Originally this post was published on Candid Slice, for whom I have written many articles. http://www.candidslice.com/cat-toys-advice-straight-from-the-cats-mouth/
Hello, I am Norie, an intelligent black pantherette. Please indulge me a few moments of your time. I have decided that pet owners need more education on what toys we felines truly enjoy.
During my life I’ve made some observations that may help the humans of other cats make wiser investments in devices for our pleasure time.
Cats may be particular and easily bored
My human has at times found it difficult to find a toy suitable for Sister and I play to with. The red light on the floor is fun intermittently, but you can only chase it so many times for so many years. We do know we will never catch it, but we do play along so you will feel you are making us happy.
We gain weight as we age, which sometimes decreases our energy levels for play. The older we get, the more we prefer the pleasure of sleep- …..Err, letting our minds sort through the wisdom we have acquired over the years. Yep, definitely wisdom sorting.
Catnip cat toys
Why do so many cat toys have catnip in them? Some of us aren’t sensitive to it. Those of us who are not vulnerable to its charms often render catnip toys to be merely things to be looked at and ignored.
Less entertaining toys
Some toy makers think that tinkling sounds will elicit a playful response from us. Well, my friend, Sister is scared of noisy toys. I briefly find them curious, then I walk away. Think about it. How can I sneak up on anything if there are eruptions of tinkling, squawking, or rattling?
Feathered toys from long fingered gloves to fake birds, squirrels, or other such creatures can be amusing. However, those feathers eventually come loose and we end up looking like the proverbial “cat who ate the canary,” with feathers everywhere. Plumed objects are only fun to play with for a while, and only if our human plays with us. Now my human puts something feathered under a blanket and moves it around. I adore this game and will pounce heartily at it for a long time!
Free or inexpensive toys we always love.
Ever see the pictures or videos of cats playing with, in, or on boxes? There is just something about a box or even a reusable cloth grocery bag, that causes our “inner kitten” to be freed. I can hide, stay warm, pounce on unsuspecting victims, and even nap in one. Some of us enjoy sliding on floors into boxes or jumping in and out of them.
Ever roll a ping pong ball down the steps for your cat to chase? Try rolling it around in the tub! I spent much energy in my younger days pursuing those balls. Of course it does require that our humans engage in playful activity with us to heighten the true joy of play.
And the third major cheap toy we always love is a long piece of yarn or ribbon. There is something about our human dragging one of the above on the floor that excites the hunter/stalker in us. I will hide and wait for the end of the string (or the tail of the wildebeest if you prefer) to come back around the couch before I pounce on it.
Climbing sisal poles with multiple shelves provide stimulation and exercise. We can be our wildcat alternate ego, sitting in a tree looking down on our intended prey and plotting their early demise. We can survey all that is ours and all we intend to possess. Of course we will still require some attention from our humans. We do want them to feel needed and wanted.
A brilliant option
Cat trees from the pet stores have feline “apartments” with carpeted platforms, sisal poles for our scratching, and cubby holes for us to jump to other platforms. If I were a smaller cat I think I would enjoy the little cozy columns, where I could curl up and nap in the sunshine. I have a conglomerate of platforms at my home which are pieced together for our climbing, sitting, observing, and sleeping pleasures.
Two simple pleasures
If your human has a porch where there are no dogs, we love sunning ourselves on warm sunny days. Much to my human’s distress, as soon as I can lay down on the cool concrete of the porch and before I come back into the home, I wallow around to get in touch with my wild side and the dirt, dust, and anything else that can blow through a screen. I enjoy playing with and hiding drinking straws under rugs or the refrigerator. Try blowing bubbles too, they are just plain fascinating. Years later I still get excited when my human says the word “bubbles.”
Giving is better than receiving
Since my human needs love and affection too, I try to find something she enjoys sometimes. Since Sister is the one who likes to lounge in human’s lap for hours on end, I figure if I show signs that I want my human to hold me, scratch my chin or rub my nose, it will make her happy. Sometimes if I am sitting behind her head on the back of the couch and she turns around to look at me or if I am on top of the refrigerator and she stands in front of me, I will lick her forehead a few times, just to let her know I love her and appreciate all of her efforts to keep us girls happy.