The best toys for indoor cats are cat toys that will keep your kitty amused and healthy. It’s pretty easy to keep a dog entertained and well exercised: You just slap a leash on him and go for walkies. With a cat, it’s a bit trickier and it’s up to you to ensure they aren’t lazing around the house bored.
Cats have evolved as predatory animals. With keen eyesight, agile muscles and sharp teeth and claws, they’re born hunters. Nowadays, the majority of cats are kept indoors to protect both themselves and native Australian wildlife. But just because you take the cat out of the wild doesn’t mean the wild is taken out of the cat. They still have all these built in instincts that come out even when indoors.
Why toys are important for indoor cats
Keeping your cat indoors is safer for them because they are not at risk of being injured by cars, other animals or people. They are also less likely to pick up parasites or infectious diseases such as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. It is consistently shown that indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats for these reasons and also the fact that they are not at risk of injuring themselves by fighting with other cats. Despite this, it can sometimes be difficult to see Mittens staring longingly out of the window…
Cat toys are very important for indoor cats due to two main reasons; they stop your cat from becoming bored and they prevent your cat from becoming overweight. Interactive toys, where you play with your cat, are also great for creating a stronger bond with your cat.
A bored cat is an unhappy cat
Just think how bored you’d be if you were stuck in your house all day with no TV, no books and no internet. You’d get cabin fever, right? Your cat feels exactly the same when they don’t have any entertainment. It is true that cats spend on average 13-14 hours a day sleeping but the hours they are awake should be fun and enriching.
Dr.Wailani Sung from Vet Street explains that it’s not clear whether or not cats feel boredom the same way that humans do. There are, however, obvious signs that your cat is bored. This includes:
- Excessive attention seeking
- Chasing inappropriate moving objects such as your ankles
- Excessive clawing or scratching in undesirable areas (carpet, walls, sofa etc.)
Coming home to a clawed up carpet and then having your ankles bitten may make you slightly annoyed and upset. Your cat hasn’t turned into the devil: It is just a cry for attention and a signal that you need to provide more for them to do when you are gone.
A fat cat is an unhealthy cat
A study by Royal Canin pet food has shown that 19% of Australian cats are overweight. The story of Oscar the British Blue from NSW made its way into news recently. He weighed an unhealthy 10.5kg and was put on a diet with added exercise to reduce this figure. His vet believed his goal weight should be 7-8kg for him to be healthy.
Indoor cats are prone to weight gain because of this they need to do regular exercise along with a balanced, calorie appropriate diet.They cannot run around outside and climb trees so this has to be recreated in your home environment.
Cat trees with perches will encourage climbing and scratching posts or pads helps your cat to let of steam by maintaining their claws. Along with this, a selection of toys will keep them leaping, pouncing and bounding for a visible waistline and ideal body fat percentage. It’s not just about looking better… A cat that is within a healthy weight range will be more comfortable moving around and will be less likely to suffer with the following weight-related issues:
- Liver disease
- Risk during surgery and under anaesthetic
- Shortened life span
- Stress on the heart
- Skin disorders
Some of the best toys for indoor cats
Since playing with toys is the simplest way to stimulate the mind and prevent weight gain, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 cat toys for indoor cats.
- Kong Wobbler for Cats
- Frolicat Bolt Cat Toy
- Frolicat Pounce Cat Toy
- Cat Dancer Cat Charmer
- Catit Senses Play Circuit
Treat dispensing toys are typically seen as toys for dogs but that’s ridiculous! Cats are natural born hunters and their ancestors have stalked their pray for centuries. This is still ingrained in their senses so it makes perfect sense to provide your cat with a treat dispensing toy.
The Kong Wobbler for cats will keep them both entertained and active as they stalk it and knock it to release food. A great idea is to get two or three of these toys and position them in different areas of your home. This will add some extra excitement and entices your cat to move around the house, which means they are burning up extra energy and keeping themselves busy.
If you’ve ever seen a cat chase a laser dot, then you know how good it is for aerobic exercise. The Frolicat Bolt interactive cat toy will drive your kitty wild! It is a clever piece of pet technology and is fantastic for building a bond with your cat through joint play time.
You can set up the toy to perform a laser dance with patterns on the floor or wall and it will automatically turn off after 15 minutes. This toy can also be manually operated by holding it in your hand and creating your own laser patterns for your cat to chase.
It is important to remember that playing with laser toys is fun for your cat but may cause frustration. This is because no matter how hard your cat tries, they cannot actually ‘catch’ the laser. To avoid frustration make sure to finish your play session by allowing your cat to hunt and catch a physical toy.
A real mouse may be out of the picture for your indoor cat but it doesn’t mean they can’t pounce on ‘prey’. Frolicat Pounce is a cat toy that features an energetic mouse toy that taunts your cat. Marshal Maus, as he is fondly called, zips around the track excitedly. He doesn’t just go round and round either: This mouse moves backwards, forwards, changes direction of movement, twitches back and forth and hides under obstacles in the track.
The unpredictable movement is loved by cats and with four speed settings; it will keep your cat guessing. This is great mental stimulation as it mimics chasing real life prey. Some cats even learn how to step on the button to turn it on themselves!
Okay, so it’s kinda just a piece of fabric on a stick… But don’t let its looks fool you. It might not be as technologically advanced as the other toys on this list but it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. The Cat Dancer Cat Charmer is made up of a piece of fleece attached to a polycarbonate wand. The idea is that you hold on to the wand and wiggle the fabric back and forth in front of your cat.
As the name suggests you will charm your cat into chasing and attacking the fleecy material. The soft material is safe for your cat to claw and bite whilst your hands are safely out of harm’s way. The psychedelic pattern mesmerises your cat as you wave the toy back and forth. Since you control the action you can dance your way around the house and get your cat to follow. This is great exercise for the both of you!
Boredom often happens when the cat’s owner is out at work or school. When you disappear for your day ahead, your cat is left behind. Whilst interactive toys are great for play, it’s also important that your cat can entertain themselves.
The Catit Senses Play Circuit is a great toy that your cat can play with alone. It features a track that has high edges and an enclosed top with small peek-a-boo gaps. A patterned ball sits inside the track and as your cat bats the ball it rolls along the track. It rolls from end to end providing engaging movement and sound.
This toy doesn’t require batteries to work and has no sharp edges therefore it’s ideal to be left out all day for your kitty to play with. The gaps in the top of the track allow your cat to hunt out the ball and it is satisfying for them as they capture it and prevent it from advancing along the track. When they let go of the ball, they can chase it all over again! The Catit Senses Play Circuit is ideal for moderate physical activity but is an ideal boredom buster as it stimulates your cat’s mind.
A toy schedule
No matter how many different toys your cat has, the same toys can become uninviting. This doesn’t mean you have to buy lots of toys and then throw them away: This is wasteful. Instead give your cat limited access to certain toys.
Create a simple schedule where you allow your cat two or three toys that they like at one time. The others should be hidden away in a cupboard where your cat doesn’t have access to. By regularly changing over your cat’s toys it then feels as though they always have something new to play with.
So by providing some (or all) of the best toys for indoor cats on this list and rotating them regularly, your cat should be entertained and active. The result is a happy and healthy best friend that you’ll never have to feel guilty about leaving alone again.