Cat Toy Ratings

Plastic Ring With a Ping-Pong Ball Inside:
Cat bats ball, ball goes around ring, cat bats ball again. Neither the ball nor the cat actually go anywhere. Now, generally, I avoid buying pet toys that serve as metaphors for my own life, but in this case it's nice to not have to reach under the couch of temporal reality to retrieve the ping-pong ball of conscious existence because the cat of spiritual dissatisfaction won't stop meowing. B

Catnip Anything:
Very entertaining. Rub, roll, sniff, sneeze, bat, chew, rinse, repeat. Anything that makes a cat provide such antics with little or no effort on my part is okay in my book. (My book being "Now We Are Six".) I don't know if the stuff actually gets cats as high as a Berkeley woodshop class, but it's fun to pretend it does. A

Little Bits of Cardboard On a Wire:
This is the most successful toy I've yet run into on the "instant rapt cat attention" scale, which is a bit annoying, considering it's just little bits of cardboard on a wire. You (meaning "I") spend all this money on jolly multicolored exotic cat diversions, and the little loaves of fur end up enchanted by what appears to be leftover jetsam from an attempt to jury rig the transmission on a 1966 VW Beetle. C+

Jingly Balls:
Why put a bell inside a cat toy? Does it put cats in the mind of stalking the rare-but-majestic musical stoat? Do cats in the wild routinely hunt and take down tambourines? The only purpose it seems to serve is to rudely awaken the cat owner in the middle of the night. Given the repertoire of rude awakenings that your average housecat commands (see "hairballs, hacking up"), I don't think they need the encouragement. C-

Human Body Parts:
Cheap and plentiful, all natural live human body parts are a favorite of any discriminating feline. The major drawback, however, is that many cats will, without warning, flick over from "play fighting" to "frappe" in an instant. One second it's all good fun, and the next you have a Warner-Brothers-esque cloud of fur and claws at the end of your wrist. Even if you manage to pull your hand away before unconsciousness descends, you have enough intensely painful lacerations to cause an immediate upswing in the iodine futures market. C

(Author is Lore Sjöberg)


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Barbara Petersen, January 2002 barb@velvet.com