Toys and regular playtime are part of providing your cat with a stimulating environment, which keeps them happy and healthy. Play gives them an outlet for their energy, provides mental and physical stimulation and gives them a chance to bond with you. So as their companions, we want to make the right choice and provide our cats with safe appropriate toy options that will leave them happy and content.
Keeping Our Cats Safe From Harm
There are many potential dangers in your house that may seem like a good cat toy, especially to a curious cat! Many cats are brought to the vet each year for gastrointestinal obstructions. Obstructions are blockages along the GI tract caused by foreign objects. They can cause severe damage or even be fatal – plus they can be in the thousands of dollars to remedy! Making sure to keep potentially dangerous items out of reach makes for a safe and happy cat (and no visits to the emergency vet!).
String or yarn is a great example. Who hasn’t seen a picture or advertisement featuring a cat playing with a ball of yarn? While it may seem like a good idea, cats can easily ingest it, causing a gastrointestinal blockage or other damage. Other items that are frequently left around the house that cats are very curious about include plastic bags, small toys like Nerf bullets and Barbie accessories and more. These may seem appealing and fun to your furry friend, but your cat may chew and even swallow it which could lead to an obstruction.
Once you know that toys and household items that seem appealing to your cat could harm them, it’s easier to know what needs to be hidden away from them. Take a scan of your home and make sure to secure any items that your cat may be enticed by. And be sure to have a variety of cat-safe toys so your cat can enjoy safe playtime!
So What Makes a Good Cat Toy?
With such a huge variety of toys made just for cats, you can find a toy that even the pickiest cat will love! Many cats enjoy a variety of toys, from soft and plush to hard and chewy. Giving them an assortment also keeps them interested in the right things and will minimize their desire to search your house for “alternative” toys! In addition to the standard cat toys that many cats enjoy, interactive toys on a stick or pole are fun for your cat and offer exercise and encirhment
But cat toys do not have to be expensive or complicated – as we know, cats are great at amusing themselves and using their imagination. Some household items can be safe for cats: Giving them a box or a crumpled piece of paper will leave them occupied and happy until they move on to the next greatest thing. But as always, use your common sense and good judgment to be sure you’re giving your cat something safe to play with!
While not a toy in the regular sense, catnip is something that many cats love! Catnip is often packaged into soft toys so your cat can play and “hunt” for the catnip at the same time (psst – we sell these in all shapes and sizes at MEOW Charity Thrift Shop!). Honeysuckle is another safe and natural option; it’s a plant that often gets cut into a small round or is ground into a powder mixed in with catnip. If you’re offering honeysuckle to your cat, make sure it’s an appropriate size and doesn’t pose a choking hazard!
A Busy Cat is a Happy Cat
Cats need exercise, enrichment and mental stimulation just like we do. Giving them toys and the opportunity to play plays a huge role in their well-being. But our cats rely on us to make good decisions for them, so be sure to choose your toys carefully and keep potential hazards out of reach!