What Kinds of Toys Are Best For Your Cat?
By Feline Good Social Club Volunteer: Siobhan Armstrong
At Feline Good Social Club, we have a variety of toys and enrichment for our residents. Visitors can see a variety of balls, tracks, strings, kickers, and more, along with cat trees, scratching posts, and even plain old furniture. But which ones are the best?
The short answer is: the best toys are the ones your cat enjoys. With different personalities, different cats find different toys to be engaging. What interests one may bore another. The longer answer is the best toys are both engaging and safe. Let’s talk about some different types of playthings and their benefits.
Wands and strings
Sometimes called “cat charmers,” “dancers,” or “teasers, these toys resemble a cartoon fishing rod. A rod is attached to a form of string or rope, sometimes with a bauble at the end. Whether that is cardboard, a ball, a feather, or something else, these toys are very popular and can be quite engaging. Moving the string around like a living thing entices a cat into play-hunting. Many cats will stand on their hind legs, leap, and pounce on the toy while a person plays with it. This type of toy is excellent, provided you remember the golden rule: safety first.
Many of the wand toys have dangerous components that can be chewed and swallowed. This can be harmful and even fatal to your pet, so be sure that you put a wand toy out of reach when play time is over.
They roll, they can be carried, they can be thrown, and sometimes they have surprises inside. Balls come in a variety of forms: hard, soft, bells inside, plush, filled with catnip, and so on. They can be incorporated into tracks to create a kind of puzzle or game for your cat as well, able to be pushed around but not removed from the housing. Balls can be thrown to be chased, and in some cases a cat will even fetch the ball to have you throw it again.
Balls are a great option for toys. As with any other toy, safety is important. Be sure that they do not have sharp edges and are not going to be swallowed while you are not supervising your kitty.
Cats are ambush predators, and providing them with caves, tubes, or even boxes that can be used as a tunnel makes for excellent enrichment. Beware, some kitties get rambunctious in their hideouts and will try to claw or bite in their excitement. This isn’t aggressive behavior, but it can be unpleasant to be on the receiving end. If your cat gets overstimulated in a tunnel, better to disengage with them and let them have fun on their own.
Cats chase the little red dot with abandon. There are a variety of options, including small handheld pointers and even automated set ups that allow you to sit back and watch your kitty play. Because every cat has a different personality and preferences, different models might be more or less interesting to your pet. It is almost certain that some version of a laser based toy will appeal to your cat. Be sure not to shine it into their eyes and watch them go bonkers trying to catch it.
Part of providing your cat with a satisfying and enriched life is providing them with outlets for entertainment. Explore a variety of toys to see what suits you and your feline friends. No matter what tools you use, the most important thing in bringing cat toys into your home is being sure that you and your cat have fun.