Saturday, 17 May 2008
The Thing And Other Alternative Cat Toys
The Thing (pictured above, alongside a spellbound Bootsy) arrived in the post the other day, free with a package of overpriced German cat biscuits. Its ambiguity frightens me slightly. I'm calling it The Thing because I'm not sure what it's supposed to be, or what it's made of, though I have my suspicions that the fur stuck to it is not man-made. Also in the package were a rattling ball and a small catnip mouse, both of which have proved to be of nowhere near as much interest to my cats as The Thing. I have already posted the video of the six spoilt little gobshites ignoring their twenty quid-plus Panic Mouse, and I am now on the point of giving up buying conventional or interesting toys for them, since none of these seem to be as exciting as bargain oddities and the various everyday detritus they find on the floor of my house. With this in mind, I felt it was time to ask them to give me a rundown of the top five 'alternative' feline toys.
NB: At the time of writing, none of the following are stocked at Pets At Home:
1. The Dried Noodle
Janet: "It's always one of life's letdowns when your human puts the hob on and it turns out there's nothing fish- or meat-based in the offing, but sometimes when there's boiled water involved, it's worth sticking around. After all, you never know: something brittle and magical might end up on the floor. Noodles might not taste as good as a turkey's wattle or a mouse's face, but there's really nothing finer to bat round a parquet floor on a bored Sunday afternoon - particularly when we're talking about the dried, uncooked version. Watch! as, under the control of your deft paws, the noodle skitters across the floorboards, under chairs, stools and cabinets! Recline! and stare for literally hours at the curve of the dried unleavened dough! Fantasise! as the noodle becomes a shrew, pike, triceratops or any mythical beast you care to imagine! Sod feathers on sticks - these cheeky little fellas do it for me ever time."
2. The Polystyrene Bead
Bootsy: "Squeaky, durable, cheap, and great to bed down on after a mad-half hour. What more could you wish for?"
3. The Random Chunk Of Cardboard
Shipley: "Most cats say boxes are best for sleeping, but that's just propaganda. And while newspapers are good for casual chewing, nothing feels finer between the teeth than a well-made bit of household packaging. Recent personal favourites include the protective shells for the Vax Integra Carpet Washer 7652 and the latest wireless audio fm transmitter from iStuff, but nothing quite beats the timeless chewability of Big Yellow: This Way Up. Tear it off in strips or chunks! Casually masticate a corner while your step-brother is curled up peacefully inside! The choices are endless..."
4. The Rotting Pampas Grass Leaf:
Ralph: "The pampas grass is a double-edged sword - and I mean that literally. Given a patient, play-happy owner to hold the other end of the blade, there's nothing better for playing 'Clappy Paws' with. It's hard not to appreciate the craftmanship, as you watch it slide across a freshly mown lawn. Squint and you can even convince yourself that it's an unusually pointy-headed snake. But beware: get overenthusiastic, and those sharp edges can sting. Not recommended for kittens under 10 weeks old."
5. The Bootsy
Pablo: "Rare but perfectly formed, the Bootsy comes in one colour (grey) and is extraordinary lifelike - both in the pained squeaks it emits as you scrag its neck, and in its habit of laying in catlike positions in the crevices of armchairs and duvets. Terrific for indolent neck-biting, back-sitting or - my personal favourite - 'The Castrato Hump'."