How cat-ting can be dog disasterLocal | Georgina Noyce 27 Jul 2021
"Ting, ting, ting, ting."
The sound of the tiny ball bouncing down the stairs for the umpteenth time had us wondering whether entertaining the cats was worth the hassle of making sure it didn't get eaten by a curious dog.
When the cats joined us at different times, we had offered a range of "toys" for their entertainment. However, Jade, the queenly tricolor short haired cat, lost interest in toys as soon as she was allowed to roam outside unsupervised.
Ginger Amber, ex-feral and fully grown before joining us, was at least halfway through her nine lives and had reached a life that was nervous about everything, so anything new - even a shoe left in a different place from usual - is only approached after several hours of hesitant investigation.
Both cats, however, love cupboards, boxes or bags - hiding places, in other words.
While brave Jade dives straight in or under, Amber takes her time investigating, sniffing and eventually rubbing against things, before hesitantly poking her nose into the "new" hiding place.
Jade's hiss and snarl of warning soon stops Amber from attempting to cozy up to the older cat in a tiny space.
However, Amber will slip a paw out of any box she eventually hides in, to entice Jade as she walks past. Even after all these years, Amber still hasn't worked out that Jade is not the sociable kind.
The tiny latticework plastic ball, with a bell inside, was the latest way to encourage the cats to exercise now they are indoor cats.
But the ball bells are meant to stay upstairs, away from dogs, two of whom could swallow the ball without noticing and one who would chew it to pieces and choke on it.
Not sure which cat discovered the hilarious game of batting the ball down the stairs, but it won't be long before the humans get tired of collecting the tiny tinkling ball and taking it back up to the cat-only zone.
It's possible, however that MOTH (man of the house) has extended the game by collecting the ball and throwing it back up the stairs to whichever cat is crouched at the top waiting to get the ball back!
Keep an eye out for equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with Thomas Ho and horse Tayberry, representing Hong Kong in eventing - a brilliant first for a local equestrian.
Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.