Mix it Up With a New Cat Toy
Whether you have a new kitten or an old fogey cat, they’ll enjoy play time with a beloved owner. But just like kids, your cat can become bored with the same old toys. While a few cats may take offense at something new, because it could be dangerous! (that’s the careful cat talking . . .), even suspicious felines can be persuaded to try a new cat toy
How to Choose a New Cat Toy
For those stuck-in-the-mud cats, try a new version of an old favorite. Remember that cats identify safe and fun with what’s familiar. In other words, they like the old toy because it smells like them. So if that favorite stuffed mouse toy has seen better days and stuffing has exploded out the seams, just get a new identical mouse toy. Then make it smell like the cat’s old toy by rubbing the cat with it, especially on the cheeks.
Cats get bored with the same-old-same-old, though, if they’re explorer type felines looking for excitement. So when your cat yawns at the idea of another feather wand, try a fishing pole toy with a spider on the end. Or offer a jingle ball that gives back a fun sound or mouse squeak.
You don’t have to break the bank with new cat toys, either. Many cats actually prefer cheap thrills in the form of empty paper sacks or boxes, for example. Or just wad up a sheet of notebook paper, and toss it across the room. That may prompt your cat to show off fetch skills, something Siamese-type cats often enjoy.
One sure-fire way to engage a cat’s interest in new toys is to spike it with catnip. You can fill a baggy with this minty herb, and toss in a couple of the cat’s mice toys. Let the toys absorb the aroma overnight before offering them to your cat. Once they’ve played with a new toy a couple of times, the smell and tattered look of well-loved (and gnawed) toys brings cats back again and again to repeat the game.
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry and the award winning author of 23 pet care books.