How to Confuse Your Cat. There's an obscure Monty Python sketch in which a housewife snaps her terminally mopey cat to attention by hiring "Confuse-a-Cat." Its a troupe of performers who appear, disappear, do silly things, and generally addle the cat back to its accustomed curious self. If you don't have the means (or the inclination) to assemble your own Confuse-a-Cat repertory company, here are some can't-miss techniques for startling your sleepy puss.
Get a new can opener. As any cat owner knows, a hungry tabby can hear the sound of a can opener from a mile away. However, a brand-new can opener means a brand-new kind of sound, which your puss won't know enough to associate with dinner. Won't he be pleasantly surprised when that big, heaping bowl of vittles appears as if by magic!
Spend the day with another cat. Cats are naturally possessive, jealous creatures, so when you've come home from a pleasant afternoon petting your boyfriend's cat they can smell your infidelity all over your shoes (and whatever other parts of your body happen to be available). Not only will this confuse your cat, it'll convince him to stop taking you for granted and to be generally more entertaining.
Trade up to a high-definition TV. That dusty, outmoded picture-tube-in-a-crate has long since stopped fooling your cat, which learned its lesson after it took a swat at Rosie O'Donnell's eyebrows. However, your typical feline will be entirely unprepared for the crisp, lifelike images of a high-def TV, which will provide the both of you with weeks (if not months) of fun. What's four or five thousand dollars compared to a bored kitty?
Borrow a neighbor's fish. Odds are all the mice fled your apartment (or were eaten) years ago, so your next best option is to time-share a goldfish and watch the resulting fireworks. Just be sure to place the bowl in a secure, unreachable location, lest your attempt to amuse your cat wind up with an emergency trip to the vet to fix a broken paw.
Buy a dog. For years, your cats have been lounging around your house like they own the place or something. Remind them of their position in the food chain by bringing home a dog from the pound-not a puppy, which they will immediately terrorize, but a full-grown, manly-man alpha dog eager to stake out its territory. With any luck, your cats will be roused from their torpor long enough to arrange to drop a flower pot on the snarling beastie's head.