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Fun for your cats

Is your cat's life fun? If your feline friend is only allowed on the floor and on a few chairs or doesn't have very much interaction with another cat or human, it's likely very bored ... maybe even displaying behavioural problems.

Have you indulged in some of your cat's quirks or made it happy by doing something new? Please share your ideas with us!

Tisha's blocked view!


ribbon, yarn & string are dangerous!

Ribbon, yarn and string are very dangerous to cats and can be fatal. Cellophane or foil tinsel is also to be avoided, if swallowed it can cut the cat's intestinal lining.

The center of the cat's barbed tongue (no taste buds) is the filiform papillae with backward and facing hooks for the purpose of rasping meat off prey, and acts as a comb to groom their coat. It's easy for cats to continually swallow an object that is clasped onto its tongue, going all the way inside the body. Watch for ribbon from a wrapped gift or tinsel during the holidays.

Amongs other hundreds of common household items that are dangerous are plastic bags especially with handles or smaller paper bags with handles.

The following is a mix of our own favourites and many more submitted by you our visitors. Read on and get inspired!

· A good morning ritual is to read the paper with the cat and play the straw game. Use a "hospital" straw (springy moveable head), wriggle it under a few pages of the paper. If you try this, do it on the already-read side!

· Add a wide shelf under a window for your kitty to perch or lay on for added viewing pleasure, they love and need fresh air.

· Is there a cat out there who doesn't love ping pong balls? They have a great bounce, especially on hardwood floors!

· If your basement has a high ledge, strategically place boxes or furniture for your cat to reach it.

· Offer terra cotta pots full of kitty grass in sunny spots - remember to water them every two days.

· Grow your nails - cats love hard scratches behind the ears, on the cheeks, the neck, the chin...

· In a cat-safe storage area, place boxes to offer nooks & crannies, with a few old pillows here and there.

· Carpeted cat trees, condos, posts or towers are great to sharpen claws & to relieve some spurts of energy. Place one in view of the great outdoors.

· Bunch up a blanket, throw it on your bed or on a sofa, they love to snuggle up in comfy things.

· With a little imagination, store-bought toys are not necessary but there are lots of interesting ones out there. Just ensure you buy those that are sturdy and check the toy periodically to ensure no parts are dangling etc.

· Leave an empty cardboard box out and around, they love to sit in them - remove all ribbons, tape, staples etc.

· Milk/juice caps are fun to swat around.

· Punch a whole at one end of a box & string a cord through it, entice your cat to get in it (add crumbled paper or ping pong balls if you want) then grab, pull and give your cat a leisurely tour.

· Place a bird feeder outside a patio door or window, it's great for the birds and entertaining for indoor cats.

· Paper crumpled in ball sizes for them to bat around.

· Cats love sitting in a paper grocery bag (not plastic), especially when someone wiggles their fingers at the outside end of it.

· Instead of giving her kitty a plain old boring drinking bowl, Melissa treats hers with a fountain to drink from. She bought a very cute fountain that from a local department store. Periwinkle loves to climb up on the stand and drink from it. She chooses this over her regular drinking bowl anytime, the climbing's good fun too!

· Heather says that Gizmo loves to play with plastic bottle caps such as the ones from 2-liter Pepsi bottles. He'll go nuts batting it around and carrying it in his mouth!

· All of Cynthia's 3 cats love to play with pull-off tabs from milk jugs. Mary-Beth's white cat, Cueball loves to play fetch the tabs with her. (Tisha loves this too!) Of course, the tabs usually end up under the furniture.

· Sally's Ragdoll kitten, Jasper, loves to bat around a drinking straw that she ties in a loose knot. He's getting near teething age, and just recently he has started chewing on the ends of the straw. Note that she lets him play with this only when supervised, just in case he should chew a piece off and swallow it!

· Jasper (having a banjo picker mom) also loves scratches while she wears her metal fingerpicks. Fingerpicks can be found at any music store for about a dollar each.

· Lottie's cat (Sherman and Ebony) likes home made toys like paper folded into a fan shape and tied with a bit of string around it. Don't leave string around though as it could be dangerous if swallowed (see note on sidebar).

