Most cat people know that all kittens love to play. Playtime for a kitten is part of healthy development and can improve their movement, hunting, and social skills. But because they’re so small, finding safe toys for a kitten can be a challenge. At this age, just like dogs, a feline needs more exercise, daily activities, and mental stimulation. A responsible pet owner can meet the needs of their pet simply by choosing the best kitten toys. An interactive toy can also provide important bonding time with the family. Here, I’ll go over what to look for in gear that’s appropriate for kittens, how the toys can help keep your feline entertained, and the different types of toys available that will make a great addition to playtime with your cat.
Choosing the Best Cat Toys for Your Kitten
When you’re shopping for the best cat toys, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your pets have toys to chase, snuggle, and chew?
- Do they really need more toys or would they benefit from more interactive play with you instead?
- Can the particular toy you’re interested in harm your cat’s soft gums and mouth?
- Is the toy small or does it contain small parts that could pose a choking hazard?
- Is the toy made by a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality?
The answers to these questions can help point you in the right direction to find safe toys. The goal is to find age appropriate gear, so make sure you choose the best toys for kittens and not older felines.
Best Kitten Toys
Felines are very athletic creatures that possess impressive agility and strength. Just because your kitten is kept indoors doesn’t mean he or she can’t act out their inner predator.
Offering toys can be the best way to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This will keep your kitten happy and healthy. Playing a fun game of hide and seek around the house with their human while chasing a wand toy will also give felines an outlet for their energy and provides both physical and mental stimulation. It will also give cats the opportunity to satisfy their prey drive and a chance to bond with you and the rest of the family.
Safe Cat Toys for Kittens
Most kittens and older cats do a pretty good job of keeping themselves entertained. In some cases, all it may take is a pen left out, an empty box, or a crumpled up piece of paper and your kitten will be entertained for hours.
Cats have a great imagination, so they can turn almost anything into a fun and exciting toy that they can chase or bat around. Most cats enjoy playing with light, small objects that they can swat.
Crinkly Metallic Balls
A pack of crinkly shiny metallic balls may be just what your cats need. The right size crinkly ball can be perfectly safe and can even be chewed on, without the material falling apart.
A ball is also a very affordable option and the type of toy a kitten will continue to play with once they reach adulthood.
Cats of all ages enjoy playing with plastic balls, with or without bells inside, golf balls, ping pong balls, or basically any type of ball they can roll and bat around.
Products that are wrapped in sisal can be chewed on and will also give your pet a fun way to keep their claws short.
Catnip contains a chemical that attracts cats, causing their senses to go wild. When it’s crushed and dried, it gives off a stronger scent that has a powerful effect on most cats, but not all. This plant belongs to a category of safe ones that can be ingested and your pet will not become addicted to it. It should be stored in a plastic container to preserve its freshness. Some kittens and adult cats may get over-stimulated when they play around and eat catnip, to the point where they play aggressively. With other felines, the plant has a calming, almost sedating effect. Many cats and kittens that do react to catnip tend to develop a sensitivity to it at around six months of age.
Playing isn’t just for the cat or the family dog, it’s for pet owners too. A kitten’s grace and speed will impress you as he or she runs around attacking toys and trying to catch prey. Cat play can be very entertaining to watch as their small paws struggle to bat around toys or climb their cat tree in search of treats, but it can be more enjoyable for a kitty to have their human join in.
Feather Wand Toy
This type of cat toy is perfect for family interaction time and can be a great way to bond with your new cat. These wand toys usually measure in at over a foot, with a grip on one end of the stick and a ton of feathers on the other. All you have to do is drag the wand around on the floor and shake it a little to mimic the movements of a bird and your cat will be all over it.
Laser Pointers and LED Light
A laser pointer is also another excellent interactive toy that can keep your kitten entertained for hours, just be careful where you point it and always avoid shining it in a kitten’s eyes. Cats also enjoy LED light toys, which can be much safer. These devices are also very affordable and can make the perfect toy if you’re looking for an interactive toy that will get your kitten up and running around.
A fishing pole style cat toy consists of a length of cord that’s attached to an enticing lure at one end, complete with a long rod you can hold. You can find a wide variety of these poles on websites such as Vetstreet or Amazon.
All felines love treats. Of course, for a kitten, you’ll need to choose a treat that won’t upset their stomach. A treat dispenser toy is one of the most popular options on the market. These dispensers will immediately get a cat’s attention and are often shaped like a ball and allow your feline to problem solve how to get the toy to dispense the treat as they bat it around. Experts recommend this type of mental stimulation and physical exercise, which will quickly tire a cat out, burning off all that excess energy that a kitten is known for.
Be careful not to overdo it. As you raise your cat, you want to encourage healthy eating habits, with treats making up just a small portion of their diet.
This type of product is recommended for kittens eight weeks and up, since the difficulty level of the toy can be frustrating for cats under this age.
Make Your Own Toys
One of the best tips cat owners learn over the years is to get creative when it comes to keeping a pet entertained. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy all new gear once your pets get tired of their old ones, you can make many of these toys on your own. Try using gift bows, strips of paper, empty cardboard boxes, paper bags, or crumpled up tissue.
Other do-it-yourself kitten toys can include:
- Empty cardboard tubes from paper towels or cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls
- Homemade sachets filled with catnip
- Shower curtain rings
If you want to get creative, there are many things you can find around the house that will keep your kitty entertained, just use common sense and don’t choose anything that a cat can chew up and swallow. Safety is important and since kittens are very curious, they can easily ingest items they’re not supposed to.
If you’re going to purchase cat toys, then you may need to kitten-proof some of them. Avoid tinsel, strings, small feathers, and other types of small decorations that a kitten can easily chew off and eat. Make sure that you keep any toys that could possibly harm your cat, out of reach when you’re not around to supervise playtime.
Toys that are Unsafe for Kittens
Only allow your kitten to play with objects and toys that are safe. Walk around your home and store and hide the following articles to protect your kitty and to prevent them from swallowing something that can cause serious health problems:
- Rubber bands
- Paper clips
- Dental floss
- Plastic bags
Additionally, if you purchase toys that are furry, make sure you remove noses, plastic eyes, or other small parts that can easily be swallowed. This also applies to other external parts on a toy that a kitten can ingest or chew such as bells. It’s much safer to choose interactive toys that are made out of strong fabrics instead of string.
It’s important to constantly supervise your kitty if they’re playing with any type of toy or object that could cause a potential injury. This includes toys that have moving mechanical parts or batteries, dangly toys and toys on a wand. Carefully supervising your kitten as they play can prevent an injury. Should you notice your cat trying to ingest their toy, remove it promptly.
These toys should be tossed out or you can save them until your kitten is much older.
How to Get the Most Out of Toys for Kittens
Just like people, a kitten can easily become bored, especially when they’re playing with the same products. You can keep your toys new to your kitten by rotating their toys weekly. If your cat has a favorite toy they enjoy cuddling up with, you can leave that one out at all times.
Offer toys that have a variety of uses, such as a toy to carry, one they can wrestle with, a toy they can bat around and interactive toys that allow you to join in on the fun.
Many of your pet’s toys should be interactive. This type of play is very important for your growing kitten and will help to strengthen the bond with you and the rest of the family.
Where to Buy
Choosing the right toy will prevent your feline from choking on or swallowing harmful objects, such as string, ribbons, or yarn, which can lead to a serious condition, such as an obstruction. Kittens, like small children, love to get into everything, so it’s just as important to kitten-proof your home as it is to find toys that are safe, fun, and allow you and the whole family to join in on the fun.