Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cat Dancer

Product plugging time! If you have cats and time to play with them, go to Petsmart and pick up the "Cat Dancer." It's pretty cheap, but it's also the best cat toy ever. A lady whose homebound mother I used to visit gave one to me as a gift, and I've gone through two more since then. All it is, is a piece of wire with a kink at one end (for you to hang on to) and several twists of catnip-scented paper at the other. Very low-tech stuff.

Hang on tight to your end, and wave the other end around, and pretty soon your cats will be chasing it, swatting at it, maybe getting up on their hind legs to dance with it, jumping for it, or even (some users claim) doing flips for it. My cats have done it all, short of the flips.

Cat Dancer brought to my attention one of the personality differences between my two cats. Tyrone knows this is a game, and he has fun playing it as long as Lionel lets him. He doesn't seriously try to "catch" the toy; for him, it's all about the chase. Lionel, however, attacks the toy tooth-and-nail. He's not happy until he has it at his mercy, and then he sets about destroying it. This not only accelerates the wear and tear on the toy, but it also spoils Tyrone's fun.

From this anecdote you might conclude that Lionel is the dominant cat and Tyrone the submissive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Lionel is the one who won't approach me for a cuddle if Tyrone is in sight; he bashfully stands out of reach when I try to hand-feed Pounce to them, while Tyrone is constantly in-my-face (and in Lionel's too, when I'm trying to offer the latter a treat). Lionel looks on mournfully while Tyrone drinks all the tuna water when I set it down for them, unless I pull Tyrone away and restrain him in another room while Lionel gets his share. Generally speaking, Tyrone is cocky and vocal and approachable, while Lionel tends to be more insecure and defensive. They're not even persons, but boy! do they have personality!

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