· They also love for her to roll up a big ball of tin foil. They have a blast swatting it around the whole house!

· Barb's two kittens go absolutely wild when she throws their "spark ball" toy into the bathtub. The sloped sides keep the ball rolling and the kittens pouncing on the "live" toy.

· Angel loves hitting and chasing pipe cleaners from a craft store. Especially when they're bent into a curl for her!

· Marra just got a leash and harness set for Cleo. She's an indoor cat and loves the opportunity to sniff around outside. They go out together in the mornings, when it's quiet. It took some time for Cleo to get used to it but now she looks forward to spending that quality time together!

· Orion, Mercury & Isabella LOVE to chase the red light from the laser pointer (be careful not to shine the laser in their eyes). If they hear the keychain the pointer is on, they will not stop meowing to play.

· Buster loves a long cardboard box that is open on both sides, it makes a great kitty tunnel that he can chase ping-pong balls through and if you scratch on the outside he goes crazy trying to get the "box monster". By alternating which end we scratch on, he will race back and forth - about a 6' stretch. It's great exercise for him, and an absolute riot for us!

· Buster's other favorite is the "sheet monster" - it's basically a wiggly finger under the covers that he can chase and attack without injuring the owner of that hand.

· Lynn looks forward to sharing her "cocktail hour ritual" with her cat Parquet. She enjoys a pre-dinner glass of wine and watches the news while Parquet sits next to her on a newspaper (and she is NOT a lap cat) waiting for her tartar-control cat treats one-by-one. Weekdays or weekends, she demands her treats at the same hour! If Lynn's not there at the appropriate time, Parquet voices her opinion at the first opportunity!

· Graham bought an electrical race-track set. His kitty loves it and actually hollers for him to play with. He will meow and walk over to the race track, and sit right inside the oval, waiting for him!

· Kira and Jim's cat loves to bat around the plastic tab that holds the price tag onto clothing. She bats at it, pounces on it, and eventually hides/loses it under a rug or the couch, which makes for more fun later on when mom finds it again for her! (Warning: This is not good for all cats - this one doesn't put many things in her mouth).

· Max is crazy about his large light pom-poms from the craft store, he likes to bat them around and carry them in his mouth! Just make sure the pom-poms' strings are secure and can not be swallowed. (See note on sidebar).

· Tantalus loves to "charge the soda can". A clean soda can is filled with beads or other light rattling objects, then taped shut. It rolls on the floor and he loves to chase it.

· Steve brings in live crickets for them to chase, catch, and eat (crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle).

· He also helps his indoor cats ease their hunting instinct with a window side bird feeder. They will stalk when a bird comes and sit crouched for action (the birds can't be reached).

· Madeline's Abyssinian cat, Jenni-Purr, loves to play with an empty tissue box that contains a Ping-Pong ball. She spends hours sticking her paw into the box to get the ball out. She ends up pushing the box all over the room!

· Gary likes to scatter a rotation of half-hidden toys around the place. Peeking out from under a rug is a favourite! The toys "hide" in places that won't be too hard to find, not too easy, just hard enough so that it's a surprise discovery by kitty.

· A visitor's cat, TP (Teacher's Pet) loves to play with a remote control car that he got for his 1st birthday. Sometimes a toy is placed in the driving seat or a helium balloon is attached to it. TP chases it around the house and stalks it when it stops. He even likes the box that it arrived in!

· Great tip from Holly - take an old/cheap sock, fill it with plastic grocery bags, add catnip, and tie a secure knot at the end. Your cat will have a ball. The plastic bags give it a krinkly sound.

· Dave takes a wooden spool and some yarn, slips/puts the yarn through the wooden spool, double knots it, and ties the string to the door knob. He makes sure to double knot it so it doesn't go flying... His kitten will play for hours with the spool-yarn! Please note that yarn should not be left in reach of a cat unattended, it can be dangerous (see note on sidebar).

· Patricia's cats, Miss Kitty, Stumpy Bob and Calico love to play with a pen cap that has a cord attached (some people use these to keep a pen handy by hanging it around their neck). These should be used under supervision for safety.