The Mechanical "Toys"

The Small Ball

Neko's first real mechanical toy was one of those battery operated "squiggle" type balls. The kind you put in a bag or something and cats are guarenteed to be interested in it. (Well they weren't....) So I took it down off the shelf, put new batteries in it and let it go on the tiles. Neko freaked! He thought it was alive!

After following from a respectfull distance and flat out running away when it came for him, he began to figure out the ball's limitations. This was his favorite toy for a very long time. Pick up the ball and he would ghrrr & woof before you could turn it on. He would dance and hop around the ball, and "nose" it to change the direction. He eventually learned to kick it with his back feet, spin around, pounce and paw it in his version of "doggie soccer". He spent countless hours playing with his ball until the on/off switch finally broke.

Playing with the ball improved his co-ordination and was a good learning experience for him. This was very apparent the next time he went to visit Sally (litter-sister) and the rest of the family "pack". (Sally usually came out on top during play by shear attitude and intensity.) This time I was there to watch the "beginning of the end" of her total dominace over Neko. Neko did a side hop from one of Sally's "attacks" and, catching her off guard, tossed her easily to the ground. Then he just stood over her, feet on either side of her ribs pinning her in place, his face just out of her reach. He was as happy as she was MAD! Since then, she has learned most of his "tricks" but plays with a little more respect.

The BIG Ball

After the "demise" of the little ball, we were looking for a replacement toy. Then I remembered that we had a remote control ball (12") that had been a XMass present some years back. I bought the requisite tons of batteries to operate it and gave it a try. At first Neko thought it was a bigger version of his little ball. But NO! This thing didn't do funny little patterns on the floor - it had a mind of it's own and would actually CHASE him around the room!

This ball lasted for a very long time and is still around somewhere. But as Neko grew bigger, he was able to "soccer" the ball around so fast and hard that we couldn't control the direction. Even today he will go wild with woofs and owwooos the minute he sees it. Now it is reserved for "special" occasions and even then we don't bother to turn it on.

The Vacuum Cleaner

The first time Neko heard the vacuum cleaner turned on, he decided to hide in the bedroom just to be safe. By the third vacuuming, he didn't hide but ran around the room keeping furniture between hinself and the evil vacuum. It wasn't long before he was brave enough to woof or owwooo when the vacuum was near.

Now vacuuming is always done to the tune of ghrr, woof and owwoo. He dances in front of the vacuum, daring it to attack. Sometimes he will jump in with a quick poke of the nose, then whirl and do a "butt-run" around the house. (Major "butt-runs" can be initiated with a quick swipe in his direction.) When the vacuum is turned off, he will run around it owwooing, trying to get the vacuum to play some more!

The Doggie Dryer

I finally decided to get a "doggie dryer" for Neko. Well, it arrived and boy was I impressed! Not only is it a good dryer, it is one heck of new "toy". (Did I say I was easily impressed...?)

I took it out of the box, hooked up the attachments, plugged it and turned it on. Being a neophyte to high-speed BLOWERS, I was lucky that I tried the "low" speed first. (Who reads directions first, anyway?) The hose snaked around on the floor getting Neko's undivided attention. By the time I grabbed the hose, he was hopping around letting out "wuufs" & "woowooos". (He does this with the vacuum.) So, I hit his feet and chest with the air. He hopped around more, closing his eyes, and tried to grab the air in his mouth! Hit him in the flank and he turns around to bite his butt, trying to get the "attacker". "High" sends him into "butt-runs" around the house, frequently stopping to dance in front of me and owwoo more. I'm laughing so hard, it was a good thing I was already sitting on the floor! (Mongo is sitting under the table with a typical cat "...and I have to live with these jokers?" expression on his face.)

When Hubby got home, I turned the blower on to demo for him. Neko comes racing up in time for me to have just turned the thing off. There he stands, looking at the "dead" hose, then me, then the hose... woowoo.. owwoowoo "why isn't this thing moving?"

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Katzai... Neko...