Celebrating the Other Four-Legged

If you’re a fan of the Miller-Dwan Foundation, you know we’re fans of dogs. There’s Lou Ann, our foundation ambassador and therapy-dog-in-training. There’s our Animal Assisted Therapy Fund, the fund you can donate to help assure the provision of canine therapy throughout the hospital. And then there’s our never-ending desire to talk with you about your dog. (Send us pictures!)

But let’s be clear here. Our love of furry four-leggeds is not limited to dogs. Our feline friends are at the tip-top of our list, too.  In fact, we know from experience, that cats can provide their own kind of unique therapeutic support. And like dogs, they’re welcome here in the hospital. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, to celebrate cats this holiday season, I’m sharing this with you: Some of the best DIY gifts for cat lovers as posted in part by PrettyLitter, Inc.

Posting Up

What better way to show your cat some love this season than giving them a perfect place to indulge their natural urge to scratch? This DIY scratching post a fun craft to create. The one at our house goes from floor to ceiling attached on each end by strong metal brackets. Near the top, our cats find shelving from which they happily survey their surroundings.

For added seasonal fun, try making it with holiday-themed yarn for a fun colorful twist.


Have extra soda boxes laying around after all the holiday festivities? We’ve got a great way for you to recycle those and make a fun and festive feline gift. This super easy DIY soda box cat toy can bring on hours of good, clean fun.

Bonus points if you can find a red or green soda box and add some festive frills. Get the kids involved and make it a fun family activity.

Sweater Weather

Cats can get chilly in the winter months, too, so if they don’t mind clothes, (sweaters make Jimmy John tip over and become immobilized), what better way to warm them up than to wrap them in a homemade holiday sweater and put it under the tree for your fur-baby to unwrap?

Here’s Tino, best friend of Traci Marciniak, the Miller-Dwan Foundation President, in his holiday sweater.

Gingerbread (Wo)Man

When the Gingerbread man says, “You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” your cat is thinking, “Oh yes I can.” This plush gingerbread man toy is a DIY gifting dream – and it holds a surprise second gift for your kitty inside. Fill this toy with catnip before sewing it closed for a little extra excitement for your feline friend.

Soon, Fluffy will be relaxing in catnip bliss after batting her new felt friend around for hours on end.

Treat Yo’self

Humans aren’t the only four-legged friends who get to enjoy homemade treats during the holidays. In fact, your kitchen can be the epicenter of all your DIY gift making this year. For instance, here’s a recipe for delicious homemade cat treats that your kitty will beg for every year. It’s a fun way to get your bake on while also making your cat something to purr about.

A quick note to make sure we’re keeping things fun this holiday season: always check with your vet before giving your cat any new treats – just in case.

Ball Out

Do you have a craft drawer filled with leftover yarn? Don’t worry… you’re in good company, if so. Fear not, expert crafter and cat lover! You can use that leftover yarn to create the perfect, easy-as-apple-pie gift for your cat this season. This catnip-infused yarn ball toy combines all your cat’s favorite things: catnip, yarn, and a perfect faux prey to bat around.

Hang Loose

Looking for something to take up an afternoon on a cozy snow day? We’ve got you covered. This DIY hanging cat perch is a tad bit more involved and is the perfect project for recruiting the whole family to spend some (non-screen) time together this season.

Give in Honor or Memory to the Animal Assisted Therapy Fund

The Miller-Dwan Foundation is committed to assuring that anyone in the hospital, at Amberwing or at Solvay, have the chance to benefit from an animal visit if they choose. Your gift to the Animal Assisted Therapy Fund in honor or memory of your favorite pet is a beautiful way to help keep their memory alive.

Finally, don’t forget the box that your holiday gifts or fancy cat toys came in. This is a favorite at our house. Jimmy John and I play the dumbest game in the world. He lays in the box while I whip him with a towel. Weird, but he loves it.


Did you know that Pet Partners registers nine species for therapy animal work? They include dogs, cats, equines, rabbits, guinea pigs, llamas and alpacas, birds, miniature pigs, and rats. And, airports are increasingly using animals to calm patients as they wait to board their planes. Like LiLou here at the San Francisco International Airport.

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