Help me find a toy for my cat that he won't eat.
August 28, 2011 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for cat toys for a chewer?

This is Ed. He loves to play! Unfortunately, he also loves to chew. I think he may be part goat. Anything plastic, paper, string, etc. My dilemma is this: I foolishly bought him a few "cat dancer" type toys - toys that dangle a lure in front of him that he can chase all over the room, but of course have string or wire that I hold. The plan was to put them away once we were finished, since he would eat them otherwise. But now poor Ed sits crying in front of the closet, knowing that all of his favorite toys are locked up inside when I'm not actively playing with him. He is too smart for his owner, I am afraid.

So I am looking for a good substitute toy, that will keep my highly active, intelligent (save for the eating everything), cat entertained, ideally even when I am gone for work. Any thoughts?

And I feel I should preempt the inevitable suggestion by saying that I do have a second cat, but Molly seems to have reached mental full-grown cat maturity faster than Ed, and would prefer to spend her days on the windowsill watching the cars go by. They get along decently, but don't have the wild play sessions they once did. I am sure that this is part of Ed's boredom problem, but I don't know that there is anything I can do to solve it. I just try to play with Ed extra.

Anyway, any personal recommendations would be highly appreciated. Thanks so much!
posted by backwards compatible to Pets & Animals (22 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have a similar problem so I hope someone has good answers, though Edmund has reached the age where he'll happily set up shop somewhere and sit for hours sometimes and run about wanting to play and eat things the rest of the time. (In fact, I wrote that and got up to make a cup of coffee. Edmund was lying in the middle of the kitchen. I thought he was hanging out, but was waiting for me to come back so he could attack my ankles. Now he's chirping at pigeons.)

Edmund's favourite toy is a stuffed rat that's maybe 5in long. I found it at Petsmart on clearance for a dollar a few months back. It lost its ears, nose and tail within days, but now Edmund seems happy to play with it, rather than eat it. When he gets going, he tosses it several feet in the air and goes to chase it. Sometimes I throw it for him, but I do come home sometimes to find the rat on a bookshelf and sometimes wake up with it in the bed with me, so he's definitely amused by it on his own.

I did have an older (enormous) cat living with me temporarily for a few months this year. When Edmund wanted to play, he'd go jump on Eaton until he got a response. I don't know if that means Ed's maybe not so interested in playing anymore or if Molly's just a hell of a lot less ornery than Eaton (who is one grumpy cat).
posted by hoyland at 6:57 AM on August 28, 2011

Aww, Ed looks like a sweetheart. Does he like catnip? If so maybe a pawbreaker would be good? On the cheap side, one of my cat's favorite toys ever was an origami crane stuffed with catnip. The shape meant it moved erratically when she swatted it around.

I also tried the Kong treat dispenser with my cat. But mine isn't very bright and she never figured out there was food in there.
posted by Caravantea at 7:07 AM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well of course he wants to chew. He's the I Can Has Cheezburger cat!

The Yeowww! products are substantial, filled with catnip, and seriously chompy. (Plus my inner twelve-year old can't help snickering at a product called "Yeowww My Cat's Balls.") The downside is they're a little too heavy for a cat to carry around and throw in the air.

Our cat loves his Fat Cat toy, and some shiny catnip mice I found at the supermarket. He'll spontaneously pick them up and throw them around. Downside: they always find their way under the couch.

If your cat reacts to catnip, there's a better chance he'll get interested in toys on his own. But even then, he might still demand interactive play or at least some toy-wiggling on your part. Our cat's a chewer too (paper, plastic, and string!), and we just have to give him lots of attention and play in the evenings so he doesn't shred our documents. Jerk.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:41 AM on August 28, 2011

My kitty chewer has chewed several pairs of Crocs to the point that they look like rubber lace. Doesn't seem to have hurt him any, since he seems to be immune to my death glare.

And yes, I do realize he has done me a favor as far as rescuing me from an egregious lack of fashion sense.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:43 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Crinkle toys. Our little chewer loves the crinkle toys as does the old guy who eats paper.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:55 AM on August 28, 2011

My cocker spaniel loves a ball that's technically a cat toy, according to Jeffers (velvet ball) but he chews it up quickly. I just found Kong squeaky tennis balls the same size (1.5"), which should last a lot longer. Since the velvet balls are technically supposed to be cat toys, perhaps the Kong tennis balls of the same size might work for a chewy cat?
posted by galadriel at 8:15 AM on August 28, 2011

Sid will roll the ball around the track for hours.
posted by nicwolff at 8:26 AM on August 28, 2011

Try tying up one of the "cat dancer" toys so that it's suspended. That way he can still play with it, but can't get enough of a grip to chew it up.

