Getting Catty with Toys

Cat drinks beer - Conduit will soon need to get rid of his beer bellyConduit’s cat-toys are littered all over our living room floor. He is constantly running around, chasing toy mice, knocking over lamps, and generally acting like an excited cat would outdoors, but indoors. I was wondering how to remove Conduit’s toys without causing any issues, as this cat seems to think he is purrfect. Conduit is the name of the cat that my wife Cindy and I are the proud owners of. For a while I was trying to figure out how to remove Conduit from our home, as he just seemed to be lying down, depressed, drinking my beer stash and at one point, he even had his own Lazyboy chair. I would try to strategize how to get rid of Conduit week in and week out, until I decided to judge him a bit more favorably. After some internet research, I learned that Conduit, like any other cat, may have just been bored, and without an appropriate outlet, he just kind of sank into a bit of cat-depression and guzzled my beers. I think seeing a cat drinking beer is what finally motivated me to begin researching this unusual behavior.

Some interesting facts about cats for their owners to know include realizing that cats by their very nature, are hunters. Before a cat embarks on a hunt, the chemical Dopamine is released in to their body, which gives them an excited feeling to prepare them to catch their prey. Without a stimulating environment, cats can become depressed. The coordination of a cat’s eye, the way they move, all translate into the concept that as cat owners, we must keep out cats busy and entertained. Cats that are not, may begin unhealthy behaviors, like over-grooming until there are bald spots- and we do not want to have to get a small toupee for our cats to where in public. Here are some different cat-toys and why a cat owner may consider getting them.

Cat PuzzleCats are natural hunters, and are made to utilize their senses and physical prowess to work for their food, so let’s let them. Puzzle Feeders offer cats a challenging way to obtain their food, whether wet or dry, store bought or homemade. A puzzle feeder is a simply cat-toy in which a plastic ball has a hole in it, where food is then put and randomly falls out as the cat rolls it around. For Conduit, we use a homemade puzzle feeder that has the advantage of challenging him and making him eat slower, as he is not hovering over the food bowl anymore.

Playtime is an important activity for any cat, and this can include both interactive and object play. Interactive means you play with your cat, such as holding a pole type toy with something attached, and the cat can play hunter as you move the pole around. The strategy with this type of toy is to drag the toy across or out of the cat’s vision, so it appears more like prey and not a lunch waiting to be eaten.

playing with catsObject play involves objects, such as furry mice, crinkle balls, or other small toys. Placing the toy in an unexpected place can arouse curiosity in the cats, which may encourage further play. You can also get a cat-tree so the cat can feel a sense of status, as cats live in a vertical world and this can add some flavor to your cat’s life. We once placed Conduit on his new cat-tree, only to come into our living room to see him wearing a royal gold crown and trying to amass an army of furry mice to mount a rebellion and take over our home.

Cats are special creatures and using cat toys to offer environmental enrichment can make the difference between a happy or depressed cat. Many basic cat toys are good to get started, and can be found on Amazon.com or your local pet store.

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