Cats can amuse themselves with the simplest of things — and they usually do.

I recently saw a hilarious photo on Facebook, featuring a cat looking over a vast array of colorful cat toys spilling out of a box on the floor. The cat had an annoyed look on his face, and the caption read, “They threw away my milk ring. Now I don’t have anything to play with.”

Anyone who has ever had a cat knows how true that scenario is. You can spend good money on the latest cat toy that hops, buzzes, chirps or jingles — but chances are the kitty will go for the everyday object he finds lying around the house, such as the plastic ring off the top of a milk carton.

Our last cat, Emma, loved those milk carton rings. We’d give her one to play with and soon she’d be batting it around the room or carrying it in her mouth as if it were her prized possession. When we pulled out the refrigerator for the move to our current house, we must have found a dozen of those things under there.

Our new cat, Sophie, isn’t so big on the milk carton rings, but she absolutely loves the big sheets of brown wrapping paper my wife puts on the floor for her. Sometimes, my wife will crease the paper and fashion it into a makeshift tent. Because the paper is fairly stiff, it stands up pretty well — at least until the cat comes charging into it from across the room.

The cat just loves her little paper house. We’ll toss a couple of her toys in there with her, and she can just sit there for an hour at a stretch — occasionally sticking a paw out or peeking around the edge to see if we’re watching her.

She loves most of the toys we’ve given her, as evidenced by the fact that they’re usually scattered around the living room or lurking in the hallways, just inviting us to trip over them. But all in all, she loves her wrapping paper the best.

When we adopted Sophie from the Harker Heights animal shelter just after Christmas, my wife was hoping she wouldn’t just lie around and sleep, or go off by herself and hide for long periods of time.

She needn’t have worried.

This cat is the most playful adult cat I’ve ever seen. If she’s awake, she’s up for some play time.

While this makes for some pretty entertaining moments each day, it can also be somewhat exhausting.

At night, when my wife and I are getting ready to turn in, we pick up the cat’s toys and her wrapping paper and tell her it’s time to go to bed. We turn out all the lights, and my wife generally puts on a CD of some relaxing instrumental music to help us drift off to sleep.

The cat, however, doesn’t get the concept of “no lights on equals bedtime.” Within two minutes of my getting into bed, she starts meowing that she wants to play. When we ignore her, she starts prowling the house, meowing as she goes. It generally doesn’t stop until she either joins us on the bed or my wife tells her to shut up — after which she usually sulks off to another room.

Early in the morning, the cat’s ready to play again. For a while she was coming into our room and meowing well before dawn, expecting us to get up and amuse her. After all, she’d had her requisite four hours of sleep. So, what was our problem?

Lately, she’s been a little more considerate, but she still starts in with the kitty reveille at the first sound of stirring in our room, especially after our alarm goes off.

Still, I have to admit it’s nice to have a playful cat. Watching her is often more interesting than whatever is on TV — and given the cost of cable these days, it’s a whole lot cheaper.

Contact Dave Miller at or (254) 501-7543

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