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Balls are another great item to use; they provide the cat with chase and capture. Cats are very good at swatting balls. Things that move on their own also fascinate them, so balls (like ping pong balls) and furry little mice toys that move are great. They also like toys they can catch, pick up and toss in the air. You can also fill balls with food or treats for your cat to play with; this allows your cat to feel like she can have a hunting and stalking session, and catch her own meal.
There is no set number of toys your cat needs, but variety is key to keep her from getting bored with the toys. It often works best to have a batch of toys that can be rotated a few at a time to keep your cat interested.
You can rotate them in different sequences to make the old toys seem new and exciting. Without this, your cat will just get bored, sleep twenty-three hours a day, and maybe gain weight, or maybe carve out some pattern in your furniture. Your cat might love a certain toy so much that they start sleeping next to it. When this occurs, they are telling you they’d like to keep it, and not have it included in the toy rotation.
Simple things often make great toys, like crumpled up paper balls, the plastic rings off of milk jugs, the center rolls from toilet paper, cotton-tipped swabs, paper towels, lots of things. You can even stuff old cotton socks with cotton balls and a little catnip, then tie a knot in the end. Cats need an assortment of toys they can roll, pounce on, capture and sink their teeth
Identifying your cat’s toy (prey) preferences Most cats prefer to hunt specific creatures. For example, some cats prefer to chase mice, while others may prefer to catch birds or bugs. Identifying your cat’s “prey preference” allows you to buy or make toys that your cat will be more likely to play with rather than ignore. You can identify your cat’s prey preference by paying close attention to the way
he/she reacts to toys with specific qualities:
1. Find a number of toys or objects that resemble birds. Examples include feathers, stuffed toys covered in feathers, objects suspended in air, and toys making chirping noises.
2. Entice your cat to play by making each object move and fly through the air. Does your cat follow the object?
Does he follow all of the objects or ignore most of them? Take note.
3. Next, put those objects out of kitty’s sight, and try objects resembling mice, such as fur, stuffed animals, furry mice, and balls. How does your cat react when you make each of these objects move? Does kitty want to chase it? Or is he waiting for you to bring the feathers back out?
4. Try both “bird toys” and “mouse toys” at the same time by alternating them about every 20 seconds. Which does kitty prefer? Does he prefer some of each kind? Maybe he prefers both birds and mice!
5. Finally, put all of these toys away, and try toys resembling bugs. You can try a laser toy, a string with a knot on the end, and some dry food or treats tossed across the floor. How does your cat react? Try to alternate with “bird toys” and “mouse toys” to see which prey is best.
6. If your cat seems to enjoy feathers and/or objects in the air, choose toys resembling birds. If your cat prefers furry toys and/or toys moving on the ground, choose objects resembling mice. If your cat likes tiny objects with lots of movement, choose toys resembling bugs.
7. Be creative! Once you know what types of creatures your cat would like to hunt, think of the qualities those creatures possess and find toys with the same qualities.
8. Think like a cat! When you look for potential toys for your cat, imagine what kind of animal it might resemble.
After all, a ball of paper is not just a ball of paper… it’s lunch!