This week I put together two things my cats love into a single, homemade cat toy. And my cats love it!
Ingredient #1: Wind chimes. I used to live in a place that had little padded brace things attached to the hinges on the front door, to keep it from banging into the wall. Someone had given me a set of wind chimes, so I dangled it from one of those hinge braces at a height that my cats could just reach, if they stretched for it. I could tell by the amount of indoor, non-wind-assisted music those chimes made that the cats enjoyed playing with them. But lately I have lived in an apartment where the only place I could hang the chimes was a hook on the ceiling, which the cats couldn't reach. So....
Ingredient #2: A dangling string. I have a pair of sweatpants and several pairs of shorts that are held up by drawstrings. I have noticed in the past that, when the string is left dangling outside the waistband of my pants, the cats are drawn to it and want to play with it. This week when I was folding my laundry, I found a pair of shorts that was losing its drawstring. Since I couldn't put it back in, I pulled it out the rest of the way and tied the end of the string to the wind chimes. It hangs down to within a couple feet of the floor - high enough that my cats have to stand on their hind legs and reach for it.
The results have been hysterical. Every couple of hours, day and night, I hear one of my cats playing a recital on the wind chimes. When I'm in a position to watch, I see them stretching upward, and sometimes jumping up and down, to grab the string with their front paws and tug it on the way down. Often it's just one cat or the other, but I have also seen them taking turns at it, playing together. They dance and leap and show every sign of having a grand time. The result is a pleasant sound and, no doubt, some good exercise for my all-too-lazy cats!