Cat Toy Recommendations
March 14, 2007 10:16 PM   Subscribe

One for cat owners - What toys have you found your cats most respond to and enjoy?

We have two two-year-old indoor cats, both well adjusted, male (brothers), "fixed", loving and relatively happy.

But my wife and I are coming to a bit of a conclusion that they might be a bit bored.

They are at home by themselves during the day when we both work, and while we give them lots of attention before and after work, as well as on weekends, we just get the feeling they'd like some new toys and distractions to stimulate them while we aren't at home - and also to play with whether we are home or not.

They're smart cats - we've taught one of them to fetch like a dog(!) - with favourite toys at the moment a screwed up piece of paper and a small cat tunnel.

But what else has everyone else found that cats enjoy playing with - and why. (Links to products or Australian sites that sell these items would also be appreciated!)

Thanks so much.
posted by chris88 to Pets & Animals (59 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I got our cat a Cat Dancer from (I've ordered from them once or twice; no complaints.) It's basically a long piece of wire with a bit of cardboard on the end. She loves it though. Sometimes I wake up and she's dragged it onto the bed, wanting to play. Apparently you can also get a sticky thing so you can mount it on the wall so they can play when you're not there.

Her other favorite toy are the plastic rings from the top of peanut butter jars. She bats them all over the place.

(#1 on the list is a laser pointer, but they can't really do that when you're not home.)
posted by web-goddess at 10:33 PM on March 14, 2007

ribbon used for wrapping gifts. It's sort of springy when it gets kinks in-- drives my cat wacky. He has plenty of store-bought toys, but a bit of ribbon gets him wild every time.
posted by baklavabaklava at 10:34 PM on March 14, 2007

Oh, and our cat shows ZERO reaction to catnip. So not all of them like it! (She does, however, like cat grass, which we have in a pot on our patio. It makes a nice treat to pull inside every now and then and let her destroy it.)
posted by web-goddess at 10:34 PM on March 14, 2007

Laser pointer!!! Also big bunch of feathers on plastic stick. The secret is, you have to channel the soul of a wounded rodent or bird. We get some great acrobatics from Mr. Cat and Mr. Kitty with the feathertoy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:39 PM on March 14, 2007

Smart cats will play with almost anything. (For example, the ever fun game called "let's unroll the toilet paper and shred it into small pieces"...) But in pursuit of tidier games:

- If you have a hard floor somewhere in your house that they can get to, small plastic items (large enough to be safe, small enough for them to pick up) make very interesting sounds.

- Paper bags that you don't mind being destroyed, when left on the floor, are a lot of fun.

- You can get a "feathery thing on a flexible stick" at a pet store (has to be one nearby, easier then ordering online) and wedge it somewhere where it's sticking out at cat height.

- While you're at the pet store you can get a bunch of different ball toys, especially the plastic kind with bells in (get lots, these have an unfortunate tendency to go crunch in the night).

Also having two cats is a pretty good start to keeping them entertained, so I'd just make sure they have a decent amount of space and not stress over it.
posted by anaelith at 10:39 PM on March 14, 2007

I gave my sister the Ultimate Cat Toy (not it's real name, I tossed the packaging before wrapping it and can't find it again...) for christmas. It's a brown cylinder with a shaker of catnip inside of it, brown fur on the outside, and a red ball on a spring. It looks rediculous, but enough like prey that the cats will hit it, ... and it ROLLS, releasing a puff of catnip! After they wrap their little feline brains around that concept, they hit it again... and their eyes cross as their brain asplodes AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN...
posted by SpecialK at 10:44 PM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

A laser pointer is the only cat toy you will ever need. It's especially fun to run the dot under a table or the sofa, turn it off, and see how long the cat will sit there peering intently and waiting for it to return.
posted by kindall at 10:48 PM on March 14, 2007

The "feather taunt" (feathery-thing-on-a-stick) is definitely a favorite of most playful cats I've met, but I'm not sure how amusing they'd find it if there wasn't a human on the other end, moving it around.

