If you think about what activities a cat does, then eating, sleeping and hunting would probably be within your top 3 items, not necessarily in that order. For indoor cats, who are of course not able to hunt like their outdoor counterparts, it is important to provide them with plenty of opportunities for play in order to keep them stimulated and happy. The more an indoor cat is able to express behaviours they would naturally exhibit whilst outdoors the better. So without further ado let’s discuss the best toy options available for indoor felines.

Now whilst there is a wide selection of available cat toys, the best ones will likely achieve a combination of some of these things: 

  • Allow expression of hunting behaviour
  • Require problem solving
  • Prevent claws from getting too long 

Toys that enable the hunting instinct to be tapped into 

These include electronic mice, lasers, wand toys, circuits and motion toys. Essentially any toy that will require your cat to chase or catch a specific object will mimic the sensation of chasing a mouse outdoors. 

In a similar vein, adding an element of challenge at feeding time can more closely resemble a cat hunting for their meal rather than having it served to them. And it will have the benefit of also requiring some problem solving. An example would be using puzzle toys with treats inside which your cat would have to play with before being rewarded with the treat falling out of the toy. Or food dispensers that require some level of interaction from your cat before the food is dispensed. If cats were hunting for their own food they would need to work hard before being rewarded with a meal. So adding this element of challenge provides good stimulation for indoor cats.

To prevent boredom and aid in mental stimulation, toys that involve some element of problem solving 

These – like the ones just mentioned (and also non-food related toys) – are a great option for indoor cats. Plus they are fun for the cat, giving a sense of reward. Bored and under-stimulated cats can be at risk of developing or expressing stereotypic behaviour problems; such as increased aggression or urinating in abnormal places. Reducing stress and increasing the amount of play time can be very helpful in reducing behaviours like these. To read more about stereotypic behaviours in cats see: Displacement Activities and Stereotypes – Cats International.

Cats require sharp claws for climbing trees and for hunting, and toys can help with this

Cats sharpen their claws instinctively. If they were outdoors this would happen unnoticed on one of many rough surfaces available. Indoors, cats sharpening their claws on furniture can be a real nuisance for owners and can be quite an expensive problem! Offering cats a multi-level cat tree which they can both sharpen their claws on and which they can also use for play is a good way to combat this issue. Cat trees also give the cat a space that is entirely their own and that is elevated. So often cats will feel very comfortable resting or sleeping here too.

So there we have it, some of the best toys for indoor cats and why they are good for them. 

Cat toys range in price and there are some really quite fancy options available. Which can be intimidating for someone in the market. It should be comforting, however, that there are loads of ways to keep a cat entertained that don’t require breaking the bank. And that will still allow you to see benefits of allowing your cat some extra play time. Offering even a small selection would make all the difference to your cat’s happiness and be invaluable in terms of boredom breaking.

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