Holiday Gift Ideas, Part 1: The Cat

1226941109As the hassles of the holidays begin to bear down, it’s important to plan your season wisely. And so this weekend, before the travel and relatives and debilitating amounts of food began, I set out intending to get a start on my holiday shopping.

Most of the friends and family on my list are fairly easy (though, Dad, if you’re reading this, you might want to ask Santa for the new Judge Judy DVD; I can’t do it). But there’s one problem:

What to get the cat who has everything?

Though I’ve invested in a variety of carpet, sisal, and catnip-dusted cardboard cat scratchers, I’ve thus far resisted getting my pal Joanie a good piece of cat furniture. So she uses our couch, chair, and rugs—anything but the aforementioned cat scratchers—as her posts.

Now, our (and by our I mean my boyfriend’s) furniture looks like we have a cat, or maybe eight. But while it’s fine to take a risk on a $40 post that the cat uses twice, it’s much harder to take the leap on a piece of furniture that can run in the hundreds. (Nevermind where to put it so that guests don’t look at you funny.)

So after some extensive research, I’ve narrowed it down to three:

1226941318The Lotus Cat Tower,, $349.99
Here’s what the description says: “Zen-like design blends symmetry, functionality, and minimalism into a beautiful, ‘flowering’ tower.” Seems insane, right? But so much better than those cheesy, fluffy plaza pet store jobs.

Comes in Honey, Birch, Espresso, and Mahogany!

1226941331Cat Condo,, $249.95
In dark fabric and modern steel frame, foam scratching pads are “comfortable enough for a cat nap” yet durable and safe. I’ve got to admit: It looks pretty fun to me.

The Ottoman,, $250
This custom-made hollow ottoman is supposed to be scratched. Made of sisal and available in 5 different colors.

1226941337Rattan cat tree, Ikea, $89.99
By far the most economical, Ikea’s cute tree is shaped like an actual tree, and built for climbing, hiding, napping and scratching. Bonus: It would match the rest of our Ikea furniture. Or what’s left of it, anyway. 1 Ikea Way, Stoughton, 781-344-4532,