Answers to What Does Your Cat Want for the Holidays
Mostly A's: The Extrovert
Cats scoring in this range are outgoing. Read: Extroverted cats are people-cats and cat-cats. They're social creatures and likely to make small talk, and are ready for company and new experiences.
Best Bets: "If the cat is outgoing I would assume she is very active, outgoing and playful and would like active-type interaction with people," explains Wayne Hunthausen, DVM, a veterinary behavior consultant in Westwood, Kan. Interactive toys that encourage kitty to chase, pounce and jump would be the No. 1 choice. Teasers to dangle, and feather and string toys invite outgoing cats to joint play, which can strengthen the cat-human bond. An extrovert's dream-come-true.
Pet Peeve: Sorry, inanimate objects such as a cat pillow or cat book are better for the cerebral cat.
F.Y.I.: Is your cat too outgoing? Don't despair. "Aggressive cats may benefit from play," notes Amy D. Shojai, in her book The Purina Encyclopedia of Cat Care (Ballantine Books), "for it allows them to release their energy in a more productive way."
Mostly B's: The Introvert
These cats enjoy socializing, but they also need opportunities to reflect and to recharge their batteries. They can be a one-person cat or a cat-cat, but don't count on the introvert or shy cat to be social – it's not in her vocabulary.
Best bets: This cat type doesn't need constant interaction with people, so toys that require cat-owner participation are iffy. Object toys, such as an innovative ball (from neon to food inside) are good because an introverted cat can fly solo and be rewarded with fun play or tasty treats, too. Hideaway toys (i.e. cat bags to kitty condos) are ideal for timid or loner cats, adds Hunthausen, because they may feel more comfortable incognito or high up away from people.
Pet Peeve: A noisy, interactive string cat toy is a shy cat's worst nightmare.
F.Y.I.: Object toys aren't just for the introvert. "Cats enjoy pawing, stalking, biting, and 'capturing' objects, and seem to react as though they are dealing with something alive," explains Shojai.
Mostly C's: The Queen/King of the House
We all know the endearing Garfield-type feline, right? "They just expect that people should bow to them," says Barbara Shor, DVM, animal communicator in Conifer, Colorado. The haughty cat of the house flaunts attention-getting behavior (such as whining and nudging). Why? Pesky persistence pays and this royal cat hangs in there until cash out time.
Best bets: Actually, secret wants of a spoiled cat are very individual. But note, the Queen/King loves to be catered to. A high-tech self-cleaning litter box or plush cozy window perch are two essential gifts regal cats should not be without.
Pet Peeve: A bag of unwrapped generic cat food.
F.Y.I.: Spoiled cats can go for simple catnip. But they like to be pampered, too. (At your expense, of course!)
Mostly D's: The Outdoor Athletic Cat
Trees, fields and rooftops are on this rugged, go-cat's favorite hobby list, come rain or shine and even snow – day or night. Hunting wildlife is on this Outdoor Athletic Cat (OAC)'s exploration agenda, too. And caution, kittens are wannabe OACs. That means brace yourself for indoor runners, jumpers, and climbers. P.S. Nothing lasts forever. (see The Indoor Sofa Spud.)
Best bets: If kitty goes outdoors, she probably likes chasing after things, according to Hunthausen. That means a fishing pole-style toy that urges the cat to stalk, pounce and leap are a great physical interactive cat toy choice.
Pet Peeve: A grocery bag is much too confining for this worldly feline.
F.Y.I.: "Abyssinian and Rex breeds are athletic cats who tend to enjoy games of chase," reports Shojai, "Siamese like to fetch."
Mostly E's: The Indoor Sofa Spud
This sedentary cat (often, it's a senior) loves to curl up on the couch or bed. Hanging out by the TV, or another couch potato (cat or human) is part of the good life. Kitty aerobicize is not high priority on this cat's must-do list. After all, couch potato cats don't often respond to environmental stimuli unless, of course, a tremor or twister hits home (or their favorite couch spot).
Best bets: Forget object toys and social or interactive games. A perfect gift for this sedate cat (think Persians) might be an entertaining kitty video. Something that they can play with without moving will suffice, says Shor. Or perhaps an inviting cat throw to cuddle up with is best.
Pet Peeve: Caution: a cat treadmill will upset this inactive puss.
F.Y.I. Low-fat tasty cat treats can help you keep your couch potato (and all cat types) stay fit and trim. Try feeding fresh shrimp or turkey tidbits as your way of saying, "Merry Christmas."
Cal Orey is a freelance writer who lives in the California Sierras and writes for a variety of national publications. Alex, her 15-year-old orange-and-white cat scored in the intro/extrovert range. His favorite gift is real mice.