• Jennifer Van de Kieft

Toys for Cats! What Do You Need?

Lily in a paper burrito. Packing paper is a great toy by itself, or it can be used to enhance play by putting a piece over a battery operated toy, or crumpling up the paper and throwing a mouse toy inside.

Generally, cat toys fall into 3 categories, and you should have a variety of each:

1. Inanimate Toys - these are the little mice, balls, and other assorted objects that do not move on their own, but require the cat to be interested and motivated enough to actively engage these toys. Kittens and young cats easily play with inanimate toys since they have so much energy. Some older cats will play with these toys too, though I find they might need more help to keep them exciting. Alternating a few toys out at a time can keep your cat interested. Marinating the ones you just picked up in catnip can help keep them fresh when you put them back out. Do not just leave these lying around - pick them up, put them away, or hide them for your cat to find later.

2. Interactive Toys - these are the fishing rods or wand toys where you have a stick with string attached, and a prey toy at the end. This is a must have for every cat owner. Engaging your cat in play that mimics a hunt is a great way to keep the predator in your cat happy, and an excellent way to provide exercise and mental stimulation. Look for a toy that has detachable attachments so you can change it up and keep it exciting. Da Bird and Depets are among the many companies that make great wand toys.

3. Battery Operated Toys - These are great to supplement play sessions with wand toys, especially for highly energetic cats. These can also be useful to provide a distraction if you have a multi-cat home and there's some tension. It can be hard to find ones that will keep your cat interested since they tend to make the same movements over and over. One that I like a lot that is smart is Petlinks Motion Activated Cat Toy - the movements are random and it can keep cats entertained for some time. I also like the Hexbug Nano and Hexbug Mouse, though they are both small so you want to make sure you don't lose it under your fridge.

Having a combination of toys will provide your cat with great stimulation and reduce the likelihood of boredom.