Monday, October 18, 2010

Wanna' See A Cat Play Fetch? Get The Krinkle Mouse!

The Good: It seems to tap into everything a cat might love, Inexpensive
The Bad: Humiliates owners, Makes cats annoying
The Basics: A wonderful little toy, inexpensive and useful, the Shimmer Krinkle Mouse Cat Toy keeps my cat entertained and annoying.

As a child, I always wanted cats. My family had a pet dog, but I secretly always preferred cats and now, as an adult, I have two. At a time when I was looking to settle down and start a family, my first wife and I took in a cat from her family's house and we bought one of our own. The little one, Gollum, came from a nearby shelter and was so small originally that he fit in the palm of my hand. I was impressed when we picked Gollum up; the little guy came with accessories! Gollum came with a blanket knitted by senior citizens at a nearby home, a toy ball (he's never used this, though my older cat has once or twice), and a Mews Ments Shimmer Krinkle Mouse Cat Toy.

Gollum absolutely loves his Mousey and I'm not sure if he's smart enough to realize that he's not still on the first mouse toy that he came with (five years ago). You see, Gollum is vicious. He has been known to eviscerate this little toy. The longest one lasted seven months (mostly because for three of them the mouse toy was lost under the oven; the shortest one has lasted is less than three hours, as it was clawed to death in the most merciless fashion!). Generally, though, these are great toys and I hunted for them and bought them in bulk the moment Gollum started to do serious damage to his first one.

The Shimmer Krinkle Mouse comes in a three pack for $1.00 and has three mice - one pink, one aqua blue, one lavender. This is basically a little cotton-filled mouse-shaped wedge covered in a stiff nylon colored coating. Inside there is a folded piece of plastic that makes a crinkling sound when the mouse is squeezed. It basically sounds like a low-pitched cricket or crumpling paper when one squeezes the toy. The mouse is two inches long with a string tail that extends an additional two and a half inches. The toy has two felt eyes glued on (they usually last two to three days with active playing) and a nylon assembly up top that I suppose is supposed to be ears (think Cyndi Lauper's hair accessories from the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video).

This would seem to be a simple enough toy; one squeezes the mouse, throws it and one's cat leaps after it. Gollum brings it back to me. Sure, I'll occasionally find Gollum playing with his mouse on his own, but far more often, Gollum will find his mouse, carry it in his mouth to wherever I am sitting and doing work, drop it and look at me expectantly. Sigh, it stinks to be a parent of such a demanding young one! Games of fetch with this mouse toy can go on for hours.

And poor Brillo, my big, fat older cat. If I toss the mouse too close to Brillo, the lazy cat will not go after it, but Gollum will retrieve it that much faster and he has been known to growl when he does! Yes, the Shimmer Krinkle Mouse Cat toy makes energetic cats downright psycho and territorial! The only way Brillo ever has a chance to play with this toy is when Gollum is locked in a separate room. I wish that were a joke. Of course, Brillo is as territorial when it comes to treat time.

This is one of those toys that seems to continue the Pounce tradition of classic conditioning (this is in no way associated with Pounce treats) as children, er, cats who play with this toy seem to respond to the sound regardless of when it comes up. This means, if I am trying to clean the house and Mousey is in my way, if I toss it, Gollum will appear out of nowhere to retrieve it. Whenever I squeeze this toy, Gollum comes running.

This type of classical conditioning can be advantageous. Lately, I've been traveling solo and the cats have been staying at my mother's house. Both of my cats are indoor cats and both dislike going outside - though I think Gollum is a little more curious, Brillo - once left outdoors at his previous owners' house - is downright terrified of the outdoors or fresh air. The Shimmer Krinkle Mouse becomes useful when Gollum realizes that me packing up the litter box means he's destined for another trip. I simply squeeze the mouse toy, toss it and Gollum will run out to fetch it. This provides me with an opportunity to scoop the little guy up and leaves me only the hassle of finding Brillo.

As well, Gollum seems comforted by this little toy when traveling. Brillo will cry and whine while I drive, but Gollum will get right into retrieving his mouse if I start playing with it while I take him to his destination. This is not an endorsement for playing fetch with a cat while driving, but it does seem to work . . .

The nice thing is that at $1.00 for a three pack, these are inexpensive and with an average play life of four months, they certainly become a value in the long run.

In fact, all I don't like about them is the effect it has on my cat. Gollum expects me to be his bitch whenever he knocks the toy under the oven or the refrigerator. He'll sit and meow plaintively until I come and retrieve it for him. Then, the little bugger will knock it back under. Also, there have been several spring mornings where I am awakened to Gollum pouncing on my chest and dropping this mouse toy onto my throat and waiting for me to throw it. Fortunately, the real mice he has caught, he simply dropped in my slipper or near the front door. Shudder.

Then again, if playing fetch with this toy is enough to keep his instincts sharp to catch the real thing when they infiltrate (a consequence of living in the country), perhaps it's even more worth it. I'm not bothered by the lack of catnip in the toy (many cat toys have it) because Gollum is part of Nancy Reagan's "just say no" campaign, er, no, wait . . . I don't mind that this does not have catnip in it because the cat is sufficiently attracted to it without the herb in it.

It's a great toy and I suspect most cats will love this as a lifelong plaything, especially if they get one at an early age!

Pardon me, now, Gollum is calling to me. I wonder where Mousey is now . . .

For other cat treats and toys, please check out my reviews of:
Spot Nips Glow-in-the-dark Atomic Balls
Lipiderm Liquid Catnip


For other pet products, please visit my index page!

© 2010, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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1 comment:

  1. My cats do not go outdoors. Thanks for the comment, though!