Choosing toys for your cat

Regular playtime is essential for the physical and mental wellbeing of your cat, particularly those who spend the bulk of their time indoors. Although it might seem like all they do is laze about, on average, outdoor cats will spend about three and a half hours every day hunting and play is an excellent way replicate this behaviour for your indoor or less active cat. Not only is play an excellent source of exercise to help keep your cat fit and lean, but it also will occupy her mind and keep her from becoming bored and frustrated.

Interactive Toys

Interactive and puzzle toys harness your cat's natural hunting instincts to engage her in active play. Toys like the Catit Senses Play Circuit and Kong Puzzle Toy Mouse tempt your cat to chase their 'prey' through tantalising cut out windows, while motorised interactive toys like the Gigwi Pet Droid Feather Hider and Feather Spinner employ motion sensors to respond to your cat's movements.

Treat Toys

Food is a fantastic to motivate your cat to get her mind and body active. Simply fill a treat toy like the Petlife Play Systems Treat Maze or Kong Wobbler with some of your cat's regular kibble or favourite tasty treats to keep her occupied and engaged. Using a treat toy to feed your cat her regular kibble is also a great way to slow down her rate of eating to help promote feelings of fullness and reduce begging behaviour.

Catnip Toys

Catnip is a completely safe and natural herb that stimulates playful and excited behaviour in many cats following exposure. Toys containing dried catnip can help to prolong playtime, while catnip oil spray may be used to re-ignite your cat's interest in old toys and scratching posts. For more information about catnip and how it works, check out our article, What is Catnip?.

Wrestling Toys

Some cats, particularly kittens, love to wrestle and 'bunny kick' with their back legs. Providing them with an appropriate outlet for this behaviour, like a Kong Kickeroo can give them an outlet for this behaviour that doesn't involve shredding your arms or feet!

5 - Trim Between the Toes

For long haired cats, trim the hair between the toes regularly as this can cause them to track more litter. Very carefully use a pair of grooming scissors to trim the hair back level with the foot pads. For more grooming tips check out Grooming Your Cat.

Choosing a selection of different toys for your cat, and rotating them regularly can help to engage her natural hunting instincts and keep her physically and mentally stimulated. Playtime provides you with an excellent opportunity to bond with your feline friend and can help keep her fit and healthy as well as preventing boredom and frustration related behaviours. For more information about improving your relationship with your cat and keeping her mentally stimulated and happy, have a look at Games You Can Play With Your Cat and Keeping Indoor Cats Happy.

Posted by Dr Teagan Lever

When Teagan's not busy sharing her knowledge of all things pets as Pet Circle's resident vet, she is the human companion of two intense English staffies and a three-legged cat named Steve.

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