About a week ago, Tuffy was given a present by a fellow cat lover: a little pink plastic mouse that squeaked if you pressed its tummy. It was minus an eye and minus a few whiskers, because her cat had previously played with it and then lost interest (or perhaps her cat just preferred the blue version of the mouse – cats are strange like that).
Here are a couple of video-captures of her fascinating new toy, affectionately called ‘Nano-Mouse’.
Tuffy had previously discovered a nice, long piece of strong string that I’d used to tie up my old pinboard. When I say ‘discovered’, I meant that she spent quite some days surreptitiously tugging and pulling the string out a section a day, hoping that I would play with her.
So I did. Many days passed in this happy fashion, with me twitching and flicking the string across the wooden floor and under the table and between the legs of the chairs, while she leapt, scrabbled, thundered, pounced, and chewed it triumphantly.
The day we brought the mouse home, Tuffy eyed it suspiciously.
After a while, she approached cautiously, gave it a paranoid sniff, and then cold-shouldered it. Perhaps it still smelt vaguely of ‘the other cat’? Who knows… they have such sensitive noses.
But then Tuffy has never liked presents. She hates being given something that she is ALLOWED to play with or curl up on or sleep in. If she hasn’t found it herself, fought for it (it helps if we tell her sternly ‘no!’), and claimed it by chewing it or leaving half of her winter coat on it, she doesn’t want it.
We came up with the clever idea of tying the mouse to the string. Although she’d been playing ecstatically with the string all evening, thudding into chair legs and doing bizarre twisting leaps when I managed to flick the string between her legs and underneath her tummy, the moment we tied on the mouse, all activity ceased.
Sigh. It’s so insulting, somehow, when a cat stops playing with you just when you’re having the most fun. A dog won’t do that to you.
But at least that way we could watch the rest of the DVD and finish our mug of tea before it got cold.
And then, suddenly, after a day or two, Tuffy realised that the mouse was actually a pretty neat toy. Richard had tied it to the end of the string, and wrapped the string around the top part of her scratching post, so that the mouse hung down on the one side.
Tuffy loved it!
Finally, she could even play with it on her own, when we weren’t in the mood or didn’t have time. One evening, Richard tied it to the back of my office chair, and took a couple of video clips of Miss Tuffkins going a little mad.
But she much prefers it when one of us dangles the mouse in front of her on the long piece of string. She loves batting it back and forth like a tennis player, and sometimes whacks it really hard, so that it comes back too quickly for her to get out of the way. I’ve even seen her backhanding it to make sure that it swings around the right way around a table leg, so that she can leap on it and catch it.
* A big thank you to Alison! 😀