When introducing cat toys, introduce them one at a time. Use different sizes, shapes, and textures. Try fur, feathers, fabric, and leather. Roll them, toss them, slide them, and move them in different ways and at different speeds. When using toys such as wands or sticks that have dangling toys, play with your cat by dangling the toy in front of your cat and slowly moving it away. Try the feathery options that fly and mimic bird feather movement. These work really well and will often provoke a “pounce” in cats that like that type of toy or play activity. You might find that you cat likes a crinkle ball that rolls or bounces and makes noise when they “attack” it that simulates some of the movement and sounds of prey.
Once you figure out what your cat prefers, you can vary the sizes and types of cat toys within that category.
Keeping a cat indoors has benefits — it minimizes the chances for trauma from being hit by an automobile, bite wounds from cat fights or attacks by wild animals, common infectious diseases, and exposure to toxins, just to name a few. On the other hand, a risk to keeping your cat indoors is that he or she becomes bored. Boredom can lead to a variety of problems such as inappropriate urination, destructive behaviors such as scratching, aggression, depression, lethargy, over-vocalization/crying, increased or decreased appetite, and sleeping more.
The most important thing you can do to prevent boredom in your cat is to make sure the environment is stimulating. This means an environment with things to do — windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb, and safe toys to play with. Climbing posts, scratching posts, cat grass, windows perches, window beds, and a view of birds or squirrels to watch are all great ways to enrich your cats live and prevent boredom.
Games can teach your cat a variety of lessons and help him interact with you and other pets in the household. Some experts, such as veterinarians Suzanne Delzio and Cindy Ribarich, authors of Felinestein: Pampering the Genius in Your Cat, believe that games can even boost your cat’s I.Q.
Cats are usually pretty good at inventing games to keep themselves amused, but sometimes their creativity needs a boost. To help keep your cat stay amused, active, and interested, try games that are easy for you to make and fun for your cat to play. Most involve using items you can find around the house.
A lot of games can be played with a ping pong ball. Ping pong balls are lightweight and won’t harm your cat or your furniture in the event of a mis-aimed throw. If you have a long hallway, roll the ball from side to side and watch your cat chase it down the hall. If you have no hallway, roll the ball around in the bathtub or any uncarpeted area where there’s room for your cat to run.
One of the most popular toys with cats is the fishing-pole style toy. The pole should be made from flexible plastic for safety. The string should be made with 50-pound fishing line. Purchase a pole-toy that has a three-inch swatch of fabric folded in half and tied to the end of the fishing line. The fabric mimics the movement of a moth or other insect in flight and is more apt to fascinate your cat than frighten him, which some of the larger objects attached to the pole toys may do. You can swing the fishing-pole toy to a radius of six or seven feet all from your easy chair. These toys are excellent ways to exercise your cat if you are confined to a wheel chair. When your cat is finished playing with the toy, put it away so he doesn’t chew on and swallow the string.
Resources for Exercising and Playing With Your Cat
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