Just like their human counterparts, our teensy tiny feline babies cut teeth. Although this time can be uncomfortable – and downright unpleasant – there are plenty of things you can do to help the process go by smoothly. One such thing is to offer your little darling kitten chew toys. In this article, we discuss why these ultra-specific playthings are so important during this life stage, how they can transition into adulthood, discuss what choices are available to you, and finally, look into some really good options.
Why Chew Toys are Important for Kittens
Ever see babies gnashing their little pink gums against those rubbery ring toys? They do that for a lot of reasons, the principal reason being that the new set of teeth is poking through those rosy protrusions, and that, my friends, can be a painful business. Kittens, like their human compeers, also go through a teething period that can be painful.
But why does chewing help? Well, the act of pressing down on tender gums can actually help to relieve the pressure – think of it like scratching a bug bite... it might hurt, but it can also be so very, very satisfying. Besides, all of that added pressure can help those new growths come in.
Finally, continuing on the parallel between human baby and kitten, both critters use their mouths as a way to explore their new world. Without any prior training, the natural instinct of any new-tooth-haver is to bite down and see what happens. As with babies, kitties learn what is considered “acceptable” forms of gnawing with the use of tools – such as teether toys, or in this case, kitten chew toys!
How Chew Toys Can Help Adult Cats
As you might have noticed from that paragraph above, kittens learn quite a bit with their mouths. In a lot of cases, by the time said kitten becomes a dignified adult, his human helper will have taught him the difference between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” chewing. However, that's not always the case. If that's a step you missed in your feline's formative period, or if you adopted a mature cat, you may notice that the habit of gnashing down on everything – furniture, fingers, etc. - hasn't exactly been broken. In that case, your grown up ball of fur would do well with a bit of re-direction training, and that's where chew toys for cats are a big help.
Oral health issues can also be the culprit for chewing behaviors in adult cats. In this case, chewy toys can help by relieving any discomfort – as with teething kittens – and may also assist in cleaning your cat's teeth. Of course, if there's any possibility of oral health complaints, it's important to speak with your vet. However, if you get the all clear, it wouldn't hurt to incorporate these useful little playthings into the toy box!
Next, adult cats can fall into the chewing habit when they're bored. Understimulated felines can be incredibly destructive – think about all those sharp bits – not only gnawing and biting, but also scratching everything into little tiny bits. If your wee pal is simply bored, play of any type will likely help. That said, though, if this habit has become compulsive, then chew toys for cats may help you refocus your kitty's attention.
Finally, some cats just like to chew; for no reason in particular, this action is just ingrained in their way of playing. Certain play styles – like wrestlers – are more prone to it than others; however, just about any feline can fall into this habit, and if yours is amongst them, then stocking up on kitty chew toys is a grand idea.
Types of Chew Toys for Kittens and Cats
Both adult and kitten chew toys usually fall under one of three categories: sturdy but soft plushy, firm but yielding rubber, or solid and fragrant “edible.” Let's look into each type.
Plushy Chew Toys
Plushy chew toys are exactly what you would expect: soft, cuddly playthings that may or may not come with sewn in sachets of catnip. When they're meant for gnawing, however, there are a few key differences. In many cases, these playthings are built a little slimmer than traditional plush toys, in order to help your kitty get his mouth around them. Next, they may occasionally come with meshy materials that work not unlike floss. And last, though not least, they are often made up of sturdier material, thus making them more durable.
Rubber Chew Toys
This is probably one of the best kitten chew toys for teething. Most rubber chewy toys are made with small nubs, which can help stimulate and massage sore gums and promote growth. For adult cats, these rubber contraptions can also be useful for keeping both gums and teeth clean. In most cases, these little contraptions are made up of solid, food-grade, pet-safe rubber. In other cases, though, they may be mostly hollow or have small pockets that are meant to be filled with all sorts of kitty-enticing substances – treats, silver vine, etc.
Edible Chewy Toys
Edible kitten chew toys aren't techincally food, but they are safe – and, in fact, meant – to be chewed to bits. Some examples of edible toys include compressed catnip balls, raw silver vine sticks, and honeysuckle twigs. These chewies are often basic; however, they are occasionally made more intricate. For example, silver vine sticks are sometimes woven into neat, unpredictably-rolling balls, while that strange compressed ball of catnip might take on the shape of a mouse.
Kitten chew toys can be so incredibly useful for your brand new furry little buddy; however, they can also help keep your adult kitten healthy and happy. All in all, you simply cannot lose with this style of plaything!
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