Whoo hooo! The season is merry and bright and … it’s time to play Santa Claws to our kitties. We rarely splurge, but try to give them interactive, fun toys that can be used for a long time. Here’s our family’s Kitty Gift Guide. Ready? (Music to read by: Zat You Santa Claws)
Before you jump in – will you consider buying one of these toys to donate to a cat shelter? When you buy your next bag of cat food, will you buy a second (same brand) and donate it to the shelter near you? Many pet stores have a donation box right there for you. It’s giving from your heart, and you will know that your gift is feeding the neediest of kitties. Thank you!
- Da Bird: To say that Nuala loves this is the understatement of the year. Picture a fishing pole with a spinner made of feathers. As you pull this through the air, the feathers spin and create a bird’s flight-like motion. Cats go nuts for it. Nuala goes for broke with it, and ends up doing some crazy aerial flips to get it… and it leaves her panting. This means I must not let her over-exert. Even 17.5 yr old Mouci is very attentive and will attempt a swat at it. Rated 5 Paws – Irresistible, simple, fun to play with (for cats and their people) and inexpensive (About $10).
- The Wave Scratcher: Tried and tested, the wave scratching post is a favourite! It’s a necessary accessory – but also a removable toy with a spring under it. If you have kittens in the house, this is a perfect first scratcher – they love playing on, under, over it. Three litters of kittens in our home can attest to it – the Mousketeers, Spice Rack and Rascals each got one of these. They last quite long (until claws rip the natural scratching surface to shreds). The interesting thing is that both cats and kittens like sleeping on it too. Rated 5 Paws – great for home use (try rubbing a bit of catnip on it), effective, and long lasting (This was about $34 but since it’s both toy and essential equipment, it’s on our list!)
- Catit Senses Play Circuit: Originally bought for Nuala’s litter, the kittens played with this every single day. Then the Rascals played with it. Nuala still plays with it, and sometimes sleeps in the center. It’s loved and never put away. You can also buy more than one (we got our second last Christmas) and the pieces can interconnect to make long waves or circles… it keeps it changing and interesting. This circuit contains a ball which moves in ways that create irregular motion and cats can poke and push the ball around. Rated 5 Paws – Inexpensive, durable, washable, easy to adjust and seems to hold interest for a long time. (About $20)
- Squeaky Mouse on a Stick: If you find this please let me know where! Picture a hard plastic fishing pole with a string and an electronic squeaking mouse on the end. This was originally bought for Nuala when she was young. She loved it to death… literally. She not only chased it everywhere every time, but she’d drag it around the house and bring it to us so we’d play with it. She washed the mouse in her water bowl once too many times. Long after it’s final squeak, she continued playing with it until it was threadbare. Failing to find this toy again, we bought squeaky mouse (available everywhere for about $5) which cats like the sound of. The original was more fun since you could drag it around and it would squeak when it bumped into anything. Rated 5 Paws – fun, quirky, interactive (about $15)
- Mousey Mouse: Okay that is not the toy’s name: it’s simply a plush mouse from Ikea. It’s precisely $1 and it’s soft, cute, stands up to chewing, pawing, and laundry machines. It is better made than the stuffed mice I’ve bought before. There is no built-in interactive play with this, but it’s just SO cute! I have a couple – one is put into the catnip container to soak up the ‘yummy smells’ – then a week or so later, I pull it out and Nuala goes nuts for it. She sometimes spontaneously plays fetch with this mouse and it’s adorably cute. This is my choice of catnip toy for Oscar and he holds it down with one paw and licks it to death. So sweet! Rated 5 Paws – ridiculously cheap, well made, oh so cute.
- Krazy Kitty Catnip Bed: I can’t remember when our house didn’t have these! They are cotton pads with a little batting in the centre. There is a hole to pour in some catnip … and then just give it a rub and give it to kitty. They roll, chew, and otherwise krazy-enjoy this pad. I have used one on our sofa, on our cat’s window stool, or even just on the ground. They come with funny cat fabric designs… and stand up to washing and drying. Just re-fill the catnip every so often. Rated 5 Paws – Easy to use, locally made, lasts years, and the kitties love it. It also can be used to train kitty to sit on particular places (About $20)
- Catnip Dancer: Tried and tested by Nuala, Catnip Dancer is a winner! It’s very simple, but the bouncy movement is really irresistible. Something about those little bits of paper really entices kitties to pounce, chase and swat. The green mouse end smells like catnip and offers two toys in one. 4 of 4 cats we tested it with found it aMEWSing – even Oscar gave it a swat. Rated 5 Paws – inexpensive (about $6), interactive, effective, and long lasting
What’s not on our list? The red dot (laser pointers) and the i-pad games don’t make our list since they actually frustrate the kitty after a while because they are not chasing a ‘thing’. There is no satisfaction of the ‘win’ or ‘capture’. They are fun and easy, but don’t make up for the actual tactile interaction a tangible toy offers. Just our opinion.
What’s YOUR pick for great toy for kitty?