An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stimulating Ideas

Well Minoose, I've finally had a chance to continue our discussion of toys, etc. for the active cat in a single-cat household. Readers might remember that Minoose is a very indulged cat whose energy level gets a bit much a time for his purrson -- especially since she is a dog-convert and was quite surprised at how active a young cat could be.

To continue:

I was shopping at my favourite pet supply store and came across something that might be of interest:
Parrot Tweet by Petlinks looks like a VERY small parrot (with real feathers on the tail) but has an electronic tweeter inside that makes a .... you got it . . . TWEET sound when touched. I usually play with it in the middle of the night when I'm bored and the humans are snoring. They say it's not too costly (around $6.00 Canadian) and was my early Xmas present.

My friend Tibby likes worms -- so much so that he used to bring them in from his cat enclosure and have worm races down the front hall. His purrson didn't think this was the greatest idea, but then she never was one for the crawly things. In his honour, I purchased Wiggle Worm (by OrkaKat) which is a gel-like worm that flops about and can be carried in your mouth (and dropped into your purrson's winter boots, for some real entertainment).

I'd mentioned the Play 'N Squeak mouse before. Rumour has is that Santa is to bring me a 'twice the mice' package of them. They have an electronic mouse sound when touched and this new version is smaller and mouse-coloured. One mouse has a leather tail and the other, feathers.

But let's go beyond mere toys for bored cats. Some of you like to watch television. Admit it! There are those who enjoy monitoring the ball in a tennis match or catching up on the latest on Animal Planet. Of course, the thoughtful purrson will keep such shows available for you. Alternatively consider Video Catnip (available from pet supply stores or via the web) which is specially made for cats (and yes, I'm sure it comes like a DVD these days even though the term, video, is in the name).

In the olden days my friend, Tibby, got the video, Cool for Cats. It was made by Dr. Peter Neville, an animal behaviourist. (Tibs had some difficulty getting it transcribed so it would work on a North American machine.) The content had zippo appeal to the purrson but was the source of fascination for him. Tibby liked it so much that his purrson put a box near the TV for his viewing perch.  She would bring his breakfast to him while he watched it. He knew the contents well enough that he could leave for the parts that didn't interest him, and return for the good bits. And there were some parts that got him so excited that he would sit on the top of the TV and attempt to bat the movement on the screen, or look behind the screen to determine the source of the sound. Tibby watched it everyday for years -- and then finally it lost its lustre.

There is also some cat furniture that has excellent entertainment value, namely the cat perch and the cat tree. A lot of purrsons don't think of these items as essential but they (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) do much to enrich our environment. They forget that we are predators and as such, like to watch the action related to our territory from 'on high'.

Cat perches are usually installed as an extra-wide ledge under a window through with you can look out. There are lots of varietys from pet stores or via the web; but a frugal purrson could install a plain wooden shelf just below the window sill and it would do the trick, too. Perches  make a convenient viewing platform and resting area.

If you are ornithologically inclined, then the presence of a bird feeder near said platform/window (outside of course) will also hold your interest. Some bird feeders even fit on the window so that birds can feed there, without being harmed but your predatory intent. For more information consult the book, Birdwatching for Cats: An Entertainment Guide for Indoor Felines (by Kit and George H. Harrison -- no, not the musician).

Cat perches needn't be restricted to a window, especially in a multi-cat household. Secure, empty shelves installed on walls, either in the corners of the room or along walls can be ideal.  For some ideas, check out these links: shelves for cats and cat ramps . And if you live with a creative purrson, then do refurr to a house especially designed for cats, the cats' house which has amazing photos of a home truly designed with the feline in mind.

Now Minoose, there is a piece of furniture I regard as essential for cats: the cat tree. And I will write about it in detail in another entry. Keep playing until then!