Entertain my cats, please! Before they destroy the place.
November 23, 2010 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Cat toy recommendations! Which ones do your cats *luurrve*?

I know, I know, cats are weird. Mine are too. (Obligatory pic of my three munchkins.) But lately I've been getting the feeling they're bored and restless. Plus, in the last couple weeks I've found just about every toy they own buried in the litterbox. I'm not sure what they're trying to tell me, but I'm sure there's a message there somewhere... But obviously part of that message is "new toys, NOW!"

For every toy that's a hit with them, I've bought half a dozen they ignore entirely. I can't find a pattern between the ones they like and the ones they don't. My cats are not logical. So, feline-loving mefites, which toys do your cats like? Which would you recommend? I'm totally open to suggestions, because obviously my buying choices are not working.

Difficulty - they can't be toys that require supervision; I need to be able to leave them out. And nothing that's string like, or could become string like with a little effort. I am not repeating the experience of the eaten sisal mouse and the $300 x-rays. Generally, feathers are good. Catnip is hit and miss. But I'm mostly interested in the toys that at least one cat it known to absolutely adore...
posted by cgg to Pets & Animals (68 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
My sister's cats play with no toys she's bought them, except the ones they somehow fished out of the radiator in our apartment from previous tenants when we first moved in. Totally gross. Nothing special about those toys aside from having been owned by other cats.
posted by lizbunny at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2010

The cats I've had all loved the leopard print beanbag with a tail of feathers. They also LOVED the wicker ball version of that, but those get quickly destroyed.

Also, there's this thing, and I do not remember the name of it, it looks like a large somewhat fuzzy "sausage" about the length of a normal cat's body. They go crazy over that. If you go to a good pet store, I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about.

They like to chase the feather balls and then "wrestle" the furry sausage thing.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2010

The Cat Dancer!
posted by jgirl at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Fling-ama-string is the toy my cats keep coming back to. Sometimes we have to hide it under the couch cushions at night to keep the racket down. You need either rechargeable batteries or if you are handy with a soldering iron you can convert it to run from a AC power supply.

They also love things with bells. Those also get hidden under the couch cushions at night.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

My two cats and the two cats of a friend all go completely APE for the cat dancer. Other than that, my cats (1, 2) are no help, since they'd rather play with zip ties or wadded up pieces of tin foil than any cat toy from the store.
posted by MsMolly at 9:07 AM on November 23, 2010

I was skeptical about it, but my kitten loves this thing a lot!
posted by meggie78 at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2010

My cats really like the plastic rings that come on supermarket milk jugs. My parents' cats go bananas for the ball-in-track-type toys.
posted by JohnFredra at 9:09 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Our cats' favourite toy is a cardboard box. Lasts long time (weeks). Sprinkle in a little herb and they're good, man. They're good.
posted by bonehead at 9:09 AM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

My cats go nuts for the Turboscratcher. Youtube has about a million videos of cats playing with them, if you want to see the thing in action. I moved about a year ago and left mine behind. After a few months I managed to get a new one, and when I set it down, one of my cats ran over, threw herself on it, and rolled around on top of it, purring.

One warning - If we are watching tv (or playing wii) instead of petting our two cats, they have been known to bat the ball around seemingly in an attempt to make noise and irritate us. But the ball is removable.
posted by routergirl at 9:12 AM on November 23, 2010

Missed the supervision caveat - yes, you can leave this out. It doesn't require supervision and the channel the ball is in has a lip, so you have to kind of pop it out - it doesn't just lift out. My cats never got it out til recently, and they're old and tough now.
posted by routergirl at 9:14 AM on November 23, 2010

Our cats LOVE rattly mousies. They have little balls in them that rattle when they fling them around. We always have several laying around and we will often hear them throwing them around and under things. They also love aluminum foil balls.
posted by Kimberly at 9:14 AM on November 23, 2010

Laser pointers are usually good times. Also seconding the Cat Dancer; it's one of the few toys mine will play with when I'm not in the room. They'll even bring it to me and demand that I work it, sometimes.
posted by The otter lady at 9:14 AM on November 23, 2010

You can hang a birdfeeder outside the window for them, or, if you're not in a position to do so, maybe a small tank of goldfish? The best "Cat TV" I ever had was a colony of spiny mice, but they smell pretty mousy.
posted by The otter lady at 9:17 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another vote for the Cat Dancer. Our two cats go bonkers for it. Like, we have to keep it hidden when we aren't playing with it, because our boy cat will totally drag it around trying to make it work.
posted by kimdog at 9:19 AM on November 23, 2010

