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Choosing the Right Toys for Your Cat: My 12 Tips

choosing the right toys for your cat

It can be extremely confusing when you stand in the cat toy aisle at your favorite pet supply store or browse the internet in search of a toy your cat will like. Advertising on packages claim their toys are irresistible to felines but how do you decide? Perhaps you’re enticed by the picture of a playful cat on the label, or maybe the sound and look of the toy itself makes you smile as you imagine how much fun your own cat might have.

Based on how many forgotten toys end up stuffed in drawers or left abandoned in corners, it may be time to rethink the type of toys you purchase and the way they get used. Although the idea of buying a toy for a cat seems as if it should be very basic, in order to be successful you need to keep individual preferences in mind along with safety reminders. Here are some tips on increasing the chances of toy selection success:

1.  Safety and Durability

For toys for solo playtime, do a good inspection to make sure there are no glued-on parts that could be swallowed, strings or sharp pieces. When I bring home fuzzy fake mice for my cat, I pull off the glue-on eyes or nose pieces and do a good inspection to make sure the tails are securely fastened. My cat has never once seemed to care whether the mice she chases are missing their eyes and noses.

When it comes to interactive toys, also do a good inspection and make sure the toys are securely made with heavy string that will withstand many play sessions. Look at how the toy on the end of the string is attached to ensure there are no sharp pieces sticking out that could hurt if your cat bites down. And, no matter how well an interactive wand toy is made, you should always put it away in-between play sessions to avoid the risk of having your cat chew on the string or get tangled in it.

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The price of cat toys has certainly increased quite a bit and in order to hopefully avoid spending money on toys that are unsafe or poorly designed, check out on-line reviews such as on Amazon.com. I’ve noticed many very helpful reviews warning of poor quality in regards to some recently highly-marketed cat toys. Hopefully, manufacturers will pay attention to the warnings of reviewers and put more time into improving the quality of their toys.

2. Type of Cat Toy

There are toys meant for solo playtime and ones meant for interactive sessions. Don’t choose just one type and leave out the other. Although cats are naturally curious and playful, don’t depend on solo playtime to provide all of the enrichment.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

When it comes to solo playtime, there are toys meant to simply be batted around, stalked, pounced on, carried and even nibbled on. There are also reward-based toys that provide the cat with a treat for a job well done. Food-dispensing toys are very popular now and easy to find. These toys provide activity for your cat and a mini-meal at the same time. Some food-dispensing toys require a little training to help your cat get the idea but it shouldn’t take long before he figures out that solving the “puzzle” will result in a tasty reward.

In addition to food-dispensing toys there are also puzzle toys that reward the cat with a little toy for his work.

3. How the Cat Toy Moves

Cats are hunters so when it comes to toy appeal, its movements need to resemble that of prey. Even though your cat gets top quality nutrition and his daily existence doesn’t depend on being able to actually capture a meal, his play technique still is based on hunting. Cats want to stalk, chase, pounce and ultimately capture their treasure. Does the toy resemble prey either in its appearance, size, shape or movement? Will the cat be able to bat at it, pick it up in his mouth or pounce on it comfortably?

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