Unlike dogs, cats can keep themselves entertained pretty well. They’re like toddlers at Christmas. You spend all your money on an elaborate cat condo with all the bells and whistles, and then Fluffy just wants to play in the box it came in.
We all know cats love the little things. Empty boxes. Grocery bags. Anything that jingles or crinkles. Hair elastics. Ribbons. Yarn. The plastic thingies you peel off the milk jug when you open it. The reflection off your TV when the sun sets. We once had a cat who just liked to stare at the same spot on the wall.
So, yeah, cats are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to entertainment. But, let’s face it, we want to spoil our pets. Some toys are cheap and easy to come by. Little fur mice are a big hit among the feline set. Balls or anything that rolls are especially good for rambunctious kittens who like to chase things. Catnip pillows or feathers on strings are great cheap toys for cats. However, if you want to get a little fancier, there are also some really great gadgets that will keep your cat entertained for hours without breaking the bank.
Anyone who has ever introduced a cat to a laser pointer knows the hours of fun that can be had. Cats love lasers because that moving red dot appeals to their hunting instincts.
There are a number of gadgets on the market with this idea in mind. We’re fans of the FroliCat BOLT ($22.95/FroliCat.com), a random laser pointer that you can hold or put on a table for hands-free play. Set the timer for 15 minutes and watch your cat stalk and stomp around the room or jump at the wall in a desperate attempt to capture the elusive tiny red dot. And, let’s face it, watching it is as much fun as the laser is for the cat. FroliCat’s website says its low-level laser is considered safe by FDA standards for animals and people. But, unfortunately, New York City does not allow pet stores to sell any kind of lasers, so you’ll have to purchase this interactive toy online.
Also check out the SmartyKat Loco! Motion Cat Toy ($24.69/Amazon), a feather wand that goes back and forth on its own. You can program it for up to two hours of your cat chasing the feather, giving you ample time to fill up your phone with adorable, but mostly blurry, pictures. Fair warning, though — your cat’s brain might explode from the brilliance of it all. Unleashed by Petco (81 7th Ave) carries a similar gadget that spins a piece of string around for cats to chase for $30, or you can buy it with a mouse attached to the string for $40.
These two toys are moderately priced, but how much would you be willing to spend on your cat, or any pet for that matter?
We came across the Motorola Scout1 Pet Monitor (available for $219.99 at PetSmart, 238 Atlantic Ave), a Wi-Fi connected video camera that lets you be Big Brother and watch, listen to, and speak to your pets when you’re not home. This pet monitor is more of a toy for pet parents as it allows you to get your cuteness fix while you’re at work.
You can access it on your phone or tablet and record live video, take snapshots of your pet, or play soothing pet sounds. (You may even catch your cat in the act of stealing your hair elastics from the dresser!) But for over $200, is it worth it? Maybe it is!
Our pets bring us joy, laughter, and comfort. We’re entertained by them, so in the true spirit of giving back we want to make sure they’re happy too. (Even if that means saying hello in the middle of the day via pet monitor.) So don’t feel too guilty when you splurge on a fun toy for your cats. They deserve it!
For more tips for pets (and their owners) in the neighborhood, check out Park Slope for Pets.