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.)
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.