Friday, April 27, 2012

Toys for the half-blind cat.

Cat television.

Normally, not liking to tempt fate, my recycling bin sits on that chair. This means Miss Amy has to sit on the ground to stare up at Fergie and Freddie. Freddie, being the bad ass gerbil he is, likes to stick his tail out of the cage at her and wiggle it. Nooo sense of self-preservation in those two. I'm not sure Amy has fine enough detail to see a wiggling tail, but she can see, smell, and hear the gerbils for sure. When I came in from taking out the recycling, this is how I found her. What you can't see is on the other side of the bars; a suicidal brave Fergie chittering at her.

I've been trying various toys as she's starting to feel secure enough in her new home to get playful in the mornings. (Afternoons and evenings being serious nap time, thankyouverymuch.) First was a bright sort of cage-ball with a birdie inside with feathers that chirps when it moves. For the most part she seems pretty unimpressed with this. She can see it, its certainly big enough, but I suspect it's too big for her way to bother with.

The next attempt was a long fuzzy fake tail with the tail splitting into three with feathers at the end, attached to a wand. This, at first, scared the beejeebers out of her. She didn't want anything to do with it! So I tucked the wand under the arm of the futon and left it for her to get used to. Her answer was the next night she pounced on the feathers, ripped them out of the tail and rolled around on them. I think that's a semi-success. She will rub against the fake fur now and then in passing, but she's shown no inclination to play with it in the days since.

The laser pointer was a great disaster, the light is too small for her to see. So all she sees is the movement of my hand, which confuses her. "Why are you gesturing like that at the floor?" I'll probably remember to buy a flashlight, sooner or later, and will try that as it'll have a wider beam.

The most successful, however, is a parrot toy. Having had bunnies, I have no problems buying across the species lines. I've found parrot toys tend to survive the enthusiastic rabbit longest. (Read : Scout, supreme destructo bun) I found one that's bright wood blocks, wrapped in cheerful paper, with bits of robe tied in rough knots and wooden balls between. There's a bunch of fuzzed rope at the end and a bell. I put it on her cat tree (Which she mostly uses as a way to groom my hair when I'm on the computer.) and she ignored it for a day. I was batting at it this morning and its like a light bulb went on and she POUNCED. Its big enough, and bright enough, that she can see it no matter how fast she gets it swinging. It makes NOISE, so she can triangulate when she loses track (I'm not actually sure how bad her eyesight is. The rope means she can get a satisfying BITE in, as well as grab it with claws and hang on. I wasn't sure my jury-rigged attachment would hold her grabbing it with her forepaws, sinking teeth in and jumping up with rear paws to swing back and forth -- but surprisingly, it did. (I am, however, going to buy some hardware to make a better connection :D )  This thing has become her ENEMY. She goes past it and gives it a swat every time.. and every time it has the nerve to swat her right back in the tail! Oh, this toy will DIE! .. So far, however, she's much less destructive than a parrot OR a rabbit so I suspect this toy will be around quite a while yet..

I suppose I shouldn't forget every cat's favourite of wiggling toes under a blanket .. but the toy doesn't seem to have the same long term stamina for the game as the cat does.. so its not the best toy. Even if it does have comfy legs to lie on for snoozing.

I suspect, as her eye sight gets worse and worse, it will get more and more challenging to get her interactive toys. She doesn't seem to care about catnip, so I'm not sure smell is helpful. She's a young, healthy cat, she's going to have lots of energy for years yet. I suspect we'll learn together! :)


  1. I'd say noisy toys and things she can sniff out are going to be your best option. Have you tried anything with catnip in it? Hiding a few treats where she can smell them but needs to seek them out could be a fun game. (Of course, Mr. Mick suggested a rousing round of "find-the-gerbils". His grounding has been extended for a day.)

    1. Tee hee. The Gerbils would probably enjoy that game a little too much.

      She doesn't seem at all interested in catnip. So we'll try noisy toys. Right now the parrot dangly toy is her enemy because it keeps swinging back and bopping her on the nose.. :)

  2. If you've figured out what treats she like, there is a cat equivalent of the "kong" treat ball which should be big and colourful enough for her to see, and with a few treats in it, will make noise. Check out toddler toys too, there are generally sounds involved with them as well as bright colours. I've got a clockwork style gerbil...for Honey which she loves. It is faux fur, and you pull the tail and it quivers with a bit of shaking sound. If she's not interest in catnip, there is an alternative, I've a friend who is using hyacinth - confirm with the pet store or vet about alternatives. Honey also loves the green tops from strawberries. Loosely crumpled balls of paper and cardboard boxes intrigue several cats I know (Honey loves hiding out in cardboard boxes), also, I don't know if she'd enjoy it, but the crinkle tunnels intrigue several cats I know too. Good luck, I'm sure you'll find more toys. one I do have for Honey and recommended to another friend, it hangs from the top of the door, on an elastic, and makes some nice noise when it bounces off the ceiling lol :-0.

    1. Ooooh.. Good thoughts, Kirsty! Thank you!

      Her favourite hiding spot is the rolled up foam I have under the futon. (Because futons are too hard for humans to sleep on without it)

      Which also happens to explain why there's bits of foam on my floor..

  3. Ahh furry critters together what fun!and a Speedy special for Mr Mick has been started,the trouble Lorna gets me into...heeheehee

    1. LOL! I'll have to write a story about it when it's done.. :D

  4. Hi,
    I happened to find this awesome, but could not find a follow button.
    Was hoping that in return you would check out and follow my blog.
    Bunny Hugs,
    Bunny Boy

    1. Just in case you aren't a bot --

      This is SO not the way to get traffic to your site. Most of the bunny people read each other's blogs so we all see you posting the same message on multiple blogs.

      Your better bet is to join the community, take part in conversations and get to know people. Or buy ad space on google.

    2. very true but you have to admire his cheek and I'm afraid his bunny is adorable...heeheehee.Speedy and mum

  5. You know, not too long ago I had a dog who'd gone blind from diabetes. Funniest thing, she still LOVED her tennis ball! During playtime, she'd be excited but still, waiting for the sound of the ball hitting the floor and then...BOING! it would gently bounce off her body and she'd twirl around chasing it! *sigh* She was a complete gem, she was.

    (OH! Nice tip on the parrot toy, too!)

    : ) x