When I moved to my new apartment, I had the toy hanging on the door inside my room. My roommate's cats would grab it in the space under the door, and spend hours playing with it under the door. This only works if your landlord put in doors that are too short for the frames, though.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:00 AM on August 28, 2011

Don't get a Kong. Mine chewed one so much that he got a piece lodged in his intestine, requiring four-figure emergency surgery.
posted by matildaben at 9:14 AM on August 28, 2011

This. (It's another ball-in-a-track type toy). My three cats love it so much I bought another couple - one for my mom's cat and another for my brother's. My mom's cats loves it too; she'll sit at it for ages, just batting it around and around and around, usually in the middle of the night (the toy does make a fair amount of noise...). My brother's cat loved it so much he had to have it taken away from him because he kept spraying it, apparently in a effort to claim it from the neighbour cats (despite the toy being in the living room...)

On another note, beware any toy that when chewed ends up degenerating into a long piece of rope. It's usually those cheap sisal mice that do this. That was not a fun nor cheap vet visit when my Echo ate the damn thing... and now I won't even let those type of toys into my house.
posted by cgg at 9:57 AM on August 28, 2011

Don't get a Kong.

Just want to reiterate that I am talking about a tennis ball.

posted by galadriel at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2011

Like DoubleLune, I rigged up a catdancer so that the posse could play with it while I was gone. You can buy cat dancers with adhesive pads to mount to a doorframe, but I went with the kind that has the green plastic mouse at one end, then just jammed the mouse into the corner of the sofa.

Crinkle mylar balls also highly popular here.
posted by catlet at 10:19 AM on August 28, 2011

this might be worth a shot. My cat lost interest in it quickly but yours seems to like chewing more. Supervise at first, but it seems awfully sturdy so that you may not need to worry about ingestion. I like the Pet Stages line of toys, all of them have gone over well. There is another one to chew on that has mesh which my cats liked a lot.

FroliCat has an automatic laser cat toy. It runs randomly for a while and then shuts off, if I remember correctly.

Also, seconding those large balls made of compressed catnip. Even my older cat will drop her dignity for a chance to play with one of those.
posted by gilsonal at 10:26 AM on August 28, 2011

If you want to try something quick and cheap, take an old sock, and add some catnip. Add a few more socks and more catnip to fill it up and give it some form. Tie it off at the end and present to hyper cats. Its the perfect size to grab hold of and bite and kick. My cat will carry his around the apartment to hang out with him.
posted by gilsonal at 10:29 AM on August 28, 2011

The Fonz loves these new cat toys that chirp when kitties play with them. It might not help the chewing, but it might distract them. Fonzie is pretty chewy with me, but not with anything else. I also have a few empty cardboard boxes out for him to jump into - the crinkly Ikea bag is his favorite thing ever - so I think he wears himself out and chews less.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 11:20 AM on August 28, 2011

I'd say CatNip sprayed on a nice substantial scratching post or one of those canvas cat furniture things. My cat, Static, loves it! And when she isn't feeling "spazzy" she uses it as a perch to sleep on or look out the window, it's "her spot"! Her canvas and plastic cat fort cost us just over $17 at Walmart, worth every penny, and yes she chews on it too!
posted by Jayed at 11:46 AM on August 28, 2011

Response by poster: Wonderful! Thank you all. I will definitely be investing in many of these.
posted by backwards compatible at 1:05 PM on August 28, 2011

I too have a chewer, whom I nicknamed "Mondo Destructo" for his incredibly destructive ways with cat toys. He will completely destroy the Yeowww! products metroidbaby references in about 4-6 days. I started getting him these similar but more sturdy toys from the pet store. I swear, they must use upholstery fabric or something because the last one lasted about 8 months.

He also REALLY likes felted cat toys. Not toys made of felt but actual felted balls and such. Etsy has tons. They can end up as shreds on the floor, but you can wash them and they'll refelt if you do it before it's been shredded.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:10 PM on August 28, 2011

Buy a couple of pairs of plain baby socks and some fiberfill. Stuff the socks and sew up the ends. Cheap, simple and easy to clean.
(I just found one jammed up under a dresser & my cat died 2 years ago)
posted by jaimystery at 8:13 PM on August 28, 2011

ping pong ball in the bathtub
triangles made of bendy straws (described at end of this post: cat toys your cats love best)
Kong Kickeroo - basically a long fabric sock full of stuffing, with a tail that has fake fur. Disturbing but my cat loves to chew, kick, lick, etc it.

Would you consider leaving out a small/medium cardboard box for him to make a nest in and bite to pieces?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:19 PM on August 28, 2011

We got some Yeowww! catnip sardines for Ticky last week and he went hyper over them. Substantial enough to cope with mauling I think.
posted by arcticseal at 1:11 AM on August 29, 2011

Actually, Sid's very favorite toy is the white plastic tripod that holds the top of a pizza box off the middle of the pizza – especially good in the bathtub. They'll give you a handful for the asking at any pizza shop.
posted by nicwolff at 9:44 AM on September 2, 2011

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