Ever observe a young child ignore a room full of toys and tug at his Mum, whining about being bored?
Scrappy’s version is to sit on the floor near me, making plaintive chirps and trills. If I ignore this, he’ll reach up and pat my leg with his paw… usually without claws, but if he’s really impatient he might forget that little politeness. Or, he’ll find a position nearby and just stare expectantly at me like so:
The problem is, the smart little guy figures out new toys fairly quickly. And once he’s certain what they’ll do, he finds them less interesting. So the favorite toy of last week is BOOOOORRRRRING this week, and he wants something new. Plus, he’s an extroverted formal feral who has only figured out limited ways of interacting with the humans. When we play with him, he feels loved.
Right now the main thing that captures his interest is the laser pointer. He’ll chase The Dot until he’s panting with exhaustion; one time he actually ran until he threw up. My bad, for indulging him right after a meal, I guess. But he’s showing signs of losing his passion for The Dot; now he’ll chase it a bit and then stop, flop down on the floor, and just watch it. And, I’m just not gonna sit there deploying a laser pointer for a passively-watching cat.
Another thing that attracts him is watching wildlife through the window. I have considered putting out a bird feeder to increase the entertainment value there. The risk is, he’s started showing interest in going outside, and that’s associated with a whole host of problems I don’t want to deal with.
So I queried a cat-lover group on social media for favorite toys and activities and got a few suggestions.
One suggestion was to gather up all the toys and hide them away, only putting out a few at a time and rotating them out every week or so. That way perhaps he’ll forget the old ones.
Ping pong balls – are more exciting than many of the other balls because once tossed, they bounce around a lot and respond well to being batted. I ordered a few; they should be arriving today.
Someone recommended a “hide and seek” puzzle box toy. I’ve seen a couple such things online, and considered them… but I suspect such a thing would pall once he’d figured out the puzzle, so I’m loathe to spend too much cash on a few days of entertainment. Perhaps I should figure out how to DIY something similar?
Likewise, apparently there are a devices that automatically deploy a laser pointer. Which seems a bit risky to do in a room where others are sitting – wouldn’t it potentially flash in our eyes?
And someone suggested Cat TV on YouTube. So I tried that this morning. And now Scrappy is concerned there might be some sort of small burrowing creature living in the pillow under my laptop: