I bought the cats a toy mouse a while back. The cats sure seem to enjoy it. They bat it around, throw it in the air, and chase it around. Having seen plenty of cats catch plenty of mice, I know that the cats are enjoying their toy the same way that would enjoy a real mouse.
I guess I'm a sucker, because I got them a mouse that looks pretty real, real enough to scare you if you come upon it in dim light. My wife doesn't enjoy the way it gets left in unexpected places overnight as a special little morning surprise. I'm not afraid of mice, but I confess that I don't much like finding an authentic looking mouse by my nightstand first thing when I wake up either.
Maybe the cats would have enjoyed a less realistic toy just as much. I know they have a blast with just a piece of crumpled paper, so perhaps I should have found them a toy that wasn't real enough to scare the humans in the house--but that would have risked the toy not being real enough for the cats to enjoy. As any cat owner knows, if a cat doesn't have a toy real enough to enjoy, you become the toy, and that's not any fun.
So I got my cats a toy mouse that looks real, real enough to scare us sometimes, real enough for them to enjoy.
I write without knowing if my work is ever going to be read. Even when I submit a story to a contest or a journal, or when I put up a blog post, I don't actually know if anyone's going to read it. I just assume that I'm writing for people somewhere, sometime, somehow. That assumption makes my work feel real.
Real enough to scare me a little, real enough for me to enjoy.