Tag Archives: Cats at Play

Paladin Under the Rainbow

Paladin’s rainbow ball is a favorite toy, and he loves batting it on his favorite ball field–his tummy!

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Paladin with ball under bed

Paladin is very proprietorial about his ball, which likely accounts for his habit of having it under the bed with him. Ellen Pilch of http:15andmeowing.com┬áblog, crocheted the ball and several other toys for him as a kind gesture when we were celebrating Paladin’s interest in playing with toys. He precociously transitioned from feral to domestic in just three days after being neutered. He is happy indoors and outdoors in Effieland, an enclosed garden.

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New toys for Effie and Paladin

My blogging friend Ellen┬ávery kindly sent me five adorable crocheted toys she made for Effie and Paladin, who immediately took to playing with them. I was afraid Paladin’s strong rear claws would shred them, but the tough cotton yarn showed nary a snag after his ferocious workout. They were so much fun to watch! I was impressed by the enthusiasm both my cats showed with these toys, and with the durability of the toys.


Effie claws ferociously at a rainbow ball.


Paladin takes on a drumstick. He gets a little intense, but the toy survives intact!

And here are the five toys Ellen sent.

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Paladin and Yucky Ducky

I threw an old catnip-stuffed toy named Yucky Ducky to Paladin, and he quickly grabbed and claimed the toy. YD is an inheritance from Effie’s predecessor Coolidge. We are encouraged with Paladin’s growing interest in toys as a sign of waning ferality and increasing domesticity.

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Paladin masters playing with toys!

When a feral cat becomes transformed to domesticity, we see certain changes. We believe our home is Paladin’s first home. The vet who neutered him believes he is four years old. That’s a long time for a cat to sustain himself with a roaming life.

Signs of a feral cat transforming to domestic status are wanting to be around humans, desiring to be in a home, exploring his home room by room, and engaging with humans and toys. Playing with toys is indicative of home life. Feral hobos don’t pack toys. They wander from porch to porch seeking to be fed, not looking for toys to play with. Feral cats fear opening doors because they fear the doors will close behind them and trap them.

Paladin began his life with us a few months ago. He came to our porch for food. He would come for one, two, or three meals–morning, afternoon, or evening, almost every day, and I worried about him if he didn’t show up at all.

At some inexplicable point, I became attached to Paladin and gave him his name. Paladin seemed to attach himself to my husband and me, and we to him. We wanted him to be in our house, but first he would need to be neutered.

Paladin was neutered March 22, just a bit more than two weeks ago today. Our cat Effie accepted him graciously. Paladin took to his new litter box immediately, with no mistakes. He loves his food. We gave him a box to hide or sleep in, and he used it for both. He now sleeps under our bed. Effie sleeps with us, and I don’t think she’ll give that up.

Following the neutering surgery, the vet told us to keep Paladin indoors for ten days, and two weeks before getting him wet. It was a happy day for Paladin when he could finally go out!

Paladin spends his outdoor time in Effieland, just as Effie does. They are sometimes outside together, and sometimes individually. Effieland is fenced all around and overhead to exclude predators. Eagles, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, errant dogs, and other cats abound on and around our 2.4 acres. Roaming free is no longer an option.

Paladin now roams freely throughout our house. At first I carried him through rooms he had not yet entered on his own. Now he considers every room to be his to visit or nap in. He has mastered his indoor and outdoor territory, including our laps.

And we have begun introducing Paladin to toys. He hasn’t yet taken to chasing toys, but he likes to tackle bobbing things suspended over his head. The toy shown in these photos taken by my husband cost exactly nothing to make: a scrap of fabric attached with fishing line to a yardstick. Paladin’s engagement with his toy tells us he is home.

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Paladin ponders a toy

One of the sad liabilities of feral life is a cat who has never had a toy. Paladin’s age is estimated by the vet who neutered him to be four years old. That’s a long time to grow up toyless, so Vic took a scrap of fabric (under Paladin’s left paw) and tied it with some 20 lb. test monofilament line to a yardstick. We can drag it along the floor and Paladin will pounce on it; or, we can suspend it overhead and he can bat it around. We will get him more toys as he warms to the concept.

Cats need to play with toys to engage with their people and their physical environment. As they become interested, new toys can be introduced, and not only will their coordination and skills sharpen, but their connection with their people will deepen as they play with favorite toys together.

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Effie’s Christmas rug

“My grandma–she’s my dad’s mom, and boy, is she super!–knitted me a rug of my very own for Christmas! Just for me! She calls me ‘Wondercat!’ My mom took some pictures of me and my new rug. As you can see, I am training it to be a Wonderrug.”

p1020468I can move my rug anywhere I want, using just my head!

p1020469Rug wrestling is my new favorite sport!

p1020471I can be very possessive about things people who love me make for me. Warm things make me especially happy.

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