What are the best cat toys?

What are the best cat toys?

When there’s so much choice and variety out there it’s hard to know what the best cat toys are for our beloved pets, and what the benefits are. This post gives recommendations for 5 of the best cat toys as voted for my cats (so, if your cats don’t like them, blame mine…they do tend to make things up a lot.)

Disclaimer: I may get paid commission for purchases made after clicking a link in this post

First question – aren’t cat toys just for kittens?

No, all cats love and benefit from toys, young and old. But let’s start with kittens.

We all know that kittens are playful and inquisitive so it’s no surprise they love toys. But playing isn’t just about fun, it helps a kitten’s  early learning and behaviour so they can develop and grow into healthy, happy and sociable cats.

image of a kitten playing with the best cat toys

We see a kitten playing, but to the little bundle of fur they’re learning coordination and social skills, and mimicking behaviours they’d need in the wild.  (Apparently, at 5-6 weeks of age, a wild kitten would be starting to catch and kill live prey. Who knew?) A pouncing kitten is recreating how they would naturally hunt.  When rearing up and wrestling with their furry siblings, they’re re-enacting how they’d fight out in the wild. We see it as cute, they see it as life and survival skills.  

Also, providing our kittens with fun toys allows them to learn what’s considered sociable and what’s not. For example, attacking a toy mouse is great, rearing up and boxing the family dog on the nose is not so great. Ask our dog Puglet!  

image of cat playing with yarn

So, great for kittens, but are there best cat toys for adult cats?

It’s understandable to think that adult cats are content just sleeping all day (probably because that’s what they do, sorry cats, I don’t mean to shame you…). But all that sleeping gives them an energy supply they can use to play whilst awake. This could be outside, climbing trees and chasing birds, or indoors on a cat tower leaping up and down.  Cat toys enable safe and non-aggressive play, plus prevent adult cats from becoming bored.

And elderly cats, do they want to play?

Absolutely! But, just like humans, some elderly cats forget how to play and have fun. And we could be partly responsible for this because we can sometimes stop giving them toys, believing they’re too old to be interested. Just have a go though, and soon your older cat will join in. As with aging humans, an elderly cat’s mind and body benefits from keeping active and being young in spirit plus play and activity helps keep illnesses and disease away.

Can a cat play with toys by itself?   

Yes, many of the best cat toys enable self-play which is important if puss spends time alone such as when you go to work, or during the night when the humans are sleeping (although, that’s the best type of play as they can drop a toy mouse on your face whilst you’re snoring. Great fun…).  But cats do love human interaction when playing too, and we humans love playing with them. So it’s a perfect way to build that human-cat bond.  

image of cat playing with human interaction

So, what are the best cat toys?

It’s any toy which is safe, appropriate to the age of the cat, and does the following:

The best cat toys help to reduce stress

because they provide mental stimulation, making puss work things out to reach an end goal

The best cat toys aid physical health and well-being

especially if giving puss a cardiac workout, or helping them stretch and build muscles

The best cat toys help to prevent obesity

by encouraging our furry friends to be active and nimble (e.g a cat tower)

Any toy that enables natural behaviour is purrfect and doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, cats love to wind us up by ignoring the toy we’ve bought for them, opting to play in the cardboard box packaging instead. However, there are some great toys to buy if you do want to treat your puss, and here’s 5 suggestions you’ll find on Amazon. Every single one is something we’ve bought for our own cats, and that they love.  I will never recommend anything that I wouldn’t give to my own cats. 

So, in no particular order (other than price maybe), here’s our cats’ (Freddie Mercury, Howard ‘Wally’ Wolowitz and our daughter’s cat (my grand-fur-child) Eggsy) best cat toys:  

image of best cat toys mice

You can’t beat simple, tiny mice replicas. These ones are our cats’ favourites. They’re made from synthetic fur and make a tiny rattle (not loud enough to wake us at 3am, despite our cats trying very hard). We find them all over the house and, for some reason, they accumulate under kitchen appliances and found months later. No idea what that’s about.

You’ll find them on Amazon here

image of a cat wand

Basically a stick with something dangling off the end. Easy to make at home but also relatively cheap to buy. Ours love the ones with a feather on the end, or a chunky caterpillar. You’ll find loads on Amazon. This type of toy does need human interaction, but it’s fun! That being said, our little cat Wally does play with his by himself  as he drags it around the house for some reason. Yes, he’s a little bit special…

You’ll find them on Amazon here

image of an interactive roller toy

Our daughter’s cat Eggsy has one of these and absolutely loves it. It’s great value, available in a wide range of beautiful colours and built well. The purpose of this cat toy is that puss moves the balls around the tracks, often for hours, and somehow is greatly amused. Great for self-play, but it’s possible for humans to join in too by flicking the balls around the tracks, but prepare to be scowled at…

You’ll find it on Amazon here

image of an interactive cat treat puzzle

Our cats had this for Christmas and it’s enjoyable watching them work it out. It makes them work for their cat treats, enabling their natural instinct to forage. Treats are placed under leaves and bugs, then they move parts around to get to them. They learn quick mind, but there’s enough puzzle parts to mix it up each time. This one is sturdy and washable. Well worth the money.

