Fairly recently, an admirer sent La Doof Kitton and El Gato some toys (really. Apparently there are people who like my pets. Even if Dawg is still not allowed to visit the houses of some relatives after nearly destroying them). There some of these toys are still around the house (under the fridge, in the toy basket, or hiding in the basement) but the treat ball didn't make it.
The treat ball was a fairly straightforward toy--a hollow ball with a hole in it. So you put treats/catnip/etc in the ball and as they bat it about, the good-things-inside fall out of the hole. Genius I tell you!
So, I broke out this shiny new treat ball and, when it came time for the kittehs' bedtime treats, I gave them each ONE and put the other stinky little bits of tasty bad-for-kitty-ness into the treat ball and set it on the floor (on the side of the baby gate that Dawg can NOT get to--Dawg also likes kitteh treats) and I went to bed.
I heard the hubbub of kittehs trying to get to treats for a while and then I heard the *thump, thump, thump, thumppity thump thump thumppity* of a treat ball bouncing down a flight of steps. And then I heard silence. And then I went to sleep.
When I got up in the morning, the ball was lying in 2 halves at the bottom of the stairs, sans treats. While that's not ideal, it was still forcing El Gato to exercise for her treat and it was fun (Okay, *I* thought it was fun. La Doof Kitton seemed to be enjoying himself. El Gato seemed to think that I should be beaten with sticks for making it harder to get to her treats) so I was game to keep doing this.
We repeated the "treats in the ball at night" several more times before I realized that I quit hearing the sound of kittehs trying to get to treats...apparently ONE of them (or both...but my money is on one--La Doof Kitton) figured out that taking the ball to the top of the stairs and shoving it down = ball in pieces and, YAY TREATS with less work.
So, the next day, I decided that I would put catnip, rather than treats in the ball. La Doof Kitton is mostly indifferent to catnip while El Gato is all for the reefer madness. and hits that bong pretty hard. I put a large pinch of catnip in the ball and put the ball in the library (Dawg doesn't like the library--the floor is lava) and watched El Gato sniff at it. A few minutes later, I heard a noise in the living room that sounded less than promising; I forgot that, as indifferent to catnip as La Doof Kitton is, Dawg is not. I don't think Dawg gets a 'rush' from it, I think she just likes eating El Gato's toys and she associates the smell with fun-to-eat kitteh toys.
I arrived in the living room to find El Gato, perched on the back of the couch looking VERY upset while Dawg lay under the couch (that's where she goes when she's chewing on things she oughtn't be chewing on) , surrounded by flakes of catnip and purple and green plastic bits.
So the treat ball didn't make it--the kitteh's are back to just having their bits of partially-digested-animal-by-product-meal (ew) placed in front of them at bedtime. And La Doof Kitton seems disappointed that he doesn't get to push things downstairs. And El Gato is quite content with the return to the status quo--and easier access to treats.