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We are used to buying Christmas gifts for the humans we love, but it can also be a lot of fun to present the perfect gift to the beloved animals in our lives. At Slate, we are especially grateful to our furry friends who have kept us company and cheered us up throughout this pandemic. Here we recommend our pets’ most beloved toys and accessories so that your cats and dogs can also enjoy the joy these items bring.
Those flat plush animals without padding-simply, animals?-are the only soft toys my dog ââcan enjoy without doing absolute damage. They are also very cute and therefore perfect even for dogs who are not enthusiastic about destroying things. The fact that they are long makes them good for tug of war, in addition to low-key scavenging games. They come in a pack of three and aren’t that expensive, so this might be the year you give one as a little gift to every dog ââyou know and love. –Shannon Palus, Editor-in-Chief
the Furminator demue tool is a favorite in my family of labs and golden retrievers. My dogs’ tails wag even when they see it coming, knowing it’s time to brush their teeth outside. It’s great for weekly use to reduce dog hair around the house, and I highly recommend a full body session before bath time. âMolly Gallagher, Head of Programmatic Advertising Operations
My dog ââmix, Abigail, can destroy most squeaky plush toys in minutes (if not seconds), theatrically disembowel them, and throw their stuffing around the living room. But she’s also not a fan of the harder toys created for her âsuper chewersâ ââcolleagues, so I’m constantly on the lookout for toys that will outlast a peanut butter stuffing. Kong. A recent gem is the Rogz Scrubz dog toy. This is a thick rope toy that makes a crackling sound that my puppy loves. It has a grip for tug of war games and it withstood months of my puppy’s tough chewing.
Also, if someone you love very much has a quarantine puppy and you want to give this bundle of joy a holiday gift, may I suggest the really upset Kong Wubba Friend? A cross between an octopus and an assortment of woodland creatures (depending on which version you get), this weird hybrid looks pretty innocent, except it contains the loudest, most piercing squeaker known to mankind. Of course my dog, destroyer of all fluff, does not dare to harm this one. And her favorite time to play with it? Zoom calls, usually those with my boss. It is your moral obligation to introduce this charming little devil to all the quarantine puppies in your life. –Megan Wiegand, Senior Editor
There is something about the wacky charm of a dog wearing a bandana that appeals to me, but earlier this year when I tried to dress my newly adopted Jindo mix into one, it just didn’t suit me. not. She’s smaller, at around 20 pounds, and all of my bandanas were huge. Folding them just made them bulky and ill-fitting. Not cute! Determined in my quest to have a dog wearing a bandana, I ended up ordering specially designed dog bandanas, a four pack of Remy + Roo. They are specially designed, no folding required and are shaped to make them easy to tie. The designs are cute without being cloying, and they’re durable and easy to clean. I love them and my dog ââtolerates them; it’s win-win! –Benjamin Frisch, Decoder Ring producer
When I bought my daughter’s rescue puppy, Sergeant Pepper, a BarkBox subscription for Christmas last year I paid extra for the Super Chew box, because Sergeant P – a delicious, adorable, but utterly manic pit – had been shown to be able to destroy AND EAT whatever was given to him in less than a minute. The subscription gave him and his people so much pleasure that I couldn’t resist renewing it as a birthday present in June … then buying a BarkBox subscription for my new rescue puppy (from quarantine), Ella. She is 6 months old now, and the arrival of the box every month can be the highlight of his month. The regular non-Super Chewer box includes themed plush toys and treat bags are also included. I admit it’s a ridiculous indulgence, but at this point I’d rather spend the money on the puppy, which keeps me company and keeps me sane, rather than on, say, clothes or shoes, because I’m not going anywhere anyway. Except for walking the dog. –Michelle Herman, Health and Nutrition Columnist
I recently had a new cat, and it turns out she’s a bit of a recluse. She spends the vast majority of her time in the tub or right next to the tub in the air purifier box that the Humane Society sent her home with. Given his penchant for cardboard boxes, I bought him this cardboard scraper, which is perfect for sitting on, collapsing (pictured) and scratching. It seems to be a success. The palm leaf exterior is a nice added bonus.
I also bought an extremely ridiculous cat scratching post that looks like a big cartoon cactus. I have no illusions that my cat will one day fall in love with her item – finicky felines rarely seem attracted to the items you spend the most money on – but I have. It brightens up my space and makes me laugh every time I see that wacky green furball in the corner of my living room. Maybe, maybe, maybe my cat will appreciate it someday too. –Abby McIntyre, Associate Editor
Auggie is incredibly curious and constantly plays with my plants, climbs my bookcase, and beats anything and everything on my counters. Lucky for him, he also happens to be very sweet and incredibly cute. I’m always on the lookout for new products to entertain him in a healthy way rather than a destructive one. Like most cats, he loves being high up, but I had a hard time finding a cat tree big enough to stimulate him, but small enough for my Brooklyn apartment. Enter our grace (of space): the perch of the cat’s window. Auggie loved it right away and now spends hours birding and watching for squirrels in our neighborhood. I hesitated when I saw it held on thanks to “industrial grade” suction cups, but they remained secure, despite Auggie gnawing at the wires and even jumping off the platform all the way to. top of my bedroom door. (If you give this boy an inch, he goes a mile.)
Another of our favorites is the Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy. Auggie totally goes hi for his wand toy, but was looking for a more convenient option to keep it busy when I’m on Zoom calls (or just feeling lazy). It took her a few days to get used to her new toy, but it quickly became one of her favorite ways to be entertained. –Lily Butler, Creative Strategy Director, Slate Studios
Last year, like many people, I fell in love with Cinder-Block, the obese cat who just came from would not Do fitness. Following Cinder-Block’s Instagram account, I saw her keepers wave a waving toy hanging in front of her to make her play. I knew my cats, Goose and Callie, would love it too, so I found it, bought it and quickly realized I was right. The Pet Fit for Life worm, like the popular cat toy Da bird, appears to move in a way that actually resembles cat prey. Goose, despite her mature age of 12, screams when she wants to play and quickly loses her mind when she sees him. Did I fall for marketing by buying a toy that I saw a cat influencer play with? Absoutely. And I have no regrets. âTorie Bosch, Editor-in-Chief of Future Tense
There are two essential tests for a cat toy: first, it must attract the cat’s attention for at least the time it takes to dispose of the packaging it came in, and second, the animal must have looking ridiculous going gaga for him. Cats are so damn royal that a toy that turns them into soft, bunny-kicking goofballs is a nice revenge for us clumsy humans. All phallic shaped catnip filled toys from Yeowww! meet these criteria. Whether banana, cigar, sardines, barley sugar, or Rainbow, cats lose their temper when they breathe, and love never seems to fade. That’s the right thing and it’s just plain fun to see a normally majestic moggy fall in love with a big yellow fruit. âJune Thomas, Senior Director Producer, Slate Podcasts