One of the best presents we ever gave my mom was an electronic cat. Officially known as the Joy for All cat, it is incredibly lifelike.

My mom was a lifelong cat lover, and we always had cats when I was growing up. But when our last family cat passed away, that was it. My mom’s a softy, but Dad was a complete marshmallow. He couldn’t take the idea of losing another pet.

After Dad passed away, Mom moved to a lifeplan community which allows dogs, cats, birds (but no snakes, peacocks or other so-called “emotional support” animals!). She decided against getting a new cat because she didn’t want the daily care of a pet.

That’s where “Nettie” came in. One of my mom’s best friends over the years was a beautiful, charming redhead named Annette. Annette is gone now but “Nettie” the electronic cat lives on in her name.

Nettie meows, purrs, opens and closes her eyes, lies down, rolls over…it’s unbelievable. We gave Mom the cat last Christmas and she had more fun fooling friends and visitors who thought it was the real thing. Mom kept Nettie near her bed and played with her whenever she felt like it. The best part was there was no litter box or food bowl!

Besides the orange tabby, the cat comes in white, black and white (tuxedo) and silver with white mitts. And for those who prefer canines to felines, the company also offers a Golden Retriever puppy.

The holidays are coming, and an electronic pet may be just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for senior in your life.