We all know that kittens are pretty much non-stop playing machines but even adult cats can surprise with bursts of kittenish behaviour when the fancy takes them. Cats are all unique and like different things- so we’ve got four types of toys for you to try with your kitty. Here’s how to find out what toys your cat will go crazy for.
Importance of play
Play is great for cats: it can solve behaviour problems such as aggression or destructive behaviour, prevents obesity, reduces stress and helps to establish the bond between owner and cat. Play is also a sign of happiness in a cat.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to play – cats have different personalities and react differently to cat toys. That’s why you can often end up with a bunch of toys in a cupboard or under the furniture. Cats can be prone to walking or running away from a toy that another cat loves.
Try before you buy
So before investing too much in cat toys you can experiment with some low-cost alternatives to determine exactly what it is that your cat loves.
Find a feather, tie it to the end of a bamboo skewer and dangle it above their head. Some cats will leap around energetically others may lie on their backs and bat at it. But if the cat enjoys it then you can invest in something a little more sophisticated. Bear in mind that if your cat doesn’t seem interested it may well be because he or she just isn’t in the mood. Try it out a couple of times before deciding whether or not your cat likes such a toy.
Some cats fancy themselves as Premier League footballers. You can test this out by taking a small piece of paper, screwing it up tightly and flicking it across the floor. A cat that likes this sort of play can amuse itself for some time batting the piece of paper around the room, walking away only to return and repeat the play at intervals. You can then try bigger rolling toys if kitty seems interested.
Hall ball and stair ball are two games that can provide a lot of fun. This works best with table tennis balls – they are light and ricochet very well. Of course you need a hall or stairs to get the best out of this game and hard floors are better than carpet. Flicking the ball hard against a wall will trigger it to ricochet up and down the hall and you cat will be in hot pursuit. The stair ball variation involves throwing the ball with medium force up the stairs for it to come tumbling down. This is a good game for all levels of fitness as even the less agile cat can wait at the bottom of the stairs for the ball and give it a swipe.
There are plenty of other items that can be turned into toys for cats; a ball of wool is of course traditional, but some cats will also like to play with a long piece of flowering grass.
Laser pens can provide a huge amount of entertainment but be very sure that you don’t shine the light in the cat’s eyes.
When playing with your cat, bear in mind the words of Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes: “Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.” You might get a little scratch if you get too carried away, but you’ll have a lot of fun!