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{March 28, 2015}   The Things We Do For Our Pets

Homemade Cat Toy

A Close-up of Zoee’s New Toy

I have written before about making toys for my cats. They always seem to like them better than the ones I buy. My latest creation was a modified version of a toy I read about in the January/February Humane Society magazine, “allanimals.”

The article by Emily Smith suggested that you glue toilet paper rolls together in a “wall or pyramid.” It also suggested you could cover them with non-toxic paint or fabric (which seemed like too much time and work to me when I didn’t know if they would like it). I modified the suggestion; I collected some toilet paper rolls and put a rubber band around them. Then, Emily instructed, use tissue paper to close some of the tubes with treats inside. I checked around my apartment and found a piece of tissue paper from a breakable item I had bought at the store. Hmmm…a friend had recently given me a small gift buried in shredded paper…maybe that would work too?

Oh-oh. This is what my living room floor looked like when I came home one day.

cat toys

Cats…Pick up your Toys!

And then I managed to make it worse by tracking the shredded paper around the house. And this toy has to be remade every time you use it! (Translation: reloaded with treats and paper.) I don’t know about this…

But she played with it! That’s a success!

So…I went around and gathered up my paper shreds to stuff them back in and loaded in some treats…and I watched her. Smart Zoee…She flipped it over on its ends to see if the treats would just “fall” out — less work. Hmm…the shredded paper didn’t hold the treats in that well. It might have appealed to her mischievous nature, but wasn’t practical.

I decided maybe it would be better to go out and buy some tissue paper…and let Zoee do her own shredding. Maybe it would keep her busy for just a little bit longer…:-)

 




I recently spent some money on the cats to help them adjust to their new surroundings: a new cat tower, new scratching refill, and new toys. I was gratified that they have been using them. But…the favorite toy of the moment is once again a homemade toy. (See my blog about the first homemade toy here.)

A couple of years ago, my husband and I made chocolate lollipops at Christmas time. We had some leftover candy sticks; I find leftover crafting items perfect cat toy components. In this case, I figured if the sticks are safe for humans to chew on, they would likely be safe for the cats. I tied some leftover ribbon on a candy stick and —  VOILA! — a new toy. My cats are very interactive and they definitely prefer toys that bring them in close contact with me. So I sit on the floor and dangle the toys for them. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures in this post…it’s hard to play with the cat with one hand and take decent pictures at the same time!)

cat play

Aimee watching her favorite toy

They like to grab the ribbons, but also they LOVE to chew on the stick!

closeup cat toy

We LOVE to chew on the stick…

The downside is that the ribbons slide right off and I have to keep putting them back on. To the cats — that’s part of the fun (Off–On–Off–On…). To glue the ribbons would be spoiling part of the game (for them). Sometimes they run off with ribbons streaming from their mouths. (I wish I caught a picture of THAT!)

Anyway, I recommend the local craft store as a go-to place for cat toys. 🙂

cat playing

Aimee playing with her present favorite toy




What was your favorite toy as a child? Was it a teddy bear? Not me — I had a stuffed donkey given to me by my godmother and godfather. I loved “Donken-in” as I called him and told him all my secrets. Unfortunately, the family dogs got a hold of him several times, and my mother was forced to repair him to assuage my tears. By the time I outgrew him, his ear was sewed back on; his tail was sewed back on; every one of his feet were a mass of stitches. But that never mattered to me; I loved him no matter what.

My cats have favorite toys too. And I repair them and repair them and repair them.

At Christmas time I wrote a blog about homemade toys.  Here’s a picture of the toy right after I made it.

Home-made cat toy

This toy has become a favorite to my tiger cat, Aimee. She plays with it everyday. The other morning I woke up and the toy was on the floor by my bed. 🙂 Take a look at this pitiful thing now.

cat toy

6-months later: the taped toy

Every time Aimee tears a piece of foil off, I tape it back on. I swear the more tape that is on it, the more she loves it!

cat playing

Aimee playing with her favorite toy

My other cat, Zoee, on the other hand, loves this store-bought catnip toy.  It used to have feathers on it, which are now gone. The string has been knotted over and over. I have had to tape the end because she kept pulling it off the stick.

repaired cat toy

A close-up of the repairs to Zoee’s toy

But I keep repairing it…she loves it and wants to play with it every day. She will sometimes carry it in her mouth, dragging the stick behind (today we’re being lazy and just batting at it).

cat playing

Zoee’s “lazy” play

They have a ton of other toys, practically brand-new — because they don’t want to play with them. They want to play with these. So I guess until these toys are out of favor or abandoned, I will repair, repair, repair…



{December 25, 2012}   Home-made Gifts are Best

So…you know what they say…home-made gifts are most appreciated. Here’s the store-bought gift.

cat toy

 

And here’s the home-made gift: some pieces of leftover foil paper taped to a wine cork.

Home-made cat toy

 

Guess which gift is more popular?

cat with toy

 

Merry Christmas!!



{February 11, 2012}   Inexpensive Tips for Happy Kitties

Like most pet owners, I enjoy spoiling my kitties. They have countless toys, several beds and a kitty tower. Every time I go to the pet store I am tempted to buy them something else they don’t need. I have discovered two things they really like that are relatively inexpensive, and I thought I would share it with other pet owners.

I know there are some cats that like “free” stuff like paper bags or bread ties; mine are not that easy. I have spent countless dollars on toys that they have played with once or twice, which then end up in their “toy box” covered with dust.

Through trial and error, my husband and I discovered that their favorite toy is silk string. We bought a 3-pack at a craft store for under $4.00; it is supposed to be for jewelry-making. The kitties seem to like the feel of the string between their toes and in their mouths. They go crazy when we take it out!! Be sure to tie knots in the ends of the string to keep it from fraying completely and don’t leave the string around when you are not home to supervise.

My kitties also love flannel and polartec material for bedding. The large chain pet stores charge $10 to $20 for animal blankets. Some people use old towels; animal shelters are always looking for those. My mother used to get old baby blankets at the local Thrift stores for her dachshunds, which is fairly inexpensive, but I have found it cheaper to go to the fabric store and get remnants for less than $2. The kitties love the material. When we bought our cat “tree” they didn’t use it until I put a piece of flannel on the top platform. Now one of the kitties sleeps there all the time!

Lovin' my flannel blanket



et cetera
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