I no longer have cats, but every cat I've ever lived with has loved to play with pipecleaners. Not the giant furry ones you buy at crafts stores, but regular non-bristle pipecleaners. Wrap them around your finger into a coil and toss. Bonus: they cost less than $.10 apiece.
posted by workerant at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2010

I'm not a cat person and don't have a cat. However, my childhood friend's family are the makers of the PURRfect Cat Toy. It was designed to entertain Max the Angry Cat, who loved this toy to bits and spurned all other forms of entertainment.
posted by bluejayway at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2010

String. OMG.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:24 AM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

My cat goes nuts for this octopus looking thing. It has a bunch of legs, some bells, and fur. She does rip it apart every two weeks or so, but goes absolutely ballistic when we give her a new one; to the extent that she will rip the toy, in packaging, out of my wife's hands and run away with it. It can rip apart, but it takes some effort and we've been able to tell when it is a day or two away from being destroyed.

Also, she loves to catch plastic rings and hair ties in the air. YMMV.
posted by tommccabe at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2010

The current favorite toy is a little plushy rat from PetSmart that has a Velcro closure pouch in his belly for catnip. Pointycat loves to bite, stalk, and groom Mr. Rat. Rubbing Mr. Rat with additional nip is even better.
He also likes to make sweet, sweet love to his stuffie IKEA bear but maybe that's not the type of toy you mean.
posted by pointystick at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2010

Lily would happily kill you for a Q-tip. Noisily opening the (secure) storage container is the only reliable way to get her to appear.
posted by cyndigo at 9:30 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Our cat loves anything light and floppy. One of his favorite toys is a swatch of knitting, about five inches long and one inch wide. It wasn't supposed to be a cat toy, but he wouldn't leave it alone, so I gave it to him. Strips of felt that have been kept in a baggie with some catnip for a few days might achieve a similar effect. (Make them too wide to eat, too short to get tangled in.)

His favorite thing, however, is not a toy at all - it's when we chase him around the house and hide behind corners so he can "get" us. He loves doing this. It's exhausting, but it's more consistently entertaining for him than toys.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:30 AM on November 23, 2010

One of my cats loves little foam soccer balls. They roll really well, they have that soccer ball pattern on them to generate lots of visual stimulation, and cats can carry them up stairs and watch them bounce back down again all day long.

The other of my cats seems to prefer plastic springs (sold as cat toys in my supermarket). I guess they make an interesting noise, and visually they are just a bunch of moving lines to a cat, which they seem to really like.

The combination of these two toys works great for entertaining my cats when I'm not home. I can throw them all to the top of the stairs in the morning, and by the time I get home in the evening, they will be all over the house and in the basement. Or stuck under the couch, since one of my cats loves to shove toys under there and then try to get them out again.
posted by FishBike at 9:34 AM on November 23, 2010

honestly, right now all Bellatrix (left) wants to play with is ice cubes, and Herbert (right) is mad mad mad for a wadded up wine bottle foil. cats!
posted by supermedusa at 9:40 AM on November 23, 2010

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a novel cat toy while I was disassembling a vintage dress to use its material. I had left a pile of about five yards of tulle on the floor, and all of a sudden Mingus dived into it. I tossed a toy into the tulle, and he would take running leaps into the tulle after the toy. I left it on the floor for a while, seeing how much he was enjoying it, and I kept finding him sitting in it. Since then we've always kept some around - it's not the greatest interior decor, having a pile of fabric on the floor, but they love it and will use it to "hide" in and stalk one another. The only thing I can figure is that it seems like cover to them, like tall grass would be in the wild. Tulle is cheap at any fabric store.

Other than that, the golf-ball sized squishy foam balls FishBike mentions are the favorite at our house.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:41 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

We tie whatever trash the kittie seems to like to a string and tape it to the farthest end of one of the fan blades. Then turn the fan on at the slowest possible.

Mini is literally hipnotized by it!
posted by Tarumba at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2010

String. OMG.

Take a piece of paper, A4, letter, whatever, roll it up. Tie with string around the middle, pehaps tearing the edges of the tube a little to make it more interesting. Drag around the house and cats will appear as if by majic.

