Cat toys? My cat needs toys? Wait, I have a ton of cat toys! Just like with dogs, cats can become destructive in the home when they get bored. Providing toys that mimic the behaviors they display out in the wild will create a happy and sedate kitty. Just like the BIG CATS of the world, your little domestic kitty may have a particular hunting style. Some cats love to hunt birds, while others prefer to hunt mice. Their hunting style (meaning the type of prey animal they would hunt) usually determines what your cat’s favorite toy may be. We aren’t suggesting that you put your indoor kitty outside to determine their hunting style. But provide a couple of different types of toys to help you to see their preferred hunting style and keep your kitty entertained.
For the bird hunters, choose toys that move like a bird (floating and flying). Most varieties of cat wands provide this type of movement.
For those who would prefer hunting mice, look for toys that have hide, peek out or crawl on the ground. There are many different varieties of these types of toys, starting with simple design that looks like a small box with round holes that have balls inside, to motorized toys that move the “prey” toy around, and even products like the Ripple Rug. http://ripplerug.com
Cat trees are a very practical tool to have for your cat. They provide the height that your kitty craves, some have hiding spots and hanging toys on it as well. While not a necessary item for every cat house, they can be the best kitty jungle gym!
Puzzle toys are a great enrichment toy that keeps your cat mentally stimulated and provides a little snack or a meal. If your cat could stand to lose a pound or 2, puzzle toys gets your cat moving for the meal while stimulating their mind!
Just like with dogs, interactive play strengthens the cat/ human bond. Some cats like to learn and will fetch toys! What a great exercise program!
Laser pointers can help burn up that pent up energy. They are especially useful for younger cats and ones that love to run around like a crazy person in the middle of the night. Playing with them just before you are ready to go to bed will make them tired enough to chill out while you sleep. Be sure there is a tangible toy or reward at the end of laser play. Just chasing a laser with nothing to show for has shown to create anxiety and OCD disorders.
Cats seem to love tunnels. They can hide and pounce which is part of their normal predatory behavior – why not form a great tunnel out of all those Amazon boxes!.
Catnip toys can be fun but not all cats respond to the scent of catnip. Other simple toys like toy mice and balls can be cheap and easy toys. One of the best toys we have seen countless cats play with are crinkle balls. They love them!
Just like with dogs, cats should be supervised with some toys. They shouldn’t have any strings or ribbons. Wands with strings should be put away when you are not there. If a cat chews on strings, they can ingest it and can cause an obstruction but unfortunately the string wouldn’t show up on X-rays.
Another thing to remember is that just like with human children they can get bored playing with the same toys (except for their comfort toy). Keeping a rotation of toy baskets with a few different types in each will keep the excitement alive. This also gives you a chance to wash/clean the toys as needed in between rotations.
There are a lot of toys out there on the market and it may seem a bit daunting to find a good toy for your dog, but knowing your pet’s behavior and the types of toys to look for, you are sure to find a few that they will love.