Having a cat companion is one of the best things that can happen to anyone, not just it gives you company, they are very sensitive on what you feel on that particular time. They also reduces stress and anxiety, as well as decreasing the risk of heart problems and stroke due to their calming presence. Owning a cat reduces feelings of loneliness. Though cats are often known for their independence, the bond between a cat and its owner reinforces companionship.
So in return, it is natural for us to take care of them, love them and give them all the attention they need (albeit cats need lesser attention compared to other pets such as dogs). Playing with them is one way to show them that you acknowledge them and make them feel special (remember, cats who always feel their owner's attention and affection for them are much happier and healthier compared to cat who are always ignored by their masters).
But sometimes, just playing with your cat is not enough, you also need to have the right toys to ensure that your every playtime would not just be fun, but also keeps your cat active and occupied. Toys also helps enhance their body and keep them away from most health issues such as obesity due to inactivity.
Looking at the supermarket's cat toy aisle or the pet supply store is overwhelming for others and browsing the web for it is a bit confusing at some point. Description on packages says their toys are irresistible to cats but how do you decide for the best one? Maybe just the picture of a jolly cat playing with the toy is all it needs to entice you to buy it, or even just the simple appearance and feel of the toy makes other people wonder and say "Kitty's gonna have a lot of fun with this".
Getting the right toy for your cat needs careful consideration and planning so that you can avoid spending lots of money on expensive ones that your cat won't even get your cat's attention and eventually ending up in your next garage sale, selling it with only half of the original price or even lower. Although the concept of having a toy for your cat is pretty basic, you also need to keep in mind that every cat have their individual preference and for your part, you always need to consider the price too (expensive toys doesn't mean that it's the best one for your cat). You need also to check the label and carefully read the safety precautions (like small parts include) to avoid putting your cat's life in danger.
If purchasing toys that can be played by your cat even when she is alone, always do a thorough checkup of the toy. You need to look for sharp edges or pieces and cut or sand them down. Also look out for exposed strands of string which can be easily taken care of by using a pair of scissors, and glue down securely, tighten (if it is a loose screw) or take off any small part that may come off during playtime to avoid accidental ingestion of any small foreign object.
Interactive toys should always be inspected first before playing with it with your cat. Be on the lookout for any hazardous parts and if it comes with a string, make sure it is strong enough to tolerate strong, sudden tugs and has a good tension (much better if it can hold your cat's weight too). If not, change it to a much sturdier, heavy-duty string or a smooth twine.
Inspect how the toy on the end of the string is attached, make sure it is secured to the string tightly, and cut away any exposed string ends on the knot and sand down or eliminate any sharp edges that might injure your cat if it ends up biting that part. If not in use, put away your cat's interactive toys (beyond your cat's reach) if not in use to avoid having your cat chewing on the string or get tangled in it. Speaking of chewing, make sure that the toy doesn't fragment if your cat chew on it (it is ok if its outer layer is made out of fabric, just make sure that it still retains its form and no visible string ends or fillings poking out after your cat chew on them).
Cat toy prices has increased due to their popularity and some because of the features that they have. You need to be meticulous in choosing the best one to avoid spending too much, especially the ones deemed unsafe and were designed poorly. Always seek for advice when choosing one, or check online, such as those in https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/collections/cat-toys complete with buyer's testimonies and reviews. Most websites have a lot of products to choose from with good reviews, which can help you easily decide on which one you suits you and your cat best.
If you want to a toy which can be played by your cat without your help, you might opt for toys like a small toy mouse which your cat can stalk, pounce, carry around and even chew on. If you also want toys that rewards your cat with tasty treats every time they solve it or do a specific task, food-dispensing toys are a good option are just relatively easy to find, although your cat might need a little training so that it can grasp its concept and in no time, could already get the treats in store easily. It also helps the mental acuity of your cat and its curiosity be sated as well.
Originally, cats are hunters, and what gets their attention the most are toys that mimics the movement and behavior of their prey. Aside from getting access to food easily (which doesn't need meticulous hinting techniques anymore), hunting and stalking their prey is mostly their style when playing, and stalking, pursuing, pouncing and eventually catching their prey is usually the goal of their playtime, for that, you need a you that somewhat and mimics their ideal prey: It should look like one (it should resemble like their common prey: mice), smells like one, and acts like one. make sure it is comfortable for your cat to bite into and light enough to carry around.
