Cratejoy, a website that tracks subscription boxes, lists more 2,400 gift, toy and treat boxes for cats. There’s a $40 a month box of holistic treats compiled by a certified clinical pet nutritionist. Or, for $39 a month, a wine and cat treat box. Or, for just $4 a month, catnip-themed toys and treats that come boxed up every month.

How is any cat owner supposed to choose among all of those options?

“First and foremost, make sure what you’re buying is safe and high quality,” says Nancy Welborn, DVM, an assistant professor at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton, Rouge, Louisian. “You wouldn’t buy toys for your kids that weren’t safe, so the same thing should apply to kittens.”

In this, subscription boxes have become an increasingly popular gift alternative, offering everything from razors to coffee to clothing to cosmetics to novelty t-shirts. Pay a fee, and get a box every month or so with new and – hopefully – interesting items. So why not cats?

“The Goody Boxes appeal to a wide range of pet parents,” says Kathy Neumann, the vice president of integrated marketing for online pet retailer Chewy, which offers nine gift boxes. “Many are simply looking for a way to spoil their cat or want to send a gift to a new cat parent. Cats provide companionship and gifting a Goody Box is one of numerous ways cat owners can show their love and appreciation.”

Kathy says box purchasers are looking for interactive and catnip-infused toys that encourage independent play, as well as safe play with others. In addition, buyers are looking “for a meaningful way for furry friends to take part in festivities such as birthdays, the holidays and more.”

In all of this, quality and safety are of the utmost importance:

  • Look for toys that cats can’t chew the pieces off, like a mouse with a tail or ears that come off easily, says Dr. Welborn.
  • Also, she says, make sure fabrics for clothes and toys haven’t been treated with chemicals that will endanger the animal.
  • Treats should also be of high quality and suitable for cats. “Cats are carnivores, but sometimes, people see something that says all natural, and assume it will be good even if it doesn’t have meat products,” says Dr. Welborn.
  • Kathy says owners should supervise their cats when they’re trying a new toy or treat.

Featured Photo: photoschmidt/Getty Images

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