Cat and String

I have a cat.

We have purchased a number of toys for her: several balls, a cat track (one of those openwork plastic tracks with a noisy ball inside), a cat-fishing rod (rod attached to cord, which is in turn attached to a toy mouse), and catnip-filled toys ranging from a simple muslin bag to a Bill Clinton doll.

The toy that she likes most, though, is a piece of upholstery torn and cut from a old chair cushion under my desk (don’t ask). She plays with it, regardless of whether we’re there to make it move; it’s the only thing that she gets out on her own. I often keep it in a box full of printing supplies on a footstool (again, don’t ask); she’s reared up on the footstool to get it, and even jumped up on her carrier so that she can paw through the box.

She was abandoned by a previous owner; for the longest time after we brought her in, she didn’t seem to know how to play (traumatized by the previous owner or the abandonment, I suppose). Now, she runs around the house, and plays with her upholstery string. Her attitude towards her other toys ranges from, “What’s that?” to “I’ll play with it if and when I’m in the mood”.

An actual fixation with the string, an introduction to it just at the time she began to play, or does it smell like the cushion (which she just got on, presumably to sleep)?

“I don’t just want you to feel envy. I want you to suffer, I want you to bleed, I want you to die a little bit each day. And I want you to thank me for it.” – What “Let’s just be friends” really means

I, too, have a cat, obtained just over a year ago from the good folks at the ASPCA [shameless plug] Adopt a pet today! [/shameless plug]

Marlin, for that is his name, is obsessed with the plastic rings that come from Snapple bottles. I’ve bought him tons of “real” toys, they’re all over my floor. He ignores them (with the exception of those little cage-like bell-in-a-ball things). He is never happier than when I reach in my backpack and toss him that day’s Snapple ring (yes, I save them for him). All I can figure is, they make a satisfying noise when pounced on. I guess it’s possible that as a pre-ASPCA stray, he might have learned to play with trash, and prefers to keep the habit up even now.

This is a good place to point out that people who abuse or abandon animals are seething piles of scum.

Gamera is really neat, he is full of turtle meat, we’ve been eating Gam-er-aaaa…

Interesting sig, considering that the other night we had to euthanize a turtle that had been pulverized by a car.

This is also a good place to mention that cats should never be allowed to play with string unsupervised, because they will often ingest it, and need emergency surgery to get it back out.

Anyone ever see that unbelieveably cheesy commercial for the Cat Lover’s Visa? The concept is that cats won’t play with anything you pay for, but love free stuff (Snapple Rings, upholstry strings, etc.) So they give you a cat “playhouse” when you get their Visa, and because it is free, your cats will love it.

Stupid commerical, good theory. If it’s free, they’ll love it. My Siamese is a BIG fan of chasing bugs. As a result, my apartment is bug-free. (w00h00!)

DON PEDRO: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.

BEATRICE: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born. -Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Sc: i

Michelle writes:

True, and I hope that I did not suggest otherwise with the title of this thread. The piece of upholstery in question, though, is one of those semi-decorative hems about ¼" wide.

Nothing in life is certain save that, having been born, we’ll die. But, I think that the likelihood of Patches ingesting her upholstery string is small enough that I don’t feel compunctions over leaving it out at night; I’d have a hard time choking it down.

“I don’t just want you to feel envy. I want you to suffer, I want you to bleed, I want you to die a little bit each day. And I want you to thank me for it.” – What “Let’s just be friends” really means

I have spent close to a billion dollars on cat toys. My Minx loves plastic caps off of the milk jug and tin foil balls. And, because I’m an idiot, every time I leave the house I bring home a new cat toy that will be ignored.

I just picked up another cat at the shelter on Saturday. They said at the shelter that she never played with anything. Well, they were wrong. She loves kicking around the caps to my soda bottles. Great, someone else to ignore all the cat toys.

