Monday, December 20, 2010

Meowy Christmas!

The Schechner family doesn't have many holiday traditions. We don't gather around the television to watch Rankin-Bass specials or sing carols around the piano. We don't cook a Christmas goose or go on magical adventures through time with three temporally assorted ghosts. Yet there is one event that, without fail, always comes around every holiday season: we buy presents for our pets.

When I was young, we had a dog and a rotating cast of cats to shop for. Dog gifts were easy to find - a steakbone, some chicken scraps, a ball that makes noise and you throw it and the dog runs across the house to get it and messes up all the carpets and shit. Cats, as is their wont, are often pickier. Maybe they won't eat the chicken. And if you throw a ball, a cat will just turn and look at you, as if to say, "Well, you better go get that."

But then you give them a paper bag or a cardboard tube and they go crazy. I love cats, but I'll admit they're not easy to shop for. Yet an entire industry has sprung up around cat gifts, designed for Cat Enrichment or Cat Activities or Cat Pooping or whatever. And this shit is expensive. Probably not as expensive as medical bills for a dog whose entire genetic makeup is seemingly designed to kill it (see: pugs), but still incredibly pricy.

Like, what the fuck is this? I'm going to pay the MSRP of $79.95 plus shipping for something that looks like it fell out of a copy of Don't Wake Daddy? According to Skymall, this toy helps prevent "separation anxiety, laziness or behavior problems" in your cat. Did this mouse live in Freud's house before beginning its eternal cycle of running along a track? When "small animal sounds [which] signal the cat that the mouse is coming out" play, is the cat supposed to pull up a little chair and some kitty tissues (note to self: develop idea for kitty tissues because that sounds cute as fuck) and talk about how it never knew its father? Fuck that. If I can't go to see a shrink, neither does my cat. We'll be miserable together.

Of course, some gifts are more for function than entertainment. They're the socks of the cat gift world: you hate them when you're young, but when you get older they become the only time you ever get any new socks at all. This fake-plant-cum-litterbox is basically for the mature cat in your life. It's the gift that says to the cat "I am ashamed by your excretions" and to your friends "I not only enjoy tacky plastic plants but like to hide big boxes of shit in my apartment". A set of two costs $249.95, so you can put them in two opposite corners and watch the cat try to decide which one to shit in. I'm betting on the middle of the floor!

But maybe the fake plant isn't going to take up enough space in your place. Or you want a gift that screams to people "I HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY AND NOBODY TO SPEND IT ON!" If that describes you, then may I recommend the Five Tiered Cat Tree ($369.00)? "This sturdy five level cat tower offers plenty of places for multiple cats to perch, nap, and play" and wait on top of until you to walk by so they can jump on your head. And then when you dig its claws out of your face and throw it to the ground, your cat can go see the automatic Freud mouse to discuss how that makes it feel.

I actually think this is pretty cool, but only if you buy the cat a sick motorcycle to take off this ramp.

hahahahahahaha okay that's it I can't take this shit seriously anymore. 91 bucks and change for this thing? Come on, guys, let's get real here. Go to the pet store and buy a three-pack of little mice toys for four dollars. Let the cat play with them and then find a big box for it to hide in. I guarantee it'll be the cat's best Christmas ever.

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