In terms of toys that I've actually seen my cats use by themselves over the years, I'd say small, furry, mouse-like toys were definitely pretty popular. Oddly, the ones which to us actually looked most like mice were rarely the most popular; the ones that just looked like balls of fur were big hits. (And one that looked like a cartoon fish...but I think that's just our cat being strange.)

I know of some other people's cats who really like these springy toys. I'm not sure how to describe them, but they're essentially a platform, about 8" square, with a thin spring (newer ones I think use flexible plastic for safety) sticking up from the center, which at the end has a toy. They can bat it around and it bounces back and forth.

Probably the most entertainment we've ever provided to our (indoor) cat was indirect: we moved the furniture around so that he had a nice perch under most of the windows, and made an effort to leave the blinds up, so he could watch the squirrels do their thing outdoors. (Sometimes I think the squirrels taunt him...) Hours of fun, apparently.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:48 PM on March 14, 2007

When we first got our two cats, it took a long time before we found toys they really liked. Their current favorite is a piece of elastic with a few buttons tied in the end of it. We hold it and bounce it around for them, which they like, but we also hang it on a doorknob and they will play with it by themselves.

They tend to like the cheap (or homemade) toys better than the ones we've spent lots of money on, which was only frustrating until we stopped spending lots of money on toys.

They love the leaves that fall off our jade plant. I don't know if there's something about the way they smell or if they just like the way they skid across the floor when they chase them.

One toy I've seen other cats go crazy for (we haven't bought one yet but are meaning to) is a little ball that goes around a circular track. Amazon sells a version called the Kitty Fast Track, but I've seen others.

I think it's important to get them new toys, especially ones that do different things, on a regular basis. Cats, especially smart cats, need to be stimulated.

A good book to read, if you're really interested in making sure your cats are happy and well-adjusted, is Ingrid Newkirk's 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You. She is at times a little over the top, but the book has tons of recommendations for simple things you can do, including lots of build-it-yourself toys and things.
posted by bokinney at 10:54 PM on March 14, 2007

Rattle-ball tied to a string: either hanging with ball at the end, or waved while holding the ball to create rattle-string.
posted by holgate at 11:01 PM on March 14, 2007

most cats love paper balls -- just a sheet of printer paper wadded up really tight and tossed on the floor. sometimes a half or quarter sheet is fun, too. even my 17-year old siamese comes running when he hears me wadding up a sheet of paper!

sometimes they love it if you toss the paperball into an empty bathtub and let them chase it around in there.
posted by doplgangr at 11:18 PM on March 14, 2007

My cats like those treat balls you can buy at the pet store -- they're basically a hollow plastic ball with some small holes in the outside. You fill it with cat treats, put it on the floor, and it drops treats as the cats bat at it. They'll play with it for ages, so long as they can hear that one last treat rattling around inside.
posted by vorfeed at 11:22 PM on March 14, 2007

There are lots of good suggestions here, but honestly you will fail with every cat toy you buy. Because cats ignore human efforts to entertain them. You will spend $10 on the perfect feather toy only to have them show interest for about a minute.

Whereas a tinfoil ball or milk cap ring that they 'discover' will be the best toy ever.

Seriously, don't waste your money on high end toys. Cats have always been able to entertain themselves in the absence of humans.

And that you have two of them ensures that they won't ever be lonely.

But yeah, echoing earlier comments, if you really want to make them happy when you are at home, a laser pointer is a good investment
posted by quin at 11:24 PM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

My cat's favourite toy for his own amusement is a crumpled up ball of aluminium foil. It's so light that it runs away of its own accord and he can chase it everywhere. Hours of entertainment and no human needed. Of course, the downside is that it gets stuck under couches or behind TVs quite frequently. A ping-pong ball is also good. The trick is to find something that moves on its own.

The other thing he plays with on his own a lot is the mouse-on-elastic that's attached to his scratching post - it moves when he scratches or jogs the post, and because it's on elastic it jiggles invitingly, so again he can amuse himself for ages with it.

