Thursday, August 24, 2006

Top 10 Toys for Cats

1) Da Bird
Da Bird is da toy with da most! It is by far the most mentioned commercial toy among About Cats Forum members and their cats, and is enthusiastically endorsed by my quartet of cat toy testers. The twirling feather action is so realistic, cats will go ballistic over Da Bird. You'll find that it's a good idea to put Da Bird away after play, or your cats will seek it out.

2) Panic Mouse
For supervised cat play, Panic Mouse is the closest match to the real thing, and our GuideCats who tested it went crazy over it. It uses computer generation for erratic movement of the wand and lure, and the wand is detachable for interactive play. Note: larger, stronger cats may break the string attaching the lure, and there is now a spring wand attachment that is sturdier.

3) Peek-a-Prize Toy Box
The most interesting aspect of this toy is that the cats' natural hunting and stalking instincts come into play. Their interest is not particularly in the "prey" (toys hidden inside the box), but in the thrill of the hunt. The floor soon became littered with toys flipped out of the box by one cat or another, and I was hard-pressed to keep retrieving them so the hunt could continue. This is a toy that cats will not grow tired of.

4) Cat Dancer
Unimaginative humans might pass right by this toy, but rare is the cat that won't be entranced by it. A thirty-inch piece of very flexible piano wire with tightly rolled cylinders of paper on the "play end." Your kitties will go nuts over this one, and will give it very rough play. Because they're priced so low, I'd suggest buying more than one, with multiple cats.

5) Mews Ments Mylar Balls
Cats generally love shiny, crinkly toys, and a Mylar ball provides hours of chasing, fun. If you are patient enough, your cat may even develop a game of chase and fetch with you.

6) Catnip Cigar
Catnip Cigars are in high demand in our house. We almost always have three or four of them lying around in various stages of wear, and the cats, from grumpy old Bubba to Billy, the youngster compete over the ones fresh from the store. The scent lasts amazingly long, and I've found a few spins in a warm dryer refreshes them for a whole new round of play.

7) Laser Pet Toy
The Laser Pet Toy is irresistible to cats of all ages. Be careful not to shine the beam directly into your kitty's eyes. Also, keep in mind that your cat needs to eventually "catch" his prey, so alternate this toy with more tangible lures, to save him from frustration.

8) Toy Mice
A cat can never be too sleek, too furry, nor have too many mice to play with. Your cat will spend many enjoyable hours batting them around, "killing" them, and losing them under your furniture. As a general rule, I always remove any features that might be pulled off or swallowed, such as glued-on eyes, ears, and tails. The cats won't really care about the difference. Leather mice wear particularly well, but colorful fabric ones will also be popular, particularly if enhanced with catnip.

9) Cat Dancer Cat Charmer
This flexible wand toy with the attached 48" fabric "tail" is irresistible to cats. Trail the tail along the floor and give it a wiggle, or whirl it in the air and watch your cat leap and cavort as he tries to catch it. Caution: This toy should not be left alone with your cat. For safety reasons, always put away long stringlike toys after play.

10) Petmate Crazy Circle Cat Toy
This toy has received mixed reviews. Some cats are crazy about it, and others soon become bored. Made of tough, durable plastic, Crazy Circle has openings through which your cat can attempt to catch the ball inside. It's 17" in diameter and bright blue.

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