Part of the fun of having a cat is watching their antics. Cats,
especially young ones, can be quite playful and lively. They
can also be destructive if they're bored and lonely. So, in the
interest of keeping your cat happy
and your furniture unclawed, get your cat some toys. It is
especially important for the cat to have toys if 1) the humans
in the household are away for hours at a time, and 2) there are
no other animals around to keep the cat company. Cats can play
very nicely with another cat or even
a dog. Having an animal companion around keeps the cat
happy and entertained, which is why some animal shelters in the
U.S. will only adopt out kittens as pairs. Here are some simple
toys and homemade cat toys to choose from.
Household Items as Toys
Cat toys don't have to be expensive. In fact, many of them
aren't, and a few can even be found in your house. Be careful
with household items, though, as some can be dangerous to your
cat. It may be fun to watch a cat play with a ball of yarn, for
instance, but if your cat swallows any, you will then have to
take them to the vet. Rubber bands and similar items should
also not be used as cat toys, as there is too great a risk of
the cat swallowing them.
There are, however, a few household items that can work as cat
1) A paper bag
Cats love crawling into small places, including crawling into
and out of paper bags. If you have two or more cats, one will
crawl into the bag, and the others will pounce on them. Replace
the bag after the cats shred it.
2) A laser pointer
This office tool appeals to a cat's chase instincts. Flick it
on and wave it around and watch your cat go nuts chasing the
little red dot. Just remember to end
the game with something your cat can catch, to avoid your
kitty becoming frustrated.
Toys from Pet Stores
Pet stores offer a wide range of toys, in all kinds of colors
and shapes. Look for some of these fun toys:
1) A cat teaser or fisher
This is a so-called "interactive" toy because it only works
with a human controlling it. A cat teaser looks something like
a small fishing pole, with a rod and a string. The string can
have a lure-like toy at the end or be made of feathers. In any
case, wave it, and get your cat to chase or pounce on the
string. You can create your own cat teaser at home with a
plastic wand or stick, some string, and a feather.
Cats like chasing plastic balls, especially if there is a bell
or other noisemaker inside. Balls can be made of other
materials, including yarn, and are often stuffed with catnip. Other balls have crinkly paper in
them, and the noise attracts the cat. These are among the least
expensive commercial cat toys available, as a ball or set of
balls typically cost only a few dollars.
3) Catnip toys
Catnip basically gets cats high and makes them act silly. Most
catnip toys are made of cloth and some have noisy, crinkly
paper inside them to further pique the cat's interest. Cats
like to pounce on, bat around, and eventually shred these toys.
Fortunately, they're generally not expensive.
4) Motorized cat toys
These include things like robot mice. Turn them on and watch
Kitty chase them. (Notice a theme? Cats are hunters and like to
chase things, so many cat toys will appeal to a cat's hunting
instincts). Motorized cat toys tend to be among the more
expensive toys, but even they generally don't cost more than
$25.00, although there are exceptions.
5) Track toys
These toys consist of a circular track with a ball in it, and
the ball may or may not have a noisemaker like a bell in it.
Cats like to bat at and chase the ball around the track. Like
the motorized toys, these tend to be among the more expensive
cat toys available.
6) Cat videos
Videos designed for cats will depicts birds and other small
animals. The animals' movements will keep the cat entertained.
Cat videos cost about the same as videos for humans do.
There are many toys for cats available, and most appeal to a
cat's interest in movement and noise. With some looking, you're
sure to find something for your cat.
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 or Mylar ball that gives back a fun
sound or mouse squeak. The Mini Teaser Wand can create great
opportunities for interacting and playing with your
cat. Colorful Springs for
cats is another great option for baiting your cat and
encourage fun play sessions.
- 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
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant,
consultant to the pet care industry and the award winning
author of 23 pet care books.
More on Cat Care
Exercise Your Cat with Play