Use what you have. Cat toys don’t have to be expensive! In fact, many cat owners claim that their pet’s favorite toys are ones that they have found around the house. Toilet paper tubes, empty boxes, large plastic milk caps, and other household items are some favorite inexpensive toys. Recycle old clothing and other items into cheap and fun cat toys.
Go robotic. Playtime doesn’t have to stop when you’re tired. Automated, interactive toys can often be turned on and left to amuse your cat when you just can’t play anymore. They’re also great for entertainment while you are not home. Some examples of interactive toys are the Panic Mouse, Bolt Laser Toy and the Fling-ama-String which are designed to improve your cat’s mental health and keep them active.
Cycle out your toys. Cats naturally become disinterested with the same old toys. If your cat seems bored with what they have, consider setting those toys aside for a little while rather than throwing them out. After some time has passed, cycle out their current toys with ones that they played with in the past. Chances are, a few months away from their old favorites can remind them of how fun they really were.
Selecting the Right Toys
There are tons and tons of cat toys on the market. But do you know your cat’s toy preference? Is your cat a birder, a mouser, or a bugger? Does your cat prefer toys that mimic birds, mice or catching bugs? There are many types of cat toys made for cats and each cat has his or her own preferences as to what stimulates them to interact.
Favored cat toys mimic predatory acts that cats would perform if they were to hunt for their food. Although your cat may not need to “hunt”, they still enjoy the actions and movements involved with the process of hunting from which they create a form of play. Cats love to chase, pounce, capture, carry, bite and roll around with good cat toys.
Types of Cat Toys
Some cats prefer toys that either mimics the sounds, textures, or movements of prey. Cat toys on the market may be designed to move, vibrate, twitter, squeak or swing simulating “prey” to induce a cat to react and play. Natural substrates such as leather, fur or feathers are popular, however, some cats prefer fabric or substrates that crinkle like plastic or foil. Some kitties like cat toys with no sound while others like squeaks, twitters, chips, or cracks. Other like cat toys that move quickly e.g. very small balls that move across a surface, pieces of kibble that slides a cross the floor, or a laser light on a wall that they “chase.” Many cats love toys that can be tossed up with their paws, swat at and bit! Some cat toys are enriched with catnip to entice play.
How to Figure Out What Kind of Toys Your Cat Likes
Buy several cat toys and roll them or toss them to your cat to determine his or her preference. Watch to see which type of toy is most interesting to your cat. For example, you may see a trend of your cat preferring toys that simulate birds such as bird shaped toys, toys that chirp, toys made of a bird-type substrate (feathers) or toys that create bird-like movements (fluttering toys). Other cats will prefer toys that mimic “catching small rodents,” such as cat toys shaped like mice, toys that squeak, toys made of fur, or toys that have encourage jerking movements. They may also enjoy tossing, biting or carrying their “prey.” Movements that simulate bug catching are a favorite play type of many cats. You can test this by giving your cat a kibble of food to chase, use a laser light on the floor or wall, or by playing with a string with a knot on the end and moving it quickly.
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 speeds. When using dangling cat toys such as wands or sticks that have a dangling toys, play with your cat by dangling the toy in front of your cat and slowly … move 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.