The Cat Tease

The cat tease
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The Cat Tease – Photograph by Michael at PoC

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.

American Shorthair Champ beauty shot

American Shorthair Champ beauty shot. Photo copyright Helmi Flick.

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.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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5 Responses

  1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Just trying out the add a picture option, this is Jozef having a game of cat tease with me earlier today.

    • Michael says:

      You got your picture up! 😉 It is enormous and lovely. One nice thing about cat teases is that they animate a cat. You get that nice engagement and alert eyes.

      • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

        Yes I DID it lol
        Isn’t Jo just so very handsome!
        Is it too big Michael?
        Should I resize future pics?

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    I don’t know how many cat teases we’ve gone through over the years lol as yes it’s important to let the cat catch it because as with us it would very frustrating if something was tantalysingly dangling within reach but we never got to touch it.
    Walter and Jozef have an ongoing battle of who can bite the tassly end off first lol
    They love to leap on it waggling under a rug too, then drag it out.
    We don’t buy feather ones because they don’t last five minutes lol
    But they are equally a happy with home made toys, even a bit of scrunched up paper tied on string, it’s all about fun to us and honing up their hunting skills to them.

    • Marc says:

      I’ve gone through so many – or should I say the cats have. I have found one in particular which is very strong and has stood the test of time. Thank goodness because all the others snap or get shredded which is a shame. The one I have which is working as it should has a solid stick, not hollow and can withstand being bent around – it doesn’t snap – so thats the major thing but also the tease part is strongly attached and doesnt break off. The tease part is also tough by itself.

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