There are a lot of toys to choose from when it comes to your cat. Lazer pointers, teasers, mice, balls, even just dangling some fabric can serve as a great way to play. This large variety is good because cats can be picky when it comes to the toys that they like to play with. For your personal cat, a little trial and error is the best way to finding the right toy for your feline companion.
Cat condos are like cat play structures. They can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are good particularly for indoor cats that don’t have as much area to play in, since cat condos are usually quite tall with a number of levels. Most cat condos come with scratching posts, perches, dangling toys, tunnels, and ramps. There are endless possibilities when it comes to the construction of a cat condo and they are generally inexpensive as well. Obviously the more crazy the design the higher the price, but I was able to get quite a good sized one for just under $100 AU. Just remember they are design to carry the weight of a cat, so don’t have any toddlers of young children trying to climb them since they could break the condo and injure themselves.
Everyone has seen the videos and photos of cats being obsessed with boxes and cardboard. When I first got my cat’s bed, she would rather play in the box the bed came in than the bed itself. Having a leftover shoe box or some cardboard to play around with is a great inexpensive way to entertain your cat. The only downside being that cardboard doesn’t last long with cats constantly playing with it, plus the clean-up can be annoying if they absolutely shred the cardboard to pieces. Despite this, cats love to hang around in boxes, so if you find yourself short on cash just grab a box out and that will tide over most cats for quite a while.
Lazer pointers are almost as iconic in cat videos as boxes. They are fun and reasonably affordable, and can give you some absolutely priceless moments, just make sure that the lazer pointer does not become the main focus of play time. While it is fun, the cat could be a little frustrated when they keep chasing after the red dot and don’t capture it. A good idea is to give them something tangible to catch by pointing the red dot at a ball or some other toy for them to attack. Always remember, do not shine the lazer in the cat’s eye, since that can seriously damage their eyesight!
Balls and mice
Balls and small stuffed toys like mice are good staples to have in any at toy box. While not all cats may play with a ball or a mouse, they can usually help stimulate other areas of play (such as with the lazer pointer). They are often cheap and can come in a huge variety of colours and styles so finding the right ball for your cat is pretty easy. Some balls even come with added trick by lighting up or having a compartment inside that you can put in some treats (or a little cat nip).
Teaser toys, like balls, are a very common cat toy for an owner to have. They are often just a stick with either some fabric or some feathers attached to the end. They are really good at keeping your fingers away from your cat’s claws and can provide many hours of playful bonding. I am yet to come across a cat that didn’t like having a small play with the cat teaser. There are some more expensive versions that are attached to robotic arms that swing the teaser around for you, although I have found that this takes away my fun of playing with my cat.
Catnip is commonly used in combination with cat toys, since they stimulate the cat’s senses and make them more responsive to play. Not all cats like catnip (33% are not effected at all), but those that do, love it! Catnip (or Nepeta cataria) is part of the mint family and is relatively easy to access from pet stores and gardening centres. Catnip is not addictive and is safe for cats to use. The effect of catnip can change from cat to cat; some responses include drooling, sleepiness, purring, and hyperactivity. The effect is temporary, lasting around 10-15 minutes. If you are concerned about the effect of catnip, feel free to ask your local vet and they can tell you in more medical detail its effects.
Exotic cat toys
While balls and teasers could be considered the basics of cat toys, there is a whole world of exotic cat toys to also consider as well. Most of these focus on being interactive and involve the cat playing by themselves with the toy. They largely consist of thing such as puzzles, automated mice, turbo scratches, cat wheels, and more. While they may be a little more pricy, they can often be a great way for your cat to get more stimulation than just basic cat toys. Just remember, automatic cat toys should not totally replace your play time with your cat, since cats do need that human interaction as well.
Cat collars are an important part of owning a cat. A cat with a collar is a clear signal that it is not a stray, so if you cat is an outdoor cat it needs to have a collar on at all times. On these collars it is good practice to have some contact details so that if you cat gets lost, whoever finds your cat can contact you straight away. For the more fashion conscious owner, a collar is also a great way to give your cat a more colorful appearance. IN general, cat collars are very inexpensive and can have a number of features. The one my cat has for example is a flea collar. Other collars can also have bells on them (to help protect any local wildlife your cat may be hunting).