TOYS WE BOUGHT FOR THE KITTENS TO PLAY WITH:
1. 10-foot long nylon tunnel, accordian-like construction for portability. Kittens to chase each other through tunnel with glee.
2. Long, colorful strip of soft flannel attached to plastic wand--humans to wave same in elegant patterns, cats to chase and enjoy.
3. Half a dozen open-weave plastic balls (golfball size) with small bells inside.
Cats to chase and bat these about on floor and entertain selves for hours.
4. Life-sized flannel mice, to be annointed with catnip and hidden about the house.
Cats to seek out and frolic with.
5. Two scratching boxes for kittens to sharpen claws on and enjoy.
WHAT ACTUALLY BECAME OF THESE TOYS:
1. Tunnel--cats grab one end, drag tunnel across hallway entrance to trip up humans while same are trying to carry cats into their time-out room. Otherwise ignored.
2. Cats chew off flannel strip, divide between themselves, poop colorful deposits for several days, fight over remaining plastic wand, which is removed from the scene as a possible danger to strangulation.
3. Dogs claim small plastic balls, chew to pieces with great satisfaction, scatter tiny remnants in inaccessible places, poop tiny bells for several days.
4. Flannel mice declared BOR-ing, remain untouched in their hiding places, serve as magnets for great quantities of dog and cat fur which ultimately, the size of melons, are batted out from under furniture by kittens in the presence of appalled guests.
5. Scratching boxes are visited once a day with considerable ceremony, only when humans are watching, as proof of kittens' obedience and intelligence. Evidence of additional unheralded scratching events to be found on carpets, furniture, packing boxes, dogs.
WHAT THE KITTENS ACTUALLY PLAY WITH:
1. Empty quart ginger-ale bottles, which make a most satisfactory clatter as they figure in vigorous hockey matches across the house.
2. Cords with tassels dangling from the venetian blinds at various windows. Elusive and endlessly tempting, these must be secured out of kittens' reach anew each day to avoid the dangers of strangulation.
3. The dogs. In particular, the Corgi's straightforward game of Fetch the Ball, which B.K. simply involved one human throwing the ball 1400 times in a row and retrieving the ball when it was, in the Corgi's mind, inacessible to her--i.e. too near a large paper bag, too near a wire of any sort, too near the water bowl, too near a dust bunny, etc. With the addition of the kittens, this becomes a complex and exciting game, as the felines lie in wait, preferably hidden, then LEAP at the ball in mid-flight, deflect it who-knows-where, race in front of the swift Corgi to claim first-touch, and otherwise make a wondrous team sport of what was a dull exercise. Fetch the Ball has, it must be admitted, become hugely more interesting to the humans, who find delightful the gymnastics and athleticism of the leaping, plunging, rolling, racing cats.
4. Tiny, tiny items which, before their arrival, had been lost, ignored, or swept into small crevices, under the fridge, beneath the armchair, under a couch cushion,
behind the bookshelf. The kittens find same, exhibit great glee at the discovery, hunker down for serious chewing; (whether the bits are paper, plastic, rubber, dried bread crusts or birdseeds carried in on dog paws, they care not). Humans must thereupon race to kitten, pry open the tiny, sharp-toothed little maws and extract the possibly dangerous flotsam or jetsam.
5. THE GREAT BILLOWING CAFTAN. Above all, the kittens delight in sneaking silently beneath one human's ankle-length caftan while it is being worn, then leaping up as high as possible, as though the person were a scratching pole designed for their special pleasure. The game's enjoyment is heightened when both cats are involved, as they compete for height attained and screams produced.