If you're feeling particularly crafty, fold the paper back and forth to make an accordion pleat. Tie in the middle as before. Butterfly!
posted by bonehead at 9:51 AM on November 23, 2010

Anything purchased as a cat amusement device: "Meh."

Wadded-up empty cigarette pack that missed the trash can: "OMG best toy EVAR!"

posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2010

My cat's favorite toy is the little rip-strip that seals the cap on a plastic gallon milk jug. I have the "bird on a fishing pole" thing, lots of plushies with catnip, balls with bells inside, tunnels and a cat condo, but no. It's the stupid little milk jug things that she will play with for hours on end.
posted by xedrik at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2010

My cats all play fine with stuffed mice, but you need to "rotate" them. I have an plastic bag with maybe 50-60 of them of various types and sizes, and just a touch of old catnip... every couple weeks I'll put out a couple new ones, and pick up some of the old ones they've lost interest in. They don't have long memories, so I could probably get away with far fewer.

Laser pointers are also always a win, but the problem with those is that the cats like watching/stalking it as much as chasing it, so they beg for you to "do it" a lot. For hours. Seriously, why are so many laser pointers designed without a "stay on" switch, anyway? Ow, my wrists!

I've tried a few "automatic laser moving" toys, but they never seem to work. None of them are interactive enough for the kitties to stay interested in, plus they're dumb enough to sit with the thing pointing right INTO THEIR EYES with that "where'd it go?" look on their faces.
posted by Pufferish at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2010

All three of my kitties love the Kong Wubba. I bought one at Petsmart and then had to go buy two more the next day because they are all so obsessed.
posted by lbo at 9:59 AM on November 23, 2010

However, my childhood friend's family are the makers of the PURRfect Cat Toy.

My cat would testify that that toy is wonderful, and it's pretty durable, enough that I don't worry about the "string" danger.

His ultimate unsupervised toy is a Fat Cat's Eek Mouse, filled with their catnip and has a little rattle inside. He'll bat it around the room until he's tired and then just lay down and lick it. Which is gross, but he's so happy and high.
posted by gladly at 10:02 AM on November 23, 2010

Shoebox + tissue paper + tin foil balls = Fun times!
Cats are like kids. Don't care about the expensive toy you just bought them, they want to make a castle out of the cardboard box it came in. Also, I think they get bored with the toys they're familiar with. If you stick to disposable ones then every time you replace one they've destroyed it's like Christmas all over again.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 10:09 AM on November 23, 2010

My cats aren't hugely into toys, but I found a local crafter who makes one they like: It's basically a stuffed fabric tube with a pouch of catnip sewn into each end so the cats can't get it open and spill the catnip everywhere, but they can have fun batting it around the room and getting high.

The only problem is that once the catnip wears out, you have to unsew it to put fresh 'nip back in. (Or be lazy and buy a new one...)
posted by BZArcher at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome list! Thanks for all the ideas - these are great!
posted by cgg at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2010

My little Russian emigre loves anything by the brand Fat Cat: http://www.fatcats.com/html_site/hhome.shtml

Go figure, she likes the expensive brand, but that's my girl. They also make those scratching boards made out of cardboard. I sprinkle catnip on it and she goes nuts for hours until she passes out from the high.
posted by overyourhead at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2010

I have the same cat that Metroid Baby does. The object that I think he's the biggest fan of is this big cardboard box that has flaps that are big enough for him to hide under. There's two main modes of usage:

1. Hiding under a flap. When you approach him while he's under one flap, he moves under an adjacent flap. (I get the impression that this makes him feel good or possibly clever.) He does this until he has a good opportunity to jump out and get you.

2. Hanging out in the box itself. He does not like to be caught in the box, but sometimes if you walk into the room, you can see him inside the box, looking around. Once he notices a person, he usually jumps right out, but he seems to enjoy his in-box time.
posted by ignignokt at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2010

yeowww! brand catnip toys - cat went and dug it out of my bag
fat cat brand catnip toys - esp. the crinkly ones and the stuffers which are sahped like animla wearing shorts that you stuff catnip packets into
cosmic cat brand catnip toys
the cat dancer
posted by oneear at 10:22 AM on November 23, 2010

My cats also like the ball in track toys. By "like," I mean "like to destroy." But, when it breaks and the ball FINALLY comes out, it's like every dream has been realized.