You’ll find it on Amazon here

image of a cat tower

I love cat towers, my cats love cat towers, and you can read a whole blog and review about towers / trees here. Brilliant for indoor cats as they can climb, jump and hide, as they would in a tree outdoors. We bought this one, a Homidec Cat Tree which is 151cm tall with scratching posts, cat houses, hammock and ladder. Great for their mental and physical health, and fun for us to watch them play.

You’ll find it on Amazon here

Whether you buy or make puss the best cat toys, you’ll be enabling them to play, exercise and explore. And, as importantly, to have fun. Plus, they don’t need to be expensive either.

Hope I’ve given you some ideas of toys for your lovely cats and, if so, then I’d really appreciate you using the links in this post. It won’t affect your purchase at all but the small commission I’ll receive helps me to keep blogging and reviewing items that I really do hope will be useful for other cat owners and / or groomers.

Let me know what toys your cats love to play with and send some pics of any home-made pressies you’ve created for them.  Would love to see them and share ideas.

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    Are cat towers worth it? I think so, and here’s why

    Are cat towers worth it? I think so, and here’s why

    If you’re wondering ‘are cat towers worth it’ and considering whether to invest in one or not, this article will hopefully help you decide either way. In short, my answer is a big fat yes and my cats agree.  So, read on to see why a cat tower can be the purrfect pressie for your beloved puss.

    Disclosure: I may get paid commission for purchases made after clicking a link in this post     

    First of all, what’s a cat tower?

    A cat tower, sometimes called a cat tree, is a vertical structure you place in your home for your cat to climb and enjoy. They can be pricey, but it’s possible to make something similar if you’re on a budget, which your cat will still love. For example, placing a chest of drawers next to the wardrobe which has a blanket on the top. They’ll have fun climbing and jumping between the two pieces of furniture, and at no cost to you.

    But if you want something a little different you’ll find many manufactured cat towers out which offer a range of activities including: platforms for your cat to sit on, planks and stairs to climb, houses to hide in, rope style posts to scratch. Although some can be pricey, not all of them are and it’s worth shopping around.  I chose a mid-range tower in terms of activities it offers at a not too high price, and it’s purrfect.

    image of our cat tower meow meow groomer
    image of cat loving homidec cat tower

    Will my cat love a cat tower?

    Impossible to say if your cat will answer with a positive meow to ‘are cat towers worth it’, but highly likely. A cat tower satisfies the natural instincts and behaviours of a cat, whilst providing them with fun and comfort. Be patient, it might take them a while to get used to it, and be prepared for the cat to initially prefer the cardboard box the tower arrives in (that’s standard!). But, position it well and patiently wait… They’ll soon start to explore. Or maybe they won’t… that’s how a cat likes to rock n roll

    What are the downsides?

    Not so much downsides, but definitely things to consider. First, the cost.  Towers can range from reasonable to ridiculous. Research carefully before buying, and choose which you think is best for you, your cat, the space you have in the home and your budget. Reviews definitely vary between each of the models. The one I recommend is, for me, great value and provides our cats with everything they need, but there are cheaper options out there which are smaller and with less activities offered. If you have a cat that goes outdoors, they’ll generally find all the activities they need out there in the big wide world. But for our indoor cats, the bigger the cat tower you can afford, the better as it will provide them with many hours of joy.   

    Consider the space they will take up in the home. The bigger and more complex the tower, the more space they’ll gobble up, not just height-wise but width and depth. Think carefully about where you’ll place it before you buy. If it’s not positioned right, your cats are likely to ignore it.  And if it’s squashed in a room too small, you’ll end up cursing it. Ours is in an unused corner of the lounge, next to the radiator and by the window so they can watch the world go by and it seems to suit them… for now!

    And lastly, the cat tower needs to be safe for your cat to use. If you have a cat with restricted mobility or a physical illness / disease that could cause the cat to fall suddenly (e.g. epilepsy and seizures), think carefully about purchasing one of the taller models. It’s a long way down if they fall and they can seriously injure themselves.

    Still undecided whether it’s a yes or no to ‘are cat towers worth it’?

