Sometimes it feels like your house is littered with toys as if five toddlers lived there, but your cat never seems to play with them. Or they play with a new toy, but are more intrigued by the box it came in. For animals that hunt for fun, it can be difficult to find toys they like.
Like people, cats have preferences. When it comes to their toys, cats are quite specific for what they consider interesting. Kittens will go bananas over just about anything, but once they begin nearing one year of age, their preferences begin to develop. Playtime for kittens and young cats is crucial. It is especially important to increase the bond with you. But after a while, you may feel like you’re dangling that feather toy while your cat yawns in your face.
Stimulation requirements change as cats age, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to play. The trick is discovering what your cat might enjoy. Here are some of the popular toys you can consider:
1. Feather toys. These toys are usually a long wand with feathers or some type of frilly toy dangling at the end. Cats enjoy pouncing and chasing it. They can tire from the toy especially if their human dangles it the same way all the time. Once they figure out a pattern, the thrill is gone. Try waving it on a cat tree or running it along the floor so your cat must cover more distance to win it. This toy provides great exercise, especially if you can institute several fifteen minute sessions a week.
2. Catnip Toys. The euphoric effect immediately draws the cat’s attention to the toy. Catnip mice toys are almost always a fan favorite and invite kitty to play on their own. Just be mindful that some cats really want the catnip and might pull the toy apart and eat it.
3. Laser Pointers. The elusive dot of light from the pointer triggers the chase and pounce instinct. However, some cats become suspicious of the red dot if they put their paw on it and nothing happens. Other cats become too stimulated by the toy. If your cat chatters or appears frustrated when the dot disappears you may want to reconsider using it if it’s more frustrating than fun. Also, never shine the dot in their eyes or yours.
4. Puzzle toys. These toys require your cat to problem solve. They are a fantastic option for many cats because they need to think to get the reward. Catnip or cat treats are the best options for rewards that will keep your cat coming back. We especially like the mouse toys where you can stuff the center with food or treats. This is also a nice option for portion control and some people feed their cats exclusively through interactive toys.
5. Cat tunnels. Kittens really enjoy these toys. They love the hide and pounce game. They also enjoy the ability to hide when they need alone time.
6. Sisal and cardboard scratching posts. These are a must have for any cat. While they appear mundane, scratching posts provide stress relief and permit your cat to follow their instinct to scratch. In the wild, cats use tree bark to get a good scratch and stretch experience. Be mindful to clip the shredded bits of sisal periodically because cats like to eat it and the material causes vomiting. Vacuum the remnants of the cardboard toys at least twice a week so your cat doesn’t it eat.
Remember, each cat is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find toys that your cat enjoys the most. Always inspect toys and replace them if they become too chewed up. Rejected toys are always a welcome donation at your local animal shelter.