Thursday, January 27, 2011
Pets are quite creative in finding ways to entertain themselves when they're home alone, and it's not always something destructive. I had a cat who loved to unroll toilet paper, but it had to be a new roll before she would touch it. She didn't just unroll it, she would take the loose end and wind it around chairs and table legs and she somehow always managed to unroll the entire roll without tearing it. I'd come home from work to find my dining room had been TP'd by my cat.
Pets do crazy things sometimes whether they're home alone or not. I've had cats over the years that would while away the hours sitting in a window watching what the neighbors were up to. In fact, I would go so far as to say they were spying on the neighbors. I suppose to them that's just as productive as when we sit in front of the TV staring at it for hours at a time. However, one cat took more of an interest than the others. She would cock her head back and forth as if she couldn't believe what was going on outside her window. Anytime she heard a car door shut, voices outside or the mailbox lid flop down, she would race to her window to investigate. New Year's Eve parties were really hard on her.
I've learned to never underestimate the imagination of a pet. I had a brother and sister pair of Collie/Shepherd/Setter/Great Dane dogs that made up a game they played in their pen. Pets do think; I have no doubt about that. I have a small hill on each side of the pen. The dogs would run around the pen picking up speed as they ran. They would look at each other as they ran toward one side or the other where the hills are located and jump the fence at the same time as if their looks had been a signal. Then they would turn around and jump back into the pen, run in the opposite direction and jump over the fence on the other side, turn around and jump back in.
I had a cat that was so fascinated with the timer on the stove, one day while he was home alone he figured out how to turn it on. I came home to a singing stove with no idea why the timer was buzzing. A few nights later, the mystery was solved. All of a sudden, the timer began to buzz in the wee hours of the morning. I thought at first it was my alarm clock, but it was only 3 A.M. Following the buzzing, I found my cat sitting in the middle of the stove watching the timer.
Once he learned how to turn the timer on, that became his entertainment of choice. That is, until I started removing the knob when I left the house or before going to bed. My cat spent months sitting on the stove trying to figure out how to turn the timer minus the knob. I would catch him biting it and trying to turn it using his front paws. It's a good thing cats don't have thumbs because if he had succeeded, the stove would have had to go.
The same cat also loved playing in water. He discovered that the one-handled kitchen faucet was easy to push up and could give him endless hours of water fun. So, shortly thereafter, I replaced the faucet with one he couldn't turn on. He then turned his attention to the wind chimes that dangled from the living room ceiling. They were a gift from a friend and I didn't want to hang them outside. They hung low enough that if my cat stretched far enough from the top of the couch, he could reach the bottom just enough to make them chime – day and night. I took them down after one too many of his late night serenades.
I've learned over the years that pets do find ways to entertain themselves whether they're home alone or not. Sometimes it's destructive, but often what they dream up is quite funny when you realize their amazing ability to find ways to amuse themselves. For more on this topic, be sure to check out Julia’s humorous article, The Funny Things Cats Do. Julia also investigated whether DVDs made just for pets might provide some amusement when they’re left home alone. Find out by reading Do DVDs for Cats Really Keep Them Entertained?
My pets have entertained me for years, and I’ll bet yours have too. Now it’s your turn! I'd love to hear your stories on what your pets do for fun when they're home alone.
Read more articles by Linda Cole