Whether you are playing Secret Santa with your cat-loving friends or simply looking for a way to treat your own feline for the holidays, the gift of food is a practical and delicious one in today’s economy. But how can you make a gift of kitty chow look more festive than a can of cat food?
Jill Comeau, director of product development at Gourmet Gift Baskets online, has been designing food-filled gift baskets for frisky felines ever since the site started up seven years ago. Comeau offers advice on how to design the perfect collection of goodies for the cat in your life.
Step 1: Select a base.
While your cat will certainly enjoy the contents of its gift basket, it is not only what’s inside that is appealing. Get creative and think of the word “basket” in a flexible way. A shoe box, a cat bed or even a traditional basket lined with a blanket will delight your pet long after the treats inside have been devoured.
Step 2: Choose food carefully.
When putting together cat delicacies for your own pet or someone else’s, make sure to take the animal’s age and special health concerns into consideration. A gift for a cat older than 7 should primarily include cat food for seniors. A basket for an overweight cat should be lighter on treats and higher on weight-control meals.
Step 3: Think visually.
For visual appeal, select food packages of different sizes and colors. Rather than buying one bag of dry food and placing it in your basket, try purchasing different flavors of kibble and different sizes of easily sealable gift bags. Divvy up the dry food into your special packages, labeling each with the appropriate flavor, such as “tuna” and “chicken.” Canned food is another way to add easy visual appeal to your gift, and a variety of flavors will keep the feline recipient in the best of holiday spirits.
Step 4: Shop for simple toys.
Look for different shapes and sizes for toys. And include a variety of things cats like to play with. This may include traditional toys — like mice that scurry across the floor and catnip-scented balls — and non-toy items, such as cat-safe bows and ribbons that felines love to bat around. Toys like Go Cat Go can be later filled with the dry food in the gift basket to provide hours of fun for your food-motivated furry friend.
Step 5: Put it all together.
Comeau offers these instructions for gift basket assembly:
- Always arrange products by size — small in front, large in back.
- When using a product that comes in a box, the box needs to go on the periphery to facilitate wrapping.
- In general, the sturdiest, most stable items should be placed along the outer edge of the container.
- Use shredded paper or tissue paper as filler.
- Double-sided tape or glue dots can hold items together.
- Wrap with shrink-wrap cellophane, available at most craft stores.
- Decorate with non-fray bows or sturdy silk flowers to give kitty something extra for playtime.
Beyond the Basket
Of course, you can consider alternative gifts for the cats in your life. Stockings, for one, provide lots of room for food and other goodies, and they are easier to arrange than baskets. Traditional gift wrapping works as well once items like canned and packaged food are placed in a simple box.
Comeau’s own cats’ reactions to her presents serve as proof that your felines are sure to be pleased. “My cats go crazy when I give them gifts,” she says.