Your cat is innately curious and naturally playful. She will play with you, another cat, or even a puppy. Toys serve many useful purposes for your cat, keeping her fit both physically and mentally. Without toys your cat will become bored and she will find potentially destructive ways to entertain herself.
Choosing the right toy
When choosing playthings for your cat, here are a few rules and ideas to help you make your choice:
- Age and size. Bells are a lot of noisy fun, but they are not suitable for your young kitten because they can detach from the toy and injure her. Conversely, large objects are cumbersome for small kittens to drag around.
- Interactive toys. Interactive toys serve double duty — they can actually help if your cat has behavior problems. If your cat has issues with aggression, she can act out her energy on a toy rather than on you or even your other pets. Likewise, if your cat is depressed or shy she will become more alert and trustful during interactive toy play sessions.
- Balls. Balls with bells, shiny balls, soft balls, and hard balls…cats love balls of every kind. You will marvel at how successfully a ball can engage your cat for hours. Be sure to get some that your cat can handle easily with her paws and one that she can roll easily.
Fish or fowl?
Stick with the classics for a toy your cat will love:
- Mice. Little furry mice are always a huge favorite. Your cat will love to toss them around, place her paws on the little leather tails and slowly drag them back. In the wild, most cats play with their prey in much the same way before they consume it.
- Feathers. There is something almost mystical about the power a feather will have over your cat. Some toys have feathers attached; some are just feathers or a feather attached to a string.
- Go fish. Fishing, or retrieving, toys are a great way to engage your cat. A fishing toy — one where you throw out the fish and then reel it back in while your cat chases after it — is a favorite. This is also great exercise because it involves crouching, running, jumping in the air, and batting with the paws.
Be sure to have plenty of toys for your cat and rotate them frequently to keep your cat’s interest. Playtime will keep her happy and healthy for as long as she is part of your family.