- Do This Before Throwing Old Cat Toys Away
Do This Before Throwing Old Cat Toys Away
Anyone who's lived with a cat has encountered this phenomenon: You buy adorable cat toys that your kitty loves. But one day, he's no longer interested. He turns his nose up and walks away when you toss a ball that used to be his fave.
What gives, and is there any way to rejuvenate your cat's interest in old toys?
Why Cats Play
Cat play often simulates the hunt. Cats are predators, but when they live inside and get steady meals, they don't need to hunt for food. Play lets them engage in their intuitive behaviors, which decreases stress and boredom and helps them keep a healthy weight.
So, when a cat chases and pounces on a ball or attacks a wand toy, they are pretending to catch a rodent or bird. After that prey is "dead," it may not be appealing for the kitty to mess with it much anymore.
But, not to worry, read on for some ways to overcome that issue.
Rotate Toys to Decrease Boredom
One great way to keep your cat interested in all his toys is to reduce overexposure to each one. You can do that by keeping most of the toys put away where your cat can't reach them and only bringing out a few at a time. Rotate the toys every few days or so, preferably before your kitty loses interest in them.
It's nice to get a new toy occasionally too, of course. That helps keep things fresh too.
Note: Wand toys should never be left out when you aren't there to directly supervise your cat. With cords or strings, those toys are dangerous for a cat to play with alone.
Use a Stuffable Toy Sometimes
Toys like the Butterfly Ball that can be stuffed with dry kibble, a couple treats, or some loose catnip can really spruce up a cat's play routine.
Toys that are designed for a cat to work at and get something out of add an additional layer to the simulated hunt. They provide the meal at the end that a good hunter would get.
Put Toys in Interesting Spots
When you do rotate a toy into your cat's environment, try placing it somewhere interesting for him to find. You may perch it near the edge of a table, just begging to be knocked down. Perhaps you could put it an upper level of the cat tree, so your kitty is enticed to climb up and bat it down.
Another fun thing to do is put a toy inside a Cat Cave or paper bag. Just make sure the paper bag's handles are cut off to eliminate a strangulation hazard, and never use a plastic bag, which is a suffocation hazard. Cats love going into small spaces, and finding a toy inside will delight them and encourage play.
Spruce up Old Toys with Catnip or Honeysuckle
If your cat has some toys that he just doesn't seem interested in anymore, you may be able to re-spark the joy by adding some catnip or honeysuckle to them.
Fill a sealable container (not a plastic bag, which your cat could break into) with loose catnip and put the toys in. Store the container where your cat can't get to it and take a toy out as needed.
Alternatively, you could use catnip spray to spritz the toys as needed.
If your cat is less than six months old, catnip likely won't work. In that case, or in the case of an older cat that isn't affected by catnip, honeysuckle may do the trick. You can use honeysuckle spray on old toys to rejuvenate them.