As I'm like most cat owners, we are always looking for something to capture the feline attention, give them something to play with, to entertain ourselves and our pets. One day, pawing around Amazon, I found a highly rated toy and purchased it for my pair of mighty tigers. Well they loved it so much, it was better than catnip, they wanted to play play play and I decided this was the best cat toy ever invented. The toy I found is called Go Cat Da Bird and can be found on Amazon here.
Fast forward 4 days, not quite so much. Ok, still fun but you know, we aren't nearly as excited as before. After a month, big yawn, haven't you got some new ideas? That's just how cats are.
So this instructable is how I figured out how to take this toy to the next level.
Step 1: How to Improve on a Classic
This commercial toy is pretty darn good, but it really is a bit short (36") for a good sized room. And, my cat got tired of the feathers. You can buy "refill" kits of more feathers, but there are so many other things you can tie to the end of a string!
So the improvements would be: 1) add variety and b) make a longer toy. I found the perfect item to get the extra range I was seeking: a kid's fishing pole from Walmart, less than $6.
Step 2: Fishin' for Kittin' - Modifying the Rod
Once you've acquired said fishing rod, I've found that the extra line loops get catch the string and make the rod less effective for this purpose, so I cut them off and filed the ends back smooth to the rod. I also found that the nice big fishing handle gets in the way, a smaller grab is much more convenient and the rods have a natural break at the perfect location to cut it off.
Step 3: Stringing Them Along
Once you've modified the rod, add a string with a toy on the end and you are ready to entice your cats to new levels of play!
The "Da Bird" toy uses regular fishing snap swivels to attach the feathers, but it works out better to just tie each toy to a string and put a snap swivel on the rod end of each string so you change them out from the rod. And I've found you don't even need to close the catch, just hang it on the end of the rod and it stays perfectly until you take it off.
A note about the string - I like nylon twine available in nice colors, it is durable and easy to undo knots that inevitably arise. And, you can use a lighter to singe off the ends to keep it from unraveling and to better secure your knots.
For best fishing action, you want to make the string with the toy just an inch or two shorter than the rod (5 foot with the rod I'm using).
As for toys, my cats will chase anything tied to a string, a bit of ribbon, a crumpled piece of paper, or any cat toy you probably have laying around already. The pack of 3 mice from Walmart have well attached tails that are easy to tie to a string, and they are definitely one of the favorites!
Step 4: A Low-Cost and Long-Lasting Toy
Guaranteed to give your cat more exercise than you. Relax from the comfort of your easy chair and play the pied piper making your cats dance to your tune.
Please vote for this in the pet challenge!