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updated: 12/9/2012 6:18 AM

Felines may be less destructive if they get some playtime

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  • Figaro

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Saffron

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi
The Buddy Beat

Our feline friends benefit from structured playtime and a constant need to be entertained. All that destructive behavior that occurs during the holiday season can easily be avoided or lessened if you make time to play with your feline on a daily basis.

Structured playtime is important to keep your cat's mind and body active. Felines that are not constantly sleeping are more alert and are more than likely not to be overweight. A bored and overweight animal is also much more likely to develop serious health issues.

My cure for the feline holiday blues is to establish a routine of play now before the holiday season runs away from you, too. Why not buy their holiday toys early so that they can have their fun now and feel like they are included in the family's Christmas, rather than feeling like they are lost in it.

If you encourage play with wispy and feathery wand toys, your cats are more likely to play on their own -- when you are not around -- with the toys they can work on their own.

Make sure that you always leave out a safe collection of toys that encourages self play, too. This will allow your feline to have an extra fitness workout each day. Please, also remember to have a secure, cat-proof, hiding spot for the toys that need your supervision.

Play in multiple-cat households can be encouraged by adding cat trees and furniture of varying heights. Jumping from perch to perch is great fun and exercise for your felines when you are not around. These kinds of items enhance their natural stalking instincts.

Cat beds and furniture with multiple openings also can cause a stir of interest between two or more felines. Try adding a dangling toy to this enclosure and watch them go nuts. This is all safe fun for your felines when you are not home as long as you have removed all the bells, feathers, bows and elastic.

Window perches are a nice element to bring the busy outdoors inside. I just don't mean the activity between the birds, squirrels, and rabbits. My cats are amazed by the leaves and the snow blowing past the windows.

If you try hard to encourage extra playtime this season, you might find that you have cut down on the destructive, bored behaviors such as box chewing, paper shredding, toilet paper shredding and just plain clawing up the family sofa.

Remember, I only said you might succeed. A certain measure of success is left to the temperament of your feline.


Imagine how today's adoptables feel, left to figure out where they will go for the holidays after their owner dies two days before Thanksgiving.

Not a single family member offered to invite them to join their family for the holidays. The only thing they are thankful for is they landed in the warm confines of The Buddy Foundation shelter. These two are singing their hearts out to have a home for Christmas or the New Year. Please meet Saffron and Figaro.

Saffron is a petite red Maine Coon-looking feline that is 12 years young. She is friendly and easygoing in spite of the loss of the home she has known for the last 12 years. She may need a small period of adjustment to get use to the idea of a new forever home. She might do better if her brother Figaro could come along, too.

Figaro, a black-and-white boy, is also 12 years old. He is a front-paw declawed, but he probably never needed to be. He uses his paws to cuddle on your lap. He also is tolerant of other cats. He promises not to make any mischief like his Disney character namesake. He wants a home for the holidays.

Last Chance Santa Photos

Dec. 15 will be the last opportunity for photos with Santa, his Mrs. and all of their North Pole helpers. Santa will be at The Buddy Foundation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day with lots of treats of bakery goods for us and his four-legged friends.

Don't forget to purchase your holiday ornaments that day from the tree in our lobby. This is also an opportunity to find those hard-to-find gifts in our gift shop.

• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at