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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Playtime for Cats

Purrhaps you are told that you are being a pest, when all you want is some interactive play. You may be tired of hearing your purrsons say that they have better things to do than pull out your favourite fishing-pole toy for a quick game. Or maybe you live with someone who is so unimaginative that s/he can barely dangle the darn thing in front of you and you are bored, bored, bored.

There is hope for you yet!

Reach into your catnip allowance savings and get a copy of Playtime for Cats (Activities and Games for Felines, by Helena Dbaly and Stefanie Sigl).

These authors know cats. Helena Dbaly is based in Switzerland, has worked in cat protection and has bred Burmese. Stefanie Sigl, a companion animal behaviourist, lives in Germany. So it is no surprise that this book is well-written and in sufficient detail to enable your purrson to become competent in feline play and in making (or purchasing) the right kind of toys for you.

What's in it for you? Lots of different kinds of imaginative toys and games suitable for a wide array of felines. And a chance to educate your purrsons about feline play. Believe me, they could use an education if they are anything like Herself.

What's in it for them? Ways to keep you stimulated and occupied many of which do not, I repeat, do not, involve their participation! There are photos and instructions for making and using really worthwhile homemade toys, in addition to those you can purrchase.

Game Box in Prep
My friends Raffiki, Black Berry and Lucky Little Guy started by saving their empty toilet rolls and a shoe box. According to the book, the Game Box (as I call it) gets mounted on a stable chair or table so it is upright. (Read the book to find out how). Your purrson hides treats in some of the cells and your job is to reach in and find them.

Well Lucky couldn't wait. So before if could be mounted, he was reaching in and even wearing a roll like a bracelet as he searched for his treats.

The book begins - as any good book on this subject must - with the rules of play, to educate your folks. And then the treasures are revealed: chapter after chapter contain items on
- the use of scent,
- the lowdown on hunting toys,
- search and unwrapping games,
- how to use water as entertainment,
- ways to bring the outdoors in (for you indoor-only types),
- training,
- obstacle courses,
- acrobatics, and my soon-to-be favourite - 
- strategy boards.

So start saving your used toilet rolls, shoe boxes, bottle caps, beer mats, wrappers from individual tea bags, and cardboard boxes for transforming into really great toys for you.

Black Berry's Egg Box
My colleagues Lucky Little Guy, Raffiki and Black Berry give this book 12 paws up. And that really has to count for something, because Black Berry is polydactyl. And so she cannot really use the Game Box I showed above, because her paws are too big to fit. BUT she loves this box of plastic eggs, within with treats are hidden. She started out simply: just one level of eggs until she got the hang of it. Now she is an accomplished master of many layers of eggs -- all in search of a treat!

Purrs of thanks to all three of them for this refurrence.