Holiday cheer: Watch dogs and cats open their gifts

Adored the cat in front of Santa
Cats and dogs pounce onto the holiday spirit at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
By Sarah Thornton

We’ve all been there: You’ve spent time picking out the perfect holiday gift for your beloved feline family member, you just can’t wait to see them enjoy it … and they go for the box instead. It’s practically a law of feline nature. Cats just love boxes. But what if the box were the gift? Or part of it, at least.

Well, it seems Santa Claws was thinking about that this year because when he pulled up at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s Cat World, boxes were the name of the game. As Santa and his helper made their way from building to building, their arms were full of boxes — specially curated by Paws Up Club. And the cats went wild for them.

Many fuzzy felines were happy just to perch upon their newfound thrones of cardboard, taking in their territory from a slightly elevated vantage point. For Adored, the featured adoptable and sponsor cat of Paws Up Club for December, taking the tallest stack was exactly right; she’d earned a bit more time in the spotlight. But oh, when those boxes opened, there was even more fun to be had.

[Why You Should Give Your Cat a Cardboard Box]

Of course, there were ever-exciting cardboard edges, first and foremost. For cats like Bennett, they offered that unmatchable corrugated crunch and the satisfaction of biting right through something with kitty-sharp teeth. Skat Pack, on the other hand, went for a more laid-back chin-rub approach on the corners and closings.

And which self-respecting cat could resist just crawling right in and sitting where they found themselves fitting? They could have kept themselves busy for days with those boxes.

Surprises inside

The things inside the boxes were pretty great, too, once the cats got around to them. With some help from their human friends (thumbs really are handy), the cats tucked in to bags of crunchy treats, only occasionally nosing one another out of the way for seconds, thirds, and sevenths.

While some cats paced patiently for their snacks to be dispensed to them, the bags were helpfully head-sized for those who didn’t want to wait — like Polka and Sage. Honestly, the crinkle of the bags and the catnip-enhanced smell of the treats were enough to make the kitties go wild.

[All About Catnip]

And while the treats and boxes were already big hits, who could forget the toys? Catnip-infused stuffed sushi to bat around, wonderous wand toys to chase, and food-and-ball puzzles for endless entertainment were the icing on the cake. (Or maybe that was the actual cake because, oh yeah, there was cat-safe cake, too.)

In every room Santa Claws visited, there was a whirlwind of activity as cats clambered for their goodies. Loud purrs and expert biscuit-making followed him everywhere he went. And some thankful kitties took time away from their very important boxes to nuzzle up into that white beard for chin scratches.

It seems the cats are in agreement: They give their unboxing day four paws up. It was a great success.

Dogs choose toys from Santa’s sleigh

And lest you think Santa forgot our canine companions in all this feline fervor, worry not! With boxes unloaded and Cat World full of purrs, he drove his sleigh (the reindeer were enjoying a break) over to Dogtown for even more holiday cheer — all caught on camera.

Check out the Facebook Live straight from Santa himself as the Sanctuary’s delightful doggos pick out their own presents.

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