Cats love to lay about, perch, lounge, and sleep the day away. In fact, many cats will sleep an average of 13 to 18 hours a day. If only we had it so easy! But a cat's sedentary habits tend to show up in their waist lines - especially for indoor only cats. So how do you help your cat exercise? It isn't as straightforward as it is with dogs. Most cats will not willingly go for a walk on a leash (although we know some special kitties that do!). Toys are a great way to encourage your cat to get moving and burn some extra calories. The best toys tap into a cat's hunter instinct; encouraging stalking, pouncing, and playful paw batting.
Here are some suggestions:
- Laser pointer - Has to be number one on the list. Cats tend to go crazy for this one - I've even known a few cats who "beg" for it. It is a great toy for stimulating the hunting instinct and gets them to dart back and forth and all over the place. Just be careful to keep the laser out of kitty's eyes (or anyone's eyes, for that matter). This toy has a high entertainment value for both the cat chasing the red dot as well as the human who gets to watch!
- Wand - This encourages similar action as the laser. Any type of toy that has an object such as a feather attached to the end. Even a dangling ribbon hanging from the end of a flexible wand will do the trick. Drag slowly across the ground or dangle it in the air and watch your cat go wild!
- Wrapping paper - Cats love to sit and play with wrapping paper, tissue paper, even newspaper. Anything that makes that crinkling noise. If it is shiny even better! This may not inspire too much activity but cats will bat with their paws at paper and it can also get them riled up and in a playful mood. It serves as a good base for for playing with other toys. Try sprinkling cat nip on it.
- Small (but safe) toys - Some of these are cheap toys you can purchase at the store and many of these are items you have at home. Small furry catnip mice, crinkle balls, and balls with bells in them are all great items that can often be found for under a dollar. Household items that cats love are foil balls, the plastic rings from milk containers (they love to bat them with their paws). and Velcro strips (the ones that hold cords together for example). My cat loves to play with the milk container rings as well as the Velcro - she like to keep "tearing" it apart each time the fuzzy sides reattach. I leave the milk rings on top of wrapping paper with some cat nip to get her going. While these are generally safe items for cats to play with it is best to put these toys away after play time to avoid any accidental injury.
- Paper bags - Double them up for sturdiness and cut a hole in the bottom. Use cat nip or the laser pointer to entice your cat inside. Some cats love to run and slide into paper bags as well as just hang out inside, jump in top or roll around inside. Another good place for putting fun toys inside. Again, make sure this playtime is monitored and that the bag is not too small for kitty to get stuck in.
- Stuffed cat nip toys - These are super and big time kitty favorites. Cats will lick these and roll with them and hold them in their paws while bunny kicking with their back feet! It is quite adorable to see. You can make your own or buy them from a pet store. Rosy's brand is particulary great quality. These are great for getting your cat riles up and encourage wild running about the house!
Do have any questions? Would you like to offer a suggestion? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: Kitty Corner!