They ignore any type of small toy mouse except Hartz brand. The Hartz mice, though, are tortured then deposited under the couch. This appears to be enjoyable.
posted by TrarNoir at 10:26 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cos is another fan of the ball in track toys, the cat dancer, ring tops off milk containers and small stuffed mice. Latest thing however, is cardboard rings from a cut up toilet paper roll- easy to pick up via mouth, and a little bit sproingy. Also pingpong balls.

Also he likes climbing this scratching post from ebay.
posted by tangaroo at 10:29 AM on November 23, 2010

My cats go insane for pawbreakers. They're balls of catnip that have been compressed to the approximate density of particle board, and retain their effects for months. They do roll under things easily, but are a great unsupervised toy since they're quite indestructable.
posted by contraption at 10:31 AM on November 23, 2010

Go buy a gallon of milk in one of those cardboard containers. Take off the cap and pull the little safety ring thing out. Rinse it off, dry, and place it on your hand after getting your cat's attention. Flick as hard as you can.

Once you have a few built up they'll get into a game of chase. They go find where it landed, you walk up to it with another one in hand and send the cat someplace else while you pick the first one up and can reset for doing it again. Magic.

Another favorite is clear crinkle wrap, which we get off of yogurt containers and lettuce leaf containers. Something about the noise. The other one ours loves is basically a piece of stiff wire with the end wrapped around some colored paper and a few more pieces of paper, rolled up, pierced through the middle by the wire.

Aside from that last one just about every toy we've bought has been far less interesting than the above "trash", or an empty bag/box. Get a few bags/boxes together with some pillows and run a string or that wire thing through them. Triggers the hunt instinct and they love it.

Birdfeeders do the same. They make shelfs that affix to the bottom of a window so if you can get one of those and put a birdfeeder on the otherside, they'll be happy for most of the day. I've confirmed that in person.
posted by jwells at 10:35 AM on November 23, 2010

Cardboard boxes (oddly, the smaller, the better.) Toothpicks, kebab skewers, and bottle caps. Wrinkly bits of plastic. We stopped buying "toys" from the store years ago.
posted by monospace at 10:36 AM on November 23, 2010

I'm convinced that a simple paper ball - half a sheet of printer paper, wadded up into a ball - is the Best. Cat. Toy. Ever.
posted by chez shoes at 10:45 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Christmas wrapping paper. And ribbons.
posted by LN at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2010

My cat's favourite toy? Cable ties. We've never had an ingestion problem, though thinking about it I could probably be more careful about putting them away.

He also likes disembowelling the sisal mice, but you mentioned that.
posted by altolinguistic at 10:48 AM on November 23, 2010

Another vote for the Turboscratcher. My husband's 16-year-old cat has had one for nearly all of her life, and she plays with it EVERY day.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:49 AM on November 23, 2010

All my cats have always loved the realistic fur mice. But their current favorite toy is mosquito netting. They invented a rather interesting game with it that I'm still trying to understand. I had the netting hanging from the ceiling and it barely touched the floor. One of the cats goes and sits inside the circle of mosquito netting, and tucks his or her paws under his body. The other cats sit outside the netting and observe. (In the link, the netting is open on one side, but in my house, it's completely enclosed.) This goes on for about 15 minutes, and then one of the outside cats goes inside the netting, the one inside then goes outside, and they do the sit and watch thing again. They just keep repeating this. There's some very occasional whapping at each other, but they never attack the netting, They mostly just sit there and look at it. The only thing I can figure out is that they're like little kids who have built a fort in the living room with blankets draped over the furniture. They have literally spent hours each day doing this for the last 2 weeks.

And the other thing they like is the box that came with my pop-up canopy. It's about 4 feet long and maybe 10 inches on a side. Essesntially, a long narrow tube, with the flaps open at both ends.

Oh, and you know those rubbery things that you throw at a wall, and they stick, and sometimes they'll slowly tumble down the wall? I used to have some that looked like lizards, and one of my cats adored those.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I should also put in a vote for the Fat Cat catnip toys. Our girls like to carry them around and lick them.

I see that milk-bottle rip-strips are a hit for several folks, but no one seems to mention the caps themselves--they're good cat hockey pucks.

And this is embarrassing, but my dear departed tabby girl liked few things better than a tampon (still in the paper wrapping). She'd actually go into the bathroom to fish one out of the box when the mood struck. Once I got over being annoyed with her for wasting the damn things and really thought about it, it made a lot of sense: crinkly paper, nice lightweight cardboard, fun little string--what's not to love?
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:57 AM on November 23, 2010

Plastic drinking straws.

