My cat is bored and I am lazy. Cat fishing rod construction ideas?
May 26, 2014 10:59 AM   Subscribe

My cat is constantly begging for play and I am mostly game but also want to get some rest once in a while. She is mostly bored with the usual rotated toys - ping pong balls, toilet paper rolls and such. Her big thing is stick and string combos and old shoe laces but she is even bored with those sometimes plus their restricted range means she doesn't really got run around after them that much. I was thinking some sort of fishing rod hybrid could be dr. frankenstiened up but I don't fish so I am not sure of the details. Being efficient (lazy) I like the idea of casting and then reeling in from the luxury of the couch.

However I don't want her chewing on fishing line because she will sever it and probably eat pieces. Is there anyway for me to make some sort of hybrid device?
posted by srboisvert to Pets & Animals (29 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Two thoughts:

One, instead of using monofilament fishing line, you could get a fly reel. Fly lines are about the diameter of a shoe lace (but can also be expensive; check Craigslist?).

Two, one of the best discoveries I ever made with regard to my never-stops-playing cat is that if I tie a length of rope to my belt loop while I'm cleaning house, the cat will chase it nonstop and then sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:10 AM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Have you tried her with a laser pointer?
posted by sciencegeek at 11:12 AM on May 26, 2014 [9 favorites]

If you're open to suggestions for non-reelable but lazy-human-friendly cat toys, I really like Da Bird and the Cat Dancer, which require only a little moving around - Da Bird because the rod and string are insanely long, Cat Dancer because it's springy. You can get a ton of cat entertainment mileage by waving either halfassedly while you watch TV.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:14 AM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

laser pointer all the way. If you haven't tried a laser pointer then do that first.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:15 AM on May 26, 2014

Can confirm: laser pointers are great active cat/lazy human devices.

A warning however: training with kitty treats (put treat somewhere, let cat find it with laser) can lead to over-enthusiasm when the pointer comes out.
posted by bonehead at 11:27 AM on May 26, 2014

unfortunately, she burned out on the laser pointer really quickly ( It also seemed really mean because when she was into it she would hunt for it for an hour after we had stopped using it! ). We've used a cat charmer and she is bored with it (plus she chewed right through it - it does have the best stick for cats that like to chew though). We've gone through a couple other wand and butterfly things - she loved them but she also eats them stick - string and toy.

What want is something I can cast and reel back in plus that has a decent length 'stick' so I can make her chase around our entire living room without me have to constantly get up and play.

I've seen toys with wire lines but are they safe? Wouldn't they hurt her mouth?
posted by srboisvert at 11:32 AM on May 26, 2014

For what it's worth, I would advise against the Cat Dancer toy specifically because of the wire: when I bought it for foster kittens a couple years back, one of them did get a cut in his mouth from playing with it.
posted by littlegreen at 11:35 AM on May 26, 2014

Maybe try a kid's fishing pole with a steel leader and a plastic-coated weight, then tie feathers or whatever to it?
posted by kavasa at 11:36 AM on May 26, 2014

This one even comes with sponge things you could pull the (plastic) hooks off of, maybe? And it's cheap.
posted by kavasa at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Cat Dancer wire does need regular inspection. My cats have gone through three with no issues, but if the wire loop at the end gets bent out of shape, it's time to replace it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:50 AM on May 26, 2014

I had the same problem. Solved. Get her another cat.
posted by Think [Instrumental] at 12:32 PM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Unfortunately, our situation is too cramped for two cats. Maybe even a bit too cramped for one.
posted by srboisvert at 1:36 PM on May 26, 2014

If you want to learn how to fly cast, you could get this. No reel, but you could learn how to pick up the line and recast as well.
posted by advicepig at 1:52 PM on May 26, 2014

The trick with the laser pointers is learning how to end the game in a satisfying way for you both that doesn't involve treats. Rupert has a toy that he only sees in conjunction with the laser pointer game. When it's time to stop and he's off chasing the dot at the extreme end of its range, we toss out this toy and run the dot back, ultimately training it on the toy. He pounces on the dot/toy, we immediately turn off the laser and Rupert "wins" by getting a tactile reward (the toy) he associates with killing the red dot. He'll toss the toy in victory a few minutes and when he loses interest we take it away and hide it with the laser.
posted by carmicha at 2:06 PM on May 26, 2014 [10 favorites]

