Pets are part of the family, which means though they might not understand what Christmas is, they still deserve an exciting treat under the tree. Some of our choices here are more for you than them, but if a chilled out owner means more cuddle time, that works for everyone. Here's our pick of the pet tech for 2018.
Mousr autonomous robot cat toy, £95
A self-driving wheeled robot that careens all around the floor waving a pompom on a wire. Whoever designed this knows cats very, very well. My moggies have actually learnt where we keep Mousr and sometimes just go and sit there hoping for it to emerge.
If you're thinking "that's not going to last two seconds with my cat," the body is actually pretty tough – it's the tails that get wrecked, and you can buy replacements for those. [Buy it here].
Birdy Babble Ball, £8.99
This hardy red plastic ball hangs on a chain in your feathered friend's cage, and makes a different noise every time it's whacked. From squeaks and meows to some words I genuinely can't make out, it provides plenty of new sounds for your birdy to mimic, and ensures their "I want to bash things" needs are catered for. [Buy it here.]
One Fast Cat exercise wheel, £229
If you've got a Bengal, a kitten or just a super-energetic cat, this wheel gives them a safe indoor way to burn some energy.
Cat selfie, £11.99 and pooch selfie, £14.99
A completely daft but also quite effective way of getting your fluffy friend to actually look at the camera for Instagram gold. The dog version uses a removable tennis ball and the cat one has a little bell to draw their attention. [Buy Pooch Selfie here and Cat Selfie here]
Pet Remedy low voltage heated pad, £31.39
There are lots of warming pet pads on the market, but this one was developed for the British Small Animal Veterinary Association to keep little critters warm after operations, so it's been designed by people who know what they're doing. The 2.7m cable has an anti-chew cover, the mat can be wiped down, and it's only 15W so can be safely left on all the time. Put it under the cushion in their favourite bed for a nice, cosy winter nap spot. [Buy it here].
Mimic Me voice recording unit, £29.99
It's cool having a talking pet bird, but the mind-numbing repetition required to get there can be somewhat crazy-making. Mimic Me is an easier way: you record the sounds you want, then the box plays them 12 times every 15 minutes until it's turned off. Be warned though: cleverer parrots might learn to press Play and Rec themselves! [Buy it here].
Hexbug mouse, £8.99
Made by the people behind the adorable skittering Hexbugs, this mouse takes off across the floor and gives your pampered domestic moggy the thrill of hunting without actually harming any mice. It's only good on hard floors though, it won't work on carpet. [Buy it here].
PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain, £44
Have a pampered pet that'll only drink water if it's coming out of the tap? You need one of these. Suitable for cats or dogs, it holds 5 litres, is easy to refill, and you can clean it in the dishwasher. It's not too noisy either, although the constant trickle may mean you need a wee more often. Ahem, so I'm told. [Buy it here].
UV bulb and smart plug
If you have a bird, reptile or other pet that benefits from sunlight, you need a full-spectrum UV bulb. UV doesn't get through our house windows, so birds and other animals can get deficiencies without some lovely indoor sunlight to keep them making vitamin D and suchlike. Bulbs vary depending on what kind of pet you have, but this is a good one for birds. Plug it into a smart socket like this one and you'll be able to put it on an automatic schedule, control it remotely, and talk to it via Alexa or Google Home. As might your parrot. [Bird bulb here, smart plug here]
Eufy RoboVac 30C, £269.99
Whether it's bunny fluff, bird seed, cat fur, dog hair or just general pet detritus, the number one thing you can buy for yourself as an animal owner is a robotic hoover. This one nicely bridges the divide between "cheap but useless" and "space-age but costs a kidney" – it performs well but doesn't cost the earth.
It comes with a little remote control and an app (or you can just press the big button on it), works with Alexa or Google Assistant, and doesn't mind hoovering twice a day, unlike your housemates/kids/self. Plus, cats try to fight it and that's YouTube gold. [Buy it here].
Want more gift guides and festive goodness? Head on over to our Christmas hub.