To mimic the movements of their toy, you should be the one to flick it, drag it across the floor, do some twitching motion and sometimes flip it in the air (indirectly of course, either using a string or stick attached to it). Do that and your cat can't tell if it is fake or not, and will eventually chase after it. Make sure that you let your cat pounce on it and catch it so that your cat won't get easily bored and tired of playing with it.
Experiment with your movement, make it as natural as possible and irresistible to your cat, so that your pet will think that it's the real prey that they are after. Take note of the movements of birds and other small animals and incorporate it on your play. If you do, your cat will ask for more even after playtime is over.
You also need to mind the size of the toy that you would like to buy. Choose the size of the toy depending on your cat's size too. You don't want to have a small pet cat to have a toy as big as a rat for it may look intimidating for them and turn hostile to it, or worse, they might think of it as a rival cat and your ideal playing session would end up like a bar fight.
There are also large, motorized toys available in the market that sometimes, once consumers try to set them up, most of their cats become horrified and run away. If you are planning to buy one, just make sure that they doesn't make any whiney or clunky sounds that may end up traumatizing your cat. Cat's sense of hearing are exceptionally sensitive and only recognizes prey that have sounds like the ones found in the wild, like mice or small birds.
Paying attention to your cat's personality and behavior will greatly help you with choosing the correct motorized toy for her. If your cat is not interested in your newly purchased motorized toy and doesn't see it as opportunity for some fun play time, you might need to switch to a more natural-looking one such as a mouse toy or a plushie toy tied on a string with a stick handle on one end. Remember, every cat is unique, and you have to adjust your methods that will appeal to its personality.
One of the key factor that you need to know is the texture of the toy that your cat would like to have, and your cat may rely on texture on pretty much everything else. If your cat is choosy when it comes to their litter box, cushions, or even their scratching posts, it is more likely that they will be choosy too when it comes to their toys. Some cats may prefer toys that are soft enough to bite on to or a hard, smooth toy (like rubber balls) which they can bat around. There are different kinds of toys with varying texture, size, styles and shapes. There are also toys with feathers on them, a furry toy, fabric-coated one, fuzzy one, and pretty much all you can think about, are mostly available on your local supermarket or pet supply store.
If you still can't decide on what type of texture that may pique your cat's interest, you may need to experiment and purchase different types of them. When playtime comes, offer the toys to our cat one at a time and don't offer them all at once. In this way, you can easily identify which one your cat would like to have as its new toy. Also take note of the quality of the chosen toy so that the next time you buy one, you already have an idea what toy your cat likes the most.
Don't push your cat's toy on your cat if they don't want it by just simply dangling it on your cat's face. If the appearance of the toy doesn't give any appeal to them, then try to mimic the movement of their prey. Twitch the toy or drag them on the floor to resemble a small running animal, that will usually give back the charm to the toy that doesn't seem to allure them anymore.
It is unnecessary to have a hundred toys for your cat. Once you have four or five cat toys (or seven for each day of the week if you are extravagant enough) that he likes, you can just simply rotate them daily to provide new and exciting playtimes for your cat.
Oftentimes, toys that your cat loves as a kitten would not be of much interest when they grew up. Always play with your cat but if the toy that your cat have already lost its appeal to him, it might be time for you to reassess your playstyle and modify your technique to adapt to your cat's needs. Also, consider changing the toy that you always use for him and try a different one.
Homemade toys are equally appealing to them just like the ones sold on shops, as long as you know how to make one. There are a ton of tutorial videos on Youtube and instructions ingenious ideas on how to make one around the web. If you know how to sew or make stitches with a needle and thread, you can simply make a small plushie toy resembling a mouse using everyday objects such as socks, fabrics, and other items. You can also rub catnip on it if you like.
And lastly, even the best toys available can't beat the enjoyment you, as an owner, would give to your cat. Quality time with you is very important, especially with young cats, for toys are just tools that adds more flavor and variety to your playtime. Have at least an hour of your time everyday for your cat, that is all it takes to brighten your cat's day and strengthen your bond together.