Cat Toys & Playtime Tips For Your Feline Companions
After spending time getting to know and understand client’s needs and wants, there has always been one thing that seems to be an after thought - PLAYTIME. Playtime is an easy way to bond, build trust and can be a tool to help socialize a shy/timid kitty.
Cat toys can vary widely in price. In fact, it could be something you already have in your house (hair ties, cotton pads, etc). On the more expensive side, interactive cat toys are a wonderful way to engage your cats instinctual tendencies and stand alone toys can be something to keep your cats interest when you're not around. Below I've compiled a short list of the most popular toys I have encountered:
A cat tree is one of the easiest ways to have a high perch, climbing vessel and scratch pad all-in-one. A high perch keeps your kitty feeling safe (especially in a multi-cat home), they are able to see the entire room and it caters to their natural instincts of wanting to climb. I have seen everything from 2-foot cat trees to cat walks placed around an entire room.
Scratch pads are a wonderful toy for your kitties for many reasons. It can deter your cats from scratching your furniture, helps them shed their claws, relieves stress, and all the scratching also helps the kitty stretch their bodies (ihearcats.com). Sisal fabric is used on a lot of different cat toys and can even be bought on amazon in sheets if you are more of the DIY’er.
SmartyKat Skitter Critters also seems to be kryptonite for the active cat. The package comes with quite a few stuffed mice and there are other variations with cat nip inside them! You would be surprised to hear how many kitties play fetch! If your cat isn't the fetching type, they'll still want to bat, bite, kick and lay on top of these all day long. My cat Xena specifically likes to have a back foot on one of these at all time. 😹
Spring toys fall right in line with the Skitter Critters. These colorful, bouncy springs go a long way in keeping your cats interest. The unexpected movement of the spring-style design elevate this product to stand out from the rest . Simple, yet so effective!
Cat Dancer is probably one of my all time favorite cost effective toys. They truly keep the attention of even the most distracted cat. It's definitely one of those toys that has always kept me wondering, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!" due to it only consisting of a wire and a few pieces of cardboard!
Da Bird has quickly become a cult classic stick toy in my household. The wind between the feathers and the wooshing sound it makes is enough to make your cats cry tears of joy! I have to put this toy up after a round of playtime is over... Our cats get a little carried away with the feathers. Lol.
Lasers can be a hit or miss, but it's definitely something I have come to just keep on my key chain at all times as a cat sitter. The one I've linked is pretty cool, because it's a stand alone option. I have seen these become more and more popular in clients' homes and kitties really seem to love them! Not to mention, it'll give your arm a break!😅
I don't necessarily condone spending loads of money on cat toys (some kitties are more picky than others and its totally possible your cat may not have any interest in toys/playtime), but I will say if your cat is having behavioral problems it may be caused by having lack of stimulation in their day to day lives. Kitties instinctually love the outdoors, where exciting things are happening constantly. From an ant crawling by to a bird flying overhead, they truly love all the stimulation. I have always said a nice window seat is the equivalent of cat TV. For awhile I would even put my cat on a leash w/ a harness (not that he would actually walk around) and take him outside to just sit in the grass or on my porch. I would stand/sit beside him and let him just take all his surroundings in. He would occasionally climb trees and absolutely loved it! Having the leash was more of a safety precaution just in case of an emergency and would rarely tug on the leash at all. I would do this every morning for maybe 15 minutes.
I am understanding to the fact that not every cat has the personality for outside time, toys, or anything at all for that matter. However, an overactive cat/kitten or other irregular behavior can sometimes be curbed with a little playtime! The stigma of cats being so independent that they need nothing but to be left alone should be broken down. Not all cats are the same! So, get out there and elevate your relationship with your feline companions... if they'll allow it.😼