Swinging around a feather wand is a sure way to bait your feline friend into a quick play session. Cats love to catch anything that moves, so with the feathers resembling a bird, they’re instantly attracted! This toy is typically a short-winded activity for cats, so setting aside ten minutes at most should be sufficient.
There are several toy options out there now that are infused or contain catnip in some way. Since catnip is thought to mimic feline pheromones, it causes a euphoric sensation among most cats, immediately enticing them into whatever contains the scent! Some of the best catnip toys are the small stuffed creatures that are made to resemble typical prey, such as birds and mice. However, one thing to note is if your cat eats too much fresh or dried catnip leaves they could possibly get an upset tummy, causing vomiting or diarrhea.
Like the tiny predators they are, cats love to chase, attack, and destroy. If it squeaks? Even better! Mice squeak, birds chirp, so of course cats love toys that mimic those sounds. As a pet parent, it can be more fun for the both of you if you are also involved in playtime. Squeaking their toy to grab their attention is a sure way to kickstart the activity! Once they catch whatever the stuffed prey may be, rest assured they will most likely squeak it relentlessly.
One downside to small cat toys is their likelihood of getting lost under furniture, which is why I love track toys so much! The balls are typically secured enough on the track that most cats will not lose them or eat them accidentally. Although some very determined cats might be more likely to pop them off, so make sure to supervise your cat while playing with these toys. There are two different options for track toys, and both have their own benefits. A multi-tier track can keep a cat entertained for longer periods of time since there are typically multiple balls spinning at the same time, keeping their attention. Single-tier tracks often have some sort of scratch pad on the top, giving the toy a dual function. Speaking of scratch pads…
Scratch Pads & Poles
If you have ever had an issue with a cat scratching on the side of your furniture, chances are they are just looking for some sort of material to sink their claws into for many possible reasons. Cats have a natural urge to scratch, so they could be looking to express emotions, mark their scent, remove dead nails, or to just get a good stretch in! Providing your cat with some sort of scratch pad or post is a great outlet for them to do any of those activities. Although not necessarily considered a “toy,” scratch posts are beloved by most feline friends!
Finally, puzzle toys are another great way to keep your cat both physically and mentally active. Actively looking for the solution to the puzzle keeps their brain sharp and alert, practicing their innate hunting skills. Many of the puzzle toys have compartments to hide treats or a few pieces of your favorite cat food as a reward for when they solve it. Petstages Buggin’ Out Puzzle & Play Cat Toy has several compartments, sliding pieces, and twisting leaves to keep your kitty busy!
When your resources are limited, chances are you can find something around your house to entertain your cat. Believe it or not, a simple toilet paper roll can keep them busy for hours! You can cut the edges of each end to make a fringe-like texture, or just keep it how it is. If you have old t-shirts laying around, those can even be fashioned into easy, cheap cat toys. All you need to do is cut strips of the shirt and tie them in knots. Your cat will want to bat them all around the house!
For those of you who are extra crafty, you can even make your own puzzle toys out of common household items like cardboard, egg cartons, and toilet paper rolls! If you do choose the DIY method of providing toys for your cat, just be sure to use safe household items. Try not to give them items that may be small enough to accidentally be swallowed. Cats love to play with hair ties and yarn, but they can pose as potential choking hazards if not closely monitored!
Cats typically need at least 30 minutes of activity each day, which is why it’s so important to carve out plenty of time to play with your furry friend! It can be difficult keeping any cat’s attention for long periods of time, so multiple short sessions a day is sometimes best. One thing to consider when choosing a toy is if you’d like them to be able to play independently or if you’d like to play with them, since several of the options listed above do require your presence. Either way, your kitty probably just wants some activity that will help them tap into their natural predator instincts! Whether your cat is overweight needing exercise or underwhelmed needing entertainment, any of these toys are sure to fit the bill.