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updated: 8/16/2012 3:26 PM

Get creative when searching for the perfect cat toy

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By Mary Hayashi
The Buddy Beat

I often encourage feline fanciers to stimulate play with their cats by making old toys new, by either reapplying catnip or putting them away for a while.

You should not have to work too hard to get your cat to play with interactive toys. If your cat is disinterested in anything you can buy, your feline just does not respond to conventional store-bought toys.

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What can you find for them to play with that will be safe?

Use your imagination and enter your feline's state of mind. If you think about it and watch your cat's behavior, you will come up with some ideas. Don't our felines always want something to play with they shouldn't?

Our response to their behavior is key. An object is always more interesting if we are saying no. Now the object is a must-have. Look for creative ways to make the item safe or only allow access when you can supervise.

I have a cat that always helps me put away groceries. She watches me untwist ties from the bags of fruits and vegetables, then tries to grab them and run away with them. She is even smart enough to know where they are kept and tries to open the kitchen drawers and cabinets.

She enjoys the twist-ties so much I allow her to play with them when I have time to watch her to make sure she does not run off and hide the twist for later play. Ultimately, she would chew the paper off, exposing the wire if I let her have it for an extended period of time.

If I come home with paper-handled shopping bags her world is complete. The handles are cut off and she proudly claims her prize by carrying it off and putting it in her toy box. Flat-handled paper bags are safer because they do not unravel like twisted handles.

Forget crinkled or fuzzy store-bought toys for my paper-obsessed feline. She prefers wadded notepaper balls. She will fetch nothing else. She loves the texture and the sound. This is a harmless toy to leave out as long as you check the condition of the paper daily.

She hauls these paper wads around and proudly puts them in her toy box so she does not have to share her toys. The rest of my cats think she is crazy because they love the expensive, store-bought toys.

If you want to provide a real special toy and you don't mind the price range, YEOWWW brand catnip toys will send even the laziest feline into playing frenzy. Even my paper-crazed feline plays like a kitten with these toys. The price range is $6-$8.

When your feline gets through playing with YEOWWW catnip, make sure you have a super Kitty Kong for them to divert aggression at so they leave the rest of the cats alone. Yes, they are that crazy with YEOWWW. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Adoptables

Today's featured felines could really benefit from getting out of the shelter and getting some exercise and lower calorie food.

• Harvey is a 6-year-old, neutered, gray/brown tabby who is really sweet, a guy's lap cat. He hits the scales at 26 pounds, so dietary concerns are a real issue. Needless to say, no chips for Harvey during couch time during sporting events.

• Lucy is a 6-year-old, black, spayed female. She was abandoned with Harvey but they do not necessarily need to be adopted together. Harvey was moved to a multi-cat room and is just fine. We tried to keep them together, but Lucy wanted no part of the multi-cat room. Lucy is a friendly feline who needs a new family to assure her she will not be abandoned again.

Join Us For the Buddy Walk

The walk will take place Sunday, Sept. 9, at Twin Lakes in Palatine.

The walk is only a mile. You can walk in a group, individually or with your dog. Buddy encourages you to get sponsors or pledges for the event to help us earn more money for Freddy, our special needs dog that has to have eye surgery.

The donation to participate is $25 for adults who preregister ($30 the day of) and $15 for children ages 12 and younger. You will get an event shirt and goody bag.

If you register by Aug. 24, you get to pick your T-shirt size so it will really fit you.

• Contact the Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806 or visit thebuddyfoundation.org. The Buddy Foundation is at 65 W. Seeger, Arlington Heights.

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