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updated: 8/15/2013 5:40 PM

Be creative when it comes to your feline's toys

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  • Betty Boop, a domestic medium-haired female, is about 1 years old.

    Betty Boop, a domestic medium-haired female, is about 1 years old.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Sweetie, a domestic longhair female, is a loving 2-year-old.

    Sweetie, a domestic longhair female, is a loving 2-year-old.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi
The Buddy Beat

I often encourage feline fanciers to stimulate play with their cats by making old toys new again by either reapplying catnip or putting them away for a while so that when they reappear they are new.

You should not have to work to hard to get your feline to play with interactional toys.

If your feline is disinterested in anything you can buy, he just does not respond to conventional store bought toys. But what can you find for him 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 his behavior, you will come up with some ideas.

Don't our cats 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 allow access when you can supervise.

I have a feline that always helps me when I put away groceries. There are two things she asks for when this happens. She watches me untwist the ties from the bags I get from the fruit and vegetable department. She tries to grab them and run with them.

She is even smart enough to know where they are kept. She 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 in order to make sure she does not run off and hide them for later play.

Ultimately, she would chew all 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 them off and putting them in her toy box. Flat handled paper is safer because it does not unravel like twisted handles.

Forget crinkled or fuzzy store-bought toys for my paper obsessed feline. She prefers wadded note paper 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 your feline does not like conventional toys, keep experimenting. You will find something they like that is safe and brings out their inner-kitten.

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 a playing frenzy. Even my paper-crazed feline plays like a kitten with these toys.

The price range on these toys is from $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 felines alone.

Yes, they are that crazy with YEOWWW. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. For information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit

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