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DIY Christmas gifts

DIY Christmas gifts for your cat

Christmas can be an unsettling time for cats, especially as they get older. Make the festive season special for your puss with these three safe and easy-to-make presents.

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Cats are homebodies and feel most secure in familiar environments – so the busy, changeable festive season can come as a shock. Unfamiliar smells, twinkly lights, and a constant procession of visitors can unsettle cats – especially older felines that usually spend lots of time asleep.

To keep your cat feeling calm despite all the unusual activity, stick to regular feeding routines, make time for cuddles and play, and put your cat’s favourite toys, bedding and litter tray in a quiet, safe place. Make Christmas extra-special for your puss, too, with these simple stocking fillers perfect for older cats – nothing says ‘I love you’ like a thoughtful handmade gift!

1

Kitty condo

Older cats spend hours resting or napping, and they love a safe, snug hiding place.

  • To make a simple ‘kitty condo’, collect three strong cardboard boxes, ideally the same size (but a maximum of 50cm high, to allow for jumping).
  • Take the first two boxes and seal the seams, top and bottom, with strong packing tape, then cut out access holes in the front that your cat will fit through – circles and arch-shaped holes work well.
  • Join the two boxes together by applying solvent-free glue to the right-hand side of one and the left-hand side of the other – try organic Auro 390 Contact Adhesive or Evo-Stik Gripfill Solvent Free. Firmly press the sides of the boxes together and hold in place until they’re permanently joined.
  • When the glue is dry, make a second storey from the third box – fold in the lid to strengthen the sides. Then, turn it on its side so that the open top of the box is now facing outwards, and glue it on top of the other two and leave to dry.
  • Cut a piece of old carpet to size and glue it in place in the top box, and tuck your cat’s favourite blankets into the lower boxes.

2

Festive felt fishing rod

Even older cats find a dangly toy hard to resist, like this seasonal ‘fishing rod’.

  • Create a paper template in a festive shape around 6-8cm wide – try a Christmas tree, a snowflake or a red robin – with a 1cm square tab at one end.
  • Draw around the template onto a thick piece of felt and cut out the shape. Then cut a length of unbleached cotton twine, around 40-50cm in length.
  • Make your rod from a wooden dowel or a garden cane around 30cm long, and apply a band of solvent-free glue around one end.
  • Wrap the twine around the end of the rod several times, pressing it firmly onto the glue, and leave to dry.
  • Finally, tie the other end of the twine around the little tab on your felt shape, knotting it tightly. Not only will you be spending time with your precious puss, but you’ll also be encouraging her to stretch and move – especially important as cats age and get a bit stiffer.

3

Cardboard treat holder

Recycle an empty toilet paper roll and make your cat very happy at the same time!

  • Mark four lines around the cardboard roll, about 1.5cm apart. Use a craft knife to cut along the lines and make four cardboard rings.
  • Push one ring into another ring, to create a cross shape, then insert the third and fourth rings at an angle – you should now have a looped cardboard ball.
  • Draw on some pretty festive patterns with a non-toxic pen – like stars or Christmas bells – and tuck a couple of tasty cat treats inside. As it’s light and easy on joints and paws, older cats can have lots of fun patting it along the floor until the treat comes out – the perfect festive reward!

Safety first – always supervise your puss when she is playing with any toy, in case parts come loose or break.

For more information about looking after your cat at Christmas, watch our festive video featuring moggy Tinkerbell, as she navigates the hazards of the household at Christmas.