When there's a human on the other end, the feathers-on-a-stick things is good (ours is called a "cat tickler" and we bought it from Pets' Paradise) and the fake-fur-tail on an elastic string on the end of a stick is also good.
posted by andraste at 11:32 PM on March 14, 2007

I no longer have the packaging, so I don't know the exact name of the toy, but it is very similar to this. The bracket slides over the top of a door and the toy mouse at the end of the elastic cord squeaks when it is moved, and my cat will play with it for hours. It's good to pick a door that isn't near where you sleep, because prime door-hanging-squeaky-toy playtime seems to be about 4:00 a.m. Or if you're more organized than I am, you could just put it out to play with during the day while you're gone.

If you don't live in an apartment with cranky neighbors, a ping-pong ball in the bathtub also seems to be a favorite of all the cats I've ever had.

I have one of the Kitty Fast Tracks bokinney noted, but my cat batted it once, apparently for politeness, and has since ignored it. Like catnip, cat mileage may vary with that one.

Plain old brown paper bags open on the floor, either with a toy thrown in or not provides lots of fun - it crinkles when the cat enters, provides a great place from which to pounce-on-any-thing-that-walks-by and doubles as a nap-time crib.

Rotating the toys you offer, every other day or so will make each one a New Discovery!
posted by faineant at 11:38 PM on March 14, 2007

Okay, after the comment about just sticking the feather toy in something, I got worried that maybe people don't know how to properly induce cat acrobatics. This is the product of artful feather toy use.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:44 PM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

My one female cat adores a tied up plastic grocery bag. Grab the bag by the handles and pull straight back on the bag to get it as stretched out as it will go, and all the air out of it. Still hanging on to the handles, starting at the closed end of the bag, wrap it around two fingers, two or three times and then tuck the handle end through the wrapped part. Much harder to describe than to just do. Anyway, she loves them and will often carry them around in her mouth like prey and meow at us at the same time.

As a caution though, I have learned to keep all festive ribbons away from my cats, because the male will eat them (he is especially fond of curling ribbon) and I know that that is just not good for him. Tangled intestines and all of that.
posted by jvilter at 11:49 PM on March 14, 2007

My cat loves these hair ties more than anything. You can get a bunch of them at the drugstore for under $3. The metal piece makes a great noise but they are sturdy enough that I don't worry about leaving them around the house for him to play with when I'm not home. (He tears a lot of toys to tiny pieces.)

When I'm home, all I have to do is taunt him with a hand under a blanket. It really entertains him until he's exhausted.

I second (third?) the milk carton rings.
posted by juliplease at 12:12 AM on March 15, 2007

oog. Okay, either your cats are the kind who like to play with inanimate objects all by themselves, or they aren't. But there's another tack you can take, which is to introduce kinks in their environment. Boxes! For exploration. Set up cardboard boxes of different sizes in different places in the house. Fun for peeking and sleeping.
posted by furiousthought at 12:36 AM on March 15, 2007

Watch your cats and determine what they will actually play with before shelling out money for anything (other than a laser pointer, which all cats go CRAZY for).

My cat is a fierce and ferocious hunter of small plastic objects and could care less about any of the actual cat toys she has at her disposal. All I need to make her happy is a bottle cap.

She also may be in the 1% of cats who doesn't give one stinky turd about the feather at the end of the stick. However, we made our own version with a hairtie at the end of a stick and she loves the hell out of it.

(My cat is also not in the top percentile of cat intelligence, so YMMV.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:28 AM on March 15, 2007

I concurr with the suggestion of letting them have good access to a window with wildlife to watch. We have a couple of birdfeeders which are really there for the cats; the birds soon learn that it's safe, despite the staring feline eyes behind the glass, and the cats seem very fascinated with 'birdwatching'!

Another good toy might be one of those cat toy boxes like this; YMMV, we had one and our cats ignored it so I gave it to a friend, who says his cats love it and spend hours fishing all the toys out and playing with them.
posted by Rubber Soul at 1:44 AM on March 15, 2007

Fake mice are cheap and easy for solo play. My cat likes the ones with rattling stuff inside, and I have two foster cats who enjoy licking the fur off and then chewing on the bald plastic. There really is no accounting for taste.

And yes: foil balls, ping pong balls, the roll of toilet paper you left on the floor, twist ties, elastic hair ties, bottle caps, paper bags (for hiding!) and anything that can be easily flung in the air (and makes noise when it lands).

