What do cats like to play with? Short answer... everything. Toys, that pen you're using, cat trees, that laptop you're using, tunnels, that spoon you're using. Cats can make a game out of anything, and absolutely will. But today, we're going to narrow down the list of the most common and best playthings around.
In order to maintain a harmonious household, toys are essential. Like people, cats have their own particular preferences – some are blatant chasers, while others may be more inclined to stealthily stalk. Some may be lazy, while others are a little more spastic. Trial and error is key here, but whatever category your kitty falls into, there are numerous options available, including:
Some cats will like these, while others will have absolutely no interest. The attraction to catnip is genetic, but for those who enjoy the "high," there are a number of different choices. Options include soft toys, balls, and rubber rodents.
Teasers are generally made of a thin plastic wand that holds feathers, soft toys, plushy tails or jingly bells. These also occasionally contain catnip. A fun variation of the regular teaser is the fishing pole toy, which allows you to "cast" out the enticing play thing, then reel in your kitty.
Food Dispensing Toys
Like teasers, these toys are meant to encourage that all-important hunting instinct. However, they may be a bit more satisfying, as your kitty will end up with a tasty treat as a reward for his efforts. These toys are usually balls that drop food as they are batted around. Other styles include puzzle boxes, moving mice and dishes.
High-tech options are gradually increasing in volume and quality. The most common of this style of toy is the remote control mouse; however, there are numerous other options available, including battery-powered chasers, automatic teasers, and phone app-controlled laser pointers.
Ball toys are fairly simple – a rubber or plastic ball that can be batted around the room. Some, though, can be a little more complex, having compartments for catnip or treats, trailing soft tails, or making quiet twinkling or squeaking sounds when ambushed.
Cats like to utilize all of their senses, and soft toys are often made to encourage this. These toys frequently come in a combination of materials, like faux fur or wool, which is enhanced by feathery or fluttery attachments. They also sometimes come with bells or crinkly material, as well as certain cat-pleasing scents, like fish, beef or catnip.
Though not toys in and of themselves, highly imaginative kitties often use furniture as playgrounds. To discourage your cat from playing with your decor, encourage them to play with their own. Cat furniture includes:
Cat trees come in just about any style imaginable, and can be highly customizable. The most common types come with at least one perch, a scratching post, and a tunnel or small house. More elaborate setups may include multiple versions of the above mentioned items, as well as stairs, ramps, beds, toys or swings.
Though simpler in nature, like trees, cat shelves are highly customizable. Generally made up of sturdy planks that can be attached to the wall, these pieces can be set up to create an elaborate track that runs from the floor to the ceiling of just about any house.
Consisting of small, often round, pieces of solid material, perches are highly versatile and can be attached to cat trees, walls, counters or windows. What makes these such an excellent option for play is that they make for a marvelous vantage for your cat to survey his territory, scout birds and other small critters, escape his playmates, and pounce on his toys.
Safe Household Items
So you've invested a small fortunate in toys, only to find that your cat prefers the boxes they came in? Yeah... that happens all of the time. But as with anything else, there are some items that are safer than others to play with. These items include:
- Paper bags, with handles removed
- Cardboard boxes, especially if niched with cat-sized holes
- Toilet paper and paper towel tubes, with all paper removed
- Crinkled up paper
- Ping pong, tennis or golf balls
You can also re-purpose old kids' toys. For instance, solid plastic teething rings are great for chewers, while old stuffed animals make for fantastic wrestling buddies. If you do use old toys, though, it's important to remember to remove any small or breakable parts, as these can cause choking or swallowing.
So, back to the original question... what do cats like to play with? Well, as you can see, pretty much anything. If you're ever at a loss, refer to this list, and you will likely find something for both your kitty and you to enjoy!
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