I fought this for the longest time.
"Here, have this deluxe yak fur ball, made specially for you by deluxe yaks in countries I cannot find on a globe," I would croon, waving what looked like a mummified hamster meaningfully in her direction.
She bit the orb of bison fluff and carried it away a few steps. An hour later I glanced over. She had fallen asleep holding it in her mouth like a ball gag. She was drooling.
No fuzzy ball. Check.
"Here Dippy, I have a nice box for you to play in. Niiiice cardboard..."
Now, most of you would believe that since she has, after great effort, mastered the art of sitting in the litter tray and making embarrassing eye contact, that she would at least comprehend that a box has an "in" side and an "out" side and that both were fine places to be.
Most of you would be wrong.
I put her in the (open top non-confining guaranteed fun for cats) box.
For a few moments our lives became an existential Dr. Seuss book, or possibly a play about Hemingway, written by Woody Allen.
"I came to the box. The box was there.
I will not sit inside the box.
I will not sit there with a fox.
I will scream and hide my head.
I will fall over like I'm dead."
I lifted up one paw and let it drop. It fluttered weakly to her side. I removed myself to a safe distance.
A bit later her furred periscope of a head, ears flattered, appeared over the rim. She flopped sideways, hard, causing the box to stand up on its short side like a sudden cardboard erection.
And then she rolled out. For a trembling second the box stood tall, and then it fell over on top of her.
For a few moments I watched silently as the cardboard square crawled across the living room yowling and meeping. When she began to eat through in an effort to seek freedom I picked it up.
She spat out a mouthful of cardboard and eyed me with distaste.
Never one to admit failure, I went to the store.
The bouncy ball disappeared.
The sock monkey toy tried to strangle her.
She drowned all of the catnip mice in Nike's water bowl and I had to take them away after he began drinking the resulting 'nip tea, wearing overalls and changing all the songs in my favorites playlist to the Grateful Dead.
The "entertaining cat puzzle and ball ring" exploded.
Frenzied now, I tried again.
I got her the softest, comfiest, coziest, pinkest kitty sleeping mat which has ever existed.
She did not sleep on it. I did, however, manage to stop her before she finished burying it in the litter tray.
She is currently happily snoozing, on the bare wood of my work table. Nike, who can't believe his luck, is sprawled luxuriantly on a pile made of his own two fuzzy nap rugs and the pinkest kitty sleeping mat ever.
I've got the Grateful Dead on repeat.