Holiday gift suggestions

December 9, 2010 • 7:20 am

Christmas will be here before you know it, and I’ve thoughtfully compiled a short list of gifts that might appeal (for receiving or giving) to readers of this website.

Owl pellets from Mountain Home Biological.  These are cheap: only $2.65 for an extra large pellet, which can contain up to 6 prey!  Hours of fun for the young naturalist.  Optional dissection kit just $2.25.


Desktop cat seat from Brookstone ($29.95).

Our desktop Cat Seat gives cats a comfortable place to rest on the desk that’s out of the way, yet still only an arm’s length from a scratch on the belly. Designed for cat owners who work in a home or small office, this indispensable item maintains that all-important distance between paws and keyboard, while giving your cat a cozy nesting box that’s still within easy reach of affection. The soft cushion and high walls will appeal to your cats, while you’ll appreciate the solid pine construction in a choice of attractive finishes. It can be clamped firmly to either side of the desk, or simply placed flat on top–felt pads protect your furniture. Can support a 20-lb. cat, and even small dogs. Cushion cover is machine-washable. 16 1/4″ w x 11″ d x 5″ h.


Photographic prints of Lorenzo, “the best dressed cat in America” ($75.00). Lorenzo is a large Maine coon cat who models menswear (tops only).  Whether your tastes to aloha shirts or more soigné outfits with ascots,  Lorenzo has an outfit for you.

20 thoughts on “Holiday gift suggestions

  1. There’s also a great book called Owl Puke which comes with a few pellets, and which explains exactly what you find inside them and why. Highly recommended for anyone who was or is a child.

      1. Sorry, not sure you could open that if you weren’t in my college. Here’s the citation:
        Hager SB and Cosentino BJ (2006)An Identification Key to Rodent Prey in Owl Pellets from the Northwestern & Southeastern United States: Incisor Size To Distinguish Among Genera. The American Biology Teacher. 68(9):135-144.

  2. If I got that cat seat, the cat would still want to sit on my keyboard. It would be a good place to put all the coffee cups before she could knock them ovet though

    1. That’s pretty much what I was going to say. The more you spend on something nice for cats, the more they will ignore it. Besides, it’s more fun to sit on the keyboard.

  3. Sorry JC, clothes on animals are wrong wrong wrong & are definitely not cute. Owl pellets are, however, cool. And full of dead mice!

    1. Sorry JC, clothes on animals are wrong wrong wrong & are definitely not cute.


      If the animal is being excessively annoyed (or, of course, actually harmed), I could see your point. But I’ve seen dogs that get positively thrilled when it’s time to put on a sweater.

      And what about collars, harnesses, and the like? I’m sure you could find legions of animals that start bouncing off the walls with joy as soon as they catch sight of their harness / walking jacket / whatever.



  4. Great suggestion! I purchased a the Desktop Cat Seat for Tinka, who is extremely jealous of my keyboard. She will be so surprised. 😉

  5. I like the owl puke, don’t think I’d be allowed to import them into the country (Australia)though, do you think they’d qualify as processed food? My cat would not care for the seat, she thinks my lap is the only proper venue for kitteh naps.

  6. No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. Just cheapskate nerds for parents.

    You know, I have always liked science at least as much as the next guy, but if I was a young lad and my parents presented me with a Christmas or Hanukkah present of dried owl puke, I really do think I would have taken it somewhat personally.

    I mean, science is great and all, but what is wrong with a telescope or a microscope, or a chemistry set? To say nothing of a new baseball mitt, a bicycle, or a model plane or rocket.

    Dried owl puke? Thanks Mom and Dad. Maybe next year I’ll get some dried wormy dog poop to dissect! Or, if I’m really lucky, some fresh roadkill to pick apart and identify. Should be good for my social standing with the kids at school.

  7. I’ve already purchased the killer gift of the season for my 6-year-old (budding marine biologist/paleontologist/mechanical engineer (destined to design and pilot the next super-deep submersible!)):

    A fossil Cacharodon megalodon tooth 4-inches (10cm) long and a Riker mount for it!

  8. Professor Coyne,
    I had to write to thank you for making the suggestion in your blog of owl pellets as a gift idea. My son has been fascinated by birds all his life and I knew right away he would love it. It was certainly most unique gift he has ever received. He dissected the pellets this past weekend with his grandfather and found many mouse and vole bones. If a bone can be said to be adorable these certainly are! He had a great deal of fun identifying, labeling and mounting the bones. He is very proud of them and plans to show his teachers at his school. That is great to see. He is an autistic young man and is rarely emotionally demonstrative or very communicative. That was the real gift and I thank you again for it. Love your blog! Dave

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