Friday, April 18, 2008

Chipmunks and Squirrels and Birds, Oh my!

I've been hearing about this video for years--back when it was a videotape. Now it's a DVD. The image at left is from the Cat TV website.

Finally I decided to see if my cats would go for it. I was particularly hoping my senior male, El Nino, would find it something to stand up and paw about. He's a huge, long-haired black cat, who is part Maine Coon Cat. He's the alpha male by virtue of having a two-inch longer paw reach than any of the others. He's a benevolent ruler, probably the mellowest cat I've ever known. But he's gotten less active with age and size, so any opportunity for exercise is good.

The DVD directions suggested removing everything breakable from around and on top of the television set, and not playing it on a set with a screen that could be damaged if the cat(s) pawed at it, or that had a broken or easily detachable back.

When I first started the DVD, the only cat who showed interest was a younger, super-active female, Tigerlily, and she was hypnotized in front of the screen, following the birds in particular and occasionally patting the screen. Merlin, who is the most athletic cat, came around soon and started watching it intently, paw at it with both paws, and climb on top to see if he could get the birds out.

Nino listened to the bird songs, but didn't bother to look at the screen. His eyes are affected by cataracts and I was afraid he couldn't see it. Maybe that was the case until Day 2, when he happened to be in front of the set and looked right at it. Then his ears swiveled forward, his tail started lashing, and he came closer and closer. The close-ups of birds hopping around chirping were clear enough for him to put together with the chirping. Pretty soon he was climbing up the front of the set and pawing at the more irresistible birds.

Great stuff. I'll have to figure out the optimum times to play it so they don't get bored with it. But I understand there's a sequel.....hmmm.....

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