Tips to keep your cat entertained

Picture a cat lazily stretched before a picture-box window. The cat’s paws are relaxed, and he’s sleeping soundly in the afternoon sun. Now, picture this same cat a few minutes later, after having ingested a small helping of catnip. This same cat is now a feline blur that is zipping from one end of the room to the other, turning your curtains into strips of unusable fabric. What has caused this reaction? Well, it’s certainly not the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Prize Patrol at the door. It’s the ingredients in the catnip that activated a portion of the cat’s brain, and essentially created the energy necessary for the cat to turn into the hyperactive feline that you see before you.

Vet’s will tell you that catnip is good for cats because it stimulates their brain. So, what other kinds of activities/toys can activate a cat’s brain? There are many different types of cat toys, but the best ones are the ones that are sturdy and easily manipulated. A cat loves to play with mice, because their instinct has trained them to hunt these little critters down. So, when they see a mouse on the floor, whether it’s a real one or a fake one, their brain is trained to hunt it. My cat Grizabella has stalked a menacing piece of lint on the floor for hours. It’s hilarious, but good for their brain.

Some of the most popular toys available on the market today are “fishing-pole” toys. These are great because the cats will literally jump straight up off the floor to grab at the accessories attached on the end of the pole. Another great toy is the “laser-light.” This is virtually hours of entertainment for both the cat and owner. Cats will spend hours jumping around trying to catch the light that is perpetually just out of reach for them. It is one of the most popular cat toys on the market.

Another great activity for cats is the mouse chase. This circular device with the unreachable mouse inside is great for helping with the cat’s eye-hand coordination. The cat will bat at this mouse for hours, while the owner can sit back and watch the action. My cat loves the crinkly toys because it reminds him of plastic bags, without the health hazard involved. Cats do love grocery store bags (especially getting inside them), but they do pose a choking hazard, so that is not recommended.

All in all, cat toys are great for entertainment purposes, but also to help stimulate the feline brain and give the owner plenty to videotape for youtube. However, cat play is a necessary part of their health because it keeps them fit, and decreases their chance of diabetes or heart disease later in life. For these reasons, cat toys are actually just what the doctor ordered!

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