"Safe" Toys

Cats love toys! Many factors can contribute to the safety or danger of given cat toys, many of which depend on your feline buddy’s size, level of activity and his personal preferences. Another thing to consider is where your cat spends most of his time.

It is in the nature of cats to be hunters. So cats are always seeking ways to refine their hunting skills, often through play. Cats are also very curious, so anything new is a new reason to explore, usually to see if your cat can make play out of it. Even an empty bag will invite a cat into exploration, sometimes with fatal results if it is a plastic bag. Therefore, care must always be exercised around cats. They, like young children, do not think or even realize there are dangers. Cats believe that what we leave around must be for their total enjoyment and is safe, otherwise, why would you leave it out for them?

Cats are pernickety creatures, so not all will like or enjoy playing with all cat toys. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to follow when choosing a toy for your furry friend.

Be Cautious

Things that cats find attractive or fun can be dangerous to them, especially if they’re swallowed or ingested. Try cat-proofing your home by checking for string, ribbon, yarn, rubber bands, plastic milk jug rings, paper clips, pins, needles and anything else that could be ingested. All of these items are dangerous, no matter how cute your cat may look when she’s playing with them.

Steer clear of, or alter any toys that aren’t "cat-proof" by removing ribbons, feathers, strings, eyes, or other small parts that could be chewed and/or ingested.

Cats prefer soft toys and you should check that they are machine washable. An icky overused toy may be rescued by a simple wash. Treat buying cat toys in the same way as you’d buy a toy for the under-3s: check labels for child safety, as a stuffed toy that’s labeled as safe for children under three years old, doesn’t contain dangerous fillings. Problem fillings include things like nutshells and polystyrene beads.

Recommended Cat Toys

Active Toys

  • Round plastic shower curtain rings are fun either as a single ring to bat around, hide or carry, or when linked together and hung in an enticing spot.
  • Plastic rolling balls, with or without bells inside.
  • Ping-Pong balls and plastic practice golf balls with holes, to help cats carry them. Try putting one in a dry bathtub, as the captive ball is much more fun than one that escapes under the sofa. You’ll probably want to remove the balls from the bathtub before bedtime if you don't want to hear the sound of your cat playing there. Two o’clock in the morning seems to be a prime time for this game.
  • Paper bags with any handles removed. Paper bags are good for pouncing, hiding in and interactive play. They’re also a great distraction if you need your cat to pay less attention to what you’re trying to accomplish. Plastic bags are not a good idea, as many cats like to chew and eat the plastic.
  • Sisal-wrapped toys are very attractive to cats that tend to ignore soft toys.
  • Empty cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels are ideal cat toys, especially if you "unwind" a little cardboard to get them started.

Catnip

  • Catnip-filled soft toys are fun to kick, carry and rub.
  • Plain Catnip can be crushed and sprinkled on the carpet, or on a towel placed on the floor if you want to be able to remove all traces. The catnip oils will stay in the carpet, and although they’re not visible to us, your cat will still be able to smell them.
  • Catnip Sprays

    rarely have enough power to be attractive to cats but they're worth a shot.

  • Not all cats are attracted to catnip. Some cats may become over-stimulated to the point of aggressive play and others may be slightly sedated. This happened to one of my cats after eating some catnip. She was "high" for about two hours, charging around the house like something demented, seeing ghosts (or whatever it that cats often stare at that we can't see).
  • Kittens under six months old seem to be immune to catnip.
  • Catnip is not addictive and is perfectly safe for cats to roll in, rub in or eat.

Cat Grass

  • Cats are confirmed carnivores. But they also crave greens, a source of digestive roughage. Unfortunately, houseplants and chemically-treated lawns and landscaping are often the most easily available source.

    Cat Grass is a simple and healthy alternative that allows you to grow a healthy, organic, pesticide-free treat for your cat at home. Sweet tasting oat grass is irresistible to your cat, and contains many important vitamins and minerals. Chlorophyll is also a natural breath freshener.

Comfort Toys

  • Soft stuffed animals are good for several purposes. For some cats, the stuffed animal should be small enough to carry around. For cats that want to "kill" the toy, the stuffed animal should be about the same size as the cat. Toys with legs and a tail seem to be even more attractive to cats.
  • Cardboard boxes, especially those a tiny bit too small for your cat to really fit into.

Videos for Cats

A recent introduction to the cat toy line-up are videos for cats. Shove in the DVD and watch your cat react to what appears on your TV screen, whether that's squirrels, birds, butterflies, indeed, anything that tends to change direction suddenly. These can be great for indoor cats who don't have the opportunity of experiencing the outside world.

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You'll also find a selection of Cat Videos and DVDs at Amazon.com.

Buying Cat Toys

Let's face it, you get as much fun playing with cat toys as your cat, watching how he reacts and plays with them. Some favorite cat toys are catnip mice and other catnip toys, wand-type toys, and other interactive toys.

Here's a list of top toys for cats which includes both interactive favorites and cat toys for your cat to enjoy when he's home alone. Don't be surprised if you recognize a few!

  • For supervised cat play, Panic Mouse
    is the closest match to the real thing with human-like movements keeping your feline interested all day. This toy is for kittens and cats alike. The speed settings adjust to your cat's agility.

  • Tantalize your cat's instinct to hunt with the Peek-A-Prize Toy Box
    . The most interesting aspect of this toy is that the cats' natural hunting and stalking instincts come into play. Their interest is not particularly in the "prey" (toys hidden inside the box), but in the thrill of the hunt. Place toys or treats inside for your cat to reach, bat, and scoop, and ferret out. Sturdy all-wood construction lasts years, and box includes two assorted toys to get the fun started.This is a toy that cats will not grow tired of.

  • The Cat Dancer
    just doesn't appeal to humans but rare is the cat that won't be entranced by it. A thirty-inch piece of very flexible piano wire with tightly rolled cylinders of paper on the "play end." Your cat will go nuts over this one, and will give it very rough play. Because they're priced so low, I'd suggest buying more than one.

  • The the mouse that fun built! Fuzzy Mice Cat Toys spell fun for even the most cosmopolitan cat. These adorable little critters with their faux fur covering are waiting to tempt and tease your cat for hours of cat-and-mouse hijinks. Cats of all ages love toy mice, and these 2-inch mice in assorted colors are sure to be a hit.
  • Your cat may spend hours chasing that crazy moving beam from the Laser Pet Toy
    . An optional mouse hologram increases the excitement. To avoid cat consternation, alternate play with the laser toy with play with "prey" so your cat can satisfy his need to catch something tangible.

  • Are you one of those sensitive types who doesn't like being scratched by your cat during playtime? Just for youm, there's the Kitten Mitten a glove that has a combination of pompoms, catnip and jingle bells to entice your favorite feline. The fashion conscious among you can select a pattern to suits yoor taste - Leopard, Zebra or Tiger!

Get The Most Out Of Cat Toys!

  • Rotate your cat’s toys weekly by making only four or five toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your cat has a huge favorite, like a soft "baby" that she loves to cuddle with, you should probably leave that one out all the time, or risk the wrath of your cat!
  • Provide cat toys that offer a variety of uses - at least one toy to carry, one to "kill," one to roll and one to "baby."
  • "Hide and Seek" is a fun game for cats to play. "Found" toys are often much more attractive than a toy which is blatantly introduced.

Cat Stuff on Amazon:


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