Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pearls before cats

A couple of months ago I decided to surprise my two cats with a few cat toys. One was a catnip mouse, which seems to have disappeared, probably under some furniture. That was sort of an afterthought. The two stars of the show have switched top billing, though.

One is a little robot mouse. It was about fifteen bucks. It can "hear", it can sense when it's touched, and in either case, it launches into this elaborate spiel of wiggling, taunting the cat, flashing lights, and giggling. I thought it was pretty clever and felt sorry for cats in centuries past that such technology was unavailable to them. But my cats aren't impressed. They barely bother with it. I hear it go off every now and then, and I sometimes see them watch it, but they don't engage with it. This is not to say I think no cat would; I'm sure some cats go nuts for it... just not mine. It's silly, but I feel sorry for the little robot mouse, who only "wants" to do his job and entertain the cats. I'm reminded of the robot nanny in the Twilight Zone episode, "I Sing the Body Electric".

On the other hand, there's the feather boa on the stick — which was probably retro when Fred Flintstone was trying to entertain his sabretooth. This is a yard-long string of feathers with a big, birdlike blob of feathers at the end, all on a resin baton. It gives you surprising control over how the thing moves; it's like conducting an orchestra. Well, the cats absolutely love this thing. They'd chase it and clap the air at it and hug it to their bellies for half an hour at a shot if I had the stamina for that. They'll both play with it at the same time, with me waving it back and forth between them. I think the thing was seven dollars, and it's the belle of the ball. It's a bigger hit than the red dot from the pen laser. You just never know.

Like all those kids who ignore the hundred-dollar toy and make a fort out of the box it came in... it must be a mammal thing.


L-girl said...

Wow, that sounds cool! I'd love to get Tala a robot mouse. But she'd probably tear it to pieces. She'll have to make do chasing the real squirrels and birds outside.

Dreck said...

There's just no knowing with cats, is there?
Dogs, on the other hand...