A strip of the fuzzier side of Velcro--this has the salutary effect of being a good tooth-cleaner.
posted by Corvid at 11:26 AM on November 23, 2010

Definitely the Flingama. One of our cats (the shy one) likes anything that resembles a mouse (even in the vaguest way), the other (the active one) likes fish toys and ball-shaped objects she can carry. The active one will carry around anything, including plastic wrappers, foil balls, straws, etc...all while crowing proudly.

They both go pretty nuts over anything tied to a string tied to a stick. Also, laser pointers. (But I feel bad when they lift up their paw to see the dot they've just trapped, and nothing's there.)
posted by lhall at 11:31 AM on November 23, 2010

I am compelled to caution against LM's suggestion of Christmas ribbon - I had a cat who died after ingesting the 'curly' (ribbed) ribbon. It irritated the opening to his colon, and ultimately (3 short months later) resulted in cancer.
OTOH, we have a rule that we never pay more than a dollar for a cat toy. Our older, grumpy female KD, only likes things made of real fur or wool; so we broke the rule for her and bought her a real raccoon tail (from a 'mountain man' booth at the county fair). We cut it in half and she played with one half until it was worn out (the fur was gone, and just a ratty-looking tail was left). Then we gave her the other half, which is still good. The initial purchase was years ago - so it sorta meets our criteria.
The paper that Costco uses to wrap their Kirkland toilet paper makes the best crinkly wadded paper balls - our male cat goes ape for them!
posted by dbmcd at 11:36 AM on November 23, 2010

Turbo Track

My 1 year old cat plays with this thing for an hour or two every day for months now. I am still in shock at how much he loves this thing, given the normal success of cat toys (which is usually: play with for 5 minutes, get bored and look at me to see whats next).

Otherwise stuff they can chase is good. I also got one of those 1/32 scale RC cars (the one I have is from Team Losi). It can be driven inside just fine and my cat loves to run after it. It's definitely on the expensive end for a cat toy, but really it's a cat-and-human toy. :)
posted by wildcrdj at 12:12 PM on November 23, 2010

One of ours goes APESHIT for milk rings. I.e. that piece of plastic you pull off to open a new gallon of milk.
posted by kestrel251 at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2010

I was coming back to mention hair ties, but it looks like those have been mentioned already. I'm not sure my cats are quite right, though. One thinks she is too good for most toys, and the other hunts inanimate objects and brings them to us, all proud. Things like Jenga blocks, folded up homework assignments from my son's room, and small stuffed mice.
posted by routergirl at 12:35 PM on November 23, 2010

On Saturday I made a happy discovery that I call "Thunderdome". I put a small yellow foam ball from a nerf gun into a shallow monitor box with wide flaps, and my three-months-and-change kitten will happily dive in and out, trying to trap and kill the ball. The ball makes a nice noise against the sides of the box but is light enough that tapping it sends it flying, so the chasing possibilities are enormous.

Of course, nearly anything that moves quickly in his field of vision is Spoiling For A Fight so it's tough to say how long this will hold up.

(I really dig the other suggestions so far in this thread; Ask Metafilter in general has been an awesome resource for my cat questions so far!)
posted by Monster_Zero at 12:49 PM on November 23, 2010

We have bought toys and toys. He doesn't care. What does he want? Scrunchies! More and more scrunchies! He plays those for hours.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:57 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

-Crumpled up paper.

-Rings from gallon milk jugs.


-Small, plastic balls (ping-pong balls seem to be the clear winner at the moment).

-Each other.

My one cat, Chloe, is the oddball in the group. Her favorite, favorite toys are, in this order: a pipe cleaner and a Lego tube thing. She's the one who mostly plays with toys and she will dig in the cat toy bag to find these two things. The pipe cleaner is mostly metal now because she likes to keep it in the water dish - the fuzzy stuff melts off that way. The Lego toy is one she stole from my son's room. I can't find a picture of it but it's about 4 inches long, flexible, ridged, and black. If we hide it, she finds it. Every time.
posted by cooker girl at 2:49 PM on November 23, 2010

See my earlier question about cat toys. And the one that still flips out hyper kittie the most is the self-squeaking hanging mouse... we have to hide it at night lest the squeaks and thumps of insane, levitational joy disturb our neighbors.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 3:47 PM on November 23, 2010

