Whenever you go to a pet shop, it is definitely not possible to miss out on the wide selection of playthings for your cats. You are most likely going to have a hard time choosing one over the other.
If you can afford it, there is nothing wrong about buying one of each variety for your feline friend at home. If your budget has limits though, or whatever other reason you may have, it is naturally good to go for the top option there is.
In order to pick the best choice, you have to understand the hows and whys revolving around cat toys. Before going for the battle that is finding the best toy for your pet, you have to be armed with ample knowledge about your cat and the toys that suit him.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Cats Need Toys?
- To Stimulate Them
- To Stop Them From Getting Bored
- To Practice Their Hunting Skills
The Best Cat Toys
It seems to be a trend among house cats being less active and more overweight. Even though your pet is safer from the harmful elements outdoors, the increased tendency towards obesity is a problem that you have to address. After all, your feline’s overall well-being is completely your responsibility.
In order to get your cat up and about, you should encourage him to engage in different physical activities. We are not talking about strutting to the litter box or walking to the food and water bowls. He should be more active than that. The best form of encouragement is giving him toys to play with.
Why Do Cats Need Toys
There are several benefits that cats can get from having toys to play with. After all, you are not always around for these purposes.
To Stimulate Them
Your pet needs physical and mental stimulation on a regular basis. It is true they are contented and happy chilling on the window sill or outdoors under the midday sun. However, they are naturally active creatures. Their evolutionary past goes back to the wilderness where survival depends on their abilities to move around.
Playing around stimulates their senses on different levels. Using varied types of playthings, they get to exercise their body and minds.
To Stop Them From Getting Bored
Like their humans, cats also get bored. In fact, such a state is found to be a common reason behind the growing cases of stress and obesity among domesticated cats. There is also a high tendency for boredom to develop more negatively into depression.
There are only a few things that cats find pleasing in their daily activities. One of which is playing. Since you, as a pet owner, cannot always be available to play with your feline friend, you should get a cat toy or two to keep him entertained.
To Practice Their Hunting Skills
Play is a simulation of cats’ activities in the wild. It is during this activity that they learn the basic skills for surviving such as running after the prey and catching them.
Even if your pet is born in your home and does not go out of your residence that much, you cannot eliminate this basic instinct. He will always have that inner call to hunt. You should, therefore, support your feline by providing a chance for expressing this internal desire by playing.
What Are The Different Types Of Cat Toys
Cats find balls very enticing like prey moving as they roll on the floor. As an instinctual reaction, they run to catch them. This puts their body into action, stimulating their brains, and making their legs work towards a goal.
Ball toys usually come in different colors to be more visually attractive to animals. In some cases, they are equipped with a bell or small items inside to create noise when the balls move. This attracts and keeps your pet’s attention hooked. The variations of ball toys for cats include mylar balls, ping-pong, and sponge balls as well as wadded-up paper in different sizes.
A simple stick tied with a thin fabric piece or soft ribbon, a wand can be so much fun for your pet cat. You can engage in random movements or create circles, flutters, twitches, and waves with it. This action results in exciting effects that mimic the movements of birds, insects, and other prey. In a split of a second, your pet is hooked.
This is one toy that requires a human’s presence though. It needs to be operated by someone. However, it is a very harmless item that even your kids can use it to play with the felines at home. There are many variations of this toy, which is usually quite affordable and safe for your pet and family members.
Keeping food always accessible and available for your pets certainly has its perks. You do not have to be bothered when they get hungry. They also do not have to wait for you to be free to feed them. However, it also has bad effects such as overeating and eventually obesity.
A good alternative is to use a toy that hands out the food after your pet has undergone some physical activity. It would present a situation that simulates their life in the wild where they have to hunt for their food. Whether it is mere pawing or touching that stimulates the release of food, it is a good start to keeping your pet active.\
The catnip plant contains the oil nepetalactone in its leaves and stems, which causes special receptors in cats to be stimulated. These receptors sense pheromone chemicals, and this action results in a euphoric feeling among cats. Mere exposure to the said plant can significantly make your pet’s mood positive.
Catnip is usually included in the materials stuffed into balls and other toys. Another option is to use it directly by sprinkling it on a piece of paper. It will encourage and engage your pet for play. You do not have to worry about the accidental consumption of catnip as it does not have negative impacts on your pet’s health. However, you should be a bit careful when dealing with your cat in case he has consumed catnip. He may get too excited to the point of reaching biting mode after eating catnip.
Other Toy Types
There are a lot of other toy kinds that you can choose from as a pet parent. They are made of common materials that cats enjoy playing with such as fleece, fur, and wool. Felines also like those that make sounds, whether natural or electronic. Lights and movements also capture their attention. The same thing goes for flavored scents and treats. You can utilize them to make your cats play.
Review Of Top 5 Cat Toys
To help you in deciding on and shopping for the best cat toys for your pet, read on about the top 5 options to pick from.
