Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Playtime for Kitties

My cats have become unbearable.

Kicking litter everywhere, waking me up at six in the morning (either by kicking litter everywhere or galloping through the house, squalling), getting into stuff they shouldn't, eating my plants, scratching my wood railings, playing with my chocolates...

The list of transgressions go on and on and on.  The verdict is in, and the verdict is "Guilty" of a hundred counts of obnoxiousness.

So, I thought that maybe the kitties are bored out of their skulls (and probably mad at me for leaving them so much lately) that they needed some new, fun things to keep them occupied.

I actually have a toy box for my cats.  It's filled with rubber balls, jingle balls, catnip mice, loose catnip, a fishing pole toy, and a laser pointer (I know, I know, not so great for cats, but they actually love it, and they always get a reward at the end of a session).

When Percy wants to play with something he just gets up on the edge of the box and knocks it over. Then he pulls whatever looks interesting out and starts batting it around.  One of his favorite toys (besides the loose catnip, of course) is this little suction cup, spring loaded thing that pops up into the air.  I can amuse him for hours sending that thing into orbit and he loves to watch it fly into the air.

Willow doesn't bother with the cat toys since she has taken to getting up on my table and pawing chocolates out of the jars to play with.

Clearly, however, these toys are not enough.  There are all kinds of fun things in that toy box, though most of them have ended up under the couch, but the cats must be getting bored because why else would they start getting into trouble?  So, of course the logical solution to too many toys that have become boring to kitty is to buy more toys.  I went to Petco and cleaned up.  I got them a wind up mouse, some crinkle balls, two grass plants (so they stop trying to eat my plants), and a crinkle tunnel.  I also plan on ordering them a new kitty tower, and possibly two or three so I can disperse them throughout the house.

Percy and Willow love the crinkle tunnel.  They've been playing in it since I got it and they've left the chocolates alone.  Percy went to town on the cat grass, and even Puckett showed some interest in the crinkle tunnel when everyone else was upstairs.  She thought we weren't watching, but we were.  I saw her dive into one end and slide through to the other, popping her head out.  Percy soon noticed and shot downstairs to join in the play.  Puckett might be a little big for the crinkle tunnel, but she still manages to fit.  Percy is also a little obsessed with the windup mouse.  He doesn't care that it moves, he just likes to swipe it up in his paw and chew on it.  I covered it in catnip and Willow pounced on it, wrapped herself around it and kicking it with her hind legs.  It was so cute.

I have since learned that the secret to keeping cats happy is to alternate their toys.  So I give them a few each day, put those away, and then put out some different ones.  We actually created a new toy out of some old ones that Percy really got a kick out of.  I put some small rubber balls in a Frisbee and spun the balls around.  Percy watched with interest and then batted the balls all over.  I also have to put away the crinkle tunnel occasionally so they don't get bored with it.  There's one more toy I have my eye on, though.  It's a "kitty pad" that lights up.  It blinks lights all over it and the cats can pounce around on it, or just lay on it and nap.  That will end up being Puckett's favorite, I'm sure.

Even Tess got in on the fun.  I bought her a new squeaky bone/ball.  It's colored like a tennis ball but shaped like a bone.  And it squeaks all over.  When she gets in the mood, she'll be squeaking that thing until I'm ready to climb the walls.

Toys seem to be the thing my cats love the best.  Except for Puckett.  She loves sleep.  None of my pets are food motivated, which I find very strange.  Percy, of course, loves to eat and he bothers me constantly when he wants his food bowl.  In the mornings he'll scream at me until I get my ass in gear and go downstairs to fill his bowl.  Willow throws her fit at five in the afternoon when it's time for canned food.  But when it comes to toys, they'll drop their food to play with something.  None of them really take treats.  They prefer their toys.  Tess is the same way.  She is definitely not food motivated, and while she likes treats, she is more easily trained when the reward is her favorite bone or a stuffed toy.

The toys have worked at least for now.  Sunday was the quietest they've been and Percy didn't even kick half the box of litter out of the box and strew it across the floor.  We all sat in the living room, me writing and watching The Monkees, and them playing with their toys and periodically snoozing.  Percy and Tess traded toys.  Tess got into the Frisbee/rubber ball game and Percy attacked Tess' squeaky bone.

Of course that didn't stop any of them from demanding their dinner.  I don't know if I can blame the toys or daylight savings time, but they didn't start demanding their food until I went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet door to get their bowls out.

They would have missed dinnertime due to bouncy balls and squeaky bones.  Wonders never cease.

Percy playing peek a' boo with the crinkle tunnel.


Then Willow got into it.

Cup of coffee, please?

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