What do you look for when you buy a toy for your Favourite Feline? Colour? Price? Celebrity endorsement? We thought long and hard about what makes a good cat toy when we created the toys for our Cat Habitat range. Of course there’s no one toy which will float every cat’s boat, but there are certain attributes that you should look for when choosing your next toy.
What to look for when you choose a cat toy:
- Safety: Cat play can get pretty aggressive so make sure whatever you are giving your favourite feline to play with doesn’t have anything sharp such as pieces of wire, which can cut them or you. Check that any parts that can potentially become separated from the toy won’t do damage if swallowed. Here I would include those plastic eyes that are stuck to toys, or any kind of rubber band that can get lodged in puss cat’s intestinal tract
- Interaction & Independence: Hopefully your cat likes you, and therefore wants to spend time playing with you. As such have one or two toys that your favourite feline and you play with together like our Cat Teasers.
Likewise, you’ll need a couple of others that can be left out that they can play with independently while you’re not around, helping pass the time until you come home again. Both our Fur Balls and The Whole Box and Mice fit the bill nicely here, and should a bare human foot tread on them, it won’t hurt!
- Fingers and toes: Avoid toys that require your cat to attack human fingers or toes especially with kittens as this will be giving them the signal that your digits are pieces of play equipment to be chased, bitten and hunted for the entire duration of your life together
- Toys that make noise: If you insist on buying a toy with a bell or any other noise making equipment, I think it should be a requirement that said toy be sold along with a set of earplugs. That tinkling sound will send you bonkers. I have a blanket ban on any toys that make noise at Cat Habitat HQ because I need no additional assistance in going bonkers thank you very much;
- Size: As with most things in life, size really does matter. This is particularly true when it comes to toys that are intended as substitute prey satisfying puss cat’s need to hunt. If we look at the types of prey outdoor cats come home with, and then kindly leave on the doormat, the deceased critters are usually skinks, mice, maybe a small bird. Their common characteristics being that (while alive!) they are small and light, enabling them to move fast. As we were creating our Fur Balls and Whole Box & Mice toys, we watched how Pussa and Soph would play with them and observed how they were light enough to be batted around and rolled along the floor, and also small enough for them to carry them in their mouths;
- Catnip?: I read recently that only about 50% of cats are stimulated by catnip, and Pussa and Soph are definitely in the other 50% who don’t give a toss about the stuff. Frankly if the toy is rubbish to begin with, stuffing it full of catnip is unlikely to make it any better.
My fellow Pet Parent and I have bought some absolute shocker cat toys over the years. I would probably vote as our worst purchase what I can only describe as a catified version of a human baby’s play mat. It came complete with two arches that went diagonally across the mat from which various synthetic felt animals, mirrors and bells hung off. It was ugly, stupid and neither Pussa nor Soph gave it the time of day. It was on sale though.
Simple toys are often the best, and if they come in a paper bag or box, then you can have the toy and the cat will entertain itself with the packaging.