It’s the holiday season, and like many of you, I like to include my animal companions in the gift-giving. But with so many choices available these days for cats and dogs, which ones to pick?
So to help take some of the guesswork out of the decision-making process and enjoy some fun video demonstrations, here are recommendations from my cats: Manitou (recently in spirit), Night Sky, stray Tamerlan, fosters Noctua and Sadiya. They have taste-tested, played with, and approved each one! And many of their choices are also popular with dogs.
Single Source Protein Treats for Cats and Dogs
1) Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Chicken Hearts is the #1 treat my cats do spin turns for (and dogs love them, too). A single heart is a little big for some cats and dogs, so I cut each one in half; this way a package lasts a little longer if you have multiple cats or dogs. If you have a medium to large size dog, you might want to purchase the larger size bag.
2) Raw Paws Freeze-Dried Minnows: When Tamerlan first showed up as a starving stray cat, I offered him the same treats I give my cats. I can vividly recall the first time he discovered a freeze-dried minnow tucked in with his dinner. He gently picked it up and put it off to the side—he thought it was a stick! Once he discovered that it was actually a tasty treat, he wasted no time in scarfing it down, and has been a fan ever since! My other cats love them, too.
Treats They Love that Are Good for Their Teeth
Many dental treats have ingredients like wheat that are not good for your animal companion(s); this one does not. My cats love their Emerald Pet dental treats, and I use them as a form of hunting enrichment, tossing them one at a time to Night Sky and Tamerlan (I make sure they take turns by tossing in different directions). I have been using this product for a little over two years, so can’t speak to long-term benefits, but I can say my cats have not had an increase in tartar that I am aware of. I alternate each day between catnip and salmon flavors at a specific time (noon-ish) and it is something all the cats look forward to.
The same company makes a dental treat version for dogs, but I have not had a canine companion for a while to try it on, so can only recommend it on the basis of the quality of the cat version.
Best Cat Toys
Three of my recommendations are found outside the pet store for cats who love chasing balls.
2) Wiffle balls make great cat toys for indoor or outside play. Tamerlan loves smacking his around the yard.
3) Finally, dogs aren’t the only ones who love tennis balls. The fuzzy surface is friendly to paws with claws (being able to “snag” it with their claws makes it a little more prey-like). I keep one inside for Tamerlan and another outside for the Raccoon Family (Tamerlan steals it in this video).
4) I highly recommend Purrfect Cat Toys Leather Bouncer for interactive play (see foster cats Sadiya and Noctua in action. This cat toy holds up well against cats who like to dive roughly on their prey (like Night Sky and Tamerlan) and does not get tangled or drop feathers. It is perfect for cats who love to play but get very overstimulated by anything resembling a bird (I had to banish those from the house since two of mine would go aggressively berserk).
5) In my household we rely on Yeowww Catnip Cigars partly for the buzz but also for their durability when the cats start biting and kicking the daylights out of it. Also available in a 3-pack of brown Catnip Cigars or a 3-pack of different colors (I think Noctua and Sadiya are wanting the pink one, lol).
Two Foods Most Cats (and Dogs) Want in their Stockings
1) My cats adore Farmina’s canned and dry food; they manufacture possibly the highest quality available (they are based in Europe where pet food regulations are enforced). Their top favorite is N&D Prime Wild Boar and Apple (yes, apple!). Their canned Quail is a hot second choice. You may be able to find single cans to stuff a stocking with at your local higher-end pet boutique (go on their website and input your area code to find the location closest to you). Or you can purchase a case of 24 at Chewy’s. They also offer canned versions for dogs.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.