Anyone who has ever visited Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue will know how much Paul & I encourage the use of many different styles of toys for cats to keep them healthy, fit and most importantly stimulated.
Something we hear a great deal from people calling our Advice Line or on relinquishment of their cats is how “they don’t like toys, never play with them”. Yet once settled at Sunny Harbour there is no stopping them. Why this change? Easy, we take time to work out the style of toy they like, dedicate time in interactive play and teach them how to play independently and ensure they have a rotation of toys so that they don’t bore of looking at the same toys all the time.
3 Common mistakes made which cause this loss of interest and subsequently boredom are;
No variety in toy selection.
Ideally you should have no less than 4 sets of approximately 6 small toys which you can rotate on a 24 to 48hr basis. This ensures a ‘new toy’ reaction and reduces greatly the boredom factor from looking at exactly the same toys day in, day out. Let’s face it you wouldn’t particularly want to watch the same tv programs all day every day would you? Same can be said for your cat and their toys.
Interactive play only
As a result of the first point owners often complain the only time their cat plays is when they get out a rod toy. Simply this is down to boredom as discussed in the first point. Through time your cat learns that enjoyment of play only comes from interactive play not self play and as a result will begin to look to you for play time more often as they are not stimulated by the self play options your are giving them.
Herbal toys weaken over time.
Contrary to what some people believe herbal toys such as catnip and valerian weaken over time. Additionally if they are left lying around cats become far less aroused by their scent and lose interest in them. The solution is easy. Once your cat stops playing with the herbal toy, take it away, place in an airtight plastic bag and hide away for a day or two. Then on giving it back to your cat you will get that initial reaction all over again. Should the toy go past a point of this remaining effective invest in a good quality catnip spray and give they toy a couple of sprays before giving the toy to your cat.
Catnip sprays are an excellent way to freshen interest in toys of all sorts and can also be used on Scratching posts.
And remember not all cat toys are the same. Believe it or not cats can prefer toys of certain colours, textures and even sounds so try out lots of different choices to see what your cat likes the best. Most of all make play time fun and set aside at least half an hour in your day to spend in quality play time followed by sleepy cuddles after the excitement.
Some of the Harbour Babies favourites include;
Catit Senses Circuit
Fat Cat Shotgulls
Fat Cat Hat Heads
Grey & White Mice
Bright Colored Mice Including Fringe mice, Nylon Mice & Rattle Mice
Cat Dancer or Butterflier
The list could go on but these are a few of their favourites to get you started with ideas…. just remember…. keep rotating!