From a human standpoint it may seem our cats have a pretty cushy life. They have regular access to food and water, a clean litter box, an occasional treat and an occasional scritch behind the ears when they demand it of their human.
The rest of the time is spent napping in a sunspot, watching birds and squirrels out the window and batting a toy mousie around the house. Sounds pretty sedentary and boring if you think about it.
As a result the cat owner may end up with a lazy cat who sleeps all day and is slightly to morbidly obese. Or the cat owner ends up with hell-cat who knocks everything off of shelves, terrorizes the dog and lies in wait under the couch to attach your ankles as you walk by. One of the best ways to get a cat up and moving and stop bad behavior due to boredom is through interactive cat toys.
Interactive cat toys are the best way to ensure your cat stays stimulated physically and mentally. They are also a great way for you, family members and your cat to interact, build a relationship and have a lot of fun.
Interactive cat toys fall into two basic categories. The first are those interactive toys that require you or a family member to use with your cat during a play session. The second category is toys that the cat can play with alone. These are great toys if you have a busy lifestyle and may not have a lot of time to spend with your cat.
CAT-OWNER INTERACTIVE TOYS
These cat toys allow you to interact with your cat. They can provide hours of fun for you and your cat. There are three basic types of Cat-Owner toys: wands, fetchers, and laser pointers. Each one of these toys promote physical well-being with lots of running, jumping, stretching and somersaulting. These toys are a great option for cats who need to lose weight.
Wands consist of a long pole with a string, wire or cord at the end anywhere from 1-2 feet long. Attached to the cord are a myriad of colorful toys that simulate the prey your cat could find out in the wild. Many are colorful feathers, long or short fuzzy tails or small stuffed mice or birds. Some have bells on the end to provide acoustic stimulation. The cat owner will hang on to one end of the wand and bounce it up and down and drag the toy on the ground so the toy resembles a prey animal. The cat’s prey instinct will kick in and will try to grab and pounce on the toy. The faster your move the want, the faster your cat will move making this a great cardio workout.
My cat especially enjoys teasers that have feathers on the end of the wand. I personally recommend the following toy: The Giddy Kitty The Giddy Kitty 5 Pack Assorted Cat Feather Toy with Small Bells and 33 Inch Wand
Dogs are not the only pet that can play fetch. Cats can learn to enjoy this wonderful cardiovascular activity too. Many will take to it naturally with virtually no training. There are a multitude of balls you can purchase to play fetch with your cat. Some are fuzzy, some are made of plastic and others are crinkly. Trial and error is the best way to find out what type of ball your cat will like best. It is a good idea to have a few backup balls as your cat may like to bat the ball around for a bit before bringing it back to you. I have lost plenty a ball under the bookcase and entertainment center. My cat has two favorite balls. The first is a wadded up piece of paper and the second is a variet pack so I always have balls as well as quite a few textures and shapes. My cat never gets bored.
Cool Fetchers For Your Kitty
There are a multitude of balls you can purchase to play fetch with your cat. Some are fuzzy, some are made of plastic and others are crinkly. What better way to find what your kitty likes than with a variety pack?
Perhaps the ultimate in cardiovascular exercise for your cat, the laser is also a great option for a disabled owner, a young child, or a cat owner who prefers to remain stationary when playing with their cat. The lasers aims a poinpoint of light where ever it is pointed. By shaking and waving the laser it simulates a bug crawling or flying around your home. Your cat will run, jump, twist and turn to try and catch the laser bug. My cat does get frustrated as there is nothing to catch and eventually figures it out. Nevertheless it is good for 10-15 minute burst of exercise. I use the laser in conjunction with the wand and balls to give my cat a good workout. The laser I use is comes in a two pack. When I use both lasers at the same time my cat really lets go trying to catch both at one. It is very humourous and we really enjoy the time together.
Our Recommended Cat Laser Toy
There is nothing funner than watching your cat chase a laser beam around! This pointer has 2 modes. One is a steady beam and the other is blinking. Both will make your kitty go nuts!
This is great stimulation for your cat as it stimulates his hunter/prey instincts. It will also give him a great way to exercise without you chasing his toys all over the house.
SOLO INTERACTIVE CAT TOYS
The second type of cat interactive cat toy is the type that your cat plays with alone. These are typically less physical and more mentally stimulating. Most of these toys involve solving a problem. We call these puzzle toys and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They are divided into track toys, treat toys and reward toys. All of these toys present some type of problem that your cat must solve. These are especially good for older cats who might not get around as well as they used too. They also provide mental stimulation that helps prevent dementia from setting in.
These toys present a problem similar to a maze. The cat must maneuver balls along a tract from one end of the track to the other. Some of these toys allow tracks to be set up in different configurations to the toy always seems knew. One very highly recommended toy is:
Catit Senses Interactive Cat Toy
Just as they sound, treat toys present some type of puzzle that a cat has to master to get a treat or their kibble. This is a great option for cats that are trying to lose weight. They burn calories while they try to get to their daily meal. There are many types of toys that perform this function. Some are simple as rolling the toy until the hole in the toy is face down and the kibble will come out. Other toys require removing an item to get the toy underneath and others require moving the treat through a maze to the exit. One of the most highly rated treat toys is:
The Catit Senses Food Maze
Like treat toys your cat is required to solve a problem to get a reward. In this case the reward is not a treat but typically another toy like a catnip ball. These puzzles typically require patience and dexterity as well planning to accurately move the reward to an exit point. An old time favorite that has been around for years is:
SmartCat Peek and Play
For the indoor cat life can get pretty mundane and predictable. Put another way BOOOORING!!! By providing your cat with additional stimulation you can prevent the doldrums, help your cat lose weight and keep them supple and strong. Interactive cat toys can be used by you and your cat or you cat can play with these toys alone. Some promote quick movements and others quick thinking. Be it athleticism or genius there is an interactive cat toy out there for you and your cat to enjoy.