Friday, August 4, 2017

Puzzle Toys for Ticky!

Ticky has been getting bored during the day, as evidenced by him throwing himself in front of the door in a dramatic fashion when I'm about to leave for work. To keep him busy while I'm gone I've  purchased and created puzzles for him to solve during the day. If you also have a cat that's bored during your work day or just driving you crazy with bad behavior while you're home, maybe these will spark some ideas for cat puzzles of your own!

Ticky and his new puzzle.
He says "put more treats in it hooman."

The purchased puzzle:
I bought a cat puzzle I found online called the "Brain Mover" by Trixie Pet Products. It was only $20 for something that can be reconfigured in different combinations of treat-finding and is also hard plastic so it can (supposedly) be washed in the dishwasher. They make a whole line of pet puzzles for dogs and cats, and have videos of pets actually using them so you can see how they are solved. I took a video of Ticky using his!

Ticky and I are both happy with this toy, but what if you don't want to spend $20 on a cat puzzle? I've also found a few creative ways to make similar toys out of recyclables. The only downside to those is that after awhile they wear out because the cat squishes and tears the pieces apart or the cat food gets the cardboard all oily. However, if you can find plastic recyclables these last much longer! I've seen cat puzzles made from Tupperware that can be machine washable.

The Busy Box: 

Hot glue some sections of toilet paper tubes and plastic bottles with large holes cut in the sides to a cardboard box lid. To cut the holes use an Exacto knife or box cutter to start the hole, then finish it up with scissors if the plastic is really thick. If it's thinner plastic it might be easiest just to cut it entirely with the knife/box cutter. If you have some jagged, uneven edges then either cut them smooth or sand the edge so your kitty's paws don't get poked. Toss a treat or two in each puzzle section before leaving for the day!

I made this from toilet paper tubes and a Gatorade bottle.

The Rolling Treat Dispenser:

This is simple to make from any plastic bottle. Rinse it thoroughly first and then cut holes about the diameter of your finger in the sides.

Make at least three holes, spaced along the length of the tube so if treats get stuck at one end they can still drop out. (Or I guess if your cat is the tenacious type it might keep batting it around until treats fall out even if you just cut one hole.) Make sure the treats you put in it are small enough to drop easily through the holes.

Ticky in action
Ticky loves this kind of toy and bats it around and then looks for any treats on the floor, bats it around again, etc. until it stops making the rattly noise. Hehe.

"Are they all gone?"

I hope these ideas inspire some puzzle-making for your pet! I've seen them used with dogs and even horses. Just stuff it with treats and they'll keep trying to figure a way to get to that tasty goodness.

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