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Understanding Cat Behavior: Why Do Cats Love Toys?


Understanding cat behavior: why do cats love toys?

Entertainment is important for the maintenance of the health and happiness of your cat. Toys play an important role in providing entertainment and joy to your cat’s life. In this article, we will make an attempt of understanding cat behavior: why do cats love toys? Apart from that, we’ll take a look at the importance of toys for your kitty and some popular types of toys for cats.

Why Do Cats Love Toys?

There are several reasons that make toys the best way to keep cats occupied and entertained. We will try to uncover some of the reasons behind cats’ love for toys.

Toys let cats express their natural behavior

Cats were once wild animals that used to hunt for their food. Now that they are domesticated, they still love chasing their prey, hunting it down, battering, and swatting it. But, in our houses, we cannot provide natural prey to our cats, that’s where toys can help.

Cats are simply happier with toys because toys resemble their prey. Playing with toys is like mini-adventures for cats where they can satisfy their innate hunting behavior.

Toys with Psychoactive compounds make cats feel relaxed

Some toys have catnip or silvervine added to them that cats really like. These are psychoactive compounds that have a positive influence on the cat’s mood and feelings. When cats smell catnip or silvervine, it can cause them to become excited and playful.

Cats who play with catnip toys feel relatively relaxed and less anxious. But it is noteworthy that different cats may behave differently to the smell of psychoactive compounds. Some cats may not even show any reaction to catnip.

Sense of security and comfort

Some toys grow in importance to cats and help them feel secure and comfortable. This happens because toys retain the scent of cats and give a sense of security. Cats love to cuddle with them and even be seen walking around with these toys in their mouths.

Importance of Cat Toys

Toys have a lot of advantages for the well-being of cats. These advantages range from mental health to physical health and much more. Let’s take a look at some glaring points.

Mental Stimulation

Toys offer mental stimulation, removing boredom and keeping cats active. Mental stimulation is one of the neglected aspects of cat health but it’s vital for mental well-being. In fact, mental stimulation is as important for cat health as physical health.

There are different types of cat toys that offer mental stimulation but puzzle toys are the most popular ones. Puzzle toys teach problem-solving which keeps their minds active.

Moreover, toys provide a positive way for cats to express their energy. This helps prevent them from being destructive, like scratching sofas and carpets, and other furniture.

Stronger muscles and Joints

Interactive and chasing toys help cats maintain a healthy weight and avoid health problems. Physical activity provided by these toys keeps muscles and joints strong and healthy. Obesity may not seem much of a problem or health issue but the truth is, it predisposes cats to various cardiovascular health problems.

So, toys not only strengthen your cat’s health but also help maintain it by preventing health problems.

Help strengthen the bond with cat parents

Playing with toys helps cats and their owners to build closer relationships. When they engage in interactive playtime with you, it creates friendship and trust between you and your kitty.

Owners who reported play bout time of 5 minutes or more with their cats reported fewer behavioral problems in their cats than those with play bouts of 1 minute.


Toys can also be included in the training process. Cats learn and respond better when toys are used during their training. Treat dispensing toys are in particular quite effective in encouraging the desired behavior.

We hope the above points help you in understanding cat behavior: why do cats love toys?

Best Toy Types

There are various types of cat toys available online and in pet stores. We are going to mention some popular toy types that you can get for your kitty and enrich its environment.

Interactive toys

As the name suggests, cats play with interactive toys by working with their paws, teeth, and claws. These toys include puzzle toys, wand toys, and fishing rod toys.

Chew Toys

Chew toys for cats consist of rubber toys, dental treats, and scratching surfaces that are specifically made to enhance their oral health and hygiene. If you want to save your cat from periodontal diseases, chew toys are the way to go!

Chasing Toys

Chasing toys are made for cats to play by swatting and chasing them. The most common examples are balls, laser pointers, and toy mice.

You can add catnip or silvervine to these toys to make them more attractive for your cat.


Toys are essential for cats’ well-being because they offer mental and physical stimulation, exercise, opportunity for bonding, and a constructive outlet for their instincts. They promote our feline friends’ overall well-being, health, and fulfillment. I hope this guide helped you in Understanding cat behavior: why do cats love toys?

Understanding cat behavior: why do cats love toys?

About The Author

Ali Raza

Ali Raza

Ali Raza, DVM, M Phil Veterinary Pathology, is a compassionate and skilled veterinarian who has authored numerous articles on pet care. Ali has a keen interest in pet nutrition, training, and education on prevalent pet illnesses. His ultimate goal is to deliver accurate and accessible scientific information to pet enthusiasts in a simple, yet informative manner.

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