Tag: cat toys

Are Laser Pointers Bad For Cats?

Bud is obsessed with his new laser pointer.

I bought one for the first time more than a week ago. For years I’d occasionally break out a level that shoots a narrow band of laser light that appears like a small stripe, and while Buddy enjoyed chasing after it, I’m thinking the laser probably wasn’t as powerful or didn’t register as well in the spectrum of light most visible to felines.

Whatever the reason, while he liked chasing the level’s laser light, he loves this $5 pet laser.

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In fact, he loves it a little too much. Every day, if I haven’t taken it out for play time, he climbs up onto the coffee table and begins pawing at the tray that contains the laser pointer and TV remotes. He finds the pointer, bats at it with his little paws, and makes mewing sounds that undoubtedly translate to: “Play time! I want! I want! Play with me now!”

I can see now why some people warn against using these things. I thought the upside was worth the potential downside, because the laser pointer gets the little dude moving like few other toys do. (And even then only when they’re new and novel.)

Bud’s single-mindedness with the laser pointer reminds me of his one-track mind when it came to Temptations, before I stopped buying those infernal things. (Blue Buffalo makes very similar-looking treats that he happily gobbles up, but instead of the corn and filler of Temptations, they’re made of chicken, turkey, salmon and so on.)

Crucially he doesn’t act like a crack addict the way he did with the Temps, when he’d park himself by the treat cabinet and meow mournfully for his next fix.

The Red Dot!
I’ve caught the red dot! I’m eating it!

So I’m wondering: What kind of experiences have you guys had with laser pointers? Have you used them? Have your cats become obsessed?

One final thought: Bud is fully aware the laser comes from the pointer, and he knows I have to press the button for the beam to work. That’s a clear example of abstract thinking. So far he hasn’t figured out a way to activate it himself, but you never know…

Floppy Fish II: The Floppening

I promised an update on Buddy and his new Floppy Fish toy, confident he would get over his trepidation and start playing with it eventually. More than half a dozen attempts later I’ve succeeded only in making him more skittish.

Our readers will recall Buddy got his first look at his new toy last week, and he was terrified of it.

He stepped back warily as I flipped the on switch and placed the flopping fish on the floor. When it stopped thrashing — which it does after a few seconds to save battery life, relying on a motion sensor to tell it to move again — Buddy slowly, cautiously edged his way over.

With a wary eye on the toy fish, Buddy gave it a nudge with his paw, then jumped back as it sprang to life again, making a mechanical SWISH-SWISH sound as it thrashed.

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I tried to get him interested in the fish the next day and again the following night. It was late. Buddy hopped up to the coffee table and padded over to me, nuzzling me with his cheeks in hello.

He’s relaxed, I thought. Good opportunity to try the fish again!

I should have kept the power off. He wasn’t playing with the fish, but he wasn’t hissing at it or running away.

Stupidly I allowed impatience to get the better of me. I switched it on, and he freaked out and ran away. After that he wouldn’t even go near the thing even as it sat dormant. He probably thinks it’s like Ssscat, the motion-triggered compressed air spray that startles cats to keep them off kitchen counter tops, tables and other surfaces.

Come to think of it, maybe I can find a use for the fish yet. If I want to protect a fragile item on a flat surface, all I need to do is place the fish in front of it and Bud will never go near the thing. 🙂


Cat Toy Review: Floppy Fish

The toy: Floppy Fish, a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery powered soft toy fish that flops around to simulate the behavior of real fish and trigger cats’ predatory instincts.

Price: Between $15 and $25 online and in pet stores. The toy is sold as Floppy Fish, Flippity Fish, Floppy Fishy, Fish Cat Kicker and other names. Some come with catnip and a pouch inside the fish for “infusing” the toy with the ‘nip.

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The cat: Buddy

The result: After charging the fish with its included charging cable, I located the on switch and set the fish on the floor, where it started doing its flopping thing.

