Cats are naturally given to playing games, although few would have you believe it. The truth is, cats need games – not only does it help them develop hunting skills that are vital for their health and happiness, it helps them fulfill their destiny – that of a hunter – without any of the bloodshed. We don’t want to encourage hunting of wildlife (or of our toes), so how can you make sure your cat is fulfilled without teaching them to actually hunt? Good news for your predatory feline – we have a list.
Kickers are a wonderful way for your cats to practice “gripping” prey. You’ve probably seen this behavior – when your cat wraps his front paws around and object and chews the tops while kicking with her hind legs. This is one way that your cat might hunter larger prey in the wild. Choose a toy specifically designed for this game. The Tickle Pickle for Cats is one of our favorites!
Wand toys are specifically designed to mimic the movement of birds and we have several that we love. The first is Da Bird Cat Toy, which features a fishing lure mechanism to really make the lure flutter and spin like a real bird. The second is Neko Flies toys designed with custom lures to simulate everything from crickets to birds.
Cats can leap nearly five times their body length, so these toys are amazing ways to get them the exercise they need.
Fishing for Food
Fishing for cats means they need to reach in front of them and make a scooping sweep with their paw. This helps develop eye-paw coordination and is an important part of any cat’s regular play schedule. Toys that encourage this motion, like the Trixie 5-in-1 Activity Center, are wonderful for cats.
Be a Mouse
Motorized toys are lots of fun for cats who just want to practice their hunting and stalking prowess. There are several of these types of toys that operate via winding up and releasing or through a small battery. A radio-controlled mouse is a great match for cats who love to chase mice.
Speaking of mice – they are a cat’s natural prey, and that’s why there are so many toys for cats with the likeness of a mouse!
Stalking and Hiding Activities
The hunt is just as, or even more important, than the kill. Cats love activities that encourage them to stalk their prey. This means they need a location to stalk from, like a tunnel or a felted wool cat bed.
By encouraging your cat’s most basic instincts, you will have a healthier, happier and more active cat that has fewer negative behaviors like spraying, scratching, yowling, or biting. Remember that you are the owner of a predator, and while they don’t need to “actually” kill animals, they do need to be given the opportunity to perform the actions associated with hunting.
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