Toys for your pet aren’t just about play, they bring out the natural hunting and seeking instincts in our dog but for some reasons we seem to forget that our cats have similar instincts that also need to be stimulated.
When choosing cat toys, its important to take into account the way that cats engage with the world around them. Unlike dogs who can often amuse themselves, play with their owners and other dogs, cats usually spend large amounts of time sleeping, then around dawn and dusk they become very active. These are the most likely times of the day that your cat will be interested in playing with toys.
Variety is the spice of life
Cats need a variety of toys for stimulation and if you provide them with just one or two toys, they become bored with them. Every cat should have a least 7 toys, (one for every day of the week). The toys should also be made from a combination of different materials, including feathers, sisal (that’s rope bits) and faux fur and they certainly don’t need to big or expensive. Many cats also love balls with bells in them and ping pong balls that bounce. These materials are very stimulating for cats as it turn on their natural hunting instincts.
Some people believe if you use toys that mimic prey items, your cat is more likely to hunt. This is an old wive’s tale, as hunting is a hard-wired instinctive behaviour. In fact, allowing a cat to hunt with toys may well fulfil this instinct and tire the cat out .
Show me how it’s done
Sometimes your cat will need a little help to get started with play. Early evening is great time to engage with your cat because this the natural time for your cat to become active. Start by simply rolling a toy across the floor to grab the cat’s attention. You’ll know your cat is starting to engage as its pupils will become larger and often it will take on a crouch position. Then suddenly, it will pounce or chase after the ball. Other things you can do to encourage play is place toys the edges of cat posts tables or window sills as this encourages the cat to climb and knock them toys off.
Play with me
There are many interactive toys that you can use to play with your cat such as small poles with items that dangle off the end of them. Just take care that the cat’s claws do not become stuck in them as you dangle them about. It’s also important not to leave interactive toys around as the cat could become entangled in them.
If you’re looking for toys that can engage the cat while you’re not home, then there are toys that shoot lasers onto the ground, intermittently. These are great as they will turn on and off through the day and keep the cat engaged. There are even ones that have a camera that can be operated from your smart phone so you can watch all the action take place.
Snack and play
There are interactive treat toys available for cats. These are often ball shaped with a slot that lets you put food into them. The cat then knocks the toy around untill the food rolls out. These are especially good for indoor cats that can be prone to become overweight.
So, cat owners don’t let dogs have all of the fun, get out there and get your cat playing.
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