    Check out my top 5 reasons for providing your furry friend with a cat tower. Each of the reasons naturally link with at least one of the welfare needs which form part of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which is my go-to for anything related to cat care. Caring for our kitties isn’t just about fun and the cute stuff, it’s about how we allow them to follow their natural instincts and behaviours, and enable them to live happily and healthily.

    1. A cat tower provides an opportunity to play and explore

    Cats need fun in their lives with plenty of opportunities to climb, jump and play (as long as they are physically able to). Offering them a cat tower is one way to meet the welfare need: providing a suitable environment. It helps them to be active both in mind and body. This is especially important if your cat is an indoor pet – although not a replacement for the great outdoors, the cat tower is similar to a tree that an outdoor cat climbs  and explores.

    image of cat playing in homidec cat tower
    image of cat looking for look-out in cat tower

    2. It provides the perfect look-out

    My cats love sitting on the top platform and looking down at the minions below.  (They actually think of themselves as Richard Gere’s character Edward in Pretty Woman, when he tells Julia Robert’s Vivienne that the reason he has the penthouse is because ‘it’s the best’. And we all know cats like to be the best…)

    From high up they can spot potential enemies, like an approcahing killer vacuum cleaner or an annoying furry sibling. This behaviour relates to the welfare need: to exhibit normal behaviour patterns. Think of a lion in the wild, sitting up on a high rock looking out for prey and enemies. That’s how the domestic cat feels when standing proudly on top of the cat tower, and who are we to burst that bubble?

    3. A cat tower offers a perfect place for a cat to hide

    As we know, cats like to hide. Sometimes it’s because they feel unsafe, such as on Bonfire Night or when there’s a stranger in the house. Other times it’s because it makes their human run around, late for work, trying to shut the bedroom door and keep the cat out but not being able to as the cat is hiding under the bed mocking their human servant.  

    A cat tower which includes a small cat house about half way up, or a high platform, is a way of providing  a suitable environment in terms of an alternative hiding place. Humans spot them quickly, but furry siblings not so much. 

    4. Are cat towers worth it to keep my puss healthy, nimble and active?

    Just like humans, if a cat is inactive, it can suffer from issues such as obesity, painful joints and potentially be more prone to illness and disease. An indoor cat is more likely to suffer these things than an outdoor, as the cat who roams outside has an abundance of opportunities to climb fences and trees, strut around the neighbourhood and chase mice and birds.  Providing a cat tower, especially for an indoor cat, will increase the opportunity to exercise which in turn helps to protect from pain, suffering and disease, another of the welfare needs.

    image of cat being nimble on a cat tower

    5. A cat tower provides the cat with their own space away from other animals in the house

    As another welfare need, this is especially important for cats as they are naturally quite solitary animals who generally prefer their own company. By providing a cat tower with a platform or small box style house, you’re offering your puss an opportunity to find their own space and chill.

    Now, I must say that this works great for cats wanting to avoid the family dog, but not always as useful for keeping away from their annoying furry feline siblings. Ours do tend to have a little scrap on the tower every now and then, mainly because the youngest one likes to be King of the Castle and kick the bigger one off the top platform… but you can only try!

    So, is it a yes or no to ‘Are cat towers worth it?’

    As well as being great for your cat, a cat tower gives us humans an opportunity to do what we love too, which is watching our cats having fun. If I’ve convinced you that a cat tower is a great piece of equipment for your cat to enjoy, research before you buy, but I can highly recommend the one here in the photos which I bought from Amazon. It’s a great size, well made, offering several platforms and 2 cat houses, plus steps and planks. And it was worth the money.

    I’m not recommending it just so you buy it and I earn a small commission – I’m recommending it because I did a lot of research and was really pleased with it, and I know others would be too. It works for my cats, and it therefore works for me. However, I will really appreciate you clicking the link if it is one you would like to buy – it won’t affect your purchase at all but the small commission I’ll receive helps me to keep blogging and letting fellow cat lovers know about anything I think they, and their furry friends, will enjoy.

    Do your cats already have a cat tower? Let me know about your experiences. Plus, I’d love to see photos of any home-made towers – they can be just as good as the manufactured ones and great if on a budget. Plus, they can use up any materials that might otherwise be thrown away – great for the environment too! 

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      A cat water fountain can encourage your cat to drink

      A cat water fountain can encourage your cat to drink

      Why am I writing about a cat water fountain?

