Creature comforts

Creature comforts

Whether fluffy, furry or feathered, pet lovers don't discriminate. They all have a soft spot for their pets. Here are some suggestions for pet lovers of all ages that are fun, clever and practical. They will love you unconditionally for it.

Pet photography book

Pet photography is big business nowadays. What pet owner doesn't love cute pics of their 'baby"? "Pet Photography 101: Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Dog or Cat" by Andrew Darlow can teach them how to get professional results. The book covers the proper equipment to use, and how to get your pets to stand still -- as well as how to capture them on video. It even has tips for getting great holiday photos. According to the author, the book is appropriate for photographers of all skill levels. (Published by Elsevier Science & Technology Books and sold at bookstores; $14.95.)

Puppy Tweets

This is not a brand of treats, but rather, a clever new way to keep tabs on your pup when you're away via the social media site Simply attach the small round transmitter tag to the dog's collar and sync with a computer. Whenever the dog moves, barks, or just naps, the tag knows it and sends a WiFi signal to the computer, which then sends the owner a Tweet via Twitter. For example, if the dog is running around the house generating a lot of movement they may receive this Tweet: "Finally caught that tail I've been chasing! Phew - what a workout!" There are more than 500 phrases loaded onto the device. (Available at toy stores and pet stores; $29.99.)

Games people play (with their pets)

These games go way beyond "fetch" to connect you and your dog or cat in fun new ways, by Darf Inc., Funagle is a board game where people compete to get their dogs to do activities ($34.95). Muttheads is a card game families play with each other and their dogs ($17.95). Do You Mind is a portable dice game people and dogs play together ($24.95). CatFeats is a dice game that makes training cats to do tricks into a game ($19.95). (Available at pet boutiques and gift stores.)

Scooby-Doo video game

Who hasn't laughed at the over-large, sleuthing Great Dane at least once in their lives? Now he's hip to the video game generation. Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp is a souped-up version of previous Scooby-Doo games, which allows kids to play as any of the characters -- Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, Fred or Scooby -- plus drop in and out of the game whenever they want. The goal is to solve the mystery behind a strange swamp girl and her peculiar cauldron of brew. Players can even change costumes and collect Scooby Snacks to "buy" stuff for their character. The game will be available for Wii, Nintendo DS and PlayStation2. (Produced by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and available where video games are sold; $19.99-$39.99.)

Luxury stuffed pets

The Steiff company invented the Teddy bear, and has been famous ever since as the world's top quality stuffed toy maker. The moment you touch a Steiff toy, you'll see why they are coveted and collected by "kids" of all ages. In addition to their lifelike appearance, each animal's fur is made of either mohair, alpaca, cotton velvet, silk, and other valuable materials. One toy can be made of as many as 50 different pieces of "fur." Today, Steiff offers much more than bears. Various breeds of dogs and cats are available, including Rico the golden retriever. Other pets are represented, such as Franzi the parakeet, Dormili the rabbit and Niki the pony. Steiff creates new animals each year, so there is always a fresh selection. Prices range from about $60 to several hundred dollars. (Available at upscale toy stores.)

Feline sculpture

If you're looking for a gift for the cat person who has everything, they probably don't have one of these. Kitschy Katz is a new line of sculptures that feature a feline form in an art deco style. They are adorned with patterns designed by California artist Ken Wong. These bright, colorful sculptures come in eight versions. (Available at gift stores and boutiques; $21.99.)

Reusable water bottle

This high-quality refillable water bottle is made by SIGG, a Swiss company that claims it makes "the world's toughest water bottle." It's perfect for toting drinking water for you and your pooch during long walks or to the beach. The aluminum bottles have a wide mouth design, and are also recyclable. They come in hundreds of sizes, shapes, colors, and designs -- including pet designs. (Available at sports/outdoor stores and many other retailers; $24.)