Cats need to play just as much as dogs do! With this in mind, it is important to select cat toys that help to keep your cat fit and entertained by satisfying your feline's natural instincts.
There's a huge array of toys on the market and it can be hard to know where to start when treating your cat! It is important to consider your cats behaviour and play style to help you choose safe toys that will become your cat's firm favourites. Here are the top things you should consider when choosing the perfect cat toy(s):
Observe your cat's play style
One of the key things to work out when selecting toys for your cat is understanding their style of play. After all, cats are natural hunters and their play style often mimics their own hunting niche.
It is best to watch how your cat naturally plays before selecting a toy that will draw on their instinctual play behaviour. Do they prefer to play with round, rolling objects? Pounce on fixed objects on the ground? Leap into the air? By taking some simple observations, it can help you to decide what style of toy they would enjoy the most.
Cat teaser toys for high-energy play
A crowd favourite when it comes to cat toys is the teaser or wand toy. These toys come in a huge variety of shapes, styles and materials - but generally consist of a pole with a teaser of some form attached. This could be a ball, feathers, ribbon or rope.
A teaser toy is a great way to engage in play with your cat and can be helpful for helping indoor cats to burn off excess energy. As a general rule of thumb, most cats love it if you animate the target, so keep the teaser toy moving and watch as your cat leaps and pounces trying to catch their 'prey'.This creates a great opportunity for high-energy interactive play!
A good example is the Trouble & Trix Bliss Ball Wand that combines feathers with an appealing catnip ball. But be sure to keep them stored away when not in use to avoid your cat chewing it or getting tangled in the rope or strings.
Mouse toys to stimulate their natural instincts
Both cats and kittens love to play with small, furry toys that resemble mice or other prey creatures. These are a great option and, luckily for you, are relatively cheap and easy to purchase.
These toys draw on the cat's natural predatory instincts, encouraging them to get active and get moving. You may even notice that after playing with a mouse toy your cat may bring it back to you! This behaviour is a mimic of when your cat brings you a real prey animal like a rat or mouse - a gift!
Toy mice come in all shapes and sizes, such as the colourful Hartz Mice Trio.
Ball toys for a more physical workout
Ball toys are one of the best toys to leave your cat with to keep them occupied while you are out of the house. These simple toys can be made of plastic, foam, foil, sisal and even stuffed with catnip!
Some cats can be even taught to fetch and retrieve a ball like a dog! Playing a game of fetch with your cat is a great way to provide a great physical and mental workout to help your cat stay active, flexible and coordinated.
The Kong Natural Crinkle Ball With Feathers are especially designed to appeal to your cat's natural hunting instincts and are made from natural and eco-friendly materials, like buckwheat.
Interactive puzzle toys for when they're home alone
Interactive puzzle toys help to mentally stimulate your cat, by engaging her in play when you’re not home. These toys are often a bit more complicated than your traditional teaser or cat wand. They can include a variety of challenges for your cat, such as a ball to swat - that rolls on a track, laser lights to chase or even concealed motion toys like the Frolicat Fox Den Automatic Cat Toy, which has a fluffy tail that comes in and out of view, to entice your cat to stalk and play.
These toys can be a great option to keep cats busy while you are out of the house as many are electronic, and can even include automatic start up when it senses your cat walking by. Although these toys are more costly than most, they can provide hours of interactive entertainment and exercise for your cat even while you are out of the house, making them a great investment!
Here are more tips on keeping your cat entertained indoors.
Treat toys to help regulate their eating
Treat dispensers or slow feeders are a great solution to feed your food their meals or treats while making them work for them. Indoor cats, especially, have a tendency for weight gain due to their sedentary lifestyle. However, through using a treat dispensing toy, you can make your pet use their natural instincts to hunt for their food.
This is not only great physical and mental exercise, it also slows down their eating which is great for cats struggling with their weight. A great example of a treat dispensing cat toy is the Catit Design Senses Food Maze. Be sure to consider any food or treats given through treat toys as a part of their daily food allowance to avoid weight gain.
Remember that every cat is unique! Your cat may not play with a toy on their first introduction to it. Don't give up - it can take time for cats to get used to a new toy. Finally, always take the time to rotate your cat's toys to keep them interested.