Q: We are going to be getting a new cat. We know to get a litter box, litter, food and a scratching post, but are wondering if there are any specific cat toys you would recommend. Thanks!
A: With all of the cat toys on the market it certainly can be overwhelming deciding what to purchase. It is very important for your cat’s health and well-being to have toys to be able to practice their hunting skills, but finding toys your kitty will actually play with can be difficult. Every toy claims to be the best at offering your cat hours of fun. So you buy the one you think your cat will just love, only to have him look at you as if to say, “What am I supposed to do with this?” Below are some popular toys your cat may like.
A favorite among felines are fishing pole lure toys. They come with a feather or another small item on the end of a string or wire. The owner jerks the string to create rapid movement just out of paw’s reach or along the floor. This type of play is great for sharpening your cat’s natural skills such as stalking, chasing and pouncing.
Cats also love small furry toys that resemble other creatures. These toys look like prey and stimulate predatory instincts. There is even a toy mouse that mimics the actual squeak sound a mouse makes whenever it is touched.
Don’t be surprised if after hunting for a toy kitty brings you the kill. Be sure to praise your cat for a job well done to help encourage more play.
Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your cat entertained when you can’t play with them. Some of these are designed to be filled with treats, challenging kitty to retrieve them through varied openings in the toy. Others include balls and other items that inspire your cat to chase or bat with their paws.
Some cats are attracted to catnip and enjoy toys filled with it, or loosely sprinkled on the floor. Reactions can vary. Your cat may eat it, roll in it, get a sudden burst of energy or just mellow out.
Chasing balls is another favorite feline pastime. There are Mylar balls, fur balls and plastic balls made especially with cats in mind.
Laser pointers can provide entertainment and exercise for your cat as she tries to catch the bright laser beam. Be very careful not to shine it in your cat’s eyes, as it could damage them. When the game is over, offer your feline a toy to finally grab.
There are also some household items that are safe for cats to play with. Ping pong balls, rolled up pieces of paper and corks are all lightweight so they can be swatted then chased. Cats also love empty paper bags and boxes to investigate and hide in. You could also make your own puzzle toy by putting treats in a muffin tin and covering them with toys.
Rotate your furry friends toys weekly by making only four or five available at a time to avoid boredom with the same toys.
Playing with your new cat is not only fun, it will help form a lasting bond between the two of you.
Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].