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posted: 6/19/2014 10:04 AM

Use your imagination to get your felines to play

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  • Lucky

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Occi

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi

I often encourage feline fanciers to stimulate play with their animals by making old toys new by either reapplying catnip or putting them away for awhile, then when they reappear they are new.

You should not have to work too 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. 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 his 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 feline that always helps me when I put away groceries. There are two things she asks for when this happens. She watches me untwist ties from the bags from the fruit and vegetable department and then tries to grab them and run away 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 to make sure she does not run off and hide it 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 it off and putting it in her toy box. Flat handled paper is safer because it doesn't unravel like twisted handles.

Forget crinkled or fuzzy store-brought 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 with them. The rest of my felines think she is crazy because they love the expensive store-brought 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, YEOWW 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 on these toys is from $6-$8. When your feline get through playing with YEOWW 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 YEOWW. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Featured felines:

Lucky is a special needs cat who has diabetes. He is a great cat, but does have some medical issues. Lucky was found outside by a Buddy volunteer. He was leaning on the door trying to get in. Our volunteer brought him to Buddy, where he is now in foster care and being spoiled.

Occi is a male tabby approximately 8 years old. He is very sweet and affectionate and loves to be brushed. Occi was previously a Buddy cat and adopted, but was returned years later with another house mate when the owners lost their home. This cat deserves a new forever home.

• 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 more information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit