The Cat Tease
Everyone should have at least three cat teases. I have none left. They ran out ages ago and I have not replaced them. That is a failing. Cats do tend to destroy cat teases quite quickly. It is part of the process of playing with them. Perhaps, though, I am being careless in letting my cat catch the tease. I think you have to let your cat catch the tease at some point to keep the interest up. A cat becomes bored if they can’t catch their prey and cat teases are prey on the end of a stick from a cat’s perspective.
Cat teases are very cheap at cat shows in America. They have a huge range and they are good quality. There are some very fancy ones with brightly colored plastic feathers and bells etc.. In my experience – correct me if I am wrong – fancy, all singing, all dancing cat teases can frighten cats. That might sound strange but they can be a bit too much for a cat to cope with and they don’t look like prey to a cat.
At the very least, fancy cat teases, in general, don’t interest a cat as much as a feather on the end of a stick, which is exactly what you see in the picture heading this page. I believe the cat is a Ragdoll. This is a show cat.
The one you see in the picture was not bought by Ken Flick. He made it up. You don’t have to buy a cat tease. As you can imagine, they are very easy to make. A piece of wood bought at a builder’s yard (thin beading-type wood) and some feathers and you have one. You can buy feathers on Amazon.
Ken Flick has a wide range of cat teases, perhaps about ten in all. He also uses sound teases. These are devices that make a sound like a squeak.
A cat tease has a limited lifespan in terms of cat interest. It does depend on the cat, of course, but when a cat becomes bored with playing with one sort of cat tease Ken brings out another or the squeaker and will use them in tandem sometimes too.
There are a lot of squeakers on Amazon. They are for dogs but I am sure they’ll work for cats. The squeaker is best used in cat photography. A cat will turn towards the sound. The photographer has an instant to capture the moment. This is how Helmi captures what she calls the “beauty shot”. This is the cat turned facing away from the camera and looking over her shoulder at the camera.
Another way of getting the beauty shot is to place the cat facing away from the camera and then hold the tease in front of the cat. Then bring the tease around to the front. The cat’s eyes will follow the tease but her body remains static. When the cat’s eyes are facing the camera, the photograph is captured.
In the picture of Champ, a super American Shorthair, he has moved his body as well. Normally a cat just twists his flexible body.