Are your kids begging for a puppy or kitten this Christmas? While a new furry friend can be a source of joy, pets purchased as gifts often suffer neglect during the busy holiday season, and when the novelty wears off, many of them end up in shelters. As you scroll through the massive selection of toys available on Amazon and the personalized items for sale on Jizels, look for a gift that will satisfy your children’s critter cravings but won’t destroy the house or leave you with a giant vet bill after eating the tinsel off the tree. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune, as there are many different ways to pamper your pet on a tight budget.
Here are five toy pets your kids will love almost as much as the real thing.
- Hatchimals Mystery.
If your kids like ripping open their presents to reveal the surprises within, they’ll love a pet that unboxes itself before their eyes. Ever since these electronic birdies went viral on social media two years ago, their popularity has continued to grow. Children rub the speckled egg until the shell cracks and an adorable chick pops out, and that’s only the beginning of the fun.
Now the makers of Hatchimals have added to the excitement with Mystery eggs; kids won’t know which species they’ll be raising until hatch day. Their eyes will light up as a Pandor pokes his pink and yellow head out of his shell or a blue and purple Bunwee spreads her wings for the first time. These four new varieties are softer and fluffier than ever and have wings that expand as they develop from babies to toddlers.
Hatchimals respond to their young caretakers as they feed, burp, tickle, and snuggle them. Each stage of development comes with its own set of music and games. The coolest thing about the Mystery hatchlings is their ability to learn names. When kids say their names while pressing on the tummy and head, their parrot-like pets will repeat it back.
- furReal Ricky, the Trick-Lovin’ Pup.
A living puppy is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. For kids four and older who aren’t yet ready for the responsibility of a real dog, this interactive pup provides endless hours of enjoyment. Ricky, the Trick-Lovin’ Pup is a posable plush toy with Husky markings. Programmed with more than 100 sounds and motions, he’s guaranteed to keep kids entertained.
When handled, he tilts his head, moves his eyes and ears, and shuffles his paws to show his excitement. He responds to verbal commands, performs tricks with his toy bone, gives a high-five with his paw, and even barks a tune. Ricky comes with a box of treats, which he’ll gobble up then poop out when you pet his back. Pet his cheek and he’ll give you a kiss with his fully functioning tongue.
- Little Live Pets Cuddles My Dream Kitten.
If your youngster is more of a cat person, this interactive kitten is a dream come true. Capable of a variety of feline sounds and movements, Cuddles lives up to her name. She’s one of the most affectionate and life-like toys on the market.
Her vocal repertoire ranges from excited meows to affectionate purrs, and her sides move in and out to simulate breathing. She closes her eyes when she’s sleepy, twirls her fluffy tail when she wants to play, and rubs against your hand when you pet her cheek. Give the kittie her bowl, and she’ll make gurgling noises as she laps up the milk. Kids can fill out the adoption certificate to make Cuddles officially theirs.
Neither a dog nor a cat, these pom-pom-like toys resemble Star Trek tribbles but won’t multiply uncontrollably if you leave them in the cargo hold. Patches, Snowball, Boots, and Speckles have brushable fur in various shades of pink and purple. They make cute sounds when kids play with them, but their best feature is that their eyes change color to communicate their needs to their young owners.
Touch them near the mouth to feed them when they start grumbling hungrily. Cuddle them when they signal they’re cold or tired. Dance with them when they’re feeling playful; the faster you move, the faster the little furballs will sing their happy song. Pomsies have tails that twist and lock, so kids can attach them to their backpack or wear them around their wrist.
- Scruff A Luvs.
Although they’re not interactive and battery-powered, Scruff a Luvs are the perfect toy to teach kids about the importance of TLC. Like the neglected animals that often show up in shelters, these scruffy creatures need some rehabilitation but are no less worthy of love. The more they are cared for, the cuter they become.
When they’re first unboxed, the dogs, cats, and rabbits all resemble matted balls of fur. Kids need to bath them in water and baby shampoo, blow dry their fur, and brush them thoroughly to reveal their true selves. Each pet includes a brush, hair bow, collar, tag, and adoption certificate. Proceeds from this toy go to supporting the RSPCA.
What pet toys will your kids be caring for this Christmas? Let us know in the comments.