Cat Toys: Lifespan, Storage, Cleaning

How many toys does my cat need? How often do I have to clean it and when to dispose of it? We answer the most important questions about cat toys.

Cats are curious animals and gifted hunters. If they cannot live out their urge to move and observe, there is a risk of behavioral problems. You can find out how many toys your cat really needs here.

Playing With the Cat – the Basics

Cat owners should definitely observe these three basic rules when it comes to playing and dealing with the cat:

Rule number 1: Only play with suitable toys. Mum’s hands and feet or the flatmate’s wagging tail are not adequate substitutes.

Rule number 2: Get involved! Interactive play brings your cat the greatest joy as it combines a natural instinct with the attention of their favorite human. The most beautiful interactive games between cat and human can be found here.

Rule number 3: Make time for small game sessions every day. 10 to 15 minutes three times a day is absolutely doable. For some cats, less is enough. The main thing is that they are engaged with each other at all.

This Keeps Toys Interesting for Your Cat

New cat toys are only interesting for a short time for many cats. After a few days, it will be in the corner, under the sofa, or in the middle of the room and the cat will ignore it. But that need not be. Keep toys interesting for your cat with these five tips:

  1. Variety. Make a variety of toys. If the play tunnel, the fiddle board, or the runway is no longer interesting, it is best to put it away for two weeks so that the cat cannot see it. If it reappears after a few days, it has a completely different appeal for your cat.
  2. Don’t let catnip evaporate
    Toys with catnip should not be constantly available to the cat. If it just lies around, the enticing smell will dissipate and the toy will become uninteresting. Better put the catnip toy back in an airtight container every time the cat stops playing with it. This keeps the smell and is a welcome incentive to play again and again.
  3. Replace the cat rod trailer. If the game with the cat rod loses its appeal, you can try simply swapping out the pendant. A pendant is suddenly much more exciting if it is made of a different material or has a little bell or some rustling paper attached to it.
  4. Change of location . Cats need variety too. If the cat tunnel is always in the same place, it will quickly become boring for the cat. However, she can rediscover him in another place. Such minor changes ensure that the cat can perceive its play equipment in a new way over and over again.
  5. Toys from nature. Bring your cat regular small surprise toys made of natural materials – indoor cats are particularly happy about them. For example, you can do this:
  • clean autumn leaves in a cardboard box
  • some hay or straw in a box or in a small pillowcase
  • wood bark to sniff and scratch
  • stick
  • empty snail shells
  • goose feathers

Every Cat Needs This Toy

Every cat has their own preferences when it comes to toys. Nevertheless, it is always worth making a change. In most cases, however, a small pool of proven toys and activity ideas that offer various stimuli and that the cat can try out is sufficient:

  • katzenangel to the interactive game
  • game mouse and game ball
  • tunnel
  • fiddle board
  • a scratching post for climbing and romping

How Often Do I Need to Clean Cat Toys?

Textile toys can usually be easily washed in hot water – either by hand (a must for catnip and spring toys) or, if the fabric allows, in the washing machine. In the latter case, you should put the toy in a laundry net and avoid using strongly scented detergents and fabric softeners during the wash cycle.

Plastic toys are cleaned with a little dish soap and hot water and rinsed well. You should not scrub too vigorously and do without scouring cream, scouring pads, etc., because this creates tiny cracks on the plastic surface in which germs can settle more easily.

When Do I Have to Throw Away Toys?

Once the toy mouse starts to turn inside out, it’s time to dispose of it so the cat doesn’t accidentally eat the stuffing while playing. If toys (however magically) end up in the litter box next to a pile or if the cat urinates on them, disposal is also advisable, as washing alone rarely gets rid of the smell.

Plastic toys end up in the trash at the latest when the surface has already been badly damaged by numerous biting and scratching attacks.

How Do I Store Toys Properly?

It’s best not to just leave toys lying around outside 24/7. This takes away the appeal and, in the case of toys filled with herbs, also the aroma. As a result, the cat quickly loses interest in it. Ideally, small toys should be kept in closable containers, taken out only at playtime, and then put away again. Spring sticks, cat rods, and the like can also be hung on broom or mop holders.

What are Cats Not Allowed to Play With?

Some things, no matter how interesting they may seem to our cats, just don’t make toys. The risk of small or thread-like objects being swallowed and becoming lodged in the gastrointestinal tract as foreign bodies are too great. In the worst case, entire sections of the intestine are constricted. There is a danger to life!

The organization “International Cat Care” asked veterinarians to name the most common causes of foreign body removal in cats:

  • needle-thread combinations
  • Threads such as roasting twine or wool
  • hair and rubber bands
  • bone
  • Tinsel and Easter grass
  • coins
  • magnets
  • balloons
  • earplugs
  • fruit stones
  • nutshells
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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