the dedicated servant of a number of cats over the years, I am fascinated with
their games and antics. Now everyone knows that if you buy a cat a new toy, he
or she will be endlessly amused for a day or two by the sack or box in which
the toy was packaged. This is even more true if one should happen to wrap the
toy up in gift-wrap with a bit of catnip to entice the cat to tear into the
package. (Yes, I have done this with my fur babies Christmas presents.)
I shouldve taken a picture last year of Shira rolling around in the
brightly colored paper on Christmas morning. It was a sight!
the novelty of the package has worn off, some cats will take an interest in the
toy. Over the years my cats have demonstrated that individual cats have personal
favorites. Some, like Maggie Mayhem and my daughters cat Crockett, prefer
furry, mouselike toys that they can kill. At least a headless toy mouse in the
middle of the living room isnt as disgusting as the real thing. Others, like
Shira, prefer balls they can bat around. Shira loves fuzzy little balls that she
can bat across the floor, then she grabs them with a claw and throws them up in
the air. Since she does this on the hardwood in the kitchen, it can be more
entertaining than television watching her run, jump, and slide (often into the
front of the refrigerator) after the fuzz balls.
of my cats love feather teasers. But how they play with them varies. Maggie
likes to chase the teaser across the floor. She will leap over things to get it,
but if I wave the feathers in the air, shell usually ignore them. Zeke, on
the other hand, only wants to chase airborne feathers that zoom over his head.
Shira doesnt care what you do, as long as you are playing with her. The most
fun for me is watching her acrobatic leaps through the air trying to catch
flying feathers. Shiras kittens are like her hopelessly addicted to
feather teasers and doing whatever necessary to secure the prize.
without toys, cat can find plenty of ways to play. A favorite at our house used
to be race cat. Usually this involved only two of the three, and was most
often played at an obnoxious time during the night. We would hear a thundering
of cat paws (sounding more like a herd of baby elephants than eight pound cats)
racing up the stairs. They would charge into our bedroom one after the other,
leap onto the bed, race across two no-longer-sleeping humans, jump off the other
side and gallop back out of the room and down the stairs.
favorite game is marble in the bathtub. My old cat, Tacwen, invented this
game. (If youre wondering about that name, just read it backwards.) Wennie
would take marbles into the bathtub and bat them around for what seemed like
hours at a time. They make a lovely noise, perfect for waking up humans in the
middle of the night. Which is probably why it seemed like she played for hours.
I would take the marbles away and put them in my desk drawer. Wennie learned how
to open the drawer and retrieve the marbles herself, insuring that she could
play marble in the bathtub at any time of the day or night.
latest favorite game is ferocious cave lion. Maggie has loved sleeping
under the covers for almost as long as weve had her. Nearly every night
(unless shes been sent to kitty jail for head butting the lamp), Maggie will
end up sleeping between Ken and me under the covers. When Shira started
insisting on crawling under the covers, I thought she was just imitating Maggie.
I was wrong.
comes up the head of the bed and head butts the comforter, trying to get
underneath. When I lift it up for her, she crawls under just far enough to be
covered, but not so far that the top edge of the comforter touches the bed.
Thus, Shira has made her cave and there she awaits the unwary. I have
learned that if Shira is under the covers, it is a very bad place for my hands
to be. She will bite anything that moves near her, purring loudly the entire
time. One night Maggie made the
mistake of deciding to cuddle under the covers only to find Shira there. Shira
does not limit her cave lion attacks to humans.
new favorite at our house is Spaz Cat. This game is played mostly by young
Shadow, but occasionally I will catch one of Shiras offspring doing it, too.
Instead of a feather teaser, this laughter inducing game uses a wand made of
flexible metal with a ball at the end. By shaking the wand quickly one can make
it vibrate up and down. Shadow begins by following the movement with his head,
then his front paws, then his whole body. Soon he is vibrating up and down in
time with the wand, the back paws still on the ground. Eventually, as tears roll
down my face in mirth, Shadow leaps into the air to catch the toy.
Soon I will be off to another cat show, the sixth in as many weeks. There Ill be tempted by toys and teasers and catnip all sorts of wondrous accessories to keep the kids happy. And sure enough, next Sunday night, Ill come home with yet another plaything for the kids
© 2002 lisa s vasa
(Please note that you will see a number of photos of our cats and kittens that I've taken outside in a natural setting. The LostWoods cats do NOT go outside unsupervised! When we do go outside for pictures and occasional adventures, there is always one person and usually two watching them closely. We do have an outside, fully enclosed run to which the older cats are allowed access, but even then we check on them often.)
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