We all know at least one person who would rather follow "celebrity" pets and cat accounts on Instagram over those of their own friends and relatives. (I'm one of them — ask me for recommendations!) Most likely, their home is already the residence of more than one four-legged companion, so don't go thinking about getting them a kitten (unless you and that person have seriously talked about it first). Also, chances are that most pet folks have already spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of their own hard-earned cash on their sweet pals, so getting cute toys and accessories, while useful, is not the most original idea. Instead, consider the following thoughtful options.
As any responsible pet lover knows, putting a puppy or kitten wearing a big red bow under the Christmas tree is a cute but unrealistic idea. You need to think and plan before bringing a pet into the family! However, you can still honor your bleeding-heart pet pals' love for furry creatures even if their house is already full, by sponsoring a shelter animal's adoption in their name. Not only will this warm your giftee's heart, but increases chances that the pet whose fee is waived will be home for the holidays this year, too. Look for animals who've been waiting for more than a week, older pets or those with special care or living requirements. Present this gift with a handwritten card and a photo of the animal for them to display. Adoption fees, based on age, at the following regional shelters range between $25 and $95 for cats, and between $50 and $200 for dogs: Spokane Humane Society, SCRAPS, Kootenai Humane Society, and SpokAnimal.
WILD BIRD FEEDER AND SEED
If there's someone on your list who's heart is warmed by the sight of any living thing, from the wild denizens of the Northwest to the domesticated pals we share our homes with, consider one of the many bird feeding options found at Wild Bird West. The local store offers many options to choose from — for all types of birds and also squirrels — but this thistle seed feeder will attract the most delightful little songbirds to your recipients' backyard. $16.95 for feeder, $3.78 for seed • Pet Vittles and Wild Bird West • 919 N. Argonne Rd., Spokane Valley • petvittles.com
Regardless of species, breed or size, a gift certificate to get any filthy animal a good scrub-down at a local pet groomer is a useful and appreciated gift for owners of both dogs and cats. While dogs are the popular candidate for professional pampering, cats can benefit from occasional cleanups too. There are lots of local options to be found, and the Yuppy Puppy in North Spokane is one (they only groom dogs, however). While prices are based on an animal's size, a good range to consider is $45 to $60, staff suggest. For cats, the Hooked on a Feline mobile grooming service offers certificates too, and they'll come right to your own driveway. Yuppy Puppy • 9511 N. Newport Hwy. • Hooked on a Feline • facebook.com/hookedonafeline
Animal companions are the light of all pet lovers' lives — happy faces who greet us at the door without fail; loyal friends who comfort without judgment. Not to be a downer, but unfortunately most of us will outlive our pets, and the cost to biologically clone an animal is astronomically high. Enter Cuddle Clones, a custom plush toy company that can turn Rover or Cleo's likeness into the most adorable cuddly twin, down to the last stripe. While the company is beyond busy this time of year and its Christmas ordering deadline has since passed, you can still find gift cards, or wrap up the order confirmation for the clone on its way to your giftee. $179-$249 • cuddleclones.com ♦