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Mousers, Bird-Watchers, Spider Snatchers, and Cricket Nabbers

Excerpt from Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

One reason to get a variety of toys is because a cat is an opportunistic hunter, and he never knows what prey will become available.  The technique the cat uses to catch a bird will be slightly different from the one used to capture a little snake.  Although the basic concept of stalking and pouncing are the same, the cat must adjust for each individual hunt.  If you provide a variety of interactive toys, you give your cats the opportunity to test their skills.  We all like a little variety.  One note though—you’ll probably find that your cats will develop a favorite toy.  If that’s the case, you’ll know which one to use when you need to distract that kitty.  If you do have a cat who wants to play with only one particular toy, that’s fine, but periodically keep trying other toys as well.  You may find that once he gets into a routine of the daily play sessions he’ll be receptive to other “prey.”  Start out by buying one, though, so you can first let your cats test-drive it.  When you know a toy is a hit, then buy a second one for group play. 

One final, but very important note on interactive toys: They should be stored in a safe place.  Never leave these toys out because the cat could chew and swallow the strings or get tangled in them.  Also, you want to keep the toys special, and if you leave them out, they’ll lose their appeal.  Leave out safe toys for object play—such as the furry mice that always end up under the refrigerator.  Store the interactive ones in a cat-proof closet.  You may even need to rotate where you store the toys or you might find your cats sitting and starring at the closet door.  Interactive playtime is that powerful. 

For more advice on living in a multi-cat household, purchase Cat vs. Cat from www.tuftscatnip.com.

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