Introduction: Balloon-powered Cat Toy

How to keep your cat happy, stimulated, and exercised?

Many cats love to play with hanging objects. You can keep a cat playing for quite a while by dangling a thread just out of its reach, but this requires a human hand on the other end of the thread.
That hand is not always available for the cat's pleasure.

Here is how a helium-filled balloon can help to keep the cat entertained while you are away, or asleep.

Step 1: Collect Your Materials

Sorry, this does mean buying something, (or re-purposing a party decoration).

1. A helium-filled balloon
2. A light ribbon or thread, 8-10 feet long (this depends on your ceiling height). It will probably already be attached to the balloon when you obtain it.
3. A light but bulky object that you can tie to the ribbon. We used a crumpled piece of paper.
4. A cat, though a dog or ferret might do as well.

Step 2: Assembly

This is where it all comes together.

1. Tie one end of the ribbon or thread to the balloon (if not already attached).

2. With the balloon in its natural position (i.e., hugging the ceiling), trim the dangling end so that it is a few inches above the floor.

3. Now select and measure the location for attaching the play target.
We have ours at 28 inches from the floor. Actually, this height has a surprising effect on the toy's popularity. If it is set too high, our cat will lose interest.
At 28 inches, she can reach it with a bit of a leap.

4. Tie the ribbon around the play target. Use a knot that you can untie, so that you can experiment and find the height that your cat will most respond to.

Step 3: Miaoww!

Now it's time to "prime the pump", and introduce the toy to your cat.

All it takes is to dangle it in front of her/him.

Have fun!