FloridaWild Vet Hospital

Kitties Love Cat Toys: But Are They All Safe?

Most feline owners want to keep their cats happy and healthy. They creatively invent things to entertain their cats which will stimulate their kitties highly intelligent brains – something that keeps them challenged both emotionally and physically.  Guardians also go to great lengths to entice their kitties to play interactively with them since it cements their bonds.  

Aki (FloridaWild patient)

The word Catification has recently become a popular buzzword in the vocabulary of avid feline lovers. They build their cats attractive catios and provide them with cat trees, scratching posts and may even decorate their walls with small shelves to create super highways for their kitties.  To help prevent their cats from getting bored, nothing beats an alluring DVD that features birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

Owners give their cats the best litter and litter boxes, wholesome, nourishing food and shower them with affection.  In fact, there is practically nothing that feline guardians will do to ensure their cats happiness and contentment. However, when it comes to their kitties toys, are they all truly safe?

The Ethical Pet Telescoping Kitty Teaser Cat Toy is downright dangerous. The feathers are connected to the plastic housing with a thin nylon cord that actually puts a cat at risk of injuring its mouth. An enthusiastic kitty can pull the feathers out of the plastic housing, then run off with the feathers and may possibly try to eat them.

Although they are fun in interactive playtime, almost every feather/wand toy is made with plastic housings which easily separate from the wand, making it easy for the cat to pull them out. Cats can easily swallow the plastic black cap that connects the feathers to the string.  

Not only is the toy destroyed, the cat can chew and swallow the loose feathers. Since the safety factor is obviously not a high priority, the majority of cat toy manufacturers may not be sufficiently cat-savvy.

Many cloth and woolen toys stuffed with catnip may not be safe. The eye beads and leather ears and tails can easily end up in a cats digestive tract.  Its wise to first remove the ears, tails and eyes to ensure kitty safety. Since some cats are wool eaters, they should be used only under strict supervision.

Bergan Turbo Scratcher

Fortunately there are several toys that are safe to leave out for kitties to play with when they are alone.  Nylon tunnels, ping-pong balls, paper bags (with handles removed), cardboard boxes and felt mice stuffed with catnip (minus tails and eyes).  Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes, and some kitties go bonkers with the catnip filled Banana toys. One of the best safe toys that many kitties find appealing is the Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy.  They can play for hours chasing a little ball encased in a track. The best thing about this toy is there is a scratching device in its center.

Amazon.com sells Peacock feathers that most cats find alluring. The long quill makes a dandy handle to hold while enticing your cat to play interactively. They are relatively inexpensive and are much fun for both kitty and guardian.

We all love playing with our kitties. While some toys seem to be the Cats Pajamas, to keep our beloved kitties safe, bear in mind that interactive toys do require careful supervision.

What other safe toys do you recommend for cats? Share your suggestions with a comment.


Photo Credits: Jo Singer
By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret)

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