Is Fluffy getting a little restless? Whether you cat stays indoors or gets to go outdoors, it will need some toys. Cats like to run, jump, leap, and scamper. And they can either find things in your house to play with or you can get them some toys. Here's a quick guide to cat toys to get you thinking about what would be right for your cat and your home. Remember to get a diversity of toys to keep kitty content, but not so many that it will grow bored with all of them at once (in fact, it's a good idea to hide all but one or two toys at a time, then switch).
Every cat home needs three toys:
* A catnip toy with a bell in it, preferably shaped as a mouse (the ears and tail are great to chew on).
* A feather teaser, one that has feathers coming out of the end instead of attached by a string. Don't leave this one lying around the house. It's for play between you and your cat; that way, a) you can make sure feathers aren't falling out, b) your cat will have more fun, chasing the teaser as you shake it around and run all over the room, and c) it can be good exercise for you.
* A small ball with a bell inside. Several actually -- one for play, the others for back-up when the first inevitably gets lost.
* '''Play space:''' These toys may go flying and whizzing by many times a day. Don't get something that will break the rest of your house.
* '''Number of cats:''' If Fluffy lives with you, Muffy, and Snuffy, you're going to need several toys. An insufficient supply may create a very nasty catfight. In general, cats don't take turns.
* '''Cost''': It varies, like all pet supplies. But a great toy can be had for under $5. (For practically free toys, see Alternative Toys below.)
* '''Ingredients:''' Make sure the toys don't contain any toxic ingredients, especially in the catnip toys.
* '''Strength''' and '''Washability''': Key considerations, unless you want your home littered with cat toy remnants. Get something resilient and washing machine safe (if applicable, i.e. not rubber).
* '''Fabric''': While velvet and fur might be chic, think of them when clawed and drooled upon. Fluffy, the hunter, may better enjoy something with feathers or made of sisal.
The funnest toys aren't always/usually the most expensive or elaborate. Ask anyone who's bought a motorized toy only to see it sit, unused, while the cat chases shoelaces. These may seem unorthodox in cases, but they are time-tested and some are relatively cost-free. Note: A cat should never be left to play with these toys without supervision.
* A '''shoelace''' tied to a stick. For interactive play.
* The '''plastic ring''' from the milk container top.
* A '''twisty tie'''.
* A '''ping pong ball'''.
* A '''laser pointer'''. All it takes is a flip of your wrist and you can watch your cat chase that little red dot while you lay back and sip some iced tea with your free hand.