I have had the hardest time finding a normal toy for my cat, Bast, to play with. I have tried toys on springs, toys on elastics, colourful toys, toys designed to make noise, toys that roll or otherwise move easily and toys that I fancy I would like if I were a cat. But they do not work. The most played with one was the elastic toy that hung from the door jamb. But in the last year of that one, I didn’t see her playing with it once.
The most fun she has ever had with a toy is with a simple string. The problem is that I have to move it around enough to entice her. She won’t play one second longer after I drop it. But the point is I want her to have entertainments when I’m not around. So I want her to play by herself so if I’m ignoring her (I’m thinking about the month of November and NaNoWriMo) she still has a good quality of life.
She does have one toy that she will play with. Make that toys. Ever since that first time I opened an envelope with her on my lap and she pushed on the torn off envelope end and the other side rose, she’s loved envelope ends and they are her toy of choice. But even I sweep up occasionally and all her envelope ends become garbage. I feel for her as a week goes by and she has no envelope ends to play with. You see, sometimes it’s at least a week before I get a letter. It’s so bad that I will deliberately take envelopes I know are full of junk mail and open them at my table. Finally Bast gets a toy.
So yesterday I bought a toy. It’s a white something with gold ears that could be a mouse but looks more like a sheep. But it has a pouch into which I can put catnip and it seals up with velcro enabling me to freshen the catnip at will.
So I filled up the toy and drew Bast’s attention to it. She was more engaged with this toy than any toy I’d ever given her except envelope ends. But she did not fight with it right away. She looked at me and then looked at the toy, then at me again. I realized that I was sort of torturing her.
Every other time she has smelled catnip, I have just given her a pile. She has immediate access to her fix and thus sniffs, chews, rolls in it and claws at it (because I give her some on her scratching pad). These are all the acts of a drug using cat. Though I’m told that (possibly out of necessity) cats can snap right out of the high and react to things normally. But a house cat with nothing else to do, simply enjoys the high.
So my catnip using cat could only smell the catnip and not do anything else with it. But soon she began to fight back from the torture. She shook, chewed and otherwise fought the toy. It looks exactly like she has found a toy that she likes. But it could still be only torturing her.
Despite not getting any catnip from the toy, the toy has moved around my house every time I’ve left both last night and today. Maybe she will behave her way to playing with it. Maybe a bit of torture was necessary. That’s what I tell myself.
And this is the first toy I’ve had that I can “recharge”. Fresh catnip might lead to fresh playing. Time will tell if she accepts this toy.