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A cat laying on a bed around toys with a string on their head

Lifestyle

Your cat’s toy box isn’t complete without these toys

These are the best toys for cats.

Even though cats aren’t always as animated as dogs, that doesn’t mean their toy boxes shouldn’t be equally as stuffed. Toys help prevent cats from getting bored, which can sometimes cause health issues when it happens often. So, if you’re in the market for some new toys, you’ll want to look for these vet-recommended feline favorites. 

What are the signs of boredom in cats?

Bored cats are usually aggressive (to their parents or other animal siblings), hyperactive at nighttime, destroy things, constantly groom themselves, excessively vocalize and go to the bathroom outside of their litter box, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says.

“Insufficient mental or physical stimulation can lead to behavioral issues and can contribute to obesity,” she adds.

Look for the following toys and try to set aside two times every day (at least 5 to 10 minutes) to play with your cat to give them the mental and physical attention they deserve. Another bonus: If your cat is restless at bedtime, adding a third play session will help keep them calm throughout the night. 

Best toys for cats

“Most cats enjoy toys that encourage their natural behaviors of hunting, seeking, climbing, pouncing, chasing and scratching,” Dr. McCullough says.

To satisfy these urges, she recommends buying food-dispensing toys, puzzles, balls and teaser wands the next time you’re at the pet store. If you want to utilize items at home, cardboard boxes will also keep cats occupied. Pro-tip: The more a toy moves, the more your cat will likely enjoy it, she adds. 

Consider adding shelves (with non-slip surfaces) or cat trees around your house to encourage your cat to climb and perch, too. 

If you’re wondering whether or not their toys amuse your cat, watch for decreased undesirable behaviors (like aggression or going to the bathroom in odd places) and increased engagement and excitement.

RELATED: Tips for keeping your cat entertained at home

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What cat toys should pet parents avoid buying? 

Don’t give your cat plastic bags, balls of yarn or string to play with, as these items can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, Dr. McCullough shares. 

“Pet parents should avoid toys that their cats might ingest,” she adds. “Discard toys that are damaged. Each cat is different, so pet parents should monitor their cats closely during play.”

Tips for playing with a cat

You know your cat better than anyone else and probably have your own play rituals already. However, if you’re looking for inspiration to cultivate a more engaging interaction with your cat, Dr. McCullough has some tips: 

  • Avoid play-fighting or using your hands as a toy. This will prevent your cat from biting or scratching in the future. 
  • Every cat is different (what works for one of your cats might bore another one). 
  • Swap out their toys every couple of days to keep the individual items new and interesting to your cat. 
  • Put away toys with strings once you’re done playing to avoid choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Juan Gomez on Unsplash

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