holiday wishes? Who will speak up for them?
Furry family members are at our mercy. They can’t drive (with the exception of Toonces, and we all know how that turned out). They can’t use the computer (and if they could, you’d be rich and they’d be famous). That’s why, more than ever this season, it’s important for us to be good people and surprise our fluffy, fuzzy, feathered and finny little loved ones with something that will make them happy and lift their little spirits.
Here are only a few furbulous ideas. But first…
Full disclosure: My two boys, Bobby and Frankie helped me compile this list, but they can vouch for only one of these products. (If you can call not ‘stinking outside the box’ a form of vouching.)
World’s Best® Cat Litter
So what if this is the pet equivalent of giving your spouse a vacuum cleaner for Christmas? This stuff is awesome. My boys LOVE this product and so do I. It’s made from corn, so first off, you don’t get that nasty clay dust whisping up your nostrils when you pour it into the box. Plus, it’s lightweight, clumps even better than clay, and virtually eliminates that special aroma emitted by the treasures your cat(s) insist(s) on leaving for your sifting pleasure. I always make a beeline for the red bag because it’s for multi-cat households. $17.49 to $29.99
Whisker City® Cat Bowl
Warning: If your cat is horrendously spoiled, this gift is a very bad idea. The first line of this product’s description is a tip-off: “Spoil your princess of a pet a little more with this designer, ceramic bowl.” Only $7.99, this bowl has “Princess” printed on the inside and sports a princess crown and rhinestone. Which is overkill, in my opinion, but some people are just that nutty about their cats. This bowl is intended only for cats, so don’t go gifting your 160-pound Rottweiler with this. You’ve been warned.
Laurel Burch Carlotta Cat Bowl
My mom has a cool collection of Laurel Burch cat prints and wooden cat figures, but she doesn’t have a cat. I have two cats, but they are manly and certainly would not be impressed by this bowl. But girl kitties will love this because it’s adorned with vibrant colors and an exclusive Laurel Burch design. I’m not going to say that your precious kitty deserves a bowl fit for a queen because I will not be a party to upping the ante on your cat’s snottiness. $8.99
Whisker City® Pet Holiday Christmas Tree Cat Hat
I enjoy annoying my boys every chance I get, so when I saw this online, I decided that I have to get it. It’s festive and they say it’s lightweight and comfortable for a cat to wear. I don’t believe that for one minute because no matter how comfy and cozy this thing is touted to be, no self-respecting cat will ever be comfortable wearing this hat. I mean, look at it. It screams, “I look like an idiot!” and your cat will hate you for getting this. But will that stop me? No sirree. Caution: This item is intended to be used for a short duration, under close supervision. Fit should allow room for two fingers to fit between the item and the cat. Do not use as a restraint. $5.59 (Other styles available.)
All Living Things® Ferret Hammock
Isn’t this thing adorable? Ferrets and other little guys really love hammocks, and this one sure looks comfortable. At $7.99, it’s worth it, but a cautionary tale, if I may. I had three ferrets once, all of whom were sweet-tempered; all of whom were fun. One even smelled like a chicken enchilada. Poodha was my first, so she has a special place in my heart. But darn if that little stinker didn’t have a quirk: She liked to chew on fabric–especially my ex-husband’s underwear. Clean or not, Poodha was an equal-opportunity underwear-eater.
I mention this because you really have to keep an eagle eye on your beloved mustelid–in fact, never let him or her out of your sight. Because although I was well aware that Poodha had a hankering for cotton underwear, I did not realize how dangerous this could be. I thought it was funny. Oh, it was funny all right. Right up until the day she went limp and lethargic, and I rushed her to the vet. He took a radiograph of Poodha’s tiny belly and found a blockage. This is dangerous in any animal or human, but in a creature as tiny as a ferret, things can go south in a hurry.
I am happy to say that Poodha survived the ordeal, and I was much more observant after that. My other two ferrets never did anything like that, and maybe yours won’t either, but just a heads up. Having said all that, it turns out that the distributor of this product has a similar warning. Instructions: Observe your pet’s behavior with this product for suitability. Some items may be inappropriate for your pet. Remove and replace the item if it becomes damaged. Caution: Ingestion of this product can result in serious injury. Hey, they’re not kidding. Maybe it’s because they want to keep calling their company ‘All LIVING Things.’
All Living Things® Pet Holiday Ugly Sweater (Small Animal)
OMG! OMG! OMG! An ugly sweater for GUINEA PIGS!!!!! Be still, my heart. At $7.19, it’s an absolute must-get. This 100% polyester gift will lift the spirits of little Sparky for sure. Take photos and post on Facebook. Please. I would get a guinea pig specifically for this sweater, but that would be a very irresponsible thing to do. Caution: This item is intended to be used for a short duration, under close supervision. Do not use for more than a few hours at a time. Sizing should allow room for 2 fingers to fit between the item and the pet. Do not use as a restraint.
[Editor’s note: Although the writer was highly unprofessional in reporting this finding, we nonetheless published it as written because this thing is SO FREAKIN’ CUTE!]
Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure
Ummmmm. OK, so maybe this isn’t meant as a gift for your pet, but it’s related to cats, so I think it’s appropriate to include here (plus I’m the one writing this article, so there you have it). Chances are, you know a real-life cat lady, an enchanting, endearing, eccentric soul who makes the neighborhood lively and vibrant. If you don’t know a cat lady in person, here’s the next best thing. This gift is a great way of saying, “Here, take this, you crazy old bat!” Comes with six cute kitties. $17.49 It’s worth noting that the product description is a hoot, so be sure to check it out.
