Cats need play, especially if they stay indoors and can’t satisfy their need to exercise outside. Play provides them an outlet for their energy, relieves stress and boredom, and satisfies their instinctual hunting drive. It’s also a great chance to bond with you.
Cats can entertain themselves with almost anything but you can still enrich their environment with some toys (homemade or bought). It is very important to consider safety when choosing the right toy for your cat. Here are some basic rules you should consider:
- Be careful about toys that have pieces that could be chewed off, swallowed or get stuck in your cat’s throat. If you choose furry mice, for example, remove the eyes and noses they have glued on. Anything that has little metal ornaments, tinsels, and fillings like beans, nutshells or polystyrene beads should be completely avoided because they can choke on them.
- Plastic bags, aluminum foil, paper clips, and rubber bands may imply fun but are also a choking hazard. Paper bags are ok, but remove the handles in advance so your cat doesn’t get caught in them.
- Wand toys are very fun, but they require supervision and once your cat finishes playing with them, you should put them away and out of their reach.
- Balls of yarn, string and ribbons are actually some of the most dangerous things felines can play with. Cats’ tongues are covered with sharp, backward-facing barbs that can make it difficult to spit them out if swallowed. If the yarn gets stuck in the cat’s mouth, it is easier for them to keep on swallowing and the yarn will travel lengthwise along the intestines causing internal blockage and injuries. It may need surgery to be corrected (although not always, but the risk is unnecessary).
- Make sure your cat’s toys are non-toxic.
- Even though many cats will play with these toys without hurting themselves, it is still important that you always monitor the state of your cat’s toys and replace them as soon as they get ripped off or worn out.