It’s not too late to find the perfect holiday present for the feline in your life! We at Alley Cat Allies have a tip: Think about what will truly enrich a cat’s every day.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of our top gift ideas. You’ll find techniques to tap into your indoor cat’s instincts, special goodies for community cats, and ways you can give the greatest gift of all: your voice.
Give your cat the gift of satisfying instincts
All cats, even the most laidback tabby in your home, have strong instincts they must act on to stay happy and healthy. They want to scratch, climb, and perch in high places to survey their domain. Cats who live indoors often don’t have all the options outdoor cats do to satisfy that inner drive, like trees to climb or natural wood to scratch. That’s where we come in!
This holiday season, show your cats you love and respect them just as they are with the gift of…
A natural wood scratching post
Cats have an instinctive need to scratch, and what’s better to fill a natural urge than natural wood? You can find natural wood scratching posts for purchase online.
Wall-mounted cat perches and shelves
In their outdoor habitats, cats are drawn to high places to escape danger and watch over their territory. Cats indoors also find a sense of security in height. That’s why wall-mounted cat perches and shelves make an amazing permanent gift! Your cat can feel like the queen of the room—and you save precious floor space by building vertical.
There are a variety of cat shelving options all over the internet, but building and customizing your own cat shelves is a great family project!
Treat dispenser balls
It’s two of cats’ favorite activities in one: Chasing and snacking! Treat dispenser balls tap into a cat’s instinct to seek out and work for her food. It’s a great way to get a more sedentary kitty on her feet.
You can find elaborate treat dispensers online but for a free gift, it’s easy to create DIY food puzzles out of typical household items. They can be as simple as putting kibble or treats into an egg carton and closing it or into a water bottle with several holes punched in (be sure they’re smooth!)
A cave bed
For a cat, safety is paramount. A small, cozy cave with a single entrance she can peer out of makes for the perfect resting spot. Wool and felt cat cave beds meet every feline standard and you can find them in multiple places online.
Give the gift of bringing the outdoors, indoors
Did you know that cats living indoors full-time with us only became more common in the 1950s? If you live with a cat, you probably already know that they are fascinated with the nature outside your window. So to enrich their indoor experience, bring a little bit of the great outdoors right into your own home with…
Grass (to eat and to lay in!)
Researchers believe cats’ ancestors ate grass as a natural way to help their digestion. What we know for sure is that nibbling on grass is an instinctive behavior for cats. So bring a little of the green stuff into your home! You can find cat-safe wheatgrass—and fresh catnip!—at many pet stores and garden centers
You can also find patches of cat grass for your cat to lay on available for purchase. Lounging on soft grass in the warm sun is a favorite pastime of cats who live outdoors. Let your indoor cat get in on that!
A pet water fountain
Give your cats the sensation of drinking from a burbling stream right in your living room. Definitely consider a fountain if your cat already loves to drink from the faucet! There are many cat-specific water fountain options to be found on the internet.
Cat gifts from your own backyard
You don’t have to pull out your wallet to give your cat some fascinating new toys. Try bringing in and cleaning unique stones for cats to bat around and chase, filling a cardboard box with leaves to romp around in, or bundling together twigs and branches to explore. Just make sure whatever you provide is safe and playtime is supervised.
Give the gift of warmth and safety
Community cats thrive in all environments and in all kinds of weather, but we can still lend a helping hand with…
Outdoor cat shelters
An outdoor shelter is one of the best gifts you can give a cat who is at home outdoors, especially during the winter season.
There are plenty of unique cat houses to be found for purchase, but you can also gather the family to build shelters yourself! The holiday season is all about coming together to do good and feel good, and helping community cats is both fun and rewarding. Alley Cat Allies has inexpensive DIY options to choose from at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery.
If your winter is extra cold, you can also consider a heated outdoor shelter to help community cats stay toasty. There are a variety of heated shelters available, including electric and solar-powered options.
Give the gift of the perfect mealtime
Every meal is the most important of the day for cats! Make sure they’re eating in maximum comfort with…
A heated bowl
Heated bowls are a community cat’s best friend in the winter, when the water or wet food you set out could freeze.
An ant-proof bowl
There are ant-proof bowl and tray designs available to keep pests away from your cat’s food. We have recommendations (including a bowl we put to good use to help cats in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina!) at alleycat.org/AntProof.
A feeding station
Feeding stations are the best way to ensure community cats eat in comfort and safety. Pre-built feeding stations can be pricy, but you can also build your own out of a plastic storage container! We have a variety of options at alleycat.org/FeedingStation.
Raised or tilted cat bowls
Many people tout the benefits of tilted or raised food bowls to improve a cat’s comfort, posture, and digestion. If your cat is older, has digestive issues, or just plain gets food everywhere when she eats, give them a try!
Give the gift of spay and neuter for cats
By gifting a humane trap to a caregiver in your area (maybe that’s you!), you can help community cats now and long after the holidays are over. After all, Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane and effective approach to outdoor cat populations. We have a guide to doing TNR safely during the winter and during the COVID-19 crisis.
And if you haven’t already, please make sure to spay or neuter the cats you care for in your home. It’s the most important gift you can give them.
Give the gift of your voice
It can’t be wrapped and tied with a bow, but it can change cats’ world forever. Over the holidays—and as your New Year’s resolution—make a commitment to speak out on behalf of all cats. Advocate for nonlethal laws and policies in your community, encourage lifesaving programs in your local shelter, and educate your neighbors on cats and the issues they face.
Alley Cat Allies is here to help. We have an Advocacy Toolkit to get you started and educational materials in our shop (all of which have a free PDF version!) to hand out to neighbors, elected officials, shelter staff, and every community member in between.
Give the gift of a loving home
Bring a cat home for the holidays by fostering or adopting from your local shelter. There are many cats and kittens who need a warm and loving place to stay, especially during these tough times. And yes, you CAN get a cat as a gift for your family as long as everybody understands the responsibility and commitment involved in bringing a cat into your home. You can even offer to pay the adoption fee for a friend as a present.
Give the gift of a full belly
Ask many people and they’ll tell you: the best part of the holidays is the food. Spread that cheer by making sure a cat is fed, too. Consider donating to local pet food banks or pantries in this critical time of pandemic hardship. You can find a food bank near you with Alley Cat Allies’ compiled state-by-state Animal Food Bank Directory at alleycat.org/FoodBanks.
Give the gift of a better world for cats
With a tribute donation to Alley Cat Allies in the name of your cat, you’ll empower us as we work toward a world where ALL cats are valued and protected, and every community has programs and policies in place to save their lives. There’s no better way to honor your beloved feline companion than to help change society in his or her name.
Some of the most important cat gifts can also be found in Alley Cat Allies’ 2020 Holiday Cat-A-Log. Your gift today could support foster care, emergency surgery, legislative and advocacy work, disaster response, and so much more. It’s your choice, and it all saves lives.
Happy holidays from all of us at Alley Cat Allies!