While enticing your kitten with toy mice and feather wands is part of the fun of having a new pet, there are plenty of toys for older cats out there, too. Your senior cat may snooze more nowadays, but there's no reason to give up playing altogether.
In fact, playtime is highly recommended for your cat's mental and physical health. The staff at Vetstreet noted, "It's often too easy to assume an older cat is satisfied with a day of leisure, but that's not fair to your cat, who may just be waiting for you to entice him to play." And the right combination of toys can help older cats stay alert, active, and happy well into their senior years.
The key is to find toys that are the right shape and texture for more fragile teeth; free of anything that can cause a stomachache; and tame enough that your kitty won't hurt itself while playing. It's best to keep toys soft (yet stimulating) and within a contained space if possible.
Though laser lights and ping pong balls aren't the best for aging felines, here are five great toys that are just as fun and adhere to the guidelines listed above. Your cat will thank you later!
1. The Best Teaser Wand Toy
Cats of all ages love wands, but a lot of them are made with prickly ribbons or fabric that can irritate the soft gums of older cats. Earthtone Solutions' teaser mouse wand is made of organic sisal and contains zero stomach-irritating dyes. They're super soft and won't hurt your cat's jaw. Plus, they come in a convenient set of three, so you can easily replace them as you notice tears in the fabric. On top of that, the elastic string is 16 inches long — aka the perfect length to play without wearing out your kitty.
2. The Best Roller Ball Toy
Toss a ping pong ball down a hallway, and there's no doubt just about any cat will rocket past you to find it. While older cats also love playing with balls, too much movement can trigger feline arthritis or sore muscles. Luckily, Easyology's roller toy is perfect for cats that love the chase but can't quite like they used to. With a three-level track and colorful plastic balls contained within the rings, your senior cat can still bat his heart out without budging. It's made with heavy-duty ABS plastics, so it's sure to hold up to claws and teeth without showing wear and tear. Because there are no choking hazards or small pieces on this roller ball toy, your cat can keep himself entertained while you're away — no worries!
3. The Best Hunting Toy
Toy mice and birds are pretty much a staple of any cat's collection, but SmartyKat's electronic sound toys are sure to trigger your older cat's attention. In addition to being extra soft and easily chewable, this tiny chickadee is soft-touch activated. As soon as your cat gives it the gentlest tap, the toy begins to chirp, providing your senior cat hours of entertainment without a ton of effort. The filling is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, and it comes with a small removable pouch of organic catnip to boot.
4. The Best Hiding Toy
Every cat loves to snuggle into small spaces (mine loves a good cardboard box), but as cats age, they tend to prefer softer, comfier spaces. They also tend to sleep closer to the ground than younger cats, making Easyology's floor tunnel perfect for hiding away and napping. Lined with extra soft fleece, this tunnel has "peek holes" positioned throughout so your cat can rest comfortably and still watch what's happening outside. It's big enough for multiple cats and can be connected to other tunnels to create a fun maze. The best part is, the whole thing can be folded up when it's not in use.
5. The Best Grooming Toy
Treat your senior kitty to Catit's wellness spa, specifically designed to help cats groom all over without all the bending and reaching. The spa provides a variety of textures to massage and groom your cat's head, neck, face, and torso. At the top, for instance, there's a silicone brush for your cat's head and neck. And there are wavy ridges on the sides for hard-to-reach spots in the shoulders. Plus, of course, no kitty spa would be complete without a plush napping pad and small catnip portal. If your cat isn't into catnip, however, you could always place some treats in the portal for the ultimate pampering experience.
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