Cat playing with toy
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The best toys for cats

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Updated on the

Cats, though they may sleep most of the day, can in fact be very active creatures.

With a strong prey drive, cats love to be outdoors – to explore and hunt to their heart’s content. However, if you have an indoor cat, you should, as a responsible cat owner, replace the stimuli your pet would get outdoors with indoor games, toys and play sessions. Of course, toys can also keep an outdoor cat entertained and happy. Not all cats will enjoy playing with the same type of toy, but if you know your cat well, you will be able to pin-point the toys it will most likely enjoy!

Feather toys

These are a must if you have a cat, as they are always an instant hit! Cats are natural-born hunters, and a toy that looks and moves like prey is sure to interest them! Feather toys usually have a few feathers dangling at the end of a rod, and if you swing it suggestively in front of a cat, you are sure to have them on your tail immediately! This toy is not only a mental stimulator, sharpening your cats hunting skills, but is also great to get your furry friends moving – an excellent way to battle obesity.

Design senses play circuit

This toy is another effective way of stimulating your cat’s hunting skills, and the best part is – you don’t even have to be there to entertain your kitty. You can build the play circuit as you want by re-arranging its various parts, always keeping your cat on its toes. Your cat can push and pounce on the balls inside the circuit as they roll around, and use the peepholes to slip a paw inside and try to catch them. This can be a very useful game if you’re out during the day and want to make sure your cat can still play even in your absence.

Cat tunnel

If your cat is an adventurer, this is a must-have! You can purchase cat tunnels with various entry points and holes to peek out of, making it even more interesting for your cat to play in. Throw in a colourful ball or feathered teaser to make the game even more fun! This is a game best enjoyed if you have multiple cats that can stalk and chase each other through the various channels!

SmartyKat Skitter Critters

If you know anything about cats, you’ll know they go crazy for catnip. Though this herb is perfectly natural and harmless, many owners say their cats get a ‘high’ from it – a burst of activity to begin with followed by a very calm period. These mouse-shaped catnip toys are perfect for cats who like to ‘get high’. The light, small-sized toy is filled with catnip, making it a very desirable target for cats who love to stalk, pounce, paw, and bite!

A note about laser pointers

You may have seen some hilarious videos online of cats chasing a laser beam. Cats do indeed go crazy for the little red dot you point to the floor, and they will chase it continuously until it disappears. Yet, many behaviourists frown upon this game. In fact, cat experts say this game can be more frustrating than satisfying for your animal. A chase with no reward at the end can indeed be quite confusing for your cat, especially since he can have no physical contact with the red dot and has no idea where the ‘prey’ disappears to once the game ends.

However, behaviourists do not banish the game completely, and instead propose a different method of playing. Once you decide to end the game and turn off the light, throw a cat toy where the light once was – in this way, your cat gets a reward for having chased his ‘prey’, and gets to take out all his built-up hunting energy onto a physical object – you’ll see how crazy he gets with his mouse toy after a laser pointer game!

Useful objects to have around the house

While not precisely toys in their own right, there are a couple of objects you may want to purchase if you have a cat at home. Having a few scratch pads around the house will enable your cat to execute the very natural behaviour of clawing and scratching – and will also save your furniture from destructive claws. A cat tree can also be entertaining to a cat who likes to climb and sit around in high places (which is most cats!) Some trees even include built-in toys, which can make them even more mentally stimulating!

Part of providing good welfare for an animal is to provide them with the opportunity to express natural behaviour. With cats, this behaviour includes jumping, pawing, chasing, stalking, scratching, and rubbing, to name a few. Cats who aren’t provided with the opportunity to do this can become frustrated and take it out on objects you may not want used as toys – your couch, curtains, even your hands or feet for instance!

If you provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation for your cat, you will not only have a happy and healthy kitty, but you will also be safer from surprise feline attacks. So if you don’t have any toys for your cat at home right now, go get shopping!

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