My wife and I are addicted to buying cat toys. Almost every time we hit up the pet store to buy food or litter we come home with a new toy. I actually blame the pet store for this addiction. Their placement of the cat toys is always somewhere between the entrance and the food. This naturally forces us to walk past the colourful treasures on our way to the required staples. If I were a more cynical individual, I’d swear stores are set up like this on purpose to encourage the purchasing of shiny new cat toys!
The funny thing is, we already have the best cat toy. Chances are you do to. What is it you ask?
A hair elastic!
That’s it. A simple hair elastic is a fabulously entertaining cat toy. In this article, we’ll look at a handful of different ways you can entertain your kitty with nothing more than a hair band or two.
Before we explore these various exercises though, a quick word on the type of hair elastic you should be seeking.
These ones are the ones that we use – Goody Ouchless No Metal Gentle Elastics (72 Pack). If 72 is too many, you can pick up 24 or so for about two bucks – not bad eh? Our cat Sandy seems to like these ones for a couple reasons:
- They’re “tight” with a real snap to them. When these things hit the ground, they do so with a real impact. They can also travel at incredible speeds! Some hair elastics are fluffier and lack the crispness of the Goody ones. Sandy will still play with these ones but you can tell she isn’t quite as enthused by them.
- They’re colourful. Cats don’t see the colour range that us two legged beasts do but they can distinguish between the primary ones. I’m not sure if Sandy cares what colour her hair elastics are but I prefer the colours to all black 🙂
- They don’t have metal in them. Sandy has a habit of seeking these things out when we’re not around. I don’t need her putting metal in her mouth for obvious reasons.
There are a bunch of different ways to entertain your cat with hair elastics. We find that combination of the activities below result in a pretty good little exercise session. Spend 20-30 minutes working your little buddy with these before bed and she may even sleep through the night!
Simply slinging the hair elastic across the room will usually get your cat running. Bounce it off the wall. Bounce it off the floor. Bounce it off the furniture. Cat’s seem to love the changes in direction this produces. If she’s being particularly stubborn (it’s been known to happen), try this:
Put the hair elastic on the ground and your fore finger in the middle of the circle. Whip the band around your finger like it’s a miniature hula-hoop. When your cat starts shaking her bum, she’s ready to go! Let go and watch the elastic slide across the floor. This obviously results in a slower chase but that’s OK. I find combining the “spin” method with the “sling” method helps keep the game fresh.
Hiding the hair elastic is another way to keep your cat entertained for a bit. Simply place it in a place where it’s partly visible. Maybe under a rug or hanging off the ledge of a table or chair. Sandy will usually stalk the hidden band for a bit before pouncing. Make sure your hiding it near items that your cat is allowed to tackle.
Cats love to jump. In this activity, the hair elastic takes the form of swooping bird getting a bit too close to a predator. When your cat is in the middle of the floor, tease her by shaking the band back and forth. When she crouches and shakes her bum, make that birdie fly! I find it’s best to throw the band lightly and slowly about 3 feet above the cats head. This provides a challenge for Sandy but also ensures that she catches her prey more often than not.
So there you have it. Three simple ways to entertain your cat with nothing more than a hair elastic. I’d love to hear what you guys think.
What’s the single best cat toy in your view?
Is it better than a hair elastic?!