Cat Play: Getting The Most Out Of Interactive Toys

Henri was a cat that got into any and everything when left to his own devices.  When his people were gone for a couple of weeks, I gave some thought into activities to keep Henri occupied and out of trouble.

He had a couple of wand toys, but Henri tended to get bored easily.  I introduced a new wand toy that was a real hit with other cats I’d taken care of in the past.  In addition to changing the toys themselves, there are some things to do during cat play sessions to keep your cat engaged.

cat play

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How To Get More From Interactive Toy Play

Change Up the Speed of Your Movements

Don’t keep everything fast, slow it down from time to time.  Quiver the toy a little, this drives cats wild!  I watched Henri when I did that with the toy, and he absolutely loved it!

Let Your Cat Catch the Toy Once in a While

This helps keep your cat engaged, knowing there’s a good chance the prize will be his at least some of the time!

Occasionally Freeze the Action by Keeping the Toy Perfectly Still

This gives your cat a chance to analyze the prey and come up with his next move.

If the Toy You’re Using is Birdlike, Incorporate Some Landings Into the Play

I did this with Henri by making some landings high, some low so that he had to jump up and down to stay in the game.  This also mimics bird activity since birds don’t fly all the time, they walk or perch sometimes too.

Add Sound Effects

This doesn’t necessarily have to be toy squeaks or rattles. Tapping the wand on the shelf sometimes added a different dimension to the play sessions with Henri.

Don’t Totally Wear Your Cat Out

Henri panted a little during play session, indicating he had a good workout. Watch to be sure your cat isn’t gasping for air, that’s a sign the play is a little too intense. Limit play sessions to 10-15 minutes each.

Offer Rewards

At the end of the play session, reward your cat with a little treat or dinner to show he did well.

If you’re looking for a new wand toy, check out Mountain Pet Products. I used this with Henri and he never got bored with it. The toys are handmade and comprised of all natural products, so they’re safe for you and your cat.  I would recommend the 32 inch wand toy, the tassel has a different movement that drives the cats wild!

Another option that’s proven popular with many of my cat clients is the Cat Dancer Rainbow Cat Charmer. 

Incorporating these tips into cat play sessions will boost the fun level for both you and your cat. Henri has moved to a new home, so I don’t see him anymore, but he taught me a lot about how and what cats like to play!


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

3 Responses to "Cat Play: Getting The Most Out Of Interactive Toys"

  1. We have seldom ever bought our cats toys. They prefer wadded up paper, toilet paper rollers.paper towel rollers. and anything else that peaks their interest!!! we start each day out a little differently from the next!!! guess what they never know what to expect from us!!!

    1. Changing things up often definitely keeps cats interested. I don’t buy my cat many toys either, but will invest in ones I know he likes and will play with.

  2. personally i give my two cats old xmas balls that are missing their hanging up bit, a couple of cat balls with bells, paper rolled up- different colors are fun, one cat likes the blue paper ball and the other one prefers a old yellow xmas ball, it is a plastic ball with thread on the outside, they are cheap xmas balls, they also have a red one…. one cat is 8 yrs old and the other one is 2 yrs old….

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