Cats are often misunderstood.
Those who do not live with a cat or know much about felines are under the impression that cats are aloof and independent.
They also think they don’t enjoy interacting with people, and would prefer to sleep the day away, the only interruptions being meals or treats.
That could NOT be further from the truth!
I have lived with cats for over 20 years. While some cats (the operative word being “some”) are aloof, independent, and might not love interacting with people, there are PLENTY who greatly love the company of people.
They love being held and cuddled and contrary to the beliefs of some, they LOVE to play!
While cats are NOT dogs (anyone who is obsessed with cats would probably be saying “Thank God!”) they do require some of the same things that dogs do.
Cats need toys too!
Just as dogs need toys to play with, so do cats! These toys need not be expensive, many can be purchased on a variety of sites at a budget that won’t break the bank.
You can even make some toys yourself!
Why Does Your Cat Need Toys?
My 5 Reasons
Sit back and grab yourself something tasty to eat and drink and I will share with you my top 5 reasons why YOUR CAT NEEDS TOYS!!
1. Fight Boredom
Many cats are indoor cats only. (In the U.S. this is especially true).
While your cat will probably sleep over 16 hours a day, when they are awake, they need something to do other than just staring out a window.
By having a selection of toys for your cat, you will satisfy your cat’s natural curiosity.
They will also have to use their brain, and having toys may just stop some unwanted behavior such as scratching the carpet and furniture!
2. Satisfy Their Natural Hunting Instincts
Like their lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, etc., “cousins”, cats have a natural instinct to hunt prey.
If your cat is an indoor pet, they don’t get to go outside and prowl for mice. (Ok, if your home isn’t kept in the best shape, you may have mice. But since that isn’t the norm, let’s assume there are no mice in your house!).
You can purchase adorable furry mice that are so inexpensive that you can have many “back-ups” for when your cat bats those babies under the fridge or under the couch!
Both of my cats went NUTS for mice!
They would toss them in the air, carry them in their mouth, stalk, them, etc.
All of those actions are satisfying their natural hunting instinct.
If you look at lions and tigers in the zoo, they have rubber balls to play with.
Also, many of the big cats in the zoo also have the perennial cat favorite, BOXES!
Even these really big cats like playing with boxes and have toys.
Once again, I am speaking for my cats, both of which were “only” cats while living with me.
In a single cat home, they don’t have other cats to engage with or to chase. In our family, we do have a dog that our cat loves to tease and chase.
But our cat also needs toys for when our dog is not in the mood to engage with him.
Many cats LOVE playing with balls, they love to knock them downstairs, chase them, swat them, etc.
Many common items can function as toys for cats!
Rings from milk jugs, a ball of aluminum foil, and many others.
Many cats LOVE “spring-like” toys that actually look like springs!
They are lightweight, which makes them easy to toss and swat. My cat adores his “fly” that is on a dangle stick.
He loves it so much that every night, he waits for me in the bedroom to play what we call, “the silly game”.
He will chase that fly, leap in the air, do somersaults, all the while getting the important exercise that is so necessary to keep his weight at a good and healthy level and help his heart!
Just like people, cats can be TOO sedentary!
4. Slows Down Their Eating
Do you have a cat that inhales its food?
Like dogs, it is NOT a good thing for a cat to eat their food (or treats) too fast.
There are puzzle games for cats where their treats or dry kibble may be inserted.
With such toys, the cat has to use its brain to figure out how to remove the treats or kibble.
I have to do this with my cat as, if it were up to him, he would eat from morning till night if we allowed him to do so.
I have a treat toy for him that we pour kibble into, and it keeps him busy and engaged as he tries to get it out.
5. Bonding with Their “Humans”
In my mind, this ranks as one of the most important reasons why your cat needs toys and it is the reason I saved it for last.
Yes, your cat is not a dog but many, many cats enjoy interacting with the humans they live with!
(If you must, and don’t have the time, you can play just 15 minutes a day with them!).
Those who live with cats should be looking for interactive toys that they can swing, or toys that they can sit on the floor and play with along with their cat.
The “silly game” that I mentioned above is something that he only associates with me!
My husband has tried to play the same game and my cat will look at him like “why are you playing this with me when it is supposed to be her?”
My cat loves the dangle toy game so much and completely associates it with me.
Often after we have finished playing and I go out to watch TV or read, my cat will come and sit on the armrest of the couch and snuggle with me.
To me, he is saying:
“Thank you! “Thank you for playing with me, for loving me and for knowing what I need to be a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted cat.”
Those are my top five reasons why your cat needs toys!
Are there any that I have missed? Leave a comment below and let me know what they are and also, I would LOVE to hear what toys are YOUR cats’ favorites!!
Now, that we are finished, get some toys for your cat and GO PLAY WITH THEM!!
Recommended Read: Best Cat Toys for Safe Indoor Play
Caren is a professional pet blogger/freelance writer and the proud “Mom” of Dakota, a Shetland Sheepdog, and Cody, a silver-gray tabby. Besides her passion for pets, Caren is also interested and passionate about food, sports, music, and art.