Get Their Game On!

Cats are very particular about choosing their favorite toys.  They usually do not like decorative, expensive toys we get from a pet store.  They like simple and inexpensive “stuff” around the house, like newspapers, shoe strings, a cap ring of a milk jug, etc.

When I go cat-sitting for the first time to meet new cats, I always bring a new toy to play with them.  I found these top three toys to be very effective to build “rapport” with a new kitty!  Interactive play helps a cat exercise, reduces fear and tension, and eases discomfort.  Most importantly, it strengthens our bond with them.

#1 – A Peacock Feather!

This is a winner of the toys (so far).  I haven’t seen any cat ignored this simple toy.  Cats’ eyes get fixated on this one thing for a long time.  They grab it, pounce on it, bat at it, and chew on it until the feather is shredded to pieces.  You can buy it at Tomlinson’s.

#2 – A String and Crinkly Paper

This is a classic combination that almost always works.  I use natural garden twine tied to a stick to play with my cats.  I hide part of a string under layered gift tissue papers, and move the string slowly.  Not only do the cats chase the string, but also they enjoy the sound of the paper.  They bite into the paper as if they are killing the prey!  When I don’t have time to play with my cats, I put one end of the string into my jean back pocket, and drag the string behind me.  The cats like to chase it (or me) everywhere I go.


#3 – Cat Dancer or Da Bird

These are products that you can purchase.  Cat Dancer simulates the movements of a fly.  It consists of a wire with a little rolled up cardboard target on the end.  All you need to do is sit and hold this toy!  Da Bird is a feather attached string toy.  Indoor cats love to see a bird-like thing flying in the air (yes, you have to swing it in the air) and to catch it in the air.

The author of “Think Like a Cat”, Pam Johnson-Bennett, recommends a minimum of two fifteen-minute sessions a day for adult cats.  To meet this requirement, I’ve learned to play with my cats at home while I’m watching TV.  Sometimes, I use a laser toy when I don’t feel like moving at all, but my cats really want to be like wild cats with their roars (somehow, it always happens to be late evening).  One last tip, make sure to “hide” the toy during play – cats love to discover it and pounce while you move it slowly behind or under something.

A play time is over...

OK, here Tora comes meowing at the foot of my desk to play.  Gotta go.

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