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Cat Toys - Selecting the Right Toys for Your Cats Play Preference

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Cat toys, there are tons and tons of cat toys on the market. But do you know your cat's toy preference? Is your cat a birder, a mouser, or a bugger? Does your cat prefer toys that mimic birds, mice or catching bugs? There are many types of cat toys made for cats and each cat has his or her own preferences as to what stimulates them to interact.

Favored cat toys mimic predatory acts that cats would perform if they were to hunt for their food. Although your cat may not need to “hunt”, they still enjoy the actions and movements involved with the process of hunting from which they create a form of play. Cats love to chase, pounce, capture, carry, bite and roll around with good cat toys.

Let's consider the types of toys and figure out what types of toys your cat likes best!

Types of Cat Toys

Some cats prefer toys that either mimics the sounds, textures, or movements of prey. Cat toys on the market may be designed to move, vibrate, twitter, squeak or swing simulating “prey” to induce a cat to react and play. Natural substrates such as leather, fur or feathers are popular, however, some cats prefer fabric or substrates that crinkle like plastic or foil. Some kitties like cat toys with no sound while others like squeaks, twitters, chips or crackes. Other like cat toys that move quickly e.g. very small balls that move across a surface, pieces of kibble that slides a cross the floor, or a laser light on a wall that they “chase”. Many cats love toys that can be tossed up with their paws, swat at and bit! Some cat toys are enriched with catnip to entice play.

Figure Out What Kind of Cat Toys Your Cat Likes

Buy several cat toys and roll them or toss them to your cat to determine his or her preference. Watch to see which type of toy is most interesting to your cat. For example, you may see a trend of your cat preferring toys that simulate birds such as bird shaped toys, toys that chirp, toys made of a bird-type substrate (feathers) or toys that create bird-like movements (fluttering toys). Other cats will prefer toys that mimic “catching small rodents”, such as cat toys shaped like mice, toys that squeak, toys made of fur, or toys that have encourage jerking movements. They may also enjoy tossing, biting or carrying their “prey”. Movements that simulate bug catching are a favorite play type of many cats. You can test this by giving your cat a kibble of food to chase, use a laser light on the floor or wall, or by playing with a string with a knot on the end and moving it quickly.

When introducing cat toys, introduce them one at a time. Use different sizes, shapes and textures. Try fur, feathers, fabric and leather. Roll them, toss them, slide them, and move them in different ways and speeds. When using dangling cat toys such as wands or sticks that have a dangling toys, play with your cat by dangling the toy in front of your cat and slowly…. move it away. Try the feathery options that fly and mimic bird feather movement. These work really well and will often provoke a “pounce” in cats that like that type of toy or play activity. You might find that you cat likes a crinkle ball that rolls or bounces and makes noise when they “attack” it that simulates some of the movement and sounds of prey.

Once you figure out what your cat prefers, you can vary the sizes and types of cat toys within that category.

Features to Consider in Cat Toys

  • Style
  • Shape
  • Ability to move/flutter/fly
  • Ability to make sounds
  • Safety – no parts that can be swallowed
  • Durable
  • Interesting to the personality of your cat

    Ideal Choice of Cat Toys

  • The ideal choice of cat toys will depend on your cats toy preference. Offer a variety and rotate cat toys often. If you don't yet know your cats preference, some good initial choices is a feathery flyer, some round crinkle balls, a laser pointer, and something stuffed with catnip.

    Shopping Tips for Buying Cat Toys

  • Don't buy too many cat toys at first but have enough to distract your cat. Buy more cat toys as you know what types of toys your cat prefers.

  • When choosing a cat toy, consider safety. Make sure that no parts of the toy can be swallowed or eaten. If you are unsure how your pet will react with a toy, make the play time supervised and hide toys when you are not with your cat and able to observe their behavior.

  • Many cats love catnip. Cat toys are often available with cat nip or you can grow your own fresh cat nip.

    More Tips for Using Cat Toys

  • Offer your cat a variety and rotate them out periodically to keep them “fresh” new and exiting to your cat. A reasonable rotation is to hide the current cat toys every 2 – 3 days and replace with others.

  • Consider homemade cat toy options. It is easy to create homemade cat toys of empty paper bags, rolled up paper balls, milk bottle “rings” or empty toilet paper rolls. You can also stuff a light weight sock or make small catnip toys of spare fabric. Some owners will hide treats around the house so cats will learn to look for treat around the house when they are not at home.

  • Make time to play with your cat every day. The ideal daily play time is 8 – 12 minutes per day per cat. Use some of the interactive cat toys such as laser lights or dangling “flyers”. Alternatively, you can toss toys or roll balls to interact.

    Users' comments about this Buyer Guide
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    Cat's play
    by stresfre, Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Comment: My Calico loves light! Sunbeams,flashlight beams, anything that is lit and moves is fair game. My Tabby likes things that dangle and small balls. There're really pretty easy to keep amused!

    » Read the full comment
    my two cats
    by Aldrich, Monday, January 05, 2009

    Comment: i have two cats,brother and sister and they are indoor cats all the way. they like the balls,catnip toys --but their favorite thing is "ICE"--so there are some little wet puddles around on the floor -but they will chase the ice and 9 out of 10 t...

    » Read the full comment
    Great cheap toys
    by Marion, Monday, January 05, 2009

    Comment: My cat Lady Bug, an unusually marked gray tabby, loves twisted pipe cleaners. I usually twist them tightly around a small cylinder to form a small spring. She loves playing with them and will often bring one she has found for me to throw for her. They pro...

    » Read the full comment
    Cat Toys
    by elainedixon1954, Saturday, July 19, 2008

    Comment: I just wanted to say something about toys and others stuff for cats, anything we buy for our cats which we have (3). We always buy stuff little toys and stuff for them to sleep in or to just get away from the others, however just like children they get ti...

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    cheap and good cat toys
    by pumpkinsparshott, Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Comment: ping pong balls are terrific: they roll well, bounce well, and make a neat noise. And they are six for a buck at the dollar store, so you can lose a few under the fridge. Try throwing them up the stairs to bounce back down.

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