When you think of older kitties, you probably think of furry, purring, sleep machines. While our senior feline friends may not be as zippy as their kitten counterparts, they still often enjoy a good play session – and this desire should absolutely be indulged! As our kitties mature, though, their needs change – even when it comes to playtime. So today, we'll be looking into the top five best toys for old cats, and talk about how they can help keep your full-grown kitten spry for years to come.
Why You Should Encourage Your Senior Cat to Play
Before we look into the best toys for your mature cat, let's touch on why it's so important that you encourage this sort of physical activity. It goes without saying that exercise is good for a body of any age, but it is especially useful for a mature body. Why? First, the obvious point: exercise helps to keep your kitty's weight in check, which can be tricky as he gets older – what with a slowing metabolism. Next, play can help keep your cat's joints nice and lubricated, thus relieving pre-existing issues like arthritis, and preventing the onset of other conditions, like diabetes. Finally, regular exercise and games can help keep your kitty mentally sharp and emotionally content. So, as you can see... playtime is essential for old cats!
Things to Consider When Looking for Mature Cat Toys
While each cat is an individual – with his own unique set of preferences – there are some things that you will want to consider when looking into playthings. In addition to considering your kitty's personal predilections, you will also want to think about his current physical condition. For instance, if your mature feline is a tad on the overweight side or if he is dealing with joint issues, you will want to get him up and moving, but may want to hold off on making him jump. You will also want to take your kitty's play style into account, and consider how that style coincides with his health. So, going back to the earlier example, if your cat is a bit of a jumper but is dealing with arthritis, you will want to find options that will allow your cat to get a bit of a bounce, while staying soft on his limbs.
Also, it goes without saying, but I cannot stress this enough: if your older cat is dealing with any variety of medical condition, speak with your vet before starting any sort of exercise routine.
Top Five Cat Toys for Old Cats
Now that you know the whys and the hows, it's time for the good stuff: the toys!
All right, so why is this a great toy for old cats? Well, to start, lots of older kitties get a nice, euphoric kick out of catnip – which can be useful if your senior kitty has developed any sort of stress or discomfort during his golden years. The main reason why this soft little toy is great, however, is that – if your cat is into intoxicating herbs – then this will encourage some fairly vigorous play sessions that can, if necessary, stay relatively close to the ground. Remember, though, that not every kitty digs catnip – but never fear... there are plenty of other plants – like Valerian – that can still help, even if the 'nip doesn't!
If your little old fella used to love chasing a teaser, but his joints just won't let him anymore, then this might be the perfect toy for him! This fun little gizmo comes with a small tunnel and ball for batting around; however, what makes it an excellent toy for old cats – especially those with a lot of pluck left – is the rotating teaser wand that flips and spins fairly close to the ground, thus satisfying kitty's need to hunt while still keeping his joints happy. Alternatively, if your kitty doesn't care for the speed or the sound of this contraption, then you can always try a play mat as a more low-key alternative.
No matter how old a cat gets, he's still a cat... and what's one thing that every feline shares? A propensity for nosiness. If your mature little buddy isn't high energy, but still can't help but root around in... well... everything, then this might be just the toy for him. Mazes and puzzles are superb for older cats, as they provide a mild form of physical stimulation, but also help to keep their brilliant brains nice and sharp. This particular puzzle is an excellent choice, as it boasts three difficulty levels, thus keeping your brainy senior interested. Furthermore, it's made of a sturdy cardboard that can be scratched up and gnawed on for quite a while, which not only keeps your kitty's claws nice and groomed, but also provides an outlet for any pent up frustrations and hunterly instincts!
Although oral hygiene is important at any age, dental health can become especially troublesome for older cats. To keep your kitty's mouth nice and healthy, you might want to look into a toy like this. Not only is it fun to pick up and carry, chase around the house, and just generally manhandle, it also helps to keep your feline's teeth tartar free, and his gums well stimulated. If your cat needs a deeper clean, or if catnip simply isn't his thing, you might want to try one of these Silver Vine toys instead.
Sometimes, in order to grab your senior feline's interest, you will need to get a little... sneaky. How? By tapping into his natural instincts. No matter your cat's age, he is – and always shall remain – a hunter. This particular set of playthings will almost certainly do the trick. Made up of real rabbit fur, these toys will provide both the feel and scent that will drive even the most curmudgeonly kitty wild! Plus, being relatively small, they are perfect for carrying around or playing low-to-the-ground fetch-style games.
Just because your favorite little feline is up there in years, it doesn't mean that he has to become a grizzled ol' couch potato. Although any one of these toys for old cats is sure to bring out the kitten in your senior darling, the truth is, the only thing that can keep him healthy, lively, and youthful is you. So get out there and get to playing!
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