Wednesday, August 12, 2009 5:53 PM

I Know What Cats Like: Toys

If you're like many cat owners, you have a house full of cat toys. Feathery lures, bouncy balls, catnip mice--we've all had our weak moments and overpaid for one or two of those delicate play thingies. Unfortunately, once presented to our precious little darlings these items tend to disintegrate. When faced with sharp teeth and claws, they just don't stand up, do they? Having learned our lesson, most of us start taking note of cheap (read: free) stuff that our cats enjoy chasing and chomping, such as the following:

Pull tabs from gallon milk/water jugs: These are all-time cat favorites. Some cats go really crazy and chew them (like Bear), so be sure to throw them away when you notice this, as they may swallow some plastic. The caps are also good toys, especially if you can get them to roll.

Crumpled wads of paper: Again, a cat fave. Paper is best; cellophane doesn't really stay crumpled, and I've never felt comfortable wadding up aluminum foil for my cats to chew on. They can have hours of fun with just one used grocery list! Once you step on them, though, the jig is up. Re-wadding doesn't work--they can tell.

Swizzle sticks: This was one of Min's favorite toys. He would spend many a happy hour batting them around, carrying them in his mouth and shoving them under every appliance he could find. Our current crop of cats isn't quite as crazy about them. They prefer--

Twist-ties: Goldie will prowl the countertops looking for one of these that we forgot to put away, and he usually finds one or two a month. I don't actually like him playing with these because they have a metal wire inside and it makes me nervous. I generally substitute something else for him to play with instead, if I catch him with one, something like--

Q-Tips: Either paper or plastic will do, and Goldie will sometimes dig them out of the waste basket (eww!) so I give him a new one instead. I take the cotton off the ends, though, so he won't ingest it. Just in case.

Cellophane rings from jars: Little Girl adores these. She will chew and chomp on these until they look like they've been run through a stamping machine. They're sort of annoying to step on, though, because they make so much noise underfoot. So we usually toss them into the "begging box" next to the butcher block counter where she can always find at least one to pulverize when the mood is upon her.

Paper grocery sacks: Another old stand-by. No cat can resist one! The handles don't usually pose a risk, but it you're worried, they're easy enough to pull off. We usually have one hanging around for cats to play in, but the Bear usually flattens it out in a hurry so he can lay on it and keep other cats from using it. Sigh.

I'll put my thinking cap on and come up with a few others for tomorrow, plus a few no-no items as well.

Movie of the Week: Another series that I found by just nosing around at the library: Rebus. It's a Scottish detective series based on the books by Ian Rankin, originally shown on BBC America. Gritty stuff; good plot lines and thick Scottish brogues will keep your attention from straying, I assure you!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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