Active Mind And Body: Toys To Tempt Your Cat's Senses


Cats are natural born predators. Domesticated house cats evolved from wild ancestral roots, and even the most pampered indoor kitty still harbors hunting tendencies.  When kittens engage in play, they are developing these stalking and pouncing skills. Playtime remains essential for adult cats to act out these instincts and to keep them active and trim. Find out the different types of toys that are available to tempt your cat's individual preferences and stimulate her senses.

Things That Shake, Rattle and Roll

Cats are notoriously curious. Squeaks, crinkles, chirps and other enticing sounds capture their attention and prompt investigation. Some noise-making cat toys include the following:

  • Balls that contain bells or rattles
  • Pompom balls made of shiny and crinkly Mylar
  • Toys that respond to your cat's touch, setting off vibrations or tantalizing sounds when she paws at them

If you have tile or wood flooring, some household items can also make fun playthings. Next time you uncork a bottle of champagne, bounce the cork onto the floor. If you engage in any sewing projects, donate the empty thread spool for your cat to cuff around as she watches it roll in erratic curves. Be sure that no thread remains on the spool before handing it over. Ingested thread can lead to a life threatening linear foreign body intestinal obstruction. Another item that makes an excellent kitty toy is a whole walnut shell that rattles when shaken.

Things That Go Bump In the Night

Cats are crepuscular creatures, meaning that they are most active and playful during the twilight and dawn hours, and some cats will continue their witching hour into the first half of the overnight hours. Consider the following nighttime playthings for your cat:

  • Cat toys that glow in the dark
  • Cat toys that flash lights when your cat smacks them with her paws

You may also want to consider relegating your cat to her own playroom if she prefers to play after you hit the hay.

Stick to toys that are specifically designed for cats. Do not allow your cat to play with glow sticks or jewelry that glows in the dark. These items contain a toxic substance that will make your cat sick if she bites through them.

Things to Snuggle, Scratch, Carry and Kick

There are hundreds of cat toys on the market to satisfy a cat's behavioral instincts. Cats love lightweight, soft toys that they can easily flick into the air and toss about with their paws. Stuffed critters, such as mice and fish, are timeless favorites that elicit hunting adventures as well as maternal instincts. Some cats tote these little toys around the house as they vocalize, which is a behavior that mimics a mother cat relocating her kittens. Some cats slam-dunk these toys into their water or food bowl, which is suggestive of a mother cat coaxing her kittens to dine. Other classic cat toys that every kitty should have include the following:

  • Log-shaped toys that she can wrap her forelimbs around while kicking it with her rear paws
  • Larger stuffed animals designed specifically for cats that she can snuggle with and use as pillows during naptime
  • A heavyweight vertical scratching post that is tall enough for her to stretch along as she scratches
  • Horizontal scratching pads

Stuffed toys often contain catnip. Some cats are sensitive to the herb's mentally stimulating properties, and other cats are immune to its effects.

Things For Humans to Play With Too

Scheduling a daily interactive play session will get your kitty moving to maintain her sleek physique, and it will provide bonding time for the two of you. Wand toys are the most popular interactive toys. These are wands that you hold and maneuver to move an attached string around. At the opposite end of the string is a lure, such as a small stuffed toy or a cluster of feathers, for your cat to stalk and grab. Another example of an interactive cat toy on the market is simply a long wire with a cardboard lure at the end. The wire makes for a dizzying and lifelike pattern of an erratically flying insect when you move it around through the air. 

For more advice, contact a center such as Howard County Animal Hospital.


15 December 2016

Veterinary Care for Small Animals

Do you own a small animal like a mouse, hamster or even a lizard? Did you know that even these tiny creatures can benefit from veterinary care? My name is Emma, and I own a number of small pets. I have found out through my experiences that veterinary care can give my little pets a longer, healthier life. This blog will cover what a small animal needs from regular medical care as well as special situations that require emergency veterinary intervention. Tiny pets deserve a healthy life, too. Learn how to do all your can for the littlest animals in your care.