Do Pets Really Need Christmas Toys?

Do Pets Really Need Christmas Toys?

By Flo C. Blake

For the Independent


True, they’re actually family members, and yes, they do have feelings. We should love, feed and pamper them. But must we spend scarce funds from our over-extended budgets to keep them happy?

The pet toy industry seems to have latched onto something quite lucrative. Their products sell rather well. Truthfully, my pets get more presents each Christmas than all of my siblings and I ever received in our entire lifetimes.

I’ve noticed one glaringly obvious fact about my pets’ interaction with their brand new playthings. As soon as the novelty wears off (which usually takes a maximum of about five minutes,) they lose virtually all interest.

What will they typically choose to play with? Dogs seem to prefer anything that requires coordination of physical effort on the part of their owners’ muscles, and the pups’ teeth. That might include items the human must toss for Fido to catch; a rope with which they’ll both play tug-of-war, or virtually any object involving games of ‘fetch.’

Cats pay more attention to whatever they can control. If when they push on it, the object rolls around the floor, their fun and active pursuit of it begins. (They’re likely practicing the declining art of chasing mice.)  I’ve accumulated cardboard boxes brimming with containers that once housed bread crumbs, concentrated lemon juice, protein powders or supplements. The same boxes also collect discarded spools from sewing projects, cores from empty masking tape rolls, plastic stevia bottles, and long-empty prescription containers.

Recycling these objects saves our landfills while helping little critters amuse themselves.

Elsewhere strewn about throughout the house sit varieties of commercially-produced toys my grown kids or I have purchased to gladden the canines’ and felines’ hearts.

The pets will play with the costly items briefly. I’d estimate that’s just long enough for me to snap photos for donors who lovingly shopped, packed the gifts securely, and mailed them here.  Then pup and kitty turn their noses up, stroll away, and resume concentrating their attention on the old box of familiar castaway remnants.

Months later, those costly gifts will remain ignored, untouched and unappreciated by the fickle, furry little ingrates.

I have nothing against the manufacturers or dealers of pet toys when I say this: if you feel lovingly generous, consider donating to  animal-rescue facilities  whatever cash you would’ve  spent on pets’ over-priced trinkets.