Pet picks: What to get your beloved animal this holiday season
Winnipeg vet Dr. Ted Morris on what your pet will love and what to avoid
If you think getting the perfect gift for a special human in your life is a challenge, try shopping for a cat.
According to veterinarian Dr. Ted Morris, there is almost a science to selecting presents for one’s beloved feline and it starts with identifying prey preferences.
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“When [cats are] playing, they’re really exercising all their hunting and stalking instincts,” Morris said.
“Some of them like to go for birds, so you need [a toy] that’s sort of up in the air and flying around. Those dangly things on fishing rods are great for those cats.”
Morris said other cats’ prey of choice include rodents, and toys that stay low and on the ground work best for them.
While the right toys are exciting for kitties, the best gift you can give to a cat, according to Morris, is boring, yet practical: A litter box.
Most litter boxes are too small for cats, Morris said.
“We want litter boxes, as humans, to be small and discreet and out of the way. Cats want something huge and spacious,” he said.
“If you got the space, get them a new litter box and they will really, really like it.”
Another great gift idea for a cat is a scratching post, although Morris said similar to prey preferences, owners must pay attention to cats’ scratching tendencies.
“Do they like something that’s flat on the ground? Do they like something that’s vertical, high up on the wall? Are they going for fabric? Are they going for carpet?” Morris asked.
“Make sure that whatever the scratching post is covered with is whatever they’re actually scratching in the first place otherwise they will just ignore it.”
Dogs are easier to shop for.
“For my dog it’s always something to destroy. She’s a terrier so the only time she gets plush toys is at Christmas. She gets a squeaky toy to kill in the morning, and then another one for after-dinner entertainment.”
But Morris’s favourite gift idea can be given to all animals: Homemade treats.
“There’s a lot of recipes online and really great cook books for cooking for them at home,” Morris said.
As much as they make a tasty gift, Morris warns to go easy on treats when it comes to animals. He sees too many cats and dogs that have overindulged, perhaps like their owners, and come into his clinic with upset stomachs a few days after Christmas.
As for presents that should be avoided altogether, Morris said the retractable leash for dogs is at the top of his list.
“I think everyone who works in a vet clinic has seen injuries both to the people operating them because they just whip back way too quickly, or to the pets because they’ll get their leg kind of wrapped around them,” he said.
What to get your pet for a gift is not as important as thinking things through before giving a pet as a gift, according to Morris.
“My number one thing every year is please don’t buy someone a pet for Christmas, unless you know that that is something that they actually want."