The following article first appeared on iCatCare:
There are so many different designs and styles of toys available for cats that it can be hard to choose which toys your cat might most enjoy playing with.
Every cat is different, and they may have preferences for play style (or you may see your cat perform all of them!)
Different play styles can include your cat;
- lying on their side, biting and grasping a toy with their front paws and kicking sharply with their back legs.
- lying low to the ground and pouncing forward onto a moving toy on the floor.
- jumping and stretching into the air to grab an aerial toy.
When buying a toy, look for features that allow your cat to carry out their preferred play style. Some top tips for choosing a cat toy include;
- Consider the style of toy.
- Fishing rod style toys allow you to interact with playing your cat by moving the wand (and thus the toy on the end of it) in fast and straight movements along the ground, mimicking the movements of a cat’s natural prey. This style of toy is particularly good for children to use because it provides a ‘hands off’ approach to playing with your cat.
- Self-play toys are designed to be played without our involvement and these can range from simple balls to electronically powered toys. Remember to always end any game with a treat or meal so all that ‘hunting’ results in a reward.
- Think about the size of the toy. Cats often prefer smaller sized toys as these are similar to the size of their normal prey, such as a mouse or small bird.
- Bigger soft toys may also be good if your cat likes to grab and bite the toy and rake it with their back legs.
- Buy toys made of faux fur or feathers as these textures have been found to encourage play as they feel most like prey. Crinkly materials can also stimulate the cat’s senses. Avoid any parts that could detach and be eaten, such as bells or plastic noses or eyes!
- Catnip or not? Many toys include catnip or other similar plants such as valerian, which can encourage a cat to investigate a toy and engage in play. But don’t worry if your cat doesn’t seem to be interested- research has found that only between 50 and 70% of cats respond to catnip.
Read more about playing with your cat here