Pet mental health is one of the most popular topics among cat lovers these days. Just like in humans, mental health is as important in cats as physical health. With that being said, no one can deny the importance of interactive cat toys in providing mental and physical stimulation. It is rightly said that healthy cats are happy cats. A cat can’t be considered sound and healthy if it is suffering from anxiety. Stress and anxiety are two major problems that can affect your kitty’s mental health. When it comes to reducing anxiety, interactive cat toys are the best gift you can give to your cat. In this article, we will talk about cat anxiety, the importance of interactive cat toys in reducing anxiety, and factors you should consider before getting toys for your cat. We will list the best interactive cat toys in the later part of the article.
Understanding Cat Anxiety
Cat anxiety is a common problem and research has shown that almost 20% of cats suffer from anxiety, Yeah, that’s one in every five cats! Cats can’t tell us what they’re feeling like and that is why their anxiety is often neglected or goes unnoticed. But they do show certain signs that can help us detect that something’s off. Being a responsible pet parent, you should know the signs and causes of anxiety in cats to make sure your cat is in the best of physical and mental health.
Signs of cat anxiety
Signs of cat anxiety include
- Abnormal behavior i.e. hiding, avoiding
- Excessive vocalization
- Aggressive behavior
- Excessive grooming
- Reduced feed intake
- Urinating and defecating outside the designated litter box
Signs of anxiety differ in individual cats and an anxious cat may show all or some of these signs.
Causes of Cat Anxiety
Cats can suffer from anxiety due to a variety of factors. The most common causes of anxiety in cats include
- Separation from owner/pet parent
- Not enough mental and physical stimulation
- Changes in environment
- Thunder, fireworks
- Health issues
All of these causes can be avoided, and fixed so cat anxiety is totally manageable.
Interactive Cat Toys for Reducing Anxiety
Before domestication, cats lived in the wild and used to stalk, chase, and hunt. Over time, their habitat changed from wild surrounding to a much safe and more secure indoors but they have retained some of their basic instincts and behaviors. Cats still have an exploratory nature, they love to follow their “prey”, pounce upon it, and hunt it. Interactive cat toys are the best way to fulfill these natural instincts of your cat while keeping them safe.
Cats used to have social bondings with other felines that’d keep them busy and entertained. But now, most of people have a single cat at home that is very much likely to get bored. Gifting interactive toys to your cat is the best way to keep it entertained for hours while you’re away.
Interactive toys not only provide mental stimulation to cats but also provide physical activity and exercise. In short, interactive cat toys can play an important role in keeping your cat happy and healthy.
Things to Consider When Getting Interactive Cat Toys
Interactive cat toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes and with varied features. Selection of ideal toys for your cat can take some time and research but you shouldn’t compromise on the quality of toys and safety of your cat.
Following are some important factors you should keep in mind when looking for the best interactive cat toys for reducing anxiety
- Age of cat
Younger cats are more energetic and toys that encourage movement and physical activity are better for them. For senior cats, on the other hand, toys focusing mainly on mental stimulation are better.
- The activity level of your cat
Overall activity levels of cats differ with age and breed. Consider these factors when buying interacting cat toys for reducing anxiety.
- Your cat’s needs
You can get toys for your cat that fulfill certain needs. For instance, if your cat suffers from any dental issues, you can get toys that help in teeth cleaning.
- Your cat’s preference
Just like humans, every cat has a different taste and liking. Some cats like toys that are mobile while some prefer toys that produce a sound.
- Safety of your cat
Safety of your pet is the most important factor to consider when getting an interactive cat toy. Make sure the toy is made up of non-toxic material and is too big to be swallowed by a cat. It is natural of cats to take a bite of everything, if the toy is small enough, the cat may swallow it, leading to choking hazard and even death.
4 Best Interactive Cat Toys
Below are some of the most popular interactive cat toys that have proven to be very helpful for alleviating cat anxiety.
1- OurPets Play-N-Squeak Twice the Mice Cat Toy, 2pc (Interactive Cat Toy, Catnip Toy, Catnip Toys for Cats, Real Mouse Electronic Sound, Catnip, Cat Toys)
Since their wild days, cats have strong instinct to hunt mice. Cats get excited at the sight of mice and this has made toy mice the most popular toy for cats. Play-N-Squeak mice cat toy by OurPets is an affordable toy that is excellent for mental and physical stimulation because it produces a realistic mouse sound when batted. The catnip scent and realistic sound keep your cat excited and busy for hours.
Be considerate about the size of the Play-N-Squeak mice cat toy when ordering, especially if you own a large-sized cat.
Trixie activity fun board incorporates 5 types of challenges and entertainment for your cat using puzzles. In the first game, the cat has to scoop out treats using its paws. In a couple of other games, it has to use its claws and toes to earn treats. All these games help fulfil the natural instincts of your cat and keep it entertained. The smell of the treats that are sprinkled on the board keeps your cat excited and motivated for the prize. One of the games on the board requires the cat to use its tongue. In short, the Trixie activity fun board is worth all the money as it makes your cat use its paws, claws, and tongue. This board is excellent for the mental stimulation of your cat and can be used for a long time.
Your cat may take some time before it figures out the method to take out treats.
Pestages Tower of Tracks cat toy has an enticing 3-tiers of tracks and brightly colored balls that keep your cat playing for hours. Bright colors of balls attract cats and instinctively they try to take these out of the track. But instead, balls roll away and cats keep on trying for hours, and that’s exactly what we want, Right?
An additional plus point of this interactive cat toy is that multiple cats can play with it at any given time. It is made up of durable plastic and you can use it for many years to come.
4- Cat Toy, Upgraded Interactive for Indoor Cats，3 in 1 Moving Cat Toys with Butterfly, Feather, LED Light, Pet Exercise Rechargeable Toy Kittens Self Play Automatic Sensing Kitty Teaser Wand(White)
This interactive cat toy has a fluttering butterfly, flashing feather with moveable base. It is controlled by an On/Off button and does an excellent job of grabbing the attention of the cat. It has a rechargeable battery that once charged lasts for a week. It is perfect for a multi-cat house.
Fluttering butterfly and feathers with light keep boredom and laziness away from cats making it a perfect gift for cats with anxiety.
Interactive cat toys are excellent gifts for reducing anxiety. They provide mental as well as physical stimulation to cats and ensure your cat has sound mental and physical health. Every cat is unique, and has different requirements. So make sure to do your research before getting toys for your cat. When you have got toys for your cat, be patient as your cat may take some time before it gets familiar with the toys.
We hope the information from this article will help you take better care of your kitty friend. If you suspect your cat has anxiety, you should consult your veterinarian. Thank you for reading!