gifts they might actually want

The 68 Best Gifts for Cat Lovers, According to Cat People

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

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While it might be second nature to tag your cat-loving friends in a cat meme every now and then, it can be baffling to buy an actual gift for a cat parent now that there are more cat-themed items available than ever before. With help from experts — including animal-behavior specialists and pet-store owners — we’ve sifted through the vast world of cat products to find the very best gifts for cat lovers, including several favorites we’ve found in our own years as cat parents.

Gifts under $10

For cats that are easily stressed, Chewy resident pet expert Samantha Schwab recommends this soothing toy with a touch-activated purring mechanism. It’s cozy to cuddle up with at home or in any other situation that could make your cat anxious, like when guests come to visit or while traveling.

Alyssa Bourget, owner of catfluencers Wilbur, Tuffy, and Solomon, says this ceramic mug from Target is her go-to for her morning coffee. Her favorite part is the hidden “Cat Person” label emblazoned on the inside rim.

These “cheap and fun” Kitan Club surprise cat caps come recommended by art curator Celine Wong Katzman, who has a melon-themed one for her cat, Melon. (The brand also makes teddy bear, bunny and candy hats.)

We’ve had cats with very different interests and personalities, and all of them have gnawed on this banana until it’s covered in drool. It’s the perfect shape for cats to sniff, snuggle, and kick, says Nora Wood, adoption-event coordinator for Anjellicle Cats, a New York–based cat rescue and nonprofit.

“Hana,” the anonymous owner of two adorable Instagram-beloved kitties, Dewey and Rudy, has had to repair this kicker toy a few times and put more catnip inside because her cats went so wild for it; she suspects that the toy’s genuine rabbit fur activates their hunting instincts.

It’s a well-known fact that cats will ignore fancy, expensive toys in favor of the most simplistic, inexpensive thing you have lying around — a cardboard box, a hair tie. The Cat Dancer has been around for a few decades, is made from just two components (steel wire and rolled cardboard), and costs less than $5, which, of course, means cats go wild over it.

A puzzle feeder that hides treats or dry food pieces can offer entertainment and stimulation for food-motivated felines. Since this one is simple to use, it’s a good entry-level feeder toy for cats who are new to the concept.

Photo: Retailer

Written by jazz legend Charles Mingus, this pamphlet contains step-by-step instructions for the process he used to toilet train his cat Nightlife. Vulture says it “would make a perfect gift for a jazz or cat lover” (or just anyone with a sense of humor).

Communications manager Carolyn Rehm, who runs an Instagram account for her cats Broccoli and Dilly, loves this painting by artist Rebecca Salinas, which features several Insta-famous kitties and is available as a print as well as a puzzle. Rehm hopes Broccoli will be featured in Salinas’s next painting.

A litter scoop may not be the most delightful gift, but this one’s hefty size and thoughtful crevice design has earned Hana’s unwavering devotion — she’s deemed it “the king of scoops” and confesses to feeling a bit “unhinged” because she can’t stop evangelizing it to all her friends. “It’s just one of those small things that doesn’t cost too much, doesn’t take up too much space, but really makes a difference,” she says.

Even the most reserved cats get silly under the influence, and this endearing collection from cat photographer Andrew Marttila captures them in all their blissed-out stoner glory. Kitten rescuer and animal advocate Hannah Shaw loves paging through the “epic, beautiful, and downright hysterical photos of cats enjoying the green stuff.”

Bourget also owns this six-pack of low-cut patterned socks featuring cats frolicking, stretching, and snoozing, and has found them very convenient and comfortable to wear.

Gifts under $25

While all cats appreciate a toasty napping spot, warmth is especially important for senior cats to soothe their achy joints and help them maintain body temperature in the winter. Heather Henley, a certified feline-training and behavior specialist at Best Friends Animal Society, suggests a mat, like this one, with an insulated layer that keeps cats warm using their own body heat (instead of electricity) so you don’t have to worry about letting your cat use it unattended.

These fluffy, highly giftable slippers are embroidered with a curious cat and a justifiably nervous goldfish. Bourget loves them and says they’re very warm and cozy.

Colorado Kitty Pot’s cute “munchie”-shaped toys (there are also taco and cookie versions) are adorably Instagrammable when paired with a loopy-looking cat indulging in some ’nip. Tazz Latifi, owner of pet-supply store and grooming parlor Petropolist in lower Manhattan, has noticed that even cats that aren’t usually interested in catnip go crazy for them.

Photo: retailer

If your love of cats also intersects with your anti-racist sentiments, Food & Wine senior writer Margaret Eby — cat parent to Delta and Grover — recommends grabbing one of these eye-catching shirts. Best of all, for every shirt sold, 15 percent is donated to the Bail Project and its fight to end mass incarceration.

