One of the basic needs of pet cats is adequate physical and mental stimulation. Being confined indoors does not help either. Cats that don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation can get bored. And that’s when the problem sets in. A bored cat is a favorable ground for the development of behavior problems that can become deeply rooted and hard to get rid of once they are not nipped in the bud.
Many people think that cats are pretty content sitting on their window perch, basking in the sun’s warm rays, and watching the world go by. But cats are natural predators, and even with domestication, their predatory instincts are still strong. It is important to give our furballs the opportunity to express their natural feline behaviors through play. Playing for cats is not just all fun and games. In the wild, playing involves learning survival skills such as stalking, jumping, chasing, and pouncing on prey.
Regular physical activity can also help prevent cats from piling on the pounds. Obesity is now a top health issue in cats and it can increase their risks of developing medical conditions that can have a negative effect on their health and quality of life.
“How do I keep my cat entertained?” This is a common question that many cat parents ask, especially when their furballs are left home alone throughout the day.
What is the best toy for cats?
One of the best ways to enrich your cat’s indoor environment is providing cat-safe toys. There are gazillions of cat toys out there and if you don’t have a clue on what is best for your kitty, it is easy to feel lost. Just like people, cats have different tastes when it comes to toys. The best cat toys are those that move, reflect light, have various textures, and those that are about the size of mice and other natural prey. Some cats do love squeaky toys but it can spook some. For these cats, squeaky toys must be introduced gradually. What’s important is to make sure that your cat’s toys are safe and appropriate. It must be large enough and it should not have any small parts that can be swallowed.
Interactive cat toys
Playtime with your cat is also an excellent opportunity to bond and spend time together. And what better way to enjoy the moment than using interactive toys. These toys are designed to fulfill your cat’s need to stalk, pounce, bite, and kill prey just like they do in the wild. The best interactive cat toys provide the exercise that your kitty needs and the mental stimulation that they crave while keeping themselves busy and out of trouble.
A wand toy is a great way to encourage your cat’s predatory instincts. It is actually a string with a ‘prey’ at one end while the other end is attached to a slim pole.
The KONG Feather Teaser Cat Toy is designed for interactive play. The brightly-colored feathers and toy at the end of the string can easily catch a cat’s attention. To stir the cat’s interest and add further stimulation, the toy has been ‘blasted’ with catnip. Cats can be very suspicious when it comes to something new or unfamiliar--toys, cat furniture, other pets, and even people. Thus, many cat toys are now being infused or ‘blasted’ with catnip to perk their interest and ‘invite’ them to come over and investigate.
If your cat doesn't respond to catnip, the Paws & Pal Play Pal Elephant Cat Teaser features a crinkle sound that many cats love to engage with. For cats that prefer squeakers, their Play Pal Mouse Soft Squeaker Cat Teaser might be your preferred choice. Watch the video below to see some kitties having a blast with their wand toy!
Food dispense puzzles for cats
Food puzzles are designed to contain kibbles or treats that the cat has to rattle around to dispense the contents. But it’s not just as simple as you may think. The cat has to work out the puzzle, figuring out a way to get a bite of the treat. Food puzzles come in different designs to perk a cat’s interest. There are even food puzzles with a catnip-blasted scratching post. This is indeed double the excitement, double the fun kind of thing!
The Foobler Blue/Orange Mini Self-Reloading Puzzle Feeder, for example, is a step higher than the usual food-dispensing balls. It is an automatic self-reloading puzzle feeder with 6 timer-activated food pods.
Cats with very strong prey drive can have lots of fun with game toys. One popular game toy for cats is the Peekin Pals which is actually a cat scratcher with added features to encourage cats to perform natural behaviors like swatting, scratching, and hunting. Ball chasers are also a popular type of toy that encourages chasing. The Paws & Pal Play Pal Oval Ball Chaser comes with a scratching board and free catnip to sharpen your cat's nails at the same time.
Do cats like stuffed toys?
Yes, they do! Especially if the stuffed toy has legs and a tail, making them excellent prey targets for honing their hunting skills. Stuffed toys for cats should be small enough for cats to carry around like prey.
Cats can easily be bored playing with the same toys, so it is a good idea to rotate the toys every few days or so to keep your cat interested and excited with the ever-changing variety.
Read more: The Cat Toys Handbook