Why Cat Toys Are So Important
Your adorable cat may not seem like it, but they are a well-adapted, carnivorous predator with a great drive to hunt. However, they simply don’t need to pursue their food anymore, as we provide them with it every day. So how does your cat satisfy this urge to hunt? This is where cat toys can help. They simulate the hunting experience in a safe and convenient way to help keep your cat happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Without the appropriate toys, your cat will try to turn belongings such as shoes and furniture into toys. Scratching and chewing them for a release, resulting in a frustrated and angry owner.
- Honing of hunting skills
- Release of aggression
- Builds confidence
- Improves circulation
- Builds muscle tone
- Prevent or reduce behavioural problems
- Relieves stress and boredom
- Mental stimulation
- Bonding with your cat
Which toys are best for my cat?This is where cat scratching posts can help, providing a suitable place to re-direct and carry out this behavior. Cat scratchers can range from low-cost cardboard ones, to elaborate stations which also allow for a place for your cat to relax and hide. Kong Wobbler (a Kong cat toy) shown to the right is a perfect example of this kind of toy, dispensing treats when the cat swipes at it. It is possible to adjust the opening of many of these toys in order to control how many treats are dispensed. It’s usually a good idea to increase the difficulty as your cat becomes more used to it. Kickeroo range. Or add it yourself to toys such as play balls.
- Think of each time you use cat toys as a hunting exercise, with each toy acting like prey and your cat its predator.
- Playing with cats can either be a solitary activity (alone with toys and objects) or social (with an owner or other cat).
- Start off with small movements towards the cat to entice interest, and once noticed, move it away from them (as natural prey would want to move away from its predator). Continue this chasing for a short while and then let your cat win and ‘kill’ the toy, this may include swiping at it with its front claws and biting on it. This helps the cat feel as if it has achieved something and keeps their interest.
- Go at your cat’s own pace, some cats will be more interested than others, it’s important to try out lots of different toys to find out what your cat enjoys most. It’s also important to find out what time of day best suits your cat to play, whether it be in the morning, late evening, or before eating.
- When playing with your cat, don’t be too rough and get your cat overly excited. This can result in some painful scratches and bites. If this problem does occur, take a break for a while, and once the cat is sufficiently calm, try again.
- It is important to put away and hide the cat toys once you are finished playing with your cat, in order to keep interested in them and stop the cat from ingesting anything while you’re not watching.
- Vary the toys often, using the same toy over and over will bore your cat, so make sure to alternate toys every so often and occasionally purchase new ones.