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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Van de Kieft

Trader Joe's Cat Advent Calendar Review

Last year, the pet advent calendars flew off the shelves and I was not able to purchase one for my cats. This year, I grabbed one as I soon as I saw it on my weekly Trader Joe's trip. But, did my cats like it?

Pic taken by Jennifer Van de Kieft
Trader Joe's Cat Advent Calendar 2022

The super cute packaging really attracted me. I loved all the cats with their name tags surrounded by ornaments and holiday lights. They even have one of my cat's names on the box: Lily, as the black cat on the back. The treats are only one kind: Salmon & Seaweed recipe. They are semi-moist treats with a 17% moisture content which is higher than most crunchy treats. There are limited ingredients: Atlantic Salmon, Tapioca Starch, Vegetable Glycerin and Dried Seaweed meal. Cost: $6.99

Trader Joe's describes the advent calendar on their website:

"If you’re the proud parent of a precious pooch or a fantastic feline, you know how fast furry friends can become family. And don’t our pets deserve holiday treats just like the rest of us? We think so, doggonit! Our Advent Calendar for Dogs and our Advent Calendar for Cats fit this need purrrr-fectly! They’re exactly what you’d imagine: colorful countdown-’til-Christmas Calendars, each with 24 perforated windows. Behind each window is a petite pouch holding a soft, delectable, grain-free treat. The treats come in a few different shapes and are even tailored to your pets particular palates. For Fluffy, it’s 60% antibiotic-free Atlantic salmon with 40% dried seaweed. Yum!"

My cats don't love salmon and I don't think they like seaweed (does anyone else think this is an odd ingredient?) so I'm not sure if Trader Joe's description that they are "tailored to your pet's particular palates" is accurate, but I thought I'd give it a try, mostly because I loved the box. I put the box on a towel on my bed, and carefully opened day "20" (ok, I wasn't paying attention to the dates), and found a small packet of 5 treats. Does Trader Joe's know I have 5 cats? I was delighted as I expected to find one for each day.

I opened the package and immediately 3 tabbys appeared and inspected the treats. I put one in front of Luke, and one back in the "20" slot so Josh can fish it out as he loves contrafreeloading. I also gave one to Oscar. At first, the cats just smelled them and looked around confused. Josh pulled the treat out of the box, but didn't eat it. Luke smelled his and moved on. Even Oscar, who eats just about anything didn't initially eat the treat. Though, eventually, Oscar did eat it.

Pic by Jennifer Van de Kieft
Luke smells the treat, Josh tries to fish one out, and Oscar waits his turn.

I saved the last 2 for Lily and Maya. Maya, another cat who eats anything, happily ate it, but Lily passed. A few minutes later the excitement was over. Two out of 5 cats ate the treats.

Conclusion: I love the beautiful box with the fun slots to pull out food, but the treats were not tailored to my cat's particular tastes, as advertised, as less than half of my cats ate the treats. Only one cat ate it without hesitation. It would be great if there were more of a variety of proteins in the box, and I would prefer not to feed my cats seaweed as a filler ingredient. I definitely would not recommend this for a single cat home where one cat would be eating so much salmon and seaweed for the month of December.

Since I really like the box, and Josh really enjoys digging out the treats inside, I might replace Trader Joe's Salmon and Seaweed treats with other things they like such as Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Mini-nibs and Bonito flakes. Many of our indoor cats do not need the extra calories. A great alternative is odor enrichment which is a fun experience using safe herbs for them to smell and enjoy. Meowy Jane's herb set which has 13 different herbs would be a great addition to advent calendars.

Although more labor intensive, last year I created my own Cat Advent Calendar.

Jennifer Van de Kieft is an Advanced Feline Training & Behavior Professional residing in NYC.

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