Do you remember your kitten’s early days? Simply waggling a toy mouse in their general direction was enough to get them geared up to play! Now your cat is an adult, sleeping may well take priority over any form of exercise! We’re here to help with advice on some of the best toys to encourage your cat to jump off their favourite spot on the sofa and back into play.
Why is play so important?
Play is important for even the oldest of cats. It helps to keep them fit, active and mentally stimulated as well as satisfy their natural hunting instinct. Regular exercise along with a healthy diet also helps to prevent obesity, which is a major cause of health problems for our feline friends.
The best toys to engage play
Finding that one toy which your cat really loves can be a challenge– not one size fits all! From laser pointers to kickers, here’s a list of toys to tempt your cat back into play:
A laser pointer toy can create hours of fun. Simply point and watch your kitty chase it around the house like a lunatic. This toy is great for getting your cat running around, and especially for energetic cats. While playing, be sure not to point the laser directly at your cat’s eyes.
The classic cat nip mouse
A firm favourite. Throw the mouse for your cat to catch or hold it and move it around (although be careful of your fingers!). This toy is great for cats who like to carry things around and the cat nip will encourage your cat to be more playful.
Ping pong balls
These lightweight balls are great for your cat to bat around the house. You can throw them for your cat to chase – a hard wood or laminate floor works very well! For those more kittenish cats, throwing the ping pong ball around a bath tub is very entertaining!
A scratching post or cat activity centre
Great for your cat to sharpen their claws and climb on. A cat activity centre will give your cat different levels to explore and a safe space to go to if they are feeling nervous.
Says what it does on the tin – this toy is perfect for those cats who like to ‘kick’ with their back paws/claws.
Wand/ Fishing rod
Fishing rod toys come in a variety of different types; mice, birds, fish or feathers just to name a few. They’re good for mimicking the movement of a small animal or bird. Often cats will love to stalk their ‘prey’ while you wiggle it across the floor or just out of reach in the air.
A tunnel is a great accompaniment to many of the toys on our list. You can incorporate it into your cat’s playtime by hiding a toy mouse in there, wiggling a fishing rod in front of it or indeed chucking a ping pong ball through it for your cat to chase. They also make good hidey-holes for your cat to stalk or pounce out of! A cost-free alternative to a tunnel is a large paper bag, which has the same affect. Use one with no handles - which could get caught around your cat’s neck – and never use a plastic one.
Puzzle cat feeder or treat ball
A good game for mental stimulation while you are out of the house is to set your cat up with a puzzle treat feeder or ball. Take a portion of your cat’s daily biscuit or treat count and put them into the feeder. Your cat will then be challenged to use their brain to get all of the biscuits out – it will keep them entertained for hours!
A word of caution
Try to avoid toys with small attachments that can break off and be swallowed. Before leaving the house, always tidy away toys with string or anything that might present a danger to your cat.