Although there are some famous grumpy cats on the internet, most cats are pros at making lemonade out of lemons. They enthusiastically make our trash, their treasure. That scrap paper you were going to toss into the garbage, is probably being smacked around and chased by your cat. In fact, there are many cat parents who lament the irony, of having bought their cat a great new toy, only to have the cat ignore it, in favor of the box or wrapping it came in. While we get so much joy from watching our kitties run, hop, kick, jump and slide after their toys, there are some things to keep in mind. When selecting cat toys, and during play, I treat my cat’s toys with the same scrutiny as I treat my toddler’s toys. Here are tips to keep in mind, when deciding what your cat can play with, and what items may pose a hazard.
One of the first things I look at with a cat toy, is the size. Cats catch and carry prey in their mouths. Whatever toys you select, the main part, shouldn’t be a choking hazard to your cat. Most household items that get their interest, usually fall into the unsafe category. Batteries, paper clips, nails, and other small objects, can roll, or be smacked around, enticing cats into play. These objects are easily ingested and become deadly. Your cats should be able to hold a toy with his/her mouth, with a bit of the toy remaining outside of their mouth.
When it comes to cat trees, large size may have unintended hazards. We take the same precautions as we do with our furniture, to prevent our toddlers from toppling it down. Consider anchoring cat trees to a wall, to prevent the possibility of it falling over and hurting a kitty. You know your cats, better than anyone. If you have multiple cats that dash up the cat tree, rocking it around, (especially on a cushioned rug), it can be knocked over. Think that sounds crazy? My first cat Stripe, was a wee kitten, when he knocked over our large T.V, (I’m talking about the old heavy antenna T.V sets 35 years ago), with his little hind legs! A cat tree of a certain size and weight, could hurt a cat or kitten if it were to fall on them.
The quality of the toy, is another consideration. Accessory parts like plastic eyes, and feathers, should be inspected to make sure they’re secured on the toy in a way that can withstand aggressive biting and scratching. Stuffed toys should have tight seems, and be made of materials that are difficult to unravel. Keep in mind, that exposed stuffing isn’t just a choking hazard, but can be made with toxic materials. For toys with plastic parts, run your hand around the plastic, to check for rough or cracked areas, that may scratch your pet. Plastic balls with openings, that expose a little jinggly ball at the center, can pinch a cat’s paws if there is a small crack that develops, or a cat can get their paw stuck in the openings. One person in a cat lover group, posted that her cat was happily playing with one of these plastic balls in another room, when she heard her kitty start to cry loudly. Poor kitty got his paw caught between two broken plastic pieces, and was pinched.
Tradition may do us and our cats a disservice in the toy safety department. Balls of yarn, loose thread, ect. can strangle, or if swallowed cause intestinal blockage that requires surgery.
You should experiment with a variety of cat toys, rotating them often to prevent boredom. If your cat has a favorite, it can certainly be left out and enjoyed at his/her leisure. Be sure to have a good amount of toys that are interactive. These types of toys encourage bonding between you both, and human interaction. Although I’ve pointed out some potentially hazardous features, you shouldn’t feel paranoid about your cats play time. Toys that you feel are questionable, can be played with during supervised, and interactive play time. Switch those toys out when you’re not able to give play time your attention, in favor of the safer toys. Once a week schedule a round-up of all your cats toys for a quick safety inspection. Even toys of great quality wear eventually, and you’ll want to catch this before it becomes dangerous. For more on kitty play, give this a quick read and share.
Have any tips or experiences with toys that you find to be great for your cat? Any cautionary tales are welcome as well.