Feline guardians derive great pleasure from spoiling their kitties since making their cats happy is a priority. Guardians may go to great lengths to find ways to entice them, delight them and to keep their highly intelligent brains stimulated. The word “Catification” has become one of the newest and most popular buzzwords avid feline lovers are adding to their feline-related vocabulary.
Feline guardians build magnificent catios for their kitties, purchase cat trees, scratching posts, hang designer shelves on walls to create super highways, ply them with music and kitty TV to keep them occupied and entertained. Cats are given the best litter and litter boxes, and are nourished with wholesome food. In fact- there is practically nothing feline guardians won’t do to try and keep their cats happy and content.
Although feline guardians spend considerable time engaged in interactive play with their cats, tempting them with the most appealing toys, in reality are all the toys they use completely safe? Based on my recent experience with the Ethical Pet Telescoping Kitty Teaser Cat Toy, (an extremely attractive and alluring item), I was terribly disappointed that this toy was downright dangerous.
The feathers are attached to a plastic housing that holds a thin nylon cord. This puts a cat at risk of receiving a serious mouth injury. With one quick leap and bite, Aki, my young Oriental Shorthair pulled the feathers out of the plastic housing, grabbed the feathers in his mouth, and ran away. I had quite a struggle to take them away from him to prevent his ingesting them.
I have been trying my darndest to find a toy our cats will go bonkers over but won’t endanger them. After considerable searching that yielded few results, it became apparent to me that the majority of cat toy manufacturers aren’t that entirely cat savvy and simply overlooked the safety factor.
Almost every feather/wand toy is made with plastic housings which easily separate from the wand. The feathers can quickly be pulled out of the housing by a determined kitty. This not only destroys the toy; a cat can easily chew and swallow the loose feathers.
One review of a very popular feather/wand toy read,
“After my cat destroyed this within minutes of us playing with him, he somehow got a hold of the little black cap (after we threw it away), that connects the feathers to the string. He ended up swallowing it (likely not on purpose) and that little black cap got lodged in his intestine and our poor cat spent days in the hospital, having surgery to remove the damn thing, and $4,000 later, I will never, ever buy any toy like this ever again. As I realize it’s not the fault of the company completely, not putting little pieces on toys for animals like this would avoid incidents like this from happening. VERY disappointed!!!”
Another review from a rescue group read,
“The kitten was playing with her toys while they were at work and a feather got stuck in her throat, subsequently choking her. We share their devastation in this terrible loss and want to warn anyone with young kittens to stay away from feather toys.”
Many cloth toys stuffed with catnip are hardly any safer. The beaded eyes, the leather ears and tails can easily end up in a cat’s digestive tract. In order ensure the cat’s safety, it’s prudent first remove the ears, tails and eyes. I initially believed that Rosie the Rat was relatively safe (after removing the eyes and tail) but Aki managed to eat most of the fur off the Rat.
The majority of cat toys should only be used under the guardian’s strict supervision. Toys that are relatively safe, such as nylon tunnels, The Bergan Scratcher Cat Toy, ping-pong balls, paper bags (with handles removed) cardboard boxes, felt mice stuffed with catnip (no ears, tails and eyes) are all toys that don’t require constant supervision. Aki goes bonkers over small rolled up paper balls since they skim across the floor really well. Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes, and some kitties truly “get off” on Catnip filled Banana toys.
We love to play with our kitties and some toys appear to be the “Cat’s Pyjamas”. However, interactive toys require careful supervision to keep our beloved kitties safe.
What safe toys do you recommend for cats? Share your suggestions with a comment. Do you make your own cat toys?