Cats are playful and inquisitive creatures. Every cat should be encouraged to play. It helps to keep them fit and active and prevents boredom. Like sudoko for older people, play can even reduce the progression of feline dementia in senior cats! However, some toys can be quite dangerous. I have recently been reminded about the safety of toys for cats. One of my own cats had swallowed part of a toy snake (from a neighbours house) and needed surgery to have it removed.
Safe cat toys need to be something your cat can’t eat! If your toy is showing signs of wear it’s time to replace it with something else. When looking to ‘kitten proof’ your house don’t just look at your cat toys. Anything can be a potential ‘toy’ for a young cat, including rubber bands, your knitting wool, fishing hooks on lines and straps from a lacy dress. String type toys can be the most dangerous as when they get stuck in the intestines they can cause immense damage throughout the gastrointestinal system.
Apart from safety what makes a good cat toy? The toy should encourage your cat to chase, investigate, sniff and pounce. Some cats have a preference for feathers, others like something they can grab onto and attack. There are loads of fabulous cat toys available though you may need to try a few toys to find out what your cat likes best. Don’t forget that you can also make a game out of a scrunched up ball of paper and a cardboard box. I also sometimes throw cat food kibble across the kitchen floor for my cats to chase and catch.
Whilst some cats will play with toys on their own you should try to encourage play regularly. Indoor only cats are especially at risk of boredom and obesity and you should play with them at least daily. Cats do enjoy variety and rotating the toys can keep them interested.