What gift should we get for the family who housed our cat?
February 21, 2018 12:22 PM   Subscribe

What gift should we get for a family who really did us a huge favor and housed our cat for weeks?

We had a fire in early January and one of the volunteers at the site graciously offered to take in our cat while we got resettled. We ended up staying in a hotel for nearly a month and then they continued to take care of him for another 2 weeks while we got settled into a new place.

So we clearly owe them big time. They'd say we don't, but they obviously went well above and beyond the call for us during our time of need so we'd like to do something really nice for them as a thank you. We're just not sure what to do. We didn't know them at all before this, so we don't know much about their interests or hobbies.

One additional factor is that they keep kosher. So we had thought about gift cards to nearby restaurants, but they mentioned they only go out to eat at the two restaurants in our town that are kosher (one is a pizza place, another is sushi). They gave us some chocolates they had been given that weren't kosher so another option would be to buy them a kosher gift basket that includes chocolate. But looking online I'm reading that there are different authorities for kosher, and I don't know which they rely on. I guess I could ask the restaurants but I'm not sure how much that will help when online ordering.

Other than that, there were two other ideas that we had that we're not sure about.

When we went to pick up the cat, the woman seemed a little self-conscious about their house and commented about five times about needing to get a new living room rug. So we were considering something like a Wayfair gift card for them, but we don't want it to come across like "yep, you totally need a new rug." We wouldn't have even noticed if she hadn't mentioned it.

Or, their adult son really bonded with our cat and would like to see him again (he offered to cat sit when we go out of town). They had a cat several years ago but she passed away. So I was thinking about asking the mother if we could get him a kitten. He doesn't drive so we could take him to a rescue, then to a pet store and stock him up with everything he'd need. But we kind of think that if they had wanted a cat, they'd have a cat. So not sure if we should ask.

Would love to hear any thoughts on these suggestions and very open to any other ideas as well. Thank you.
posted by cali59 to Human Relations (10 answers total)
They sound like lovely people and I'm really glad you're getting them something. I actually think you already have your answer: get them a gift card to one of the 2 restaurants you know they go to. It eliminates the guesswork for you in terms of where and what they can eat, and you already know they like it. I vote for sushi since it's more of a 'treat' than pizza, but I'm sure either would be greatly appreciated.

I would not get them a gift card towards a rug for exactly the reason you mention. And I don't think it's appropriate to give them a pet - like you said, if they wanted one, they'd get one.
posted by widdershins at 12:26 PM on February 21, 2018

I think a restaurant gift card sounds lovely, or even better (or I would like it better), maybe take the family out to dinner and let the son come by and visit the cat beforehand/afterward?
posted by xingcat at 12:33 PM on February 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't think it would be at all inappropriate to give them a gift card to a major big-box retailer (e.g., Target). Almost anyone can make use of that, and the general nature of the merchandise doesn't suggest that there's anything wrong with their home in particular.

Additionally, I'd give them a handwritten letter of thanks and a small, nice, framed photo of your cat.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:34 PM on February 21, 2018 [7 favorites]

I agree with widdershins - restaurant gift card may be the best bet. Maybe a small (3x5) framed picture of your cat with a thank-you note and invite for the adult son to come visit him when both schedules allow?
posted by onecircleaday at 12:34 PM on February 21, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have pet rats and had a friend come check up on them and feed them while I was out of town for ~10 days. I'm very neurotic about them and totally baby them, and have had issues with other people not doing a great job of looking after them, so I gave him $100 in cash and a bag of good coffee for being so attentive about it. I feel like it's not super unusual to pay cash for general pet-sitting, and although the circumstances were definitely unusual (I'm so sorry!) this might qualify. Some restaurants don't offer gift cards, so if that's the case with those you could maybe include a note that says you're treating them to a night out at X or Y restaurant.

Glad your kitty is okay!
posted by caitcadieux at 12:37 PM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

A gift card to one of their restaurants or Target is great. But definitely give them an actual physical thank you card telling them how much you appreciate what they did for your family, with a promise to pay their kindness forward.
posted by phunniemee at 12:42 PM on February 21, 2018

Fresh, uncut fruit is always kosher, so a box of fancy Harry & David pears or a similar seasonal fruit would make an appropriate gift.
posted by asphericalcow at 12:47 PM on February 21, 2018 [11 favorites]

Why not a Visa giftcard that they can use anywhere they want? That and a note would be a great thank you.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:33 PM on February 21, 2018

These folks did you a mitzvah--a good deed. I'd make your gesture of thanks more on the personal side, so definitely a heartfelt letter, picture, invitations to visit the kitty, etc. Any physical "gift" should be small/token (so, fruit basket, flowers, etc.), rather than any substantive attempt to "pay back" their kindness.
posted by msbubbaclees at 3:42 PM on February 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

First, a nice long thank you letter. Hand-written with your thanks and how their kindness helped you and touched you.

Second, how well do you know them? What do they like? Restaurants? Sporting goods? A gift that gives them something they enjoy would be nice.

Finally, return a favour if they ever need it. They may never take you up on the offer, but it's on the table, and it has worth.

It was very nice of them to help out that way. Good luck to you.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:24 PM on February 21, 2018

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