And if your cats are at all into catnip, I highly recommend the super high-test catnip in El Gato Muy Loco catnip cigars. Your cats will be blissed out beyond belief.
posted by stefanie at 1:45 AM on March 15, 2007

If you feed dry cat food, pop part of a daily ration in a foraging ball. If you don't feed kibble, find a dry treat you cat is willing to kill for and use that instead.

Although it's not a "favourite" toy by any means (I'm not to sure my cats appreciate being made to work for their food), it is something that keeps them occupied for hours and has inherent rewards.
posted by esilenna at 2:52 AM on March 15, 2007

My cat loves these catnip tea bags as toys - we made the tea once and he attempted to drown himself in it - they're very strong, and they last for a few months each. My aunts' cats who had never previously shown any interest in catnip also really enjoyed them. He also adores ordinary pingpong balls.
posted by featherboa at 2:52 AM on March 15, 2007

All three cats here are fond of the ball-in-a-circular-track toys. They'll just flop on the floor and bat the ball whenever it comes past. It's like kitty solitaire.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:05 AM on March 15, 2007

Nthing laser pointer.

When I was a kid, I had a cheap disco light; would that I still had it -- light that moves causes a frenzy. A bit of a hassle when it's very early morning traffic light right above the bed, but. Anything along the lines of a cheap disco light might be just the thing if you can find it. Having said that, I wonder why I don't hang some crystals in a sunny window and see if they like little rainbows? It would have the advantage of only being available when the sun was right; I think anything 24/7 gets stale fast.

Also for when you're at home: a Catfisher mouse mitt.

A catnip pillow is much more popular here than plain nip. Get the cheap kind, not $8 silk; it'll be drooled on and shredded.

The 'ball-in-a-circular-track' has been less than a hit with mine, but YCMV.

Total failure: electronic mouse.

Things that are cat toys whether I like it or not: hair elastics (a favourite), small rubber sink plugs, plastic rings from bottles, plastic bottle tops, toilet paper, ribbon. An elaborate hand-made bow with a lot of curly ribbon trailing from it is now on a stick hanging from a bookcase; free if you wait for somebody to give you the right present. My bangle bracelets sometimes go missing; if you can get a paw in the middle of something and glide it around the floor, it's a good toy, apparently.

Any cat toy covered with real fur gets fought over, here.

I realise it sounds daft at first, but can you take your cat shopping? The larger pet stores here let you bring leashed pets, and we sometimes take the more sociable of our two along and let her check out the offerings for herself.
posted by kmennie at 4:08 AM on March 15, 2007

My cat seems to enjoy his bizzy kitty. I guess it's the poor cats version of the wooden box linked upthread.
posted by sophie at 4:35 AM on March 15, 2007

You know the little plastic ring that's left after you first crack-open the cap of a milk jug? My cat loooooves those things. He'll chase them all over the house. He'll even play "fetch" with you with those rings.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:39 AM on March 15, 2007

I'll second the idea that your cats will vary in what they want to play with, so if you keep an eye on them, you'll figure out what they like best. We've got two girl kittens, adopted at the same time, and have very different tastes in toys.

We have the above mentioned cat dancer. They love it, it whips them into a frenzy, so it's a limited toy (because afterwards they literally try to leap to the ceiling fan).

For our more athletic girl, she loves anything with either "real" fur or feathers. I went to a craft store and bought a huge maribou feather boa, tied it around the doorknob. Hours of fun (and a mess on the carpet). She much prefers the toy mice with leather tails as well. Also, anything made with real wool felt - something in the wool drives her batty.

Our more dainty girl likes little springs and the lighter catnip mice that are hollow. And anything sparkly - I bought her a stuffed "tiara" as a joke, and the reflection on it drives her nuts. But as a warning, she's also the one who chews on things - so the milk jug rings have proven to be the source of cat yak with her. If either of yours are the type to swallow plastic, proceed with caution.

