Destructive or anti-social behavior, depression, obesity, and serious health conditions are all possible results.
A good supply of safe cat toys are, therefore, essential to good cat health. Below are some choices.
The Best Cat Toys
It's difficult to choose a "best" toy for every cat or every situation. The best toys are the ones your cat actually uses, but each cat is different, and will likely have a favorite (or favorite type of) toy.
There are, however, some types of toys that play the percentages, and a large number of cats will enjoy them. But, how do you know which ones?
You can start by asking other cat owners, but again, you may get different answers. What I often do is look at lists. Here are some "best of" lists from several different sources.
In addition, you can encourage your cat to engage in play in a variety of ways. About 80 percent of cats react to catnip, and some toys have it "built in." Refresh catnip toys from time to time by rubbing either catnip oil or dried or fresh catnip on or in the toys to stimulate interest.
A little catnip can go a long way, even if the toy is not a catnip toy. Just drip some oil or rub in the leaves. It works great on scratching posts too!
You should stimulate your cat to exercise every day, even if only for a few minutes. Plain old fetch is a great game that provides interaction, bonding, and exercise for both you and your cat. It's not always possible, though, to have these play sessions, and that brings up another criteria for choosing the best toy.
If you don't have as much time as you'd like to interact with your cat, then the more "self-serve" toys are best. That would include automated or electronic cat toys rather than those that require you to be part of the play session.
Some toys involve food as well and act as treat feeders while encouraging exercise and play. These can help your cats satisfy their instinctive hunting needs.
These types of toys are also good for fat cats and may help to maintain a healthy weight as they burn calories as the cat forages for treats.
When store bought toys just won't do, there's always the homemade variety.
Toys with catnip have a distinct advantage, at least with the approximately 80 percent of cats that react to it. All three of my cats enjoy catnip, so a catnip toy is quite the treat around here.
Just let them have at it! Refresh the toys with catnip spray or fresh or dried catnip when needed. Sometimes just doing this can renew interest in a toy that has been neglected.
Some of the cat furniture options have built in toys, as well as built in scratching surfaces to satisfy that need to scratch. This can be a great all-in-one solution that satisfies the need to climb, the need to scratch, and provides an outlet for exercise.
These products encourage appropriate scratching behavior along with all of the above.
Here is a hand made red cedar cat tree from Catsplay with all kinds of goodies! It combines natural wood scratching surfaces with dangling fishing pole type feather toys. Lots of fun!
Cheap Cat Toys
Priscilla loves string of varying types, and you can see her in the picture here playing with the drawstring from my shorts.
She also loves to play with pens and paper, and she is, in fact, lying on top of an envelope that she has claimed for herself.
Felt pads are one of her favorites as well. These items aren't generally safe, though, when unsupervised.
Cardboard boxes make excellent, inexpensive cat toys.
Paper bags are an excellent choice as well, since they crinkle as well as offer a cave-like experience.
Cats may tire of these fairly quickly, though, so you can enhance the play time by placing toys inside a bag or box.