::going out to buy yet another roll of tin foil:: ::sigh::

Our previous cat, from the humane society, played with cat toys when young, the plastic mesh balls with the bell inside being his very favorite, but after the first few years he gave up toys. His only toy play for the next ten years was if I dragged something string-like around for him to chase. Our two current cats have opposite attitudes to toys. One, from a cat shelter, is utterly indifferent to toys, including the dragging string, but is rabid about the plastic rings from gallon/half gallon jugs already mentioned by other posters. (Also the empty spool from scotch tape; try it with yours.) She will come running from anywhere in the house if she hears me open a new container of milk, and has been known to bring these plastic rings to bed in the middle of the night. Other toys she simply gazes at with a sort of thoughtful indifference, as if trying to figure out the point. On the other hand, our other cat (stray who appeared at the window) is utterly unmoved by the milk rings, but is a big fan of many “real” toys, especially ones that make a “shaking” sound (like bb’s, as opposed to bells). All his play has an overtone of serious hunting, which probably arises from his days of survival on the streets. One of the funny parts is seeing one of them watching the other playing with his/her object of choice. They look as if they want to join in but just can’t figure it out. I have seen milk-ring girl sit in front of a real toy the other was just playing with, study it intently, finally touch it once, then walk away obviously muttering something under her breath about how it takes all kinds.

But I don’t want to pay the penalty.
I just want to go home.

I guess I’m luckier than some, cause my beloved Molly does actually play with most of the toys we’ve bought for her. Her all time favorites, though, are an old shoelace of mine and any type of soda bottle lid. I’ve watched her amuse herself for hours at a time swatting the lid to a Coke bottle across the kitchen floor.

“There are more things you don’t know than there are things that I do know. I despair of the imbalance.” – Dr. Morgenes, The Dragonbone Chair

My Cats go for those “Cat dancer” toys, but since all they are are bits of wire, with bits of cardboard, my girls probably think they are just ordinary household items and will thus play with them.

BTW, after a exeptionall debauch at castle Borgia (Okay, Okay, its actually two bedroom apartment Borgia) The place was littered with packing peanuts for some reason. The fat girl, Zoe, promptly ate a few. I took her to the vet, but all they did was give her laxatives. this was four years ago and she is fine. Of course, to papraphrase Captain Mcallister, “Tis no mere Cat, tis a remorseless eating machine.”

Larry, my previous cat had a major mania for styrofoam packing peanuts. If I opened a package, he was right there vying for any shot at getting one. He could tell before opening, by scent I assume, if the contents were packed in paper, in which case he was indifferent, or in styrofoam, in which case he was as pushy as a feline knows how to be. If I closed the box leaving just the peanuts inside, he would go to great lengths trying to get one or more extracted. And he didn’t play with them, just ate them as if they were the greatest cat delicacy ever. Knowing this could only be very bad gastronomical news, I tried to be very careful after learning of this odd obsession, since he would track down the smallest bit that had fallen under a table leg, etc, but if they were anywhere in the house he would usually sniff them out. His other weird idea of good eating was cotton balls that had been used with rubbing alcohol; he would tip over the wastebasket to get at them the instant you left the room. I had to store such used cotton balls in the medicine cabinet until I could actually carry them outside to throw them away. A couple relatives also use alcohol/cotton, and when they came to visit they would, naturally enough, throw used ones in the trash. From wherever I was in the house I would hear the trash can tip over and have to run down to intervene (fortunately it took him a minute to gnaw down a whole cotton ball, so I could usually wrestle it out of him). He was otherwise normal and healthy and a fastidious eater of high quality cat food, so we never did figure out the source of this curious chemical obsession.

But I don’t want to pay the penalty.
I just want to go home.

Best cat toy I ever used was simple and homemade. Take one of those yardsticks they give away at home-center openings and put a notch near one end. Tie a piece of yarn through the notch, and tie the other end to a little strip of cloth.

Then, go fishin’ for cats. They just love it…

This post brought to you by the US Department of Overprotective Paternalism.