I've spent an embarassing amount of money on cat toys at the petstore, and made my own. Then my husband spent 50 cents in a bubblegum machine on a plastic slinky. All other toys have been forgotten.
posted by librarianamy at 5:08 AM on March 15, 2007

I just bought one of the laser pointers the day before yesterday and oh my, we worn this kitten out for thirty minutes chasing that damn little red dot! She sits and waits for it to come back when she doesn't see it anymore; she will chase it to no end!

I've found that she mostly sleeps during the day when I'm gone, but she'll play with a felt-like string attached to a stick that i've got hanging down from a cabinet (just place something on top of that so she can hit the cloth around).

One other thing--plastic fishing worms and fishing string!! Next best thing to the laser pointer.

I've not really seen her respond to catnip.
posted by uncballzer at 5:33 AM on March 15, 2007

Ditto feathers on a stick. Use real feathers, and slide the stick under newspaper spread on the floor. I think this simulates prey under leaves in the forest -- my cats go nuts for it, even sitting hopefully on the newspaper when no one's around.
posted by futility closet at 6:24 AM on March 15, 2007

I asked the vet what I could do to keep the cat happy when I was away at work. Her suggestions were:

Keeping a window open in a place where the cat could sit on the windowsill.

Getting cat grass, like this stuff (which comes in a "non-puking formula").
posted by phoenixy at 6:26 AM on March 15, 2007

One point I want to make, just because I had a close call with my kitty. Please, PLEASE do not leave your cat alone with any toy that has string or ribbon. Your cat can and often will chew these and swallow them. My cat swallowed string and almost died after a very VERY expensive surgery to remove much of her intestine.

Needless to say, I'm very careful with what I pick out for my cat. Her absolute favorite is simply to look out the window and watch the birds. Your best investment may be a bird feeder to hang outside the window.

She also really, really loves balls. I'm lucky because I have one of those cats that plays fetch. Well, I think I'm lucky until I get a ball plopped on my face in the middle of the night. She likes the foam ones and the fleece-covered ones. The fleece covered ones are her favorite. They rattle and have fleece tabs she can use to carry the ball around in her teeth. She did not respond to the hollow ones with bells, because she can't get her teeth into them.

Among mine and my friends' cats, these cubes are a huge hit. Run your finger along the nylon on the outside and they will go crazy. Be careful--claws can go through the nylon easily and get your fingers!

Catnip can be so fun. It's worth a shot to see if your cat will react to it.
posted by bristolcat at 6:32 AM on March 15, 2007

Second the Cat Dancer. It's the best cat toy ever; our cats will chase the dancing tip until they're panting from exhaustion, and at other times they look longingly up at the shelf where they know it's kept. Plus it's cheap and low-tech. Can't be beat.

Windowsills are great, but don't exactly provide exercise, and indoor cats need something to keep them from getting fat and lazy.
posted by languagehat at 6:37 AM on March 15, 2007

Bobby pins are his favorite...we'll play fetch and when hes done he'll sneak them into his food dish (alternative use: toy box?) He is also a feather-on-stick, crumpled-paper ball, catnip-mouse cat. He also used to follow the violet-colored light emitted from the inside of my HP printer which meant sticking his paw in the middle of the paper tray to try to grab the light as the print cartridges moved back and forth.
posted by Asherah at 7:16 AM on March 15, 2007

Seconding the scrunched up balls of aluminium foil. Cat heaven!
posted by merocet at 7:17 AM on March 15, 2007

The best toy is another cat, but you already have one of those.

And bristolcat is right on the money, never leave a string or ribbon alone with a cat. Those are great for human/kitty interaction, but not for solo cat play...way too dangerous. Also, if you let them play with a shopping bag, always cut the handles first...we had a cat who got tangled up in one, went running around the apartment like crazy, and terrified our other cat so much that she jumped through a third-story window (which was open, but had a screen, which she knocked out. Ultimately, she was fine, but we had to take her to the emergency vet to make sure).

Ping pong balls are great, we also have a little ball made out of crinkly foil that they love. Tissue paper (like the stuff that comes in gift packaging) is great for attacking and shredding, particularly if a mouse toy or something else gets underneath it. They love the big cat tube, and my wife will put a blanket over a dining room chair to make a little fort for them. And finally, we have a couple of cat trees - they get expensive, but they are great exercise, and cats have a natural fondness for high places. Well worth the money. Speaking of which, Ophelia is endlessly entertained by a quarter on the tile floor in the bathroom, I've finally ended up giving her an allowance so she'll stop stealing from me.

