There are certain things I do with each of my cats. Each beast is different, with a personality all his own, so what I do with each is different. Tucker and I have our own game.
We usually play it while he is sitting in his favourite chair at the dining table. I will feign an attack upon him, and grab his head. He is ready for this manoeuvre, however, and in turn seizes one of my fingers or a thumb with his paw. (Since he has no thumb of his own, his action is not very definitive; I go along with it nonetheless.) My digit he then puts into his mouth, securing it by clamping his teeth upon it. But he doesn’t want to hurt me, so, while I pretend that he can capture a finger, he pretends that he is biting down on it. I cry out in false pain, and he lets me go.
The roly poly one likes this game, happily rubbing his fuzzy moon-face against the spindles of the back of the chair, a sure sign that he is enjoying himself. Sometimes he even purrs as he is tearing the metaphoric flesh from my bones, the ferocious beast.
While cats’ ability at pretence is demonstrated by hunting fake mice and the like, this imaginary battle and its equally imaginary consequences show, I think, a slightly higher capacity for seeing in their minds’ eyes what isn’t really present, for feeling what doesn’t exist. It proves that we don’t need toys to entertain our cats. And we just need them to entertain ourselves.