After all these years of learning, observing and getting educating all the time about cats and their behaviour I still found some black holes in my knowledge as all that experience and learning can't seem to help me figure out their playing or rather their toys preferences.
As a dedicated cat carer who wants only what is best for the physical and psychological well being of my cats I'm not only trying to find them things which they can use to play but also things that they can keep them entertain and stimulate them. After all you want your cats to be happy and entertained and at the same time to save the birds and some of the small mammals they are visiting your garden. As two of my cats they were born and stayed permanently indoors cats (while the third has shown his own a preference for the indoor life) they were always have being happy to play with toy mice and birds and they've never showed any incline to chase the real thing (although they like watching them from the window and some times they do get a bit excited, they are not that much bothered though as chasing a real bird would actually involved a lot of energy which my cats can't be asked to use for something that small...). But it is a hard and in some cases expensive work trying to find toys that your cats would like and they will play with them for a few days. As every cat carer would know cats do get bored with their toys very quickly and they tend to lose interest after a few days even if the toy is still in one piece. But that would have being fine if at least they showed some interest for the toy you've just got them and you spent hours on the internet trying to find and spend double the actual toy's price in delivery charges and charged 'accidentally' twice for the same silly thing.
But of course your cats (and it is even worse when you have more than one with different and peculiar preferences) don't see things the same way as you do and their preferences in toys always seems to be totally different to your own. Even when you think that after all these years you know what they like they seem somehow to be able to surprise you!
So you look for something interactive and more expensive of course that it will move and therefore will provoke some interest from your cats or something that other cat owners are raving about that their cats can't stop playing with or something that it has good reviews. So when you finally pick something and it eventually arrives (after a week of delays in getting to you the just out of stock item because of its popularity and the failed efforts from the delivery company in finding your house) you discover that it looks totally different to what you were expecting it to be and that your cats either don't seem to be interested in it or for some strange reason (smell perhaps?) they are scared of it. What a disappointment once again!
Then when you finally start accepting the idea that once again you wasted your money (twice) in something that your cat is never going to play with and you are getting ready to stack it up in the attic or spare room, or in the cupboard, in the box with the many other cat toys that your cats don't like or want to play with (even when you are showing them occasionally hoping for some small interest perhaps and not wanting to give up that easily or accepting the fact that these toys where not really tested on real cats, perhaps on their owners only) you find out that your cat loves the box that the toy came in instead and she can't stop chewing or sitting in it or that she has just discovered the freebie that came along and loves it ( a very cheap plastic horribly blue ball)!!!
If only you knew what they would have liked instead you would have saved all that money and time trying to find them something that you thought they would like to play with...but then again even if you did know you would still have spent that money after all as you want to keep your cats' happy and you'd rather deep down seem to enjoy spending money on your cats, makes you feel better, and it shows that you do care a lot about your fur babies and you don't mind spending a lot of money as they worth every penny! Now of course this could easily lead to another subject of how we actually see our pets, as a different species than us or as small humans and treat them as such...??