      Well, a cat water fountain is very handy for a cat owner as we know how difficult it can be to ensure our cats drink enough water to keep them healthy. Many cats, mine included, ignore a bowl of clean, fresh water because they’d much rather drink from a glass on the coffee table or next to the bed, and then knock it onto the floor as a thank you. A vase of flowers is even better, and the bathroom tap whilst I try to brush my teeth. Other than that, they don’t want to know. 

      image of catit flower fountain for cats
      image of cat drinking water from glass and not cat water fountain

      And that’s a problem because we all know how important it is for our pet to have access to fresh water at all times and that water should form part of their healthy sufficient diet. This is particularly important in the summer months and hot weather. As with humans, cats need water to promote healthy skin and hair growth. If their skin isn’t healthy, it’s likely their coat will suffer too. And so we try to keep them as safe and well looked after as possible. But, do they listen to us? Oh no, of course not. Humans know ‘nuffink’…

      So, being fed up with regularly finding one of our cats in the sink waiting to be ‘watered’, I decided to follow my friend’s advice and try a cat water fountain (her cats, Gus and Lola LOVE theirs). And, I’m writing this review to share how fab it is with my fellow cat lovers. And I decided to try the Catit Flower Fountain.

      Disclaimer: I may get paid commission for purchases made after clicking a link in this post

      What does the Catit Flower Fountain do?

       The Catit Original Flower Fountain creates a flow of running water which encourages the cat to drink. It definitely works for two – In the midst of their furry noggins, they think they’re drinking from a tap, or a garden water feature, which is far more cool and sophisticated than the ordinary water bowl they choose to ignore…

      image of catit flower fountain water level

      You can see how much water it contains

      Look through the viewing window at the front of the unit to check the water level and top up when needed. It contains up to 3 litres of water which lasts a good couple of days at least, probably more, but I like to keep it full. 

      image of catit flower fountain water flow

      Offers more than one style of water flow

      There’s a choice of water flow. They can choose from a steady, a bubbling top or a calm stream flow. I’ve set ours as the steady flow, which they seem to like but will probably change their mind tomorrow and then on a daily basis.

      image of fresh water

      Filters the water to keep it fresh and clean

      The filter (provided) continuously purifies and softens hard tap water (hard water can apparently cause an increased risk of being more susceptible to urinary track disease). It also catches hair and dirt.

      How do you set it up?

      The Catit flower fountain arrived from Amazon ready assembled.  I took the bits apart to give it a wash (recommended) and put it back together again – easy peasy! There are only a few parts so it’s very straightforward – the pump fits in the bottom of the main bowl, the filter sits in the top, followed by the fountain holder and then a flower which the water runs from. Top the container up with water, connect it to the electric, switch on and it’s ready to go. Very simple design.

      Any ongoing cat water fountain maintenance?

      Two rules… Rule number one, as with any cat water fountain you must keep it topped up and not allow it to run dry.

      And rule number two is to look after the triple-action filter. You can buy replacement filters from Amazon (in packs of 2, 5 or 12). They’re not overly expensive. What I didn’t know (because I hadn’t read up on it properly, my bad…) is that the fountain should be kept on 24/7, because the filter needs to be kept wet.  If it’s not kept wet, the carbon particles become clumpy and stop working so well. That happened to ours and that’s because I turned it off at nights (our cats are not in the same room as their fountain over night as that’s where the dog sleeps and they annoy him and keep him awake for fun…) so, at nights, they have to make do with the ordinary water bowl.  What I now do is, when I turn it off at night, I remove the filter and submerge it in a shallow bowl of water.  Then I rinse through in the morning before re-assembling and switching on. Works a treat.

      Any downsides to the Catit Flower Fountain?

      Other than needing to either keep it on 24/7, or doing what I’ve suggested with the filter, I haven’t found any downside and neither have our cats. It’s good value for money and the cats drink water, so everyone is happy. It’s not overly expensive – there are cheaper versions, but the reviews were not as good, and I love a personal recommendation so this was the one for us. Position it safely, just in case you have a cat that likes to knock things over just for fun (isn’t that all cats?) – it’s heavy though when full of water, so highly unlikely the fountain will shift. But hey, never under-estimate a cat, right? If mine have the sudden urge to knock it over onto the head of our dog as it wanders past, they’d give it a pretty good go so I’ve positioned it so they can’t be tempted to try.

      image of wally and his catit flower fountain


      My cats didn’t drink enough water, and now they do. So for me, it’s worth every penny. The Catit Flower Fountain is easy to assemble and keep clean, it looks cute, and it’s not overly expensive. My cats love it. And, if my cats are happy, I’m happy. I always know they have fresh, running water available 24/7, even when I’m not there. 

      Hope I’ve convinced you to get one if it’s something you’ve been considering and, if you do, then I’d really appreciate you using the links in this post. It won’t affect your purchase at all but the small commission I’ll receive helps me to keep blogging and reviewing items that I really do hope will be useful for other cat owners and / or groomers.

      Let me know your experiences of a cat water fountain, or anything else you’ve tried as a way to encourage your cat to drink!

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