Palu, one of my two cats, is easily bored. As a result, he spends the three hours before every mealtime mewling obnoxiously for food. He also picks fights with the other cat and knocks things off of counters. I try to let him go outside as much as possible, but he sometimes gets in fights with the neighbourhood felines and will probably start spending less time outside as it gets colder. Since I’m doing the unemployed-and-living-with-my-parents thing, I’m bored too. So I’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone, and make Palu some cat toys.
First, and simplest, is a ball of tinfoil. Palu bats it around and chews on it; I will need to make a new one fairly regularly, I think. But it holds his attention for about two minutes at a time, and, if it’s especially close to dinnertime, I basically have to throw it at him to get his attention.
A step up: you know those envelopes with the plastic windows? They make an excellent crinkly sound! I tied a string around the middle of one and dragged it around for Palu to chase. Verdict: he’s more interested in it when I dangle it in the air rather than when I drag it along the ground. As before, he doesn’t seem interested in interacting with it when I’m not there to “animate” it. And when I tried getting him to chase it about half an hour before dinner, he lasted a few minutes before fixing me with a contemptuous glare and yowling, then stalking into the kitchen.
Hence, another step up: I dug up some of the old craft supplies from my childhood, glued a bunch of colourful feathers to a wooden bead, and tied some twine to the whole thing. I hung this off of a hat rack, and Palu started batting it and nibbling the feathers of his own accord. When I swung it around he went pretty insane, and even attacked it after I’d put it down. It’s now lost a few feathers. So, tentative success.
A small dose of catnip also occupied him for a good while, but I don’t think I want to drug him every day. Laser pointers are out, because they make Palu a little too hyperactive and terrify my other cat, Luta (who alleviates his boredom by sleeping). Future projects might include a stuffed toy (with a little catnip inside) and perhaps some bouncy balls if I can find them. Anyone have other cat amusement ideas?