Yes, you definitely want to be one of our cats in your next life.
posted by malocchio at 7:26 AM on March 15, 2007

We got a toy that is similar to the "fishing rod"-type toys that cats love, but it hangs over the door and I think it was on elastic. The toy on the end had a chirper in it that makes noise every time it's hit. Tempura was CRAZY about that toy.
posted by radioamy at 7:28 AM on March 15, 2007

uncballzer : I've not really seen her respond to catnip.

You mentioned that she is a kitten? That is probably why she isn't responding to catnip. Cats don't generally react to catnip till they've hit adolescence. It's been suggested that catnip stimulates the pituitary gland producing a sexual response, thus kittens are not affected. More here.
posted by quin at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2007

Mine enjoy the National Geographic cat video. Lions taking a wildebeast down Oh My! Ears perk up when cat sex is explained.
posted by Raybun at 8:00 AM on March 15, 2007

Mylar balls. Just google mylar ball cat toy, or look with the mice & balls in the cat toy section at the store. They're very light so they skitter away when hit, roll unpredictably, can be carried around in the mouth, and make crinkly noises, all things cats like in a toy.

My cats also like to watch westerns (for the horse scenes), but I doubt that's universal.
posted by fidelity at 8:35 AM on March 15, 2007

I have this cat fishing pole that's basically a plastic pole (with ball bearings in it so it makes noise) with a string attached and a leather frond at the end.

My cats love it so much that they will drag it onto bed as soon as I wake up and try to play with me.
posted by kdar at 8:35 AM on March 15, 2007

Cardboard boxes are my cat's absolute favorite. The shape doesn't really matter, so long at it is corrugated cardboard, but she's really fond of boxes that are long and skinny, so she can hide out inside the box while shredding the crap out of it.

She's also pretty fond of catnip pillows and little fake mice. But then, this is a cat who will play with leaves and rocks, so she clearly has a pretty vivid imagination.
posted by janell at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2007

Who ever suggested the hair tie on the end of a string was dead on. I think I broke my cat. Now that I put it away, he's wandering around yowling because he wants it back.
posted by nursegracer at 9:04 AM on March 15, 2007

At one point I had six cats. They would devour a three-pack of rabbit-hide mice in a week. The younger three would fight over them, hide them from one another, throw them down stairs, rip off the pelt and then eat the leather. Mad, mad days.

I second the brown paper bags. Many a time and oft I'd come home to see cat feet sticking out of the end. Also enjoyed watching one cat jump off a scratching post onto his brother, who had kicked him out of the bag a few minutes prior.

Another winner was leaving a light on in the living room and watching them get stuck into the bugs that would inevitably accumulate.
posted by Jilder at 10:14 AM on March 15, 2007

I set up several birdfeeders outside a window - both of my cats really enjoy watching the birds during the day.

They also enjoy the plastic rings from the top of milk jugs.

I have catnip in my herb garden, and they love that, although it does make them really loopy. Some cats don't react to catnip, though.
posted by Ostara at 10:43 AM on March 15, 2007

A cat-sitter DVD is great once in a while. It's cute to see cats actually *watching* television, not to mention batting at the screen, and checking behind the tv to see where the mice are.

(I have a 10' projector screen, and you'd think a 3' long mouse would freak a car out, but no!)
posted by LordSludge at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2007

("...freak a car cat out...", of course...!)
posted by LordSludge at 10:56 AM on March 15, 2007

Our cat loves honeysuckle toys. However I've given honeysuckle toys to two other cat households and none of their cats cared for it.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:06 PM on March 15, 2007

These folks make an excellent feathers-on-a-stick toy. It resembles an aerodynamic fishing lure (sans hooks), spinning on a swivel and whistling when at speed. Only problem is that one of my cats, once he catches the "bird," wants to "kill" and "eat" it... so the lure-like heads don't last long (replacable at US$ 3.50 a pop).

