Too many cat toys? Find out when to re-sort, renew or replace.
A rule of thumb I use is the three R's Re-sort, Renew (Refresh) or Replace. After you follow the R's, you should decide on storage to avoid the hazard look.
If you have a room your felines like to play in, you are lucky. This makes sorting easy. Put away the toys they no longer play with and bring them out in a month or so to see if there is renewed interest. If they still show little interest, you can discard them as a lesson that you made a silly purchase.
If your felines play in almost every room, as mine do, you can use some trickery with toys. You can rotate toys among the rooms. They may think the toys are new because a different pairing of felines are playing with them.
A good refreshing can also lure a feline back to a toy that was once their favorite. An organic liquid catnip spray may be just the remedy to renew interest. Another way is to mix crushed organic catnip and honeysuckle in a zip-lock bag and place the toys in there for several hours. Usually the newly scented toy will quickly become a favorite again. If not, it will be another one for the trash bin.
The replacement of a favorite toy may be harder. Sometimes the toy is no longer made, and finding a substitute is difficult. Not all toys and brands are created equal in the minds of our felines. I recently found this out firsthand.
My felines had a catnip banana toy they played with until it looked like a rotten banana. The catnip had actually turned the yellow dye to a blackish-gray, and all their use was causing the catnip to run out of the toy.
To the trash it went! I found a similar toy that I thought had plenty of catnip and not filler, (material stuffing is a favorite to cheat us on catnip). They played with the new toy for less than a minute. Then I got the "look" that told me the toy was not a good replacement.
This is how we end up with a pile of toys they will not play with. I took the easy way out and did not search for the right replacement. Looking the same to us does not mean they will not know the difference.
I purchased a cheaper copy; the YeoWWW! brand was a little more money, but they played with it until they broke it. Now, I know I must replace with the real thing or I will have more toys for the trash.
Last, let us discuss storage of the toys, since we might agree toys should not be all over the house like a feline nursery. I have read a few views on how to store excess toys. One went so far as to tell you to store them in a box with a lid so the animals could not take their toys out at will and destroy tidiness.
Obviously, this person did not know felines, or perhaps was related to Mary Poppins. The joy in watching our felines destroy order is part of their charm. A single, round cat condo serves the purpose here. The unwanted clutter fits inside, as does the feline that wants to get the toy out.
On the dog side of most big box pet stores, you can find a foldable box covered in material that will serve as a toy box for your feline. If you are on a budget, this is the less expensive option, but it will not last as long as the previously mentioned cat condo.
Perhaps we can find a happy measure between buying the right toys for our felines and keeping our homes a bit less full of unwanted toys. The goal, at any rate, is to keep our felines content.
* The Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with all funds directly assisting its animals. Its mission is to provide immediate safety and care to stray and abandoned animals. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit www.thebuddyfoundation.org.