A cautious but curious Buddy approached. I could see the gears turning in his head: “What is this thing? Is it for me? It must be. Big Buddy placed it on the floor and called to me, and now he’s looking expectantly at me.

But…it’s scary! Look at it flipping and flopping! That’s terrifying! Oh man. I don’t like the sound it’s making. Look, it’s getting closer! Run!

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Okay. Safe distance. It’s stopped flopping. Now I can approach, give it a sniff, maybe slap it with my paw and…

It’s moving again!!! RUN!!!

Is this what salmon is like? I don’t think I can ever eat fish again. Who knew they were such terrifying monsters?

I have to hide. It should be all right if I come out in an hour, right?”

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Verdict: This is obviously a well-received cat toy, as it’s got positive ratings online and there are plenty of Youtube videos showing cats having fun with it. It’s lithium-ion rechargeable, so you won’t have to buy separate batteries, and it’s motion-activated with an off timer so the battery won’t drain during periods of inactivity. Overall it looks and feels pretty durable.

However, if your cat is incredibly brave and daring a big wimp, it may not be the toy for him or her. Bud’s 0 for 3 so far on attempted play sessions.

Buddy may yet come around and relax enough around the fish to play with it. If he does, I’ll update this post accordingly.

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Dear Buddy: Help! Humans Have Invented A Cat Torture Device!

Dear Buddy,

I discovered this today, hidden in the garage with a bow around it, presumably a “gift” for my upcoming birthday:

I wanted to warn you about this dire development so you can pass the word along to the millions of other cats who read your blog. The humans have invented a cruel torture device for us! This is a declaration of war!

My birthday is Wednesday. I must flee on Tuesday night at the latest. Wish me well in finding new humans who will serve me to satisfaction and provide acceptable yums.

Backstabbed in Binghampton


Dear Backstabbed,

RUN! And I don’t mean on that…contraption. Run for your life!

That video is horrific. It’s hard to watch. There must be some invisible force field keeping that poor cat confined to the wheel so he has no choice but to keep running or be tossed around violently like a wallet in a clothes drier.

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Human cruelty: Clearly an invisible force field keeps this poor kitty from escaping.

Why can’t humans invent something awesome, like a device that feeds us snacks while massaging us at the same time? These sadistic creatures claim they love us, but every now and then they inadvertently reveal the depraved depths of their minds, like when they invented those “fun” puzzle feeders that make us work for every kibble and stop us from scarfing down our yums.

Thank you for the warning, my friend. Take heed, fellow felines! You may be next!

Buddy

 

Patient Cat Watches Grandma Mend His Beloved Toy

Sometimes cats do things that remind us they’re essentially furry little wise-beyond-their-years toddlers.

I love this story about a four-year-old cat named Lucas and his favorite toy in the whole world, a stuffed leopard he’s been cuddling and playing with since he was a kitten.

“I got the toy from my local zoo, along with a few other stuffed animals,” Alana, Lucas’ human servant, told The Dodo. “He usually leaves my stuffed animals alone, but he wouldn’t leave this one alone.”

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As any cat servant knows, our felines are pretty rough on toys, especially if cats knead on them and drag them around the house.

“He’s had this toy for probably four years, and it ripped because of wear and tear,” Alana said. “My grandma moved in with us last year, and really loves Lucas. [She] saw that his favorite toy was ripped, so she sewed it back together for him.”

As you can see from the photos, little Lucas was curious and entranced by his grandma’s patch job, happily purring as she handed it back to him almost as good as new.

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Buddy’s favorite toy is a small stuffed bird from a wand toy.

He still likes “hunting” it, then laying back and batting it around after he catches it. (And I use the word “catch” loosely. He likes hunting games because his instincts drive him to stalk and pounce, but he doesn’t know what to do once he catches up with his “prey.”)

He drags it around when we’re not playing with it, and sometimes I find it near his food bowls.

Like Lucas’ leopard, Buddy’s bird is ripped, worn and often soggy with cat saliva. What’s your cat’s favorite toy?