One of ours goes nuts for what we call the "sparkle toy": the Mylar ball toy previously mentioned, attached by a soft nylon cord to the usual cat-teasing stick. This lasts much longer than the feather toy, but doesn't have the universal appeal of the feathers. Nor does it whip the cats into the near-levitating frenzy of a good feather-toy session.

The sparkle toy works well when dangled at the entrance of this Fun Tunnel, which has held up well to a year and a half of vigorous double-Bengal abuse. Think of it as a variation on the cardboard boxes and shopping bags.

Ours have a couple of stuffed animals that they regularly abuse (claw, kick, bite, eviscerate). They can get their tiny tiger on. Unfortunately, any stuffed animal now appears fair game.

Their best toy, however, is each other. Everything else is gravy. When they need to play, a wine cork will become the necessary soccer ball.
posted by goetter at 12:46 PM on March 15, 2007

My cat's don't play with shit except a stupid, boring little fucking burlap pouch of catnip that I am sure has lost all nip. It is drool-stained and the stupid fat one just rubs his head against it and licks it compulsively.

Occasionally my Siamese will throw a balled-up sock to himself, but mostly, they don't do jack shit except sleep and bug me.

The stupid fat one does like boxes. For chewing.

My cats suck.
posted by mckenney at 1:27 PM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

Different cats like different things, so I suggest you try the cheaper toys before you go for anything fancy, especially since the cats have each other to play with.

That said, my cat LOVES the little mouse toys referenced above with this link. The tails are the best part - I think it's because the tails are made of some kind of leather. She eventually chews the tails off.

I'm surprised Saucy Intruder hasn't shown up in this thread yet - his cats have all sorts of awesome toys that get them jumping all over the place. One of their favorites is the Cat Dancer, mentioned so often above.
Please note that the description is: "Spring wire with tightly rolled paper strips at the end."
You could probably make it yourself if they aren't available at the local pet store.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 1:27 PM on March 15, 2007

My cats seem to love the plastic rings that come off of gallon- or half-gallon-sized milk containers. They play fetch with them. They also love the little cloth/elastic bands my wife uses to hold her hair back. I've seen them climb up onto her dresser and root around in a container to get them.
posted by scblackman at 2:18 PM on March 15, 2007

My cat isn't all that interested in the birds and squirrels outside the window, but can spend HOURS watching the aquarium (and it's even interactive, as she will periodicaly try to swipe her paw under the tank or dart around behind it to see where the fish has gone).

If your cat is one of those who likes to watch TV (mine isn't, unless you count the fishtank), I've seen a friend's cat go nuts over Video Catnip, and another one would happily stalk the TV during the dancing-parrots scene in Paulie.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:44 PM on March 15, 2007

Bottle caps and milk rings. They don't touch anything else.
posted by Octoparrot at 4:55 PM on March 15, 2007

Another vote for laser pointers.
posted by pompomtom at 6:51 PM on March 15, 2007

This thread is useless without lots of pics.

My cats love the Cat Dancer, so much. One of my cats steals the fuzzy socks I sleep in. She'll drag them up and down the stairs while yowling. The other recently discovered one of the elastic bands used to keep the sheet on the mattress.

Be careful with putting birdfeeders out. One of my cats was really upset because of all the birds outside her window she could never get and she started having urinary tract problems because of the stress.
posted by sugarfish at 7:31 PM on March 15, 2007

Just throw a bunch of random above mentioned stuff on the kitchen floor, make it all move and see what you cat goes for.

one of our cats only likes playing with the plastic stick that used to hold one of those feather on a string things. everything else is a waste of his time.

Our other cat though will play with anything she can toss around, she loves those little mice, (of course i found this out when she found a real mouse and was tossing that around.) Her all time favorite toy is a small fleece giraffe finger puppet that she stole from someone in the house. It is easy for her to pick up with her claws and light enough to throw. She loves the 'ball in the track' toy, and adores when our foldable laundry hamper is empty (kinda like those boxes from target.)

We also find rolled up guitar strings in her food dish that she finds in the basement.
posted by trishthedish at 8:10 AM on March 16, 2007

nthing the ball of foil.
posted by pyjammy at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2007

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