c. Claudia Ballard 2012
5 x 7 acrylic on canvas
Like people, cats get bored with their old toys. But they don't have to lose interest. Cat behaviorist Marva Marrow has suggestions on how to make every play day fresh and fun for you and your feline companion:
1. Limit the OptionsHave just a few toys around. Cats aren't great decision makers. When they have too many options, they become unable to focus and can’t choose.
2. Rotate the ToysIf you own more than a few cat toys, you don't need to get rid of them all. Then next week hide those away and pull out three more. The three you choose should be dissimilar.
3. Know Your Cat's Turn-Ons (and Turn-Offs)Most prefer texture to sound, making a furry stuffed mouse more enticing than a rubber one that squeaks. Cats are also smart, and not easily fooled by mechanical prey. What will remain appealing to most cats is any toy they can bat around.
4. Know Your Cat's NatureCat play is practice for hunting prey. They don’t make a quick kill. They toss it up in the air, force it to move. That is why they can spend hours batting a ball of tinfoil.
5. Keep It RealMost cats are unable to follow quick movement. Drag a pole toy or string toy along the ground slowly, just out of your cat's reach. You can also attempt to mimic the movement of their natural prey by holding it still so your cat can focus, and then wiggle it a little, stop, and then wiggle again.
6. Use What You HaveA cat’s favorite plaything may turn out to be the plastic ring from a carton of milk, or a ball of cellophane. Socks filled with catnip, small balls of yarn, or ping-pong balls let loose in a dry bathtub may also bring your cat more hours of pleasure than the most expensive store-bought toy.
What does YOUR cat love to play with the most?