Our cats enjoy the open top boxes that you can pick up at BJ's. You'll be happier in the end if you save up all the money you'd like to spend on cat toys and give it to your favorite animal charity. Wait- let me revise that; buy the cheap cardboard scratching boards from Target or the like, get plenty of refills, and strategically place them next to anyplace you've seen them scratch stuff you'd rather they leave be. offer positive reinforcement when they use the scratching posts, and a water pistol when they don't. Now head over to BJ's/Costco/Sam's Club, and pick up some of the empty boxes they have just past the registers. Done, and Done; You have just become a cat owner of the first order.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 4:11 PM on November 23, 2010

My cat LOVES these. And by loves, I mean he's crazy pants about them. I've also bought their bags of catnip and man, it is the stuff.
posted by ilikecookies at 4:19 PM on November 23, 2010

My boy cat dies for anything with fur and/or catnip. A fur mousie? Shredded in less than a day. He gnaws and bats and flips it in the air. Also, making a bed with a fresh sheet. Sheesh. I'm sitting here crying with laughter thinking of him trying to flatten out the entire sheet at once. He does some crazy spin around the bed while trying to flatten his body against the poofy sheet.

Girl kitty loves a feather in any form. She is one of those high metabolism wisps of a kitty and will jump at least four feet in the air for them. Feather on a stick is her fav. She also loves little stuffies. We had some happy meal stuffed dogs and cats and we'd find them piled in the bed when we came home. Like a love offering. She'd flip them and hit them around and generally kill them before offering them silently and secretly.

Milk tabs and plastic strapping (like from around boxes of office paper) make them pretty happy too.

If you have a catnip lover, try the catnip bubbles. They get so baffled. (Well...maybe that's more fun for me than them....)
posted by littleflowers at 7:53 PM on November 23, 2010

Nthing the milk-jug rings. Batshit insane for them.

And hair ties.

Also, one of my cats just likes knocking things off the desk. Doesn't matter what it is: coins, keys, office supplies...anything he can bat to the edge and watch fall, he adores.
posted by Thistledown at 10:14 PM on November 23, 2010

My cat's favourite toys are:
  • An old marble
  • A small wooden ball
  • A stick with a ball on the end, which he wrenched from my washing basket in an epic fight
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Pens & Pencils on the edge of things (like Thistledown said)
  • Corks
He prefers these toys to various jingly balls and small stuffed mice apparently designed for the purpose of amusing cats which I've bought over the years. Marble & stick in particular seem to be enduring favourites.

Your cat may vary, the amusement of your cat may go up as well as down, etc.
posted by larkery at 6:04 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wadded-up empty cigarette pack that missed the trash can: "OMG best toy EVAR!"

I had a cat like this once. I'm convinced it was nicotine addiction... you know, on top of it being a light and crinkly ball.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:08 AM on November 24, 2010

Kickeroo. Kickeroo Kickeroo Kickeroo. This thing is AMAZING. My cat isn't a big one for toys, but she loves dangly things with fur/feathers so when I saw one at Ross for $5 I decided to try it. Brought it home, sprinkled some catnip on it...I have never seen a cat so in love with an inanimate object. She will kick at it, snuggle with it, roll across the floor with it. She will bring it to me, all mangled and covered with cat slobber, to throw so she can chase after it. I'm pretty sure she loves her Kickeroo more than she loves me. I've tried getting her some other ones, but for some reason she really really loves the Kong one, with or without catnip, and she's had it for a while without it wearing out. I think she likes it because the inside has some sort of crinkly material that fascinates her.

She also really loves a cardboard scratcher that I got at Walmart, of all places- it's an extra large scratcher box, she will scratch for 15 minutes at a time and then curl up and take naps on it.
posted by kro at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2010

In response to dbmcd - point taken about christmas ribbon, but we tie some to the back of a rung-back chair, tie a weight of some kind on the end and let the cats bat at it. Neither Signy nor Meg has eaten any yet (fingers crossed)!
posted by LN at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2010

Following up on the plastic drinking straw suggestion - new favorite toy: Triangle!

Take a bendy plastic drinking straw (with the accordion bendy section)
Using clear packing tape, tape it into a triangle.

It's light enough to fly when batted, good for carrying in cat's mouth, and no sharp edges. Also costs about a penny per toy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2011

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