01 Nov A cats favourite toy…?
You’re thinking, damn it, I thought she was going to give me a chestnut.
I’ve been asked many times, “what toys keep them (cats) busy when I’m not here”?
Short answer, none.
Well, almost none.
Toys, as you know, are inanimate objects. You may observe a cat, see a toy ball on the floor and throw it around for a moment or chew on ribbons placed around a scratching post or have a kicking moment with a soft toy or even stalk and dart at a cardboard box.
All of these objects may engagement them for a short time but they won’t give them the mental stimulation and exercise they need.
When you think about cats that are allowed outside, what do they do?
They meander around, try to swipe at a passing fly, sometimes stalk and chase a bird or a tiny lizard, have a drink of water somewhere and fall sleep in amongst the leaves and bushes.
All of the creatures they’ve interacted with have a few things in common. They all move quickly, they all have their own power source and they all own survival instincts that hopefully allows them to get away.
Cats focus on prey directly, they zero in and they have limited peripheral vision. They need to turn their head to follow something but their focus on that object is fixed.
They hear at a higher pitch so they can hear movements of prey that we can’t.
And we all know how fast they can move when properly motivated.
There’s not been a toy invented yet, that humans can just turn on and leave on for their cats to play with that really exercises their brains and bodies for longer than a few minutes, if their lucky.
Mechanical toys don’t operate on instinct. They make the same robotic movement over and over and to a cat that becomes boring.
The mechanical flounder, floundering on the floor is funny and quite good, the spinning wheels and balls in a tunnel are also good interactive toys but they only engage them for a short time.
None of these toys run into another room where a cat can chase them, or watch how a cat is interacting with them and change direction or have them leaping into the air to catch a flying object.
This is why YOU are your cats’ favourite toy.
You have the speed, instincts and power to move any object quickly.
You can be fully present in the moments you’re playing with them to really observe how they watch and move and change direction and then you can move and change direction to keep them engaged.
Cats all have the same primal instincts but where they differ is what engages them and for we humans, it’s often a lot of trial and error to find the toys that get them going.
A go to for me, for many years has been the ‘Da-Bird’ wand. It allows me to be separated from the cat by the length of wand and then the cat is fully fixed on the feathers flying through the air. This blog is not an ad for the product but it’s the only toy I’ve found that I can operate at regulated speeds or in various ways, that seems to engage almost every cat. (Not every cat likes it flying around, some like it skipping gently along the floor).
And for our cat G, he likes to chase a very thin, soft pink ribbon while lazing on the bed!
He also likes to chase the cord that the ‘Da-Bird’ feathers used to be on! (He’s scared of the feathers).
He chases a foil ball when we throw it from room to room and he has a soft toy (that he stole from me 15yrs ago) that he likes to kick the crap out of and chew!
It’s often the simple things, that cats most often get a kick out of and when you’ve found what toys you can engage your cat with, they’ll love you even more than they do already x