Where Are Your Toys, Charlie?

Charlie is a busy, ridiculously cute, and rather kittenish cat. He loves to play. Fortunately–and amusingly–he is perfectly happy to play with nearly anything. I’ve seen him bat around a coffee bean and, later, a single kibble for hours. We have given him crinkly Mylar balls and Ethical Pet heavy gauge plastic springs. At times he will bat around a jingle ball and investigate a puzzle egg toy in order to get a treat out of it. (A dear friend sent me these particular puzzle toys, along with a piñata, but a similar puzzle toy can be found on Chewy.)

When Charlie is particularly frisky, my living room looks like a daycare center with toys spilled haphazardly everywhere. Of course, Charlie temporarily loses his toys whenever he bats them under furniture and cannot fish them out with his questing paws. Whenever we recover toys for him, he reacts with such unfettered glee. (Often times though, he loses his toy again within half an hour. Then the cycle begins anew.)

By far, though, Charlie’s absolute favorite toys are the two fuzzy brown mice and a fuzzy brown ball that he tore off the cat tower. (We cut away the remaining elastic strings to prevent him from being able to chew or swallow them.) It’s utterly hilarious and terribly charming when I catch Charlie carrying these toys around in his mouth. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to snap a photo of him doing this yet.

When we need to vacuum, we pick up all the toys and temporarily place them on one of the cat tower platforms. Charlie and Garrus prefer the one on the left, so we put the toys on the right platform since they don’t use it as much. At first, we did this purely for practical reasons but soon we noticed that Charlie decided this was a new game. After he realized that his toys were all in one spot, he would scale the tower, go to the right platform, and bat at least one crinkle ball off the platform onto the floor. He typically goes straight for his fuzzy toys, picks one up in his mouth, and either carries it down to the floor or simply drops it. Then he goes back to his spot on the left platform. If we immediately replace the toy, he takes it as a cue to play with extra zest and attacks the toy (and usually the scratching poles in the process), tosses the given toy back onto the floor, and usually starts batting it around for awhile after that. Sometimes chirping accompanies the toy carrying and/or the batting session. It’s very silly.

Now when we find his fuzzy toys on the floor, we surreptitiously replace it back onto one of the top three platforms for Charlie to find. We’ve also occasionally hid them inside the kitty condos or put them on a lower platform in order for him to investigate and to keep things interesting for him. I’m quite pleased when I see that he is using his mind as well as his paws to keep himself entertained.  If playtime is not occupying him, it could be mischief! 

His latest project is depositing toys around the house in odd places. It’s not uncommon to find a mouse in the middle of the hallway or under a chair after we wake up. On a few occasions Charlie has approached me with a toy in his mouth, only to drop it and scamper away. It’s not clear whether he wants me to throw said toy (he doesn’t fetch…yet) or if I should regard the toy as a present. Sleeping Garrus on the bed? Clearly a toy mouse needs to go under his tail without Garrus’ apparent knowledge. Maybe Charlie thinks Garrus needs a napping buddy. Mom’s in the bathroom? A fuzzy ball needs to be placed just outside the door…because reasons. Another mouse needs to placed in the exact center of the kitchen floor. Perhaps it is the mascot for the kitty convention they will hold under the kitchen table later.


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