One of the best ways to get cats up on their toes — and in the air — are wand toys and teasers, which also make great gifts for owners dealing with misbehaving cats. This air-prey wand from cat behaviorist and My Cat From Hell host Jackson Galaxy’s collection is a top pick for cats who enjoy leaping and have energy to spare.

KitNipBox
From $23
From $23

KitNipBox is a subscription box for cats that ships a monthly assortment of toys, treats, and other goodies.

Created by a veterinarian, these mouse-shaped toys can be filled with food or treats and hidden around your house for cats to “hunt.”

Photo: Adelson, Karen

For anyone interested in kitten care (or just adorable pictures of tiny kittens), Stray Cat Social Club founder Scott Bleicher recommends Shaw’s book, in which she outlines how to care for newborn cats and shares her personal rescue stories.

Cat owners working from home know the challenge of keeping their pet from walking on their keyboard and disrupting Zoom calls. This treat maze, which is basically a cardboard box divided into three sections with random holes, is a great way to distract any food-motivated cat.

For cat owners who love fantasy roleplaying games such as D&D or Magic the Gathering, try this set of luxurious teal polyhedral dice hand-engraved with gold cat symbols.

Owners of multiple cats are likely in need of a fairly heavy-duty odor eliminator, and this Rocco & Roxie deodorizer is “surprisingly powerful” and “has done wonders at neutralizing the smell of stinky litter in our apartment,” says Strategist contributor Julia Gomez Kramer. It’s another one of those “unsexy but solves a real problem” gifts that’s sure to be appreciated by anyone who gets paranoid about inviting guests over and having gone nose-blind to litter-box smells.

Another good gift for anyone who’s worried about litter-box smells, this deodorizing candle was designed by veterinarians and is made of a blend of natural enzymes that actually destroy airborne animal odors at a molecular level, instead of just masking them.

This simple feather toy is endorsed by multiple experts and offers hours of interactive playtime for both a cat and its owner. (For cats who prefer to pounce rather than leap, Go Cat also makes a version with a mouse on the end.)

First-time cat owners will especially appreciate this deck of cards that decodes the language of cat behavior, translating the hidden meanings behind twitching tails and flattened ears.

If you know your giftee’s cat loves venturing into the great outdoors, a harness-and-leash set will allow them to explore safely and securely. Dr. Darcia Kostiuk, a senior veterinarian with Champion Petfoods, gives a thumbs up to this Good2Go set, which features generous padding for “maximum comfort” and additional mesh panels for breathability.

However, if you’re unsure whether your friend’s cat is the intrepid type but think they’ll find the idea intriguing, Shaw recommends a copy of Adventure Cats for “inspiration and instructions.”

Simple and unobtrusive as a Glade plug-in, this little gift could be a godsend for cat owners dealing with frequent hissing, destructive scratching, or litter-box issues. This diffuser emits an odorless vapor that mimics a cat’s natural soothing pheromones, sending signals to her brain that relieve stress.

Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio says her two cats go wild for these salmon treats from Made by Nacho, a brand founded by Food Network star Bobby Flay. “They actually feel special as far as cat treats go because they are clearly chunks of dried fish rather than a piece of kibble,” Trolio says.

This set of six adorable ceramic cat dishes are just the right size to hold a serving of spices, a dollop of ketchup, or a handful of Goldfish crackers.

This tongue-in-cheek book of love poems written from a cat’s perspective is filled with odes to breakfast, scratched rugs, and cardboard boxes.

Gifts under $50

The Ripple Rug’s customizability allows your cat to engage in all their instinctive behaviors — hiding, stalking, pouncing — without destroying your actual rug or furniture. It comes with two layers, “a base layer and then a top one that has holes and Velcro, and you can adjust it to build your own little forts or tunnels that the cats go in,” says Rehm.

$36

Made from a cozy felted material, this donut-shaped cat cave satisfies a cat’s natural desire to burrow and hide. The zipper separation ensures an easy disassembly when it’s time for a clean.

These stylish kicker toys made from leftover upholstery fabric are filled with the grounds of a plant called silvervine that’s similar to catnip. “If your cat doesn’t really like regular catnip, silvervine is a great alternative,” advises content creator Billie-Rae Grant, adding that her cat Goblin “goes wild for it.”

When Grant takes Goblin for walks, she’ll have Goblin wear a collar with this personalized pet tag that’s hand-stamped and made from solid brass. You also have the option to add your phone number to the back for extra peace of mind.

Polydactyl Cats’ unique cat toys come in shapes like popcorn and sushi, guaranteed to appeal to owners and cats alike. According to Bleicher, they’re “equal parts irony, pop-culture references, and a dash of fast-food fun.”

Yappy lets you personalize a variety of gifts with a pet’s likeness, including this Where’s Waldo?–style book that inserts an illustrated Fido or Mittens into intricate scenes of amusement parks, opera performances, and history museums. Trolio bought the dog version for her nieces and it was a big hit: “It’s definitely cute for families with both kids and pets,” she says.