I taught my kittens how to play fetch. Now, when they want to play they bring me a toy.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:30 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

My cat and I like to watch YouTube together. Lots of entertaining stuff for cats.
posted by Raybun at 5:30 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

What I have done before is something in the way of a long piece of ribbon with a slightly heavier toy-like thing (even just a plastic milk ring) tied on the end. Hold one end, throw the other, use the end you've still got to pull it back. Doesn't really require a stick. Having the bit of weight on the end gives it some heft to get some distance.
posted by Sequence at 5:49 PM on May 26, 2014

Da Bird is THE best cat toy I've ever seen, and it's fishing-rod style. And like $6. You can't go wrong.
posted by zug at 5:56 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

We've always used a cheap kids rod with a long leather shoelace knotted at one end and tied to the end of the leader. Mr. BlueHorse waggles it around when he's watching TV. Something about the leather shoelace....
posted by BlueHorse at 6:32 PM on May 26, 2014

Da Bird is awesome. One cat we had would leap four feet in the air after it - which gave him great exercise. I could read & play with him at the same time.
posted by jb at 8:48 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am N-thing Da Bird. I have seen it described as crack for cats and from first person evidence, this is pretty true. It's gotten to the point I have to store it in the closet or else our kitty will hunt it even when we're not playing. Even so, she'll sneak into the closet if it's open and drag it out. It's got a long, flexible rod and a long string so you can easily play with her while just sitting on the couch. She's wrecked the feathers pretty good but it still twirls around pretty well. You can also buy refills for pretty cheap (there are a lot of "generic" versions on Amazon that say they are compatible with Da Bird and are a fraction of the cost.)
posted by like_neon at 1:43 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also chiming in on Da Bird. I have to store ours on top of the cupboard when not in use.
posted by Runes at 4:39 AM on May 27, 2014

6 feet of green twine with a white button tied on the end.
Hold one end and toss the button.
You're catfishing.
Too much fun, so easy to make.
posted by artdrectr at 3:42 PM on May 27, 2014

I recommend the "Cat-a-pole", because my cats go crazy over it. It does not have string, but it has great movement, and so far it's my cat's favorite "pole" type toy. I once had a smaller wire cat toy "cat teaser", but the new one is very long and basically superior, but with the wild, yet maneuverable movement that cats often like. It's not cheap, but the pole is sturdy--the lure was easily replaced with a lure of my own once it wore out--one of my cat's loves dismantling his toys!
posted by bibliophilia at 12:01 PM on June 4, 2014

In the end I just got a piece of garden support (the sticks covered in green plastic) and a length of shoelace. It is only a modest success.

I just can't seem to get her back to her early leaping, jumping and mad pursuit.
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 PM on June 25, 2014

Seriously, try da bird before you give up. I've never seen cats go as crazy for another toy as they do for da bird. Backflips in the air, stalking, freaking out, you name it. We had to hide it when we weren't using it because the cat would attempt to knock it down to play with it and knock other stuff over.
posted by zug at 1:42 AM on June 26, 2014

I +1 zug. I have also noticed that my cat goes additionally crazy when I replace the feather thing with a new feather thing when the old one starts to get ratty. In my experience so far, for one Da Bird, I can go through this generic set of 3 replacements.

Something about the bouncy/bendiness of the pole and the light string and the twirly/swirly action of the feather really drives her nuts. She will grab onto the feather once she gets a hold of it and parade it around the room like a little dog but eventually I get her to let it go and it all starts all over again. I am not exaggerating at all when I say she can play with it for like 45 minutes. She gets so into it I have to give her some breaks during playtime because she starts panting.
posted by like_neon at 1:58 AM on June 26, 2014

You mention the toilet roll but I get the impression you are using it as an object on its own. Try tying it on a string, crushing it a bit and dangling that. Our old cat loved this.
posted by biffa at 12:29 PM on September 7, 2014

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