Petstages Tower Of Tracks
- BALLS SPIN & ROLL: This addictive, interactive cat toy is designed with 3 levels of tracks and 3 brightly colored moving balls to attract kitty’s attention!
- 3 TIER TOWER: With a stacked and sturdy construction, this multi-level circle track cat toy is durably built with a closed top and non-slip base to hold the cat track and ball toy in place.
- BAT AND CHASE: Perfect for one or more cats, the interactive Tower of Tracks cat toy stimulates kitties’ senses and satisfies hunting instincts with an exciting moving puzzle.
- INTERACTIVE FUN: Ideal for play, the cat ball track is also a great way to bond with your kitten – spin the balls to get them moving, then bat them to your cat!
- MENTAL & PHYSICAL FUN: Get your kitty active! This indoor interactive cat track toy is a great way to help your cat get active with much needed daily exercise and excitement.
This is an interactive ball track with three tiers for your pets to have more fun. Each tier level comes with a durable colored ball that will take your pet’s mind off from your house’s furniture and fixtures. Your cat is going to have a good amount of exercise running round and round after the balls. The game stimulates their physical and mental abilities. It also puts their hunting skills into practice with every pounce, jump, and quick runs they engage in to get to their prey balls.
The three tiers are stacked on a non-slip and durable base, so the whole structure stays in place. Since it is in a circular shape, your multiple cats can play at the same time. It stands at a height of 6 inches, so your pet gets to be in a comfortable position while playing with it. The tracks are designed to avoid getting your cat’s paws stuck, making it a safer alternative to other ball tracks out there.
Bergan Turbo Scratcher
- Cat Toy and Scratcher Pad offers hours of fun and exercise for your cat while reducing potential furniture damage due to scratching.
- Catnip and ball included. Scratch pad is replaceable. 16i 1/2 Diameter x 1.88i 1/2
- Provide hours of playful activity
- Provide exercise and mental stimulation
- Scratch pad is replaceable
If your pet loves scratching at the table legs or doors at home, getting him a turbo scratcher can solve your problems. Equipped with a ball track on the edge of the circular structure, this is bound to get your pet’s attention right from the start. The scratcher pad in the middle provides the answer to his inner desire to paw at something safely. It even comes with some catnip content to make your cat have a more fun time.
Its scratchpad is replaceable, and it is definitely cheaper than your home fixtures. Your pet gets to have unlimited playtime without damaging anything in your abode. The item also comes with a non-skid base. You do not have to worry about keeping your floors shiny and smooth. Your pet also can focus on playing without the risk of incidents.
SmartyKat Electronic Motion Cat Pursuit
- SMARTYKAT Hot Pursuit is sure to make playtime fun for your SMARTYKAT feline friend.
- REPLICATES the movements of hidden prey with moving lights.
- FASCINATES cats and encourages healthy activity through play.
- KEEPS cats entertained with erratically moving wand under durable fabric.
- ADJUSTABLE speed allows you to customize the fun.
This electronic item is basically like a piece of thin material that seems to cover a prey represented by a fixture that resembles a mouse’s tail. When powered on, the tail moves around unpredictable, capturing your pet’s vision and attention. As the tail shifts location, your pet also ends up moving here and there, simulating his hunting skills in the process. It is also equipped with lights to bring back your cat’s attention whenever it gets distracted with other things.
You have the choice to control the speed of movements to suit your pet’s required activity level. This ensures that your pet does not get bored with too slow paces or discouraged in his inability to catch up with very quick movements. With this toy, your pet is sure to be up and about chasing and pouncing on its artificial prey.
Yeowww Catnip Banana
- Catnip filled toy.
- Fun textures.
- All handmade.
- 100% organic catnip filled.
- Made in USA.
Whether it is for simple nuzzling or playful pouncing, you want your pet to be safe while having fun. This is exactly what this 7-inch plaything has to offer. It is covered in cotton twill with a yellow color derived from the vegetable-based dye. You have an all-natural, non-toxic plaything for your feline friend.
It contains catnip organically grown to avoid unnecessary harm on your cat. The toy itself is manufactured in the USA, so you do not have to doubt and worry about its quality. Your cat will enjoy feeling its texture, and its curved shape provides the perfect place to nestle in.
Rainbow Cat Charmer
- Made in the USA
- Excellent aerobic exercise
- Durable and safe
- Fun for all kittens, cats and kids
Simple yet so fun, this is one of the best choices for your pet’s fun time. This interactive wand is durable, so you are bound to get your feline friend playing for hours. It comes in bright colors, very attractive for your cat’s vision and attention. It is the perfect way to make your pet get into physical activities.
You can also rest assured that your pet is in no danger with this toy being completely non-toxic. Whether you have a kitten or an adult cat, this wand is bound to keep him out of boredom and in some form of exercise.
Getting a cat toy for your pets does not completely take the place of your interaction with them though. As a pet owner, you are responsible for spending quality time with your animals at home. After all, they are parts of your family and not mere residents of your home.