It’s easy to forget that your fluffy and cute kitten who sleeps for 16 hours per day is a distant descendent of the natural wildlife predators. This means that when our cats don’t sleep, they need exercise, and playtime is one of the best ways to ensure they get enough of it.
Why Cats Need Playtime?
However, keeping your cat fit isn’t the only reason why it needs to play. Here is an overlook of arguments why cats need playtime:
1. To avoid boredom. Cats are naturally curious – they like to observe, to explore, to focus on a specific task. Remember the look on your cat’s face when it’s trying to catch a bait you’re teasing it with? That’s the same look big cats have when they’re locked onto their prey. To keep cats happy (and, in turn, healthy), we need to keep them entertained. Otherwise, our beloved pets can develop mental illnesses such as depression.
2. To release stress and anxiety. Cats, just like most any mammals, are prone to develop health issues when they’re anxious or stressed. In addition, stressed out or anxious cats often showcase aggressive behavior, mark territory with urine and other unhealthy behaviors. Playtime, by definition, is fun and stress-relieving.
3. To get enough exercise. Once again, just sleeping and eating isn’t a recipe for a healthy cat’s life. If you want your indoor cat to avoid obesity, keep a healthy emotional and mental state and a fit body, playtime is a must. Keep in mind that by “exercise”, we mean using all predatory functions of a cat – biting, pouncing, chewing, chasing and so on. By giving your cat enough exercise you’re not only making its life better – you’re also preventing behaviours like pillow-biting, leg-chasing or carpet-scratching.
4. To be happy. Playtime, after all, is about making everybody involved feel good, isn’t it? We think all cats deserve at least 15 minutes per day of their owners time to play. Keep in mind, once you start playing with your cat, you might like it even more than your cat will.
Types of Cat Toys
Balls are some of the best cat toys their owners have thought of. The main reason why small toy balls are liked so much by both cats and their masters is that cats can play with balls themselves, without the help of their lazy humans. However, the list of obvious advantages continues:
● Toy balls are as simple as a product can get, which means whenever you order one, you’ll most likely get what you expected.
● Balls are some of the best cat toys to keep them busy, while both getting excellent exercise and keeping themselves entertained.
● Best toy balls are equipped with feathers, advantages of which we’ll talk about in a second.
● You can make one yourself out of foil or paper.
● Due to their simplicity, toy balls are relatively cheap, so you can buy them over and over again each time your pet loses one under the sofa.
However, this last point goes both ways. Yes, toy balls are cheap, especially if you buy them in packages, but you’re probably going to have to buy them often. In fact, almost any play session with toy balls ends up when your cat can’t reach the ball from under a piece of furniture where the ball went. So you’ll have to either get a really long broomstick to rescue balls that are lost or get a long-term wholesale toy ball supplier.
Practical tip: after buying 10-15 toy balls, wait until your cat loses all of them. After that, find the piece of furniture under which most of them hide (in most cases, your cat will chase the ball under the fridge, or the sofa), move that piece of furniture and recover all lost balls at once.
The next type of cat toys we’re going to cover are feather sticks, which are some of the best interactive cat toys out there. What makes them so good? Here are a few reasons:
● They’re interactive in a sense that you get to actually play with your cat, unlike toy balls, which you simply give to the cat to play alone.
● Since you’re the one in charge of playing, you can easily control how much playtime your cat gets. The difference between you playing with your cat and cat playing in solitude is that a cat will literally never get bored first if you’re involved.
● The only two times you’ll see the ball toys you’ve bought are when you unpack them, and when you’re on a rescue mission to get them out of under the closet. With feather sticks, you’ll never have this problem, unless you lose them yourself. In that case, we’re out of solutions.
● While toy balls provide great exercise for your cat, feathers stimulate the animal not only to move a lot more intensively, but they also train your cat’s bite reflexes and they satisfy the need to use their claws. If you have a cat, you know the deadly grasp the toy will be in once your cat actually catches the feather.
The only problem with feather sticks is that you have to actually spend time to play with your cat. So, if you’re absolutely sure you won’t be able to play with your cat at all, this probably isn’t the right toy for you and your pet.
Also, from a DIY perspective, feather sticks are much harder to make than ball toys are. However, as we mentioned, a single feather stick will probably last much, much longer than a ball toy, while still being relatively cheap.
Lastly, we’d like to talk about automated cat toys. That’s right, you’ve read that correctly. The technology didn’t spare the pet toys market, and, frankly speaking, we’re happy it didn’t. There are pretty awesome and creative electronic cat toys and some of these constitute the best cat toys you can buy in 2017.
For example, check out this amazing automatic laser pointer. Leave a toy like that on for 15 minutes and see your cat run around the house like crazy. It’s also one of the best toys for cats left home alone, since this toy has an automatic shutdown function. After all, does your cat really care whether it’s you or the device pointing the laser?
However, if you do want something a tad more exciting than a ball toy or a feather stick, but don’t want to leave all the fun to the cat and the electronic toy, there are thousands of different remote control toys out there, which are extremely fun for both you and your pet.
For example, this little electronic mouse is possibly one of the best remote control cat toys you can get. It works just like any ordinary toy remote control car (which your cat would be happy chasing, too), but is designed specifically to evoke predatory instincts in your indoor hunter.
There are, however, potential problems with automated and remote cat toys.
To begin with, they’re electronic devices, which means they’re going to break. Most of them aren’t expensive when compared to other electronic gadgets (say, kids’ toys), but, in comparison to simple cat toys like balls and feathers, they’re up there in terms of price.
Considering that most of these toys aren’t really high quality electronic devices, their lifespan can be very short, so you have to really evaluate whether they’re worth buying.
We suggest that if you do buy any of the electronic cat toys, consider how much value do they really add compared to traditional toys, and don’t be reluctant to pay a little extra for a product of higher quality. Slightly overpaying now might result in a much longer lifespan in the future.