The perfect pampering pram for your senior cat or dog up to 35 lbs. Strut your little pride and joy out in the fresh air–durable, breathable mesh provides visibility and airflow. Shock absorbers offer a smooth ride on any terrain (well, I’m sure there are exceptions) and locking brakes keep Fido or Fluffy safe from unintended rollbacks. $195, but your precious baby is worth it. Right?
All Living Things Knots & Blocks Bird Toy
Birds are smart. Really smart. They’re emotionally sensitive too. If their minds aren’t kept stimulated, they will go bat-shit crazy. I am not making this up. There is a PBS documentary called Parrot Confidential about birds in captivity who have been surrendered by their humans. It’s heartbreaking. These intelligent beings can live more than 70 years and may very well outlive their caretakers. Responsible bird caretakers know this about their feathered wards and do what they can to keep their minds active. This toy will help. $16.99
Cat Video Clapperboard
I’m in film, and my boys are always bugging me to make them Internet stars, going so far as to video-bomb my auditions. Sadly, casting directors have to date not been amused, and I’ve missed out on several high-profile opportunities. There are plenty of felines out there who aspire to be famous, too, so there is a real market for this item. It has the added attraction of offering the ability to write your cat’s name in chalk (although you’ll have to purchase the chalk elsewhere). My guess is that this item will soon sell out, so don’t wait. $4.99 And, no, I’m not getting my boys one of these. Heck, no, not after they’ve ruined my very promising–albeit budding–career.
Cat Mate Pet Fountain
My Frankie doesn’t drink nearly enough water, and I’m concerned about his kidneys so I’m getting him this for Christmas. What the heck, Bobby can use it, too. The makers of this fountain say that it’s exceptionally quiet “and maximizes the appeal of drinking by providing multi-height drinking levels with plenty of water movement to ensure naturally oxygenated, cool water throughout the day.” Whatever. If my cats will drink from it, I’ll call it good. Yes, for $49.99, I can–heck, will–feel better about my pets’ health, so much so that I may very well give myself a pat on the back for being a responsible pet caretaker. This is an important distinction, by the way: Pet people are not “owners”. One does not “own” a pet. (In case you haven’t noticed, property laws are evolving.) People merely have the privilege of caring for creatures who are far more deserving of love and kindness than we humans are.
Whisker City® Paris Cat Bowl
The product description says that this bowl “allows your cat to feel like she’s dining at an exquisite diner in the middle of the most beautiful city – Paris! Your cat will purr, ‘oh la-la’ after eating out of such a delightful bowl.” First, I believe “rrrrrrrooh-la-la” is the correct interpurrtation. Now, I can tell you without hesitation that my guys don’t give a rat’s ass where they eat as long as there is food, and I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t be thinking of Paris if they were to eat out of this pleasingly pink bowl. More likely they’d be thinking–accompanied by an evil glare, mind you–“We’ll get you for this.” Which is why the copywriter was astute enough to use the word “she” in the product description. $6.99
Top Fin® Snorkel Santa Holiday Ornament
The product description says that this thing traveled all the way from the North Pole, but I don’t believe that for a second, nor should you. You could probably get Phineas F. Finn to believe it, but don’t be surprised if all you get are some bubbles in reply. $3.19 Be sure to rinse this thing in warm water before surprising Master Finn.
Egg-Cellent Dinosaur Erasers
For that special human on your list. These are cool. I wish someone would get me one of these, but my boys don’t have thumbs, so I’m s.o.l. on this one. But that doesn’t mean someone you know and love should be deprived of the joy of receiving this little stocking stuffer. It’s seriously clever and I wish I had thought of inventing it because I would be rich instead of living hand to mouth. Well, as long as the boys are fed, life is good. $2.99
Oh Deer! Hot Water Bottle
Another festive gift suitable for a human, this product’s description states, “It’s just fawning at the opportunity to get you nice and toasty warm!” Brilliant copywriting, if I do say so myself. I can see quite a few uses for this thing: To get your bed warm and ready for you as you turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees to lower your electrical bill. Or to apply to a stiff, sore neck. Great for soothing menstrual cramps, too. (Just being honest here.) $12.99
Understand What Your Dog is Thinking Breath Spray
Clearly, I’m in the wrong business. Here’s how this one works: Spritz in your mouth (not Fido’s) and you’ll instantly find out what your dog really thinks of you. Think twice before using this: Not for the fainthearted or tragically sensitive. $6.99
Bruno secretly covets one of these, and if you know what’s good for you, you will get him this hoodie. Made from soft cotton for a comfy, cozy fit because you sure as hell don’t want to set your dog off by making him wear something that annoys him. $19
It takes an awful lot to offend me, but I’ve had it up to here with naked squirrels. I’m frankly tired of seeing all those nuts. If I have to wear pants, then so should they. Each pair of these adorable little briefs measures 3″ around the waist and is crafted of 100% cotton. Hamsters, gerbils–you name it–if an exhibitionist rodent refuses to wear pants, you know what to get him or her. Do it for them. Do it for yourself. Just do it. $5.99
‘Deer in Headlights’ artwork by Victoria Mullen