Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Big ROI on your Cat Toy Dollar

One of the benefits of owning a Bengal cat is that we seem to be getting much more use out of all those silly cat toys we buy on impulse. Let's be honest here. It's not like the cat sees a TV commercial and pesters us mercilessly until we get it a toy. We come across the toy, think it would be cute and then impose it on the cat. Sometimes this works but the more involved or expensive the toy is, the less likely the cat is to be cooperative. But our Bengal is a different story.

Consider the Blitz Turbo Scratcher, from the good people at Blitz USA (who apparently make a lot more than cat toys. Think Blitz for all your cat toy and fluid containment needs.)

Anyway, you can find these pretty much anywhere. It's the round base with the little plastic ball that flies around inside a track, plus a cardboard disc in the "infield" for scratching. If you've somehow never come across one of these, here's the one we've got, the "Star Chaser" variety with the blinking light in the ball.

Actually, based on the various online reviews, our experience may be unusual. But I have never seen a cat give one of these things a second glance. And then you've wasted - going price looks like $15. To add insult to injury, a free balled up piece of notebook paper will amuse them for hours.

Until we got Leela. She loves the thing. (Laszlo, being Laszlo, seems faintly embarrassed by its presence.) We've had it almost as long as we've had her and she still plays with it, typically around midnight or so when she really starts to get going. I've even seen her case mod it, putting one of those plastic balls with the bell inside into the track so there are now two things to swat. This actually works pretty well, btw. Those balls are almost the right size. You can get them in and out of the track, but they're close enough that they don't automatically fly out when she hits them.

This is a general trend with Leela - toys just work better. Some work better than others, of course, and she's found ways to play with some things that aren't what the makers intended. So one of the occasional features here will be toy reviews. What works, what ends up in a broken heap after twenty minutes and, as always, how the Bengal cat experience is different from what you may be used to with regular cats.


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