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Five Must-Have Cat Toys Every Pet Parent Needs

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We like to tell ourselves that cats are less high-maintenance than dogs, but in our hearts, we know that isn’t true. Your cat might not require walking every day, but it still needs entertainment, and it still needs cat toys.

If your cat isn’t getting entertainment from you, you’ll soon find out that your curtains, sofa, clothes, or valuables are used as entertainment instead. That’s why it’s very important to ensure that you have several cat toys for your furry friend to play with. It keeps them occupied, it helps keep indoor cats active, and it saves your furniture!

cat playing with toy

The problem with cat toys, as many of us know from bitter experience, is that we can’t always predict whether our cats will be interested in them or not. A lot of money gets wasted that way.

The cardboard box from your most recent Amazon delivery might appeal to them more than the cat bed you just spent $50 on, and they might prefer to chase a ball of paper than the fancy toy mice you bought them. That’s just the way cats are!

Even with all of the above said, having a range of toys for cats and other entertainment options in your home is better than having none at all! Here are five types of cat toys that no cat owner should be without.

cat toys for cats

Chase Toys

The clue with this cat toy is in the name. A chase toy is any object that your cat can hit across your floor with a good paw swipe, and then chase as if it were hunting a wild animal. Mice fall under the category of chase toys, but so do balls and bells.

Chase toys simulate the experience of hunting for food in the wild, and so they play an important role in helping your cat develop and maintain confidence. Even though you know that they’d never survive in the wild without you, your cat likes to believe that it could!

The best way to persuade your cat to engage with a chase toy is to buy one that’s loaded with catnip. Cats go crazy for catnip (here’s the science behind that in case you’ve ever wondered), and so you can guarantee that they’ll play with their new toy for at least a while if it comes laced with it.

cat playing with cat wand toys

Wand Toys

Chase toys are all well and good for sending your cat running around your house (until they inevitably get stuck under the sofa or behind a door), but they don’t represent a full range of exercise options for your cat. They also exclude you from joining in with playtime. It’s great that they keep your cat occupied, but it would be nice if you could join in with the fun, too!

That’s where cat wand toys come in. These cat toys encourage cats to jump if you dangle them above their heads and to run around the room trying to catch whatever is on the end of the string.

They also provide an opportunity for you and your cat to bond. Not only that, but they’re also very cheap to acquire. Just remember that you have to let your cat ‘win’ every so often by letting them catch it or pull it out of your hands. If you never allow them to do this, they’ll soon give the game up because it’s impossible to win.

cat playing in tunnel

Cat Tunnels

You might also have heard these little pieces of cat furniture described as ‘pounce houses’ or cat condos. Not to be mixed up with cat beds, cat caves, or other provisions for a sleeping cat, a cat tunnel is generally made of canvas and has different entry and exit holes.

Your cat can run or jump straight through them, chase a wand toy through them, or (more likely) hideout in there when it wants to get out of your sight for a while.

A pounce house is a versatile cat toy that can be many things to a cat; an assault course, a hiding place, and somewhere to store its favorite toys. Unfortunately, they also sometimes use them as a place to store their favorite food, so remember to wash it occasionally before it starts to smell!

cat playing with a laser pointer

Laser Pens as Cat Toys

We’ve all seen a cat spent twenty minutes trying to catch a spot of light on the wall that’s actually nothing more than a reflection. They don’t do it because they’re stupid; they’re just following their natural hunting instincts. Rather than waiting for a trick of the light to provide your pet with this experience, you could make it happen whenever you want to with a laser pen aka laser pointer.

Laser pens are a great way to get a lazy house cat up and running around the room, keeping itself fit in the process! These pens are cheap, they last forever, and your cat never gets bored with them.

If laser pens have a downside, it’s that you have to be very careful where you point them. You can hardly hold your cat responsible if you shine a laser pen near your favorite vase, and the vase gets knocked over in your furry friend’s pursuit of the mysterious light.

cat food ball with treats

Feeding Balls as Cat Toys

Most cat owners don’t even know these toys exist. Here’s why they should. If your cat was living in the wild, its food wouldn’t conveniently arrive in bowls. They’d have to fight for it. Feeding balls simulate that experience. They make your cat expend energy in return for its food, and as a result, they often result in smaller portions during any one meal.

That’s a good guard against the risk of feline obesity creeping in, and it also means that set mealtimes are a thing of the past. Your cat won’t paw at you for food if its feeding ball is always topped up. You might want to make sure the ball never comes out of the kitchen, though; the last thing anybody wants is cat food crumbs ending up in the carpets!

cat playing with cat toys

Final Thoughts on Cat Toys

The cat toys we’ve indicated above present a good mix of ‘fun’ toys and ‘exercise’ toys, as well as ‘interactive’ play toys and ‘independent’ play toys. This mix allows you to have some fun with your cat while also making sure they don’t get bored while you’re not around. Shop around for the best price before you buy, but consider them essential purchases!

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