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Word Nerd

It's attention that matters, not toys

photo

cartoon by Beeler

I don't have any children, but my unexpected adoption of a cat has reminded me of one lesson I once knew well about toys.

You see, Inkwell the cat is totally spoiled.

I'm not a very stern parent to my kitten, and he's learned some bad habits. He can always break my heart with a pitiful meow as he looks longingly at his food dish and he doesn't quite understand "no biting" yet.

And I have splurged, when I could, to get him neat toys.

He has a "Turbo Scratcher" featuring a circular track that holds a ball that cannot be easily removed with a scratching pad in the center. He loves it, but it's not his favorite.

He also has a second-hand cat tree that sits near the window. It's got places to claw and places to sit and he loves it, but it isn't his favorite.

I was also given a laser pointer, and whoa did we have fun with that! But the batteries are dying and Inkwell isn't as interested any more.

He currently loves the ring off the lid of a Gatorade bottle. I tossed one at him and he batted it around, then bit it and was surprised when the little ridges inside bit back.

He clawed it, swatted it, nibbled on it then brought it back to me to throw. Again and again. As long as I'm there to throw it for him, it's the best toy in the world.

He wants to be chased. He only tolerates cuddles so he can daringly escape them. Cardboard boxes are wonderful fun, if there is someone to hide from. He doesn't care about the physical toys, he wants my attention.

All the money in the world couldn't make him happy if I didn't take time every day to play with him. Children are the same way. You can give them the world, but if you don't give them yourself, they are starving.

Attention is love. Toys are just objects.

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