By Phil E Ward
'It's better to give than to receive' is a useful adage to bear in mind if you're a cat lover planning to bestow presents on a feline friend. Your benevolence is likely to be rewarded with a short burst of affection and, if you're extraordinarily fortunate, a freshly killed mouse deposited on the doormat or, the ultimate display of thanks, on your pillow.
So why do people give cats presents? The manner in which you answer the question will depend on whether you belong to the cat loving community or the rational world. The latter will be bemused that you can consider giving gifts to animals that cannot understand either the concept of a present or the significance of the day on which it is given. Cat lovers will argue that their cat is part of their family and often more beloved to them than some of their relatives. In such circumstances, it would be unforgivable to omit one's cat from the annual ritual of gift giving that brings families together at birthdays, Christmas gift and other important festivals. Astute readers may have noticed that I have studiously avoided using the phrase 'cat owner'. Those who are fortunate enough to share their home and their life with a cat will know that 'cat ownership' is a laughable concept. You can own a dog, perhaps even a husband, but you are enslaved to your cat. Indeed, a cat is most akin to a truculent teenager, sleeping all day, eating odd things at odd times and alternating between utter indifference to your presence and nagging endearment, when they want something from you.
Of the main gift giving occasions during the year, cat lovers consider Christmas to be by far the most important. Cats embrace the whole Christmas festival, stripping the Christmas tree of decorations as fast as you can replace them, consuming unattended plates of canapes and instinctively making a beeline for the tiresome relative who doesn't like cats. However, the real bonus of Christmas for cats is the Christmas gift basket stocking. Cats aren't great at opening wrapped presents, tending to shred wrapping paper and contents with a complete lack of discrimination. Give a cat a stocking full of gifts and there's endless fun to be had. A cat will fish in a stocking with its paw, nuzzle it with its nose or pick it up in its jaws as it doggedly (now there's a mixed metaphor) extracts all the presents. And the real advantage of a cat over a teenager is that while neither will thank you for its Christmas gifts, a cat won't tell you that you bought them a 'totally pants' present and then sulk until mid-February.
In the next article in the series, we'll consider ideas for suitable gifts for feline recipients. From fun stocking fillers and edible delicacies to the most indulgent of presents, there are Christmas gift idea for cats to suit all pockets and tastes.
Phil Ward works for Gizoo, a leading online retailer of fun gifts. If you're looking for a Christmas present for your cat, you'll find a wealth of gifts in the pet gadgets section. There are also lots of Christmas gift ideas for humans with which your cat can reciprocate your gift-giving.
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