On Pet Gifts Given to Pet Owners
November 17, 2005 9:57 AM   Subscribe

A petty question for pet owners (or animal companion parents, if you prefer) on pet presents: what are your feelings on pet accessory gifts (e.g. cat toys, dog shirts, hamster wheels) given to you for birthdays and holidays? That is, on special occasions, do you find it uncouth to be given gifts which are actually for your pets? (e.g. Dear Joe: Happy birthday! Here is a catnip mouse for Furry Felicia. Have fun! Love, Jane.)
posted by brownpau to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
Not at all; I'd be delighted. And if you're buying, she likes really tough rawhides.

I don't know exactly what the intent of your question is, but here's my thought - if you're the prospective recipient of such gifts, you'll have plenty of people in this thread confirming your opinion, whether you think it's tacky or charming. If you're the prospective gift-giver, whether or not it's a good idea depends on the specific person 'cause some will appreciate and some won't.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:05 AM on November 17, 2005

I think it's real sweet!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on November 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

Th' wife and I would love it, but we are, in point of fact, totally obsessed with our cats.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2005

Nope! I think it is cute. Even cuter is making the gift look like it was bought on behalf of the pet. I always buy a little cat toy for boyfriend as birthday and xmas presents from the cat.

Oh god. I'm one of those pet owners.
posted by necessitas at 10:14 AM on November 17, 2005

If I were the sort of person who was offended by animals getting holiday presents, I probably wouldn't have pets in the first place. I always appreciate the sentiment when people give my dogs presents!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:15 AM on November 17, 2005

I love my dog like he's my kid. I love that many of our friends love our dog too, 'cause he's part of our little family. My boyfriend and I would be touched if a friend of ours gave us a gift for our pooch.
posted by pazazygeek at 10:22 AM on November 17, 2005

Giving my pets presents: Sweet.

On an occasion when you'd get me a present, getting something for my pet instead: Odd. I'd be polite but I'd leave scratching my head, wondering "ok, but what about me?".

Ditto if you replace "my pet" with "my child" or "my spouse".
posted by mendel at 10:24 AM on November 17, 2005

I guess it depends. I've found that, after a certain age, gifts such as you describe can actually be more touching than yet another CD or DVD for the person.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:48 AM on November 17, 2005

I'd think it was very sweet!

However, when people assume that because I have a cat that I'd like t-shirts, mugs, and whatnot with cats on them... well, that's just wrong.
posted by jdl at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2005

I'd say, "What?! Do you think you're being cute giving me this cheap ass gift? Where's my real present??"

Well, OK, I wouldn't say that. But it'd be kind of weird. It'd be cute if it was supposed to be a present from my cat (like when I was in hospital my dad sent me a card "signed" by my cat telling me to come home soon, that was quite sweet).
posted by speranza at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2005

Pet accoutrements are actually on my Christmas list this year, so I don't have a problem with it, obviously.

What I do hate is the assumption that because you really love your cats (in my case) you want every cat tchotchke out there. For my birthday this year I received a rhinestone-encrusted kitty clock (any takers?) and cat earrings. In the past I've been given cat pins, cat shirts, cat prints, cat Beanie Babies. Please people. Just get me the dirty bathrobe and psychotropic medication and be done with it.
posted by Sully6 at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2005

I love it - it makes me feel that the person really values my pet, and appreciates what my pet has given me in terms of love and an increased quality of life.

Also: Squish is a simple cat. He loves his feathers on a stick. Thank you in advance.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2005

Something useful for the pet is great: collars, toys, bones, etc. Something cute for the pet is iffy, but as long as you think the person would like it, sure.

Something for the person, covered in pictures of other peoples pets (coffee mugs, clothing, magnets, etc) is a terrible idea. However, if you wanted to do this, see if you could get the person to send you a couple pics of their pet without tipping them off, and then put that photo on a mug or whatever. I send people pics of my puppy all the time, so I wouldn't be surprised if somebody asked me for a couple (she's adorable). I would love it if somebody put her mug on a mug and gave it to me as a gift!
posted by MrZero at 11:26 AM on November 17, 2005

jdl is my hero. Every year for Christmas and my birthday I get loads of crap with cats on them. Usually from the more distant relatives. So, so annoying. Given a choice, I'd rather get cat treats than a mug with a cat photo on it.

Having said that... In my family, everyone's a pet owner. We always buy little extras for the pets, but the main gift is for the person, not the pet. So my mom might get a warm fuzzy bathrobe, and tacked onto the present would be a 5 dollar gift certificate to PetSmart. Or in an extra box would be a special type of homemade dog treat.

If you only plan to buy one gift, then get the gift for the owner. Or if you've set on a certain dollar amount, split it up 90/10 or 80/20. Pet owners, in my experience, like it when others recognize the special place their pets have in their lives, but still like to have an identity outside of being a pet owner.
posted by xyzzy at 11:48 AM on November 17, 2005

I love it when someone gives me presents for Barney. One of my friends always gives Barney a toy or a box of treats for the holidays from her dog. : )

Yes, I am one of those dog people. ; )
posted by SisterHavana at 12:28 PM on November 17, 2005

To summarize my feelings on the various permutations thusfar expressed:

Buying gifts for my cat: cute.

Buying gifts for my cat instead of me: not so cute, but since I don't really expect gifts from anybody at my age, whatever.

Buying gifts and pretending they're from my cat: sickeningly sweet and annoying.

Buying gifts with cats on them because I happen to have a cat: full justification for homicide.

I'm not sure if these data points are helpful.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:44 PM on November 17, 2005

It'd be cute if it was supposed to be a present from my cat

We all know what sort of "presents" cats bring for their families and they are not cute (maybe the little mouse or bird was cute when it was alive and not dismembered and partially eaten on the new rug).

I'll say stick to presents from the humans. You want to buy a toy for the cat's birthday, hey, that is between you and your therapist.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:58 PM on November 17, 2005

Pollomacho writes: We all know what sort of "presents" cats bring for their families and they are not cute

Gotta link to my favorite New Yorker cat cartoon.
posted by Sully6 at 1:06 PM on November 17, 2005

I just want to add to the "Something for my pet = Good, Sweatshirt eblazoned with a cartoon Dog/Cat/Rabbit/Hamster = Bad"

Also, i think it is better received if it's a small token *in addition* to a personal gift to the recipient rather than *instead of*.
posted by like_neon at 1:37 PM on November 17, 2005

I'd rather get stuff for me on my day, but something for the wee beasties would be cool. Unless, of course, it's crap with animals on it (cups, sweatshirts, etc.). Please, don't bother, it'll only be re-gifted.

Why, yes, I am evil. Why do you ask?
posted by deborah at 9:08 PM on November 17, 2005

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