“Cats love this shit,” Wong Katzman declares of these Churu treats. She calls them “cat Go-Gurt” because they come in small squeeze tubes filled with paste in multiple enticing flavors, such as tuna, chicken, or beef (and can even be frozen to make cat Popsicles on a hot day).

This actually good-looking cat-door system allows for a balance between independence for the cat and privacy for their owner. The mini molded door is a whimsical addition to any décor and comes with a cutout template that makes it easy to install.

Artistically inclined cat owners might enjoy creating their own custom pet portrait. This two-hour virtual experience helmed by art instructor Addie Stunkard will demonstrate basic watercolor techniques and walk them through the process of creating their own painting of their furry friend.

East Village bookstore Pillow-Cat Books follows a strict rule: Every book stocked by the shop must have an animal in it. As a cat lover, Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla was delighted to discover a cornucopia of cat-themed books such as the cult classic Dancing With Cats, as well as nostalgic favorites like Garfield in Training.

For cats that are puzzle-feeder pros, this tree-style toy poses a bit more of a challenge. Kitties have to move their treats down each level by sticking their paws in the side holes before the food lands in the bottom dish.

Trolio has been using elevated feeders to make eating easier for her senior cats and says these ones from Purrre are among the best-looking ones she’s found. Depending on your cat’s preferences and the type of food they eat, you can choose between a bowl or a plate design, and the feeders come in several stylish colors, like coral pink and moss green.

$27

Having your cat sit on your computer and demand attention while you’re trying to work is a near-universal cat-owner experience. This mini-laptop, complete with a scratching-pad keyboard, lets them attend their own Zoom meetings instead of crashing yours.

Photographer Walter Chandoha devoted most of his decades-long career to capturing images of cats, in all of their grandeur (and silliness). This volume, a collection of more than 60 years of his work, would definitely earn a prized place in any cat lover’s home.

If they know their cat is a queen (and treat her like one), it’d be fitting to gift a portrait of her in full regalia. Sure, hanging this in their living room could suggest they’re a crazy cat person — but in a good way, we’d like to think.

Pusheen Box
From $44
From $44

Strategist deals editor Sam Daly was influenced by TikTok to sign up for this Pusheen box — a quarterly subscription filled with apparel, home decor, and accessories emblazoned with the adorable cartoon cat.

Scratching posts should be at least 24 inches high to make it an attractive alternative to cat owners’ furniture. At 32 inches high, the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post is a top choice among experts because “cats can’t knock it over — very important! — and the cat can stretch out her back while scratching,” says Wood.

Swiftie cat owners will be delighted to receive this stylish bubble backpack, which avowed cat lady Taylor Swift uses to tote her cats around. Over at Vulture, former senior Snapchat editor Devon Sherer tested one out herself with her cat, the Captain, and reports that even when not in use, “the cats enjoy getting into it and glaring at me through the bubble window.”

Writer Duncan Goodwin, who is married to former Strategist senior editor Tony Rotunno, says their hairless sphynx Pebbles pulls off cat clothing like a champ. This tie-dye tee “fits her snugly without being restrictive” and keeps her warm in the colder months.

Strategist contributor Elizabeth Gumport says the FURminator significantly reduced “the level of ambient cat hair” in her apartment and helped her cut down on lint-roller expenditures.

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

A first-time cat owner, or one moving into a new place, may appreciate a perch, lounger, or tree that will make their home more welcoming to cats. Shaw buys a lot of her cat furniture from Hauspanther, like this wall-mounted perch that doubles as a scratching post and has room for toy storage.

Gifts under $100

$119

Using Basepaws’ cat DNA test kit, Grant was able to find out Goblin’s breed: part Ragdoll, part Norwegian mountain cat. “That’s something I think every pet owner would love, having a little bit of insight into their cat’s history,” Grant says.

This scratcher lounge is a great and stylish gift with a cool-looking infinity shape they can flip over when their cat annihilates one side.

A window perch allows kitties to lounge and birdwatch without taking up nearly as much real estate as a cat tree. Rehm bought one each for Broccoli and Dilly and reports that the two will hang out or nap on the hammocks at all hours of the day.

Made from recycled cardboard, this adorable cat-shaped bed also doubles as a scratcher — but it’s more durable than you might expect. Samantha Rober, owner of catfluencers Pesto and Tessie, has owned one for nearly two years, and though the brand offers replacement parts for when it gets too worn down, she hasn’t needed any yet.

Rober and her husband both own this hoodie proclaiming their status as cat parents. She was pleasantly surprised by the quality, reporting that it feels comfortable, fits well, and has a classic design — she even bought a matching mini-hoodie for Pesto.