Raven: Meditations on Cat Toys

My human was pacing again and I know by now the meaning of his pacing. It means he is getting cabin fever and wants to go outside. I can predict when. When! See there; he's getting his keys and headed for the door. I know he is going to the Mall, for that's where he always goes. He will probably do as usual and bring me back a cat toy. He means well, but some of the toys he chooses for me are, quite frankly, idiotic. He actually bought me a diving board with fake water. And even if it were realistic enough to have water, he should know by now that I HATE WATER. Most of the time, I will appease him by pretending to play a bit with his monstrosities, but secretly I am just waiting to get my paws on that cool wrapping paper the gift came in.

For the record, I can make better toys than most of the junk he finds in pet shops. I made a sexy airplane that actually flew about the living room until it landed in a vase his girlfriend had given him. My human had a conniption. That's not cat-niption! Groan...I can make tunnels by burrowing under the carpet and come out God knows where. I can leap up toward the ceiling and perch on the chandelier. I can hide here if I want. The glass holding me is opaque. The den has hardwood floors. And I enjoy practicing my ballet and gymnastics there. I have specially designed cat shoes for the feats I do. I have to tell the human what to get me.I do this by pointing to pictures in cat magazines and then pointing to the part of the body that goes with it. For example, when it snows and I go outdoors, I wear my LL Bean mittens. They are toasty, but I sometimes get my claws caught in the webbing. What I really love is ice skating. Now this is a real cat toy. And when we go into the mountains and check out some skis, this is a SUPER GREAT TOY. It challenges me to perfect my balance and get ready for the BEAM. When we get back home and I still need more exercise, I go into my den room and do some stretching and work on the parallel bars and the balance beam. After this, I am ready for my favorite meal, some CAT GOURMET. So you see, I am surrounded by cat toys and what does not yet exist will exist when I design it.

Experiments with Cat Toys

My human loves to check out my dexterity. He is secretly envious of my balance and coordination. I can tell by the way he looks at me. We do some tricks together. We have a long slender stick and attached to it is a string. On the end of

the string is a colorful ball. The human swings this around at a high velocity and I find it easy to jump into the air and turn 360 degrees, catching the ball with my teeth. . I am better than most black belts who are doing the Shotokan kata, called Empi, meaning BIRD in Japanese.

The katas are ritualized forms and imaginary fights; they are a series of blocks, punches and kicks. The gym is also equipped with free weights and resistance machines plus treadmills. I love running on the treadmill, but running outside is even better. I like running through tall grass and scampering over rocks and sand. I like looking for places to hide and places to ambush my opponent. But inside the gym I really like the ski machine. It gives me a good cardiovascular workout and lots of good stretching too. I do not care for the weights. I am strong enough and don't want to bulk up like Arnold. Did you know that cats are the strongest animal pound for pound? I am a housecat, but I can decimate a cat carrier. So don't even think about putting me in one. My human gave up on that one. But I sit nicely on the passenger seat of his car and listen to the radio while he drives.

Negotiation of Cat Toys

I don't understand why cats and humans can't be more diplomatic and treat one another with civility. Part of the problem, of course, is language. He does not understand some of my cat calls and I for certain do not understand his mumbling, but we do try and find that using sign language and gestures such as pointing goes a long way to smoothing out communication. Cross species communication!...Carl Sagan would be proud of us. If I want something, I just go and claw through the magazines my human keeps stacked in the corner. When I find what I want....like the mittens or the skates, I point to them and he sends an order off. Sometimes he will show me pictures and I will let him know if I want the cat toy or not. Honestly, I cannot fathom the motive behind some of the toys. They try to make everything electronic. Even natural things that don't need any electronics. Such as a mountain. This dumb replica of a mountain lights up when you press a button. Why? Is it Christmas ? I like the older toys like the electric trains that ran on real tracks and the little signal lights would flash and the train would go wooo..wooo....and it was very much like real trains. I also like the old erector set. You can spend hours designing bridges and cranes and the like. And they came with real motors, not fake motors that give fake sounds. Another one I like is tinker toys...You can make all manner of things with this set just by connecting the circular pieces to the rod shaped sticks. And I can get a good view of everything from the cat tower I built.

So look. It is all working-out. You know what you want. Don't allow your human to be blinded by silly toys just because they are modern. Listen and tell him to listen. Go for what feels real and remember: Keep educating your human. There is